Skip to content

Tag: laptop

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.

Comments closed

On the road with a MacBook Pro #4

Yes, you just spotted the error in the numbering. I just misnumbered the posts, so the 4th is after the 5th. Sorry, but enjoy the tip.

Many times we need to see every detail, other times have to see the whole picture. During editing for example many times I adjust the waveform height to fit the purpose.

Waveform height

This is another function which is adjustable directly with a mouse/touchpad, but in my opinion keyboard is more efficient here.

Waveform height adjustment: cmd+option+[ or ]





Frankly I use this all the time even when I’m back in the studio environment. It just helps a lot, allow you to see very low level material or adjust a some normalised stuff to see what’s going on.

Comments closed

On the road with a MacBook Pro #5

It’s easy to see everything even on a laptop’s screen when we have one or two tracks. But if the track count goes up, inevitably, we won’t see most of the tracks. Even when you’re travelling, there’s a very fine solution for this.

Track height

Obviously you won’t see everything all the time, but you can selectively raise the height of the track/tracks you really need to see.

Track height adjustment: (select the track) ctrl+ up/down arrow
It also works on more than one track if you select more.
To make it work on all tracks in the session: ctrl+option+up/down arrow


This is another function that you can adjust from menus with a mouse/touchpad, but as with other functions, it is much faster to use the keyboard for these tasks.

Comments closed

On the road with a MacBook Pro #3

Even when you’re on the road, it is pointless to always use the mouse or touchpad for every task. But of course on a laptop, screen real-estate is scarce, so you contsantly have to open and more importantly close windows.

Close Window

If you always use the touchpad or a mouse for this, honestly it drives you mad after a short editing session. Use the keyboard instead

Close window: cmd+w

Fine you can close Pro Tools windows, but don’t stop there. When I’m in the midst of a editing session, my screen might look like a complete mess to some. Opened windows all over the screen. I don’t close them until I think I don’t need them in the next few seconds. However this method has a serious drawback. Many times I end up with screen full of different windows, and frankly even I cannot find things. This is the right time to clean the whole area.

To close all floating window at once:


Hide all floating windows: cmd+option+ctrl+w


This one shortcut will clear everything for you.

Comments closed

On the road with a MacBook Pro #2

The second small tip is about nudging. When I’m in the studio there’s more way to do it, usually from a control surface or from the numpad.


Thanks to the clever shortcut layout in Pro Tools, we can enjoy this feature without a full keyboard

Nudge left or right: , and .


These two are adjacent to letter m on a MacBook Pro’s keyboard. Don’t forget to set the amount of nudge though.

Comments closed