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THE ULTIMATE STUDIO SURVIVAL TOOLBOX
Old 25th January 2007
  #1
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EngineEars's Avatar
 

THE ULTIMATE STUDIO SURVIVAL TOOLBOX

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:

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

INSTRUMENT TOOLS
Drum key
Moongel
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)

AUDIO INTERFACING:
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.)


COMPUTER ACCESSORIES:
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)
iLok
FW/USB cables
CDR’s/DVDR’s

OTHER COOL STUFF
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

WISH LIST:
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.)
Old 25th January 2007
  #2
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Studiocat's Avatar
 

whoa that's a sweet list!

How much do you want for it all? (minus the trackball, I have one of those)
Old 25th January 2007
  #3
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EngineEars's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Studiocat View Post
whoa that's a sweet list!

How much do you want for it all? (minus the trackball, I have one of those)
It's not a list of things for sale, it's a survival guide of sorts for the traveling engineer/producer.
Old 25th January 2007
  #4
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EngineEars View Post
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.
Not quite what you're asking for, but you could take any camcorder with a fw out, record wild (slated with a clapper), import the video clip and solve your conductor problem.
Old 26th January 2007
  #5
Lives for Jesus
 
stevep's Avatar
Great idea

You might check first though, most big rooms have all or most things on your list


I have most things on your list minus...

Fresh Air Ionizer
Piano hammer
Peterson Strobe Tuner
Little Labs IBP
Radial Hot Shot or Whirlwind Cough Drop
NHT PVC or ADesigns ATTY



you wouldn't need this....Noise suppressor pedal

if you didn't bring these.....
Compressor 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



You might need a small truck as your list grows


Good idea though to be prepared





Old 26th January 2007
  #6
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EngineEars's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevep View Post
Great idea

You might check first though, most big rooms have all or most things on your list

you wouldn't need this....Noise suppressor pedal


You might need a small truck as your list grows
You'd be surprised of what even a $2k a day room lacks. No Echo Farm on the PT Rig, a HUI was a $200 rental and the singer had nothing to loop tracks in the lounge while a mix was going on in the control room.

My Boss NS-2 pedal saves me every time when recording distorted guitars, especially when using single coils and P90's. Waves X-Noise adds an extra step. How do you combat that in your room?

I hope to pull this all off with two road cases that will fit in the trunk of an average car.
Old 26th January 2007
  #7
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Well, I do recording on location all the time, and while my list isn't as extensive, I have a good share of the items you list. I'd add:

-A couple of good packing blankets
-A handful of heavy duty spring clips (from Home depot, to hold the blankets)

You skipped a few obvious ones:

-Pads of paper and pens for lyrics, impromptu track sheets, etc.
-small bills for buying food, contributing to pizza, etc.
-CD Sleeves for roughs, etc.

-I bring a folding table, for my rig
-I might bring one or two of my own guitars, if I know the guitarist has only one or two.

-My palm pilot, for booking further dates, looking up phone numbers, etc.
-earplugs (for me, and for forgetful (and deaf) musicians)!
-an assortment of cough drops, pepto, headache, allergy medicines

-A very large iced tea and a snickers bar (part of my ritual, I suppose)
Old 26th January 2007
  #8
Lives for gear
 
John Suitcase's Avatar
 

I organize with toolboxes, by the way. I have a couple of anvil cases, for a mixer, and my rack, but toolboxes get the job done for other stuff. Just be very meticulous about what goes where, otherwise, you'll be leaving stuff behind and not able to find the stuff you want.
Old 26th January 2007
  #9
Lives for Jesus
 
stevep's Avatar
Quote:
My Boss NS-2 pedal saves me every time when recording distorted guitars, especially when using single coils and P90's. Waves X-Noise adds an extra step. How do you combat that in your room?
We just had a Vox amp with a bunch of pedals for a tracking session last week and the noise from the pedals was a challenge and the amp had bad PSU caps so the hum was another challenge...... we finally got the noise level down.. but it took some time

I have a few players i work with that have very low noise from all there pedals but they are an exception

Quote:
I hope to pull this all off with two road cases that will fit in the trunk of an average car.
that should work and have one small one for all the tech stuff
This list is a good and has given me some ideas,.

thanks




Old 26th January 2007
  #10
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Rick Sutton's Avatar
 

Tums.
Old 26th January 2007
  #11
Lives for gear
To make items as multipurpose as possible, might I suggest to make the "Peterson Strobe Tuner" more specifically a Peterson Strobostomp. I doubles as a DI, with an XLR out and ground-lift switch. It's about the size of a standard stomp box.
Old 26th January 2007
  #12
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CompEq's Avatar
 

Board tape
A sharpie
Gaffer's tape

I also always carry a multimeter and an SPL meter (oops, those are already listed)
As noted above a pad and pens are essential

reference CDs
reading material
perhaps a small selection of DVDs to keep the band occupied
a pack of gum and a cigarette lighter tend to come in handy

a package of Oatmeal (Maple + Brown sugar is my fav) for when I'm starving and nobody's decided where they want to order food from yet
Old 21st February 2007
  #13
Gear Addict
 
Studiocat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EngineEars View Post
It's not a list of things for sale, it's a survival guide of sorts for the traveling engineer/producer.
Come on! Is my sarcasm so disguised?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CompEq View Post

a package of Oatmeal (Maple + Brown sugar is my fav) for when I'm starving and nobody's decided where they want to order food from yet
This is brilliant. Apple/banana makes a good substitute. I always keep my nalgene full of agua, some spare ibuprofen and... if things get really out of hand, I have a good bong.

A
Old 21st February 2007
  #14
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Steve G's Avatar
We keep a stocked humidor in one of the cases at all times. You never know when a smoke break will be needed. I just don't keep it in a case with a lot of tube gear, it tends to dry the cigars out quicker.

Steve
Old 21st February 2007
  #15
Gear Head
 

you forgot a corkscrew

Artist to producer: "Are you producing me?"
Producer: "Yes...."
Artist: "well then produce me a bottle of wine!"
Old 21st February 2007
  #16
Gear Nut
 
Scott@RealTraps's Avatar
 

Flavoured condoms . . . in case the chick singer's really hot . . . multiple functions as a water balloon for a hot day, electrical insulation if you run across some exposed wires in need of fixing, or, in a pinch, chewing gum . . . or whatever other use may come in handy for a bit of latex . . .

heh
Old 21st February 2007
  #17
Lives for gear
 
jude's Avatar
 

tooth brush and tooth paste... need clean teeth and fresh breath
laptop with SIA SMAART live
selection of mics
a few custom made bits of gear, including one which resets midi timecode and clock to slave sequencers
a hand made parametric EQ
my headphones
my aurotones

and i always make sure i have the best hotel room
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