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Old 25th January 2007
Gear Addict
EngineEars's Avatar


Years ago I use to travel with monitors, racks and cases when I frequented other recording studios. I now usually work at my own studio until lately, when I’ve been doing more and more work at other studios. After much frustration of what I consider a well-stocked studio to be, I’ve simply run into too many situations where the smallest little things just were nowhere to be found when needed.

From now on I'm putting together the ultimate studio survival case that will deal with most studio production scenarios from MBox home studios to the Record Plant. While searching other threads I only found this for live sound. Please add other items you traveling studio producer/engineers can think of. The goal is the most bang for the buck and small sized items. Also what do you use to transport all this stuff in? An anvil style trunk? A toolbox from the hardware store? A giant Tupperware container? A suitcase? Here’s my working list:

Screwdrivers (small enough to switch mic pad/rolloff)
Allen Wrenches
Piano hammer
Tape measure
P-Touch Labeler (to put your name on everything you take out)
Soldering Kit
Wire Strippers
Voltage meter

Drum key
Sticks, rods & brushes
Metronome or small drum machine
Shaker, Tamb, Cowbell, misc. percussion
Peterson Strobe Tuner
Assorted guitar picks
Compressor pedal
Noise suppressor pedal
Distortion/Fuzz/OD pedals
Graphic EQ pedal
Delay/modulation/filter pedals
Volume/Wah/Octave/Whammy pedals
Pocket amp/Sansamp or Pod
Splitter/re-amp/studio guitar interface
Power soak
USB keyboard controller
JL Cooper MLA-XLR MIDI Line Amplifier
Sampler (software or hardware ala MPC)

Cable tester
RTA/SPL meter
DI boxes
Little Labs IBP
Radial Hot Shot or Whirlwind Cough Drop
NHT PVC or ADesigns ATTY
Standalone VU meters
¼” instrument/speaker & line/mic XLR cables
Assorted adapters, gender changer, format converter, y splits, extension cables, inline pads, inline transformer (XLR/TRS/TS/rca/bnc/midi/TT/1/4”/1/8”/etc.)

Laptop w/Audio interface (tons of uses like documentation, CD labeling, internet, 2nd editing DAW, invoices, VI plug-in, audio analyzer, studio calculators, etc.)
iPod, USB thumb or hard drive (ref mixes, drum samples, test tones, PT session templates, impulse response library, custom plug-in settings, dither, etc.)
Digital camera
USB midi interface
DAW control surface (Faderport or Baby HUI)
ProTools keyboard (if you work faster with the stickers)
Trackball (custom buttons save hours)
FW/USB cables

Standalone AD/DA & digital cables
Mackie 1202 (cue amp/extra mic pres/summing/etc.)
Headphones (2 similar pair)
Shure SM57/EV 635A/Marshall MXL2001/MXL603
AC power checker
Ground lift
Universal power adapter
IEC power cables
9 volt/AA batteries
Stedman metal pop filter
Shockmount mic clip
Auralex mic kit
Assorted colors of Sharpies
Console & gaffers tape
Tabletop Little Lite
Jacket or sweater or t-shirt (for various levels of HVAC systems)
Fresh Air Ionizer

A cheap universal wireless talkback remote that works in any studio with little alteration, from Mackie Big Knobs to D-Commands. (I'm over bad breathed producers reaching into to my personal space to press the talkback button and the pedal jack is not as cool.)

A digital video camera that records live video to a track in your DAW. (I’ve worked on one too many sessions with conductors but no click that makes overdubbed musician’s life Hell afterwards. Plus how cool would it be to playlist a few video takes and give the artist a DVD studio performance video with their final mix.)

A tracking style compressor with a balance knob between the compressed and non-compressed signal. (I know these exist, I just haven’t tried one in this situation yet. P.S. to manufacturers: My friends and I make great beta-testers.)