Mobile recording is a valued process among industry leaders in hip hop, house music, EDM, pop music, and dance music. Creating new tracks, capturing vocal performances on-the-go, and mixing inside of a laptop is all possible thanks to the portable music equipment and music gear in the marketplace today. By amassing select combinations of portable performance and recording tools, enjoy a more natural flow of ideas and ensure that your artistry is not limited in any way.
Be it just starting out in the game of recording with portable music equipment and music gear, we’ve decided to put together a list of some of the most in-demand products in this category. Throughout this list, you will find everything you need to record portable music in 2018. The products mentioned have both more expensive alternates and less expensive comparable products that one might want to entertain. Even on a budget, being able to record portably across any genre is more than possible thanks to the technological advancements of the past twenty years. So here’s our list of the best portable music equipment and music gear in 2018!
Portable speaker amp | Fender Newport
When it comes to portable speakers or portable amps, there are literally dozens upon dozens to choose from. The Fender Newport has regularly been rated high on lists of best portable speakers in recent years. The retro Fender design is pleasing on the eyes and for a classic guitar amp sound, it does the track. Sending a playlist through the Fender Newport is also easily done, with a battery life of approximately 12 hours and a Bluetooth range of up to 33 feet. The portable speaker amp can also be quickly recharged via USB connection. Any music aficionado should have a portable speaker like this to take with them wherever adventures lead.
Wireless headphones | Bose SoundSport Free
The second item on our list are high quality wireless earphones. There are less expensive products than the Bose SoundSport Free however this product has some of the deepest, richly detailed audio you will find in this category. For any music producer or mixer, don’t go with anything lesser in quality. The Bose SoundSport Free wireless headphones are water-resistant, sweat-resistant, and have a charge that is supposed to last up to five hours on medium-to-high volume. The biggest negative about this pair is that they are a little bulkier than one might expect, especially when compared to less expensive models. If you want the performance though, you won’t find a better set of wireless buds.
Portable USB Microphone | Blue Yeti USB Microphone
For when you want to get creative in your DAW outside of the studio, a portable USB microphone is almost a necessity. USB microphones have gotten a bad name in the past decade primarily from low quality performance when it comes to recording music. Thanks to more recent advancements, they have become not only a go-to for podcasts but also music recording. The Blue Yeti USB microphone is a highly valuable tool in mobile recording, providing studio-quality recordings anywhere you need to use it. The Blue Yeti USB microphone has 4 different pattern modes for recording, a gritty retro design, and is hassle-free in its installation. There’s no need to get more complicated than the Blue Yeti, one of our recommendations for portable recording in 2018.
Portable PA system | ION Audio Tailgater Portable PA
Though we mentioned a portable speaker earlier in this article, if you’re doing a mobile live performance for a small crowd such as in a busking scenario, you’ll need something with a little more power. The ION Audio Tailgater is a high quality portable PA system that comes with 50 watts of power, a USB port to power smartphones, Bluetooth capability with up to 100-foot range, an AUX port, a built-in radio, and up to 50 hours of continuous performance when it is fully charged. For singers that need an extra boost in volume or if you’re working with virtual instruments that need amplification, a portable PA system goes a long way in creating a high quality audio performance.
Portable electronic drum set pad | Yamaha DD65 Electronic Drum Pad
Though this might not be applicable for every use, if you want a sizeable electronic drum pad to work from, a set like the Yamaha DD65 electronic drum pad might be worth the buy. This pad set has been in the market for years and is considered one of the best brands in its category. Highly sensitive to touch, you may find you get a more expressive performance from them than you would from something smaller. For anyone who is a drummer and/or if you are recording a drummer, having an electronic drum pad like this on-hand is sure to please.
Portable digital audio interface | Audient iD4
Installing an easy-to-use, CPU-friendly DAW on a laptop and pairing it with the right portable digital audio interface, you should be able to capture almost anything you want for mobile audio. In terms of budget, one of the better portable audio interfaces in 2018 is the Audient iD4. As a pre-amp, it’s got all the basics covered. A simple two-input, two-output should be enough to capture a mobile performance. It even comes with phantom power capability for condensers, headphone outputs, and more. For mobile recording, you don’t really need anything fancy. Beyond the Audient iD4, there are numerous other affordable audio interfaces for musicians and producers to browse. Just be sure to read the reviews before purchasing!
Portable digital synth and sequencer | Elektron Digitone
Recently featured at NAMM 2018, the Elektron Digitone is the recipient of high reviews from numerous industry specialists. As one of the world’s newest and most popular portable digital synthesizers and sequencers, something like the Digitone might not seem like the ideal portable music gear but it works. For most people, this might be a little more expensive than what is preferred however if you don’t mind carrying it with you on the road, you won’t find better gear than this. The Elektron Digitone delivers an 8-voice synth with a user-friendly onboard, the capability to create four independent synth tracks each with a 4-operator FM synth engine. There are no limits on the creative ideas that can be worked out through a quality portable digital synth and sequencer like this.
Portable digital piano | Yamaha YPG-235 76-Key Portable Grand Piano
For almost any genre, the piano has a key role to play in shaping its sound and the melodic ideas therein. For those looking to bring their piano with them to a mobile performance or recording session, they would be well advised to get one strictly for portable use. They can be bulky in comparison with the other equipment and gear on this list however for many, they’re more than worth it. The Yamaha YPG-235 76-Key Portable Grand Piano is a very solid choice and is well recommended for anyone seeking superior quality sound. Browse seemingly endless features and enjoy putting together your tracks on an instrument outside of what’s going on in your DAW.
Portable MIDI controller | Roli’s Songmaker Kit
There’s no shortage of portable MIDI controllers out there on the market. By having one in your back pocket, you can easily tap into a range of virtual instruments and sounds with a keyboard like the Songmaker Kit. A portable MIDI controller like this has everything you need to fully arrange and record a track. What makes the Songmaker Kit so unique is its lightpad with pressure-sensitive surfaces, its functionality as a MIDI instrument, and its capability as a synth pad. Apply effects, bend pitches, and modulate sounds to your liking. If the Songmaker Kit is out of your price range, you can find less expensive models with less features for significantly less. It’s all about what you want to use it for and what the capabilities are for everything else you might be working in your mobile recording setup.
Portable recording studio | Spire
The vast majority of us when recording in a mobile setting, we will still bring our laptops, tablets, or whatever we need to have a DAW of our choosing at our disposal. For something less bulky though, a portable recording studio such as the Spire can be great for occasions of spontaneous recording. Just to give a bit of an introduction on what the Spire portable recording studio is, it’s an eight-track recorder with pro audio ports, quick setup, and battery power. Though it might be completely unnecessary for some, having a bag with your Spire, some cables, and whatever other little bits and bobs you need for recording can be major asset to have, should an opportunity to record come up where you don’t have your DAW accessible.
Portable guitar | Numerous to choose from
By having a decent travel acoustic guitar packed, this can help tremendously if you’re capturing a more unplugged performance. Though not every guitar sounds the same, the melodic components of a guitar deliver something that you won’t find inside any DAW or virtual instrument. There is no single one travel guitar that we recommend. Ideally, the more inexpensive it is, the better. If you already have a cheap guitar kicking around the house, that might work. If you’re buying new, checking out something like the Yamaha FG JR1 3/4 Size Acoustic Guitar, the Hohner HC03 3/4-Size Classical Acoustic Guitar, or the Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar Mahogany Top may provide some ideas on what to look for.
In terms of the best portable music equipment and music gear in 2018, these are the basics that make up our list. For producers and musicians that love recording with portable music equipment, there’s a growing amount of gear you may want to check out.
Consider also picking up some of the more portable music instruments out there, including some horn instruments, string instruments like the ukulele, different percussion products, and harmonica. Never before has there been so many creative ways to manipulate sound. No matter what genres you are involved in, there’s so many resources and tools out there when it comes to portable recording that let this be the start.