Mobile vocal recording studio

Sometimes the production schedule is so tight that vocals need to be recorded on the road. My vocal recording equipment can be fitted in three briefcases and one laptop backpack. Can’t really walk around with all these devices, but they go nicely into the trunk of a car.

My vocal recording setup

  • Audio interface: Scarlett 2i2 (connected to a Millennium HP1 headphone amplifier).
  • Microphone: SE Electronics SE2200T tube microphone, equipped with a shock mount and a tube amplifier
  • Portable vocal booth. SE Electronics Reflexion Filter Pro, mounted on a regular microphone stand
  • Pop shield: SE Electronics pop filter
  • Headphones: AKG K240 Studio

Routing

All these are connected to a MacBook Pro, running Ableton Live. I record vocals first in the session view and copy the best takes to the arrangement view for fine tuning. I record with all the effects on, because it gives me a better idea of the final dynamics of the vocals, and gives me more accurate feedback while singing.

Sometimes I sing with just one headphone on, but most of the time I have both cans on. It really depends on the kind of part I’m singing.

I use the headphone amp because the sound card doesn’t provide enough volume for accurate monitoring. It really makes a big difference, when you can hear precisely what you’re singing. Many sound cards lack the volume needed for vocal recording. Before I had a headphone amplifier, I used to arm two tracks for recording – one for recording and one just for monitoring. But I found this cumbersome, and I’m much more pleased with the current headphone amplifier setup. It’s not an expensive device, but it’s still one of my most precious ones.

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