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The power of mobility

Or in other words, the power of mobile rigs. These days it’s so obvious that we have some kind of equipment even in our backpacks. A laptop with or without a sound card, headphones, maybe an iLok. And probably this is all we need for a good mobile studio. Of course we cannot do everything on the road, but when the deadline is threateningly close, and you’ve got to do some minor editing, or just a bit of volume massage with some tiny compression afterward, it is more than possible to do these things with a kind of mobile studio that fits into your backpack comfortably.

As these days I’m drowned in mixing I hardly have time to finish some smaller tasks like a quick massage and edit on a final soundtrack cd. But, of course the deadline is here, so I have no choice but to finish it as soon as possible.

On the way home this weekend I happen to have almost 2 hours of free time on the train. The greatest opportunity to get the job done.

My trusty backpack holds everything I need for the task. A MacBook Pro, an iLok and my Sennheiser headphones. And, most importantly, the material on the SSD. So what would an audio geek do? You already know the answer: launch Pro Tools, make the necessary changes, edits and volume massage, and after an hour and a half, bounces the material.


While this is not a great technical achievement with today’s technology, it’s certainly very liberating to use the same tools as in the studio.

The session wasn’t  big, but even a few years ago this would give me some headache on the road.

  • One and half hour HD movie with stereo pgm sound
  • 6 mix stems
  • almost 80 plugins across the stems and the final stereo

This was a work in progress, I wouldn’t want to make such big decisions on headphones on a train, but as I only had to finish the last bit of this job, I was able to do it comfortably.


Too often I hear poor excuses as to why some task is impossible without the most expensive tools, while in reality we not only have fine tools, but we already have the best tools, maybe even on the road with us. This is just a gentle reminder that sometimes we have to be more realistic.

This session started on a Pro Tools HDX system with many AAX DSP plugins. When I opened it up on the laptop, I only had a notification that all DSP plugins had been converted to Native. I didn’t have to do anything special, just do the necessary things. And if you need 40 different compressors and 50 different Eq to get the job done (in reality you don’t need…), you can do it, probably even on the road.