Mastering On The Road

I love travelling. Meeting interesting people and enjoying unique experiences is super inspiring. But being away from my studio is problematic for my clients. They have deadlines, project recalls, and a number of other instances where they might need my help. In the past I have struggled to deliver top quality work whilst travelling, however I feel like I finally have a setup that allows me to deliver a level of quality comparable to when I’m in my studio. In this post I’m going to share my set up with you.

 

What are the main issues to overcome when you’re mixing away from the studio?

 

There are two main problems that I always faced when mixing and mastering on the road :

  • No acoustic treatment.
  • Having to use headphones rather than speakers.

 

You simply can’t take your acoustic treatment with you on the road, so thats a road bump you can’t overcome. However, with practice, you can get very good results just working on headphones. Heres how I improved my ability to mix and master tracks professionally using JUST headphones.

 1. I would receive a track from a client as usual and prepare the session in the studio as if I was on the road…

2. I would finish the track to the best of my ability just using my portable rig (explained below)

3. Then, I listen to my work on my full range speakers. Here I would be able to see the mistakes I made when just using headphones.

4. I repeated this until I consistently had no changes I wanted to make when I heard the track on full range speakers.

 

My ‘On The Road’ Set-up

Mastering Music on the road

Macbook Pro

Because I need a light but powerful machine.

 

Focal Spirit Pro

I chose these headphones because of their incredible sound quality at an affordable price point (£199).

 

Subpac S2 and Backpac

Possibly the biggest hurdle to overcome when mastering on the road is not having access to full range speakers. This meant that I didn't have a good idea of what was happening in the low frequencies. The S2 totally changed this. The Subpac vibrates relative to the amount of low frequencies in the audio you are listening to in an incredibly accurate way. I carry the majority of the gear listed in Subpacs ‘Backpac’. It’s a rucksack designed for producers, so it has a compartment for a 15” laptop, a headphones holder, AND it has a special pouch on the back where you can slip the Subpac S2.

 

Sonarworks Headphones Calibration

Sonarworks headphone calibration is a great way to make your headphones more accurate. In a nutshell, the plugin goes on your master bus and adds an EQ curve to make your headphones deliver a flatter response. Click here to see if your headphones are compatible.

 

Apollo Interface

For my UAD plugins and a decent D/A converter.

 

Click here for information about how to stem master your own music.

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