Friday, September 21, 2007

Goin' Mobile

It's a day off in Atlantic City, so I'm setting up my mobile studio to learn some more about Pro Tools. I've been doing a lot of reading at various audio forums and have learned a bit about the features and limitations of Pro Tools 7.3 in general, and it's time for another chapter or two on the specifics.

I've written a couple of tunes - or partial tunes - due to the inspiration of having a recording rig I can set up in about ten minutes time, so I'm thinking this needs to be a permanent part of my road trip pack. I bought a 320gig Western Digital My Book hard drive at the Apple store in Toronto, so my Audio Drive dilemma is solved.

I had been recording audio to my internal drive, which is strongly not recommended by every article and book on the subject, but I did it any way, knowing that an external drive was in my plans. I think that even though I only recorded a total of six minutes of music, it screwed up my programs and after transferring the files to the My Book HD, I re-installed the Black Box drivers and the complete Pro Tools program since I was getting the "not enough CPU to do a damn thing" pop-up every time I switched screen views from Edit to Mix. Lesson learned.

Here's the rig as I set it up in my room:

MacBook Pro, with 2.16gHz Intel Core Duo processor, 120gig/7200rpm internal hard drive, and 2GB RAM running Pro Tools M-Powered 7.3 with the M-Audio Guitar Box Pro package with extra plug-ins.

Western Digital My Book
Firewire 400 hard drive 320GB, 7200rpm. That weird red thing plugged into the side of the MacBook is a dongle, which is a copy protection device that allows you to use Pro Tools and all of your plugs on authorized computers. It's called an iLok, and inserts into a USB port.

M-Audio Black Box guitar performance/recording system. This amazingly handy little box is a combination guitar and bass amp modeler, drum machine, multi-effects unit, and USB 2.0 computer interface, with a mic pre. It also functions as an audio mixer.

Peripherals: Sony MDR-V6 headphones, a consumer version of the pro 7506 model. Sounds great, saves on lugging around studio monitors. The "Pro Tools For Musicians and Songwriters" book, and a handy pen and Moleskine journal for writing things down the old fashioned way.

As you can see. all of this can be stuffed into a backpack, though I am using a sturdy Pelican Case to tote it around the country. It's nearly as powerful as my home computer recording rig, and I can take it anywhere and be recording audio in ten minutes, tops.


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