My Battery Powered Mobile Recording Studio for Vanlife

So for those of you that have been following along with me you have most likely noticed by now that I am living full time in a campervan while traveling the country. What does that mean for my guitar gear and recording situation you asked?

Well, I sold a lot of things and the remainder of what’s still in my collections is either locked away in storage or at a friends studio being used to make records (as intended). However, I have packed enough with me to keep my ADHD riddled brain occupied and in a constant state of creative flow while leaving the windows left open for improvisation.

Learning to let go of certain things was not easy for me, but the goal was to approach this new frontier with minimal choices. In the end it was extremely rewarding and I am making more music now than I ever was when I was working out of an untreated bedroom studio in the heat of Los Angeles.

Now that’s not to say that I will never go back to working in a home studio environment because I am certain that I will at some point. But I do think there comes a time in our lives to shed away that old skin for new (or maybe a haircut will do just fine) and begin again.

During the process of building out our van I had been testing out many different mobile recording configurations and pieces of gear. While I enjoy doing that, it was a bit of an arduous task for me to sort through all of the many options that are on the market today.

I decided to put together this in depth video on my YouTube channel to rundown what I am currently using on a daily basis and why I decided to go down this route. Everything you see in this video I paid for with my own money, and nothing was given to me for review or to create content by any of the companies featured in this video. I just really like this stuff and think you might enjoy it as well.

That’s it, so if you like the video please do me a solid and “like and subscribe” to the Crossed Wires Channel and say hello. It costs you nothing and it supports me in the process and I thank you in advance.

The Gear:

A Tula Mic is an extremely portable microphone and convenient field recorder as well as an interface for anyone needing to record an idea on the go. It can easily connect with a phone or computer for zoom calls or even mobile recording sessions. If you make any sort of content or have conference calls every day, get yourself one of these.

The TX-6 by Teenage Engineering is a six stereo or 12 mono input interface and mixer for live gigs or remote recording. It can easily be used with a phone, tablet, or computer but get yourself a portable floppy disk drive to really get out there without any other devices or distractions. I dare you!

The Mustang Micro Guitar Amplifier by Fender is the perfect little companion to feed off of all that extra case candy you got expired in that crusty ole case of yours. Seriously, everyone should just have one of these in their electric guitar case.

What hasn’t been said about the OP-1 Field by Teenage Engineering that hasn’t been said already? Truly nothing.

The OB-4 Speaker (also by Teenage Engineering) is just a wonderful gadget to have around your house or with you on camping trips. You can rewind up to 2 hours of audio, cue the radio, get a kick drum beat going, connect with your phone, listen to some mantras, or let it guide you into a deep sleep with its white/pink/brown noise feature. Hey, you can even turn everything into an ambient experience and party like it’s Bandcamp Friday, everyday.

Your Grand Total is $4,130.00 (USD) – ouch I know… let’s try and price together a different kit for under $1,000 if we can.

To keep this theme similar to the TX-6 you can get the Zoom H6 handy recorder and that would give you four xlr/ts inputs and a modular port that comes with an X/Y Stereo Microphone capsule. You already eliminated the need for another microphone right there, with this two for one device. You can even purchase additional accessories for different mic capsules or the option for two more xlr/ts ports giving you six total inputs on a battery powered field recorder. I still have this recorder with me as a backup and I can’t justify ever getting rid of it. It’s a true workhorse in almost every environment and I still use mine often to this day.

Now if you just need a small two channel interface to connect to a phone, tablet or computer I would get the I.K. Multimedia iRig Pro 2 Duo and call it a day. I had this and it worked great for the couple of years that I had it. I used it mostly for gear demos on instagram and recording on the go and it never failed me. (Make sure you stock up on rechargeable AA batteries and protect the environment, please!)

As for speakers I also have the iLoud Micro Monitors by I.K. Multimedia and have used them on several tours when I would bring a mobile recording studio with me for the off days in my hotel room. They are plenty loud and you can get things sounding good enough to send off to someone else to mix if remote recording sessions are part of your gig. They pack pretty easily in a backpack as well.

There isn’t really anything out there that I have found that comes close to doing everything that the OP-1 Field can do (for under $500). But, the Microfreak by Arturia is a lot of fun and a super inspiring instrument to be around. As far as synths go, it does a lot of what Teenage Engineering has done but taking it a bit further down the rabbit hole of synthesis I’d say. The French really do love their weird sounds and I am here for it. I have not owned this yet, but I have played on several at various synth shops during my travels and have come close to buying one before. A lot of people I know have them and rave about how great they are.

I mean for $120 you can’t really beat the Mustang Micro by Fender so let’s maybe see what you could get for a little bit more money and with much better sound quality. Oh yea… the Iridium pedal by Strymon Engineering sounds pretty damn fine. I wish that I had never sold mine but I also have the Quad Cortex, so I’ll stop right now and be done with this.

All of the links to buy these wonderful products will send you to my favorite local synth shop in Los Angeles, Perfect Circuit. If you find yourself driving around tinsel town and need somewhere to go to cure your aching tinnitus, then this is the place for you. Just ring the buzzer and tell them Crossed Wires sent ya.

If this guide helped you in any way please feel free to reach out by leaving a comment below, thank you!

Peace and love,

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