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3 effective mobile music studio musts for on the road producers

Who’d have thought that 2020 would mean no travel. If you’d have told me a year ago the world would stop travelling I’d have never believed you. But here we are hoping things are going to be more normal in 2021. If that is the case, I need to sort my travel mobile music studio out.

I am not a full time music person. I am part time. Hey – I’m Part Time Producer. This means that I can only make music in my spare time when family and work will allow.

I do work away from home regularly and this gives me opportunity to use a mobile music studio to produce music as opposed to sitting in a hotel room watching bad TV.

My Kit

I need to keep my kit list light as I already have another work laptop I carry about. My mobile music studio therefore only needs to consist of 3 things.

  • Laptop
  • Headphones
  • Midi Keyboard

I keep it simple for a couple of reasons. The first is to make sure it is easy to carry. It all gets packed in to one bag and keeps it nice and portable. The second reason is that I only have 3 things to remember to check when leaving or packing.

My laptop

This is the workhorse of the setup. It contains all the software and is also the audio interface. I’ve considered a mobile audio interface but the built in software does me for now.

I use a Dell Inspiron 7577. It’s a big gaming laptop. Admittedly it is not the most portable laptop in the world but it is powerful enough for running my studio.

It has an Intel i7 processor and I’ve upgraded it to have 32Gb RAM. It has a hybrid SSD hard drive with 120Gb SDD and 1Tb mechanical disk.

This allows a quick boot but also lots of room for storage, samples etc. It runs Windows 10 Pro (allowing me to utilise Bitlocker to keep my drive secure). Take a look at my post about IT security for music producers for more information on this.

Installed on my laptop is Bitwig Studio as my preferred DAW. Then I have a number of additional audio plugins including Native Instruments Komplete 11, u-He Repro and Bazille.

I also have my trusty Fab Filter Pro Q3 EQ and the entire Klanghelm range as I think these plugins are immense for the price. This would be my bare minimum for creativity in a mobile music studio. Note I’ve sacked off the majority of my Waves plugins from the list but that’s another story.

From here in now I only need two more bits of hardware to make some music.

My Headphones

After a long time deliberating which speakers to buy for my home studio the outcome was essentially to stick with what I had and get some decent headphones.

I struggled in my home studio to get any decent low end. My problem was resolved by investing in a pair of Sennheiser HD 280 Pro closed headphones.

These were the answer to my low end issue. Along with Waves NX studio and the NX tracker, I can get a good music studio experience on my laptop – anywhere.

sennheiser hd pro 280 for a mobile music studio
Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Closed Headphones

NX Studio and NX Headtracker help emulate sitting in front of 5.0 , 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound speaker so the majority of my mixing is done this way when on the road. I get a really accurate reading of my low end audio and this helps keep the mix nice and clean.

Could this be improved? Possibly – by the addition of a ‘mobile studio in mind’ audio interface I might experience better audio performance. That’s for me to investigate this coming year.

My Midi Keyboard

I’ve been through a few midi keyboards over the year but none have come close to my Korg microKEY Controller Keyboard 25.

korg microkey controller 25 for a mobile music studio
Korg microKEY Controller Keyboard 25

This 25 key keyboard is USB powered and fits nicely in my laptop back. It is really robust and it just works. The advert blurb is entirely accurate:

The Korg microKEY 25 is a compact, lightweight and simple MIDI controller keyboard. This USB powered controller keyboard from Korg is the ideal piece of kit for producers and musicians that need a MIDI keyboard they can travel around with safely and set up in seconds.

Some great features of the Korg microKEY Controller Keyboard 25 include Octave Shift, Key Transpose, and even the ability to be used with your iPad.


With all the above, I have a compact yet full music studio. It has served me well so far for the past 3 years and I hope to keep me producing for the next 3 too. There are obvious upgrades which I could take, but for now this will certainly suffice.

2 thoughts on “3 effective mobile music studio musts for on the road producers”

  1. Pingback: 10 questions with... Unlock Your Sound Shooting the breeze with Christopher Carvalho (2021) - Part Time Producer

  2. Pingback: 10 questions with... Unlock Your Sound Shooting the breeze with Christopher Carvalho (2021) - Part Time Producer

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