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Laptop Studios: Mobile Audio Solutions

Laptop studios are taking musicians by surprise, enabling artists to have a project recording studio that can fit in a backpack. Just imagine being able to compose your music in a park or anywhere you can imagine.

They also make gigs a dream for dj's and anyone who uses programmed sounds with their music. Just plop down the laptop beside some turntables, hook up final scratch (a great dj tool), and instantly you have access to lots of digital music to spin, or throw down some custom loops to mix along side some vinyl records.

Independent artists can use this mobile versatility for other music related tasks, like writing content for your website, or marketing an ad campaign. The freedom of being able to work on your projects while not having to be tied down at your home PC will increase your productivity level, and help you achieve more creativity in your music.

Although some say technology has dampened the creative process in making music, I would have to disagree. By embracing new technologies like laptop audio stations, I feel that we can expand our creative style, by producing music in uplifting environments, anywhere a laptop can go.

Mobile Sound Devices

Mini midi controllers and portable sound modules can be plugged in to your laptop providing hardware quality synthesized sounds. This is only some of the latest technology for audio oriented laptops, how about a Tascam USB mixer combined with Protools on a laptop would give you the ability to mix down tracks in some of the most unexpected places.

USB devices have allowed for great expansion of these mobile studios in many ways. Guitar players can use devices to allow them to pug in there guitar and record directly to disk, some mini disk and mp3 devices have mic preamps built in allowing for you to have a portible digital recorder at you dispoal that can fit into your pocket. These file can then be transferred to your laptop for further post auidio editing.

Setting Up a Mobile Recording Studio

First off you are going to need a laptop, the newer and faster laptop you buy the more versatile your new mobile recording set-up is going to be. Any thing in a Pentium 4 range will be sufficient to run the basics and the mac G4 and G5 laptops have proved to be great workhorses for mobile audio workstations.

There is some simplicity to doing this because your studio is based around using the minimal amount of equipment and by using software to compensate for large hardware that is difficult to travel with. But it also will very on what you need to fill the needs of what you will be using it for (ie. Mixing down tracks or editing audio clips, sound restoration, or to composed synthesized/sampled tracks and remixes). The laptop is the heart of you rig, along side this use a synthesizer module this is basically a hardware synthesizer that is controlled my a software interface on the laptop. These devices can usually be used through midi, USB or fire wire.

To give your rig some freedom of using your mouse for all of your tasks, then you will want to add a midi controller, both MidiMan and Evolution manufacture a 2 octave, very portable keyboard. If you plan to do on location recording than the usual microphone and preamp will be needed, a good alternative to traditional microphones would be wireless microphones resulting in less cables to carry. There are great USB devices for interfacing all of your audio channels to your laptop instead of using an internal sound card. These devices may also include microphone pre-amps.

Suggested Reading
  • How to Mix Down a Song
    Creating the initial tracks, mixing down the song, and then mastering your musical projects. This article goes in depth on mixing levels and techniques to improve your songs.
  • Creating a Demo Tape
    Every record label has its own guidelines for submitting demos. This is a general guide for some of the production standards when creating your demo tape.
  • How to Set Up and Record Vocals
    This article explains how to set up and record vocals. The equipment that you need to get started and some recording techniques.
  • The Flanger Effect
    There are countless effects out on the market that help mold, shape, and totally distort your sound. But today I'm going to tell you a little bit about, one of the more popular, and commonly used effects, the flanger effect.
  • Reverb Tutorial
    What reverb is, and tips when applying reverb to a track



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