The Packing List: Don’t Forget Your Mic

I travel quite a bit in my “day job.” But voice work never sleeps and I always needed to be ready.

As a habit, I used to pack up my Blue Snowball whenever I hit the road. That poor thing was super-bulky just got bounced around like crazy and finally broke.

But it did serve me well many years ago — and it was a good USB mic to take on the road.

Is it top-of-the-line?

Not exactly. But it got the job done. There were no fewer than 15 gigs I actually recorded using that big fella. The quality was good enough and clients were thrilled that I was able to get some work done from the road.

I transitioned to a Blue Icicle and a Sennheiser vocal mic. Good mid range and not too tinny. Pop a windscreen on that baby and I was right as rain. But it still lacked a certain elegance and still felt clunky.

Now, I just go native with the Sennheiser mic and my trusty Edirol. I grab that audio (which sounds even better) and plug the SD card into my MacBook Pro and I’m gold. It’s still not the super-elegant way, but it’s better than lugging a big white ball around.

Last summer, I did five travel narrations from a hotel room using this setup. And they all came out just fine.

And there there was that one trip, where I decided that I would just leave everything at home. I thought, “there’s no way anything will come up this time of year.”

But something did come up. And it was a good project that paid really well.

I went into scramble mode. And somehow cobbled together a mic and a recorder from a family member who was involved with the band at the local high school. It was a mess and highly frustrating, but I got the job done and it worked out just fine.

But the lesson learned?

Always take your equipment no matter what.

But that’s only one part of the travel conundrum I face.

I make it a point to have contacts at studios where I travel. That way, if I do need to get into a booth, I know that I have someplace to go. It’s only happened a couple of times, but I’m glad I went through the exercise.

Voice work moves awfully fast. And being prepared is a big deal.

Yes, there are times when it’s a vacation and I really don’t expect to work. But, then again, if the opportunity arises, it’s important to have that peace of mind by having your own equipment.

And fortunately, it doesn’t need to be nearly as bulky as it used to be.

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