The 5 Pieces of Gear I must have with me when I travel.
Hands down, this is the most important piece of equipment to have for a number of reasons. While having a phone is essential to communicate, I actually still prefer to answer emails and send attachments and documents from my computer. I also prefer to communicate business over email while for me texts are more conversational. But we aren’t here to talk about business, we are here to talk about gear! The two main DAW’s I use are Logic Pro X and Pro Tools. These programs and all the plug-ins I use with these programs are stored on my Apple MacBookPro Laptop. I cannot make music without it. Apple has the new 13 inch and 16 inch laptops available.
This piece of gear changed everything for me. The UA Apollo series is one of the most powerful tools you can connect to your computer. It’s a solid piece of gear complete with real-time, low latency plug-in processing within the unit (so you don’t use up your computer DSP), the best A/D, D/A converters and, honestly, its one of the best sounding piece of gear out there. Combine that with the Console mixing software and UA Apollo plug-ins and you’re carrying around a studio complete with a mixing console in your bag. I loved it so much I got the Apollo x8 for my studio at home, and I can combine the two for added tracks and power.
I have a lot of bass guitars. Some might even argue that I have too many. But the reality is no one can have too many! Ha! Basses are unique and I use the different ones I have for different things. When I’m traveling though, I need a bass that is versatile and able to withstand the demands of the road. If I am traveling with my band, I prefer to take a four-string bass out on the road. I will likely have my 4-string custom Warwick Streamer active/passive bass guitar with me. I love this bass because I can dial in whatever tone I need and I can go from playing some loud, heavy, aggressive slap bass to beautiful, light captivating chords. The thing about this bass is that it has a full two octave range which affords me some more choices when I want to get introspective with my playing. If I had to only take one bass out on the road with my band that’s the bass I’d take.
BUT, if I am on the road with an artist I opt for my 5-tring active/passive Marcus Miller Fender Jazz bass. I understand that Marcus is no longer with Fender but this is still my go-to bass when touring with others or playing TV shows. It can pretty much be played on anything. I’ve played it with several artists on Black Girls Rock, and most recently took it for a spin with Fantasia. I got many compliments on the sound of that bass. It’s a real workhorse. It also sounds beastly in the studio.
My newest bass is an Ultimate Jazz bass by Fender and I have to say I really love playing this bass and recording with it in my home studio. Most of the recordings I’ve made recently were with this bass. I love the combination of this bass and the Avalon U5 which is a new addition to the studio and honestly it’s a plug, turn a knob here and there, dial in the proper gain staging and go type of situation with the combination of the two. But I don’t take the U5 on the road so, I digress.
I’ve had so many travel size midi controllers over the years but none stack up the way the Akai MPK mini does. Akai just gets it. This baby is simply the best. The pads feel like the classic MPC which are the best pads to pound a beat out on since forever. The Akai Mini is eaily programmable with any DAW and it is a tank. It can take a beating and still keeps going. The only thing that can’t take a beating is that joystick. Mine broke a couple of years ago but still, the unit works perfectly! It also comes with Aki MPC software that I don’t use particularly but I keep saying I’ll check out. This 25-key midi controller is definitely a must-have for me when I’m on the road!
WD Elements Hard Drive 2TB
I’ve had every hard drive you can think of and honestly. The worst are the ones that start clicking after you realize you haven’t done a back-up in forever. Now that I said that out loud I’m compelled to do a back up. Hold on…lemme back up my drive. BRB.
Okay, I’m back. Where was I? Oh yes, these little WD drives. Inexpensive and really sturdy. I always buy a little case for them too because I need these drives to stay protected and I throw them in my bag which is always shaking or moving around with all my other gear so the case is an added layer of protection. Now you can get 2 TB on a little hand held drive! For under $100 buxx! That’s unbelievable! I keep all of my sessions and my sound library on one drive and all my pictures and video on another, so I’m usually traveling with two in which case I bought a case that holds two of the drives. It just makes sense.
Those are the five things I can’t travel without. Please feel free to share, comment ask questions or let me know which 5 things you can’t travel without. And be sure to check back for my next post about the equipment I can’t live without in my home studio. We’ll do a deep dive.