There are two different types of professional music producer:
- Those who work predominantly at a studio may it be from home or commercial space
- Those that predominantly travel with portable recording studios using Mac or Windows laptop computers.
The travelling music producer chooses their portable studio gear carefully as they require gear that is durable and good quality but is also lightweight so that they can travel light yet have all the tools they need to record and mix a record in someone's living room, studio or hotel room.
Luckily, the travelling music producer is rather spoilt for choice these days. This article lists our top picks of portable recording studio gear that costs less than £250 that we feel are best suited for the travelling professional music producer - excluding the Laptop.
Interface - Focusrite Scarlett 6i6
The second generation of Focusrite Scarlett audio interfaces were a major step up from the first generation Scarletts in both sound and build quality. These USB interfaces are now built with a wraparound aluminium case for extra durability and the pots and switches feel as though they'll be able to take some hard use for many years to come. I've used my 6i6 for over a year, I cannot report any issues, this is a strong and reliable interface that works every time. I recommend the 6i6 over the 2i2 as the 6i6 features more I/O for connecting an extra set of headphones and outboard gear. Check out our Review Of The Focusrite Scarlett Second Generation Range for more information.
- Cost: £219
- Weight: 1.4Kg
- Durability: 9/10
Headphone Amp - H2 Design MIYO
Do you mix on headphones using your laptop headphone port? Do you know that converters and headphone audio output in Laptops are generally not the highest of quality? Fear not, H2 Designs provides MIYO, a small form factor USB powered headphone amp solution that delivers crystal clear audio and power for headphone monitoring. Check out our Review of MIYO by H2 Designs to learn more.
- Cost: £230
- Weight: 0.17Kg
- Durability: 9/10 (MIYO does get hot over prolonged use)
Microphone - Aston Origin
There are a number of large diaphragm condenser microphones available, so why do we recommend The Origin by Aston Microphones over the rest? Well, the Aston Origin is a very affordable microphone that costs under £250. If you lose it then it wouldn't cost much to replace. The Origin has received outstanding reviews, check out our Review of The Aston Origin to hear how good this sounds but more importantly, for the portable music producer, this microphone is claimed to be extremely strong and durable. Sometime ago Aston Microphones shared a video on their Facebook Page of one of their microphones that had been damaged by a delivery person only for it to still be working despite the top mesh being smashed - Watch that video here.
It's good to know that there is a microphone within this price range that can take some serious punishment and still work if an accident were to occur.
- Cost: £249
- Weight: 0.4Kg
- Durability: 10/10
Control Surface - Presonus Faderport
The Presonus Faderport is a mini USB control surface that features one motorised fader, one pan encoder, transport and assignable keys - this then is the perfect portable control surface solution for the travelling music producer. The Faderport is compatible with all major DAWs and enables users to navigate, mix and automate sessions faster and more intuitively over controlling a session with a mouse and keyboard.
- Cost: £149
- Weight: 0.45Kg
- Durability: 7/10 (Be careful not to damage the motorised fader)
Monitors - IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitors
I have owned a set of iLoud Micro Monitors since March 2017 and in this time these small form factor active 50 watt monitors (25 watts each) have had some punishment. My wife uses these a couple of days a week in the schools she teaches at and I use them either around the house or in the studio as a second set of reference monitors, so these monitors get moved and thrown about quite a bit and they work absolutely fine. These are very loud and very neutral sound monitors that also feature BlueTooth connectivity. These monitors have clearly been well designed and built for the portable music producer. Only one cable is needed to connect the two speakers together, this single cable feeds power and audio to the other monitor meaning only one power cable is needed and connectivity is done either via BlueTooth or Mini Jack. Check out Logic Pro Expert's Review Of The IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitors for more information.
- Cost: £233 - £280 (shop around)
- Weight: 1.7Kg
- Durability: 8/10 (Be careful not to force the speaker cable connector in the back of the monitors the wrong way)