I’m off on holiday this week, and I couldn’t be happier. However, the weather forecast tells us that tropical rain is afoot and could occur on as many as three of the days we are there. So, in preparation for hours and hours spent indoors…you guessed it; I’m going to take some recording gear!
Composing music should be as simple as reaching for the guitar, but there’s no way I’ll be adding to the stress of it all by trying to get my guitar on the plane. No, no, this calls for some sleuthing. The laptop is a given, but everything else is going to have to fit in one small checked bag (an audio interface in a carry-on bag could ignite wild imagination in the minds of airport security).
OK, so my laptop contains a plethora of recording programs, virtual instruments, and effects. I’m covered there. As my main interface is roughly the same size as the first wave of VCRs, I’ll be taking one of favourite things – my Apogee ONE. It’s a tiny little thing with a high quality mic pre (with phantom power) and instrument jack on a breakout cable, a surprisingly high quality built-in condenser mic, 3.5mm headphone out, and a USB connection. And, as it’s made by Apogee, the overall sound quality is delightful.
Next up, I need some control over my virtual instruments, and this controller needs to be compact. For a price not even worth thinking about, I picked up an M-Audio Keystation Mini 32 as I obviously need keys, but a 25 key controller just isn’t going to cut it for me. With 32 keys sporting a very satisfactory action, and selectable velocity curves (including a preset drums curve), I can play in any keys part, string section, or drum beat.
Now I already have headphones, and I’m more than happy with the mic built-in to the Apogee, so there’s not much else I need. However, I know that I’ll need some guitar parts sooner or later, so I’m going to record a few riffs, licks, and basic chords at home and save them as samples and loops. This way, I can import these guitar parts later and change the tempo and pitch to suit the song from within my DAW software. I can even assign them to my Keystation Mini and trigger them in realtime.
Now that I read this back, it all seems a little too straight forward. I’ll report back as and when I run into problems.