Archive for October, 2010

The Road, the Gear

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

(originally written Sep. 22nd)

Hey Superfans. I’m blogging somewhat from “The Road”, which for some reason has lost a smidgen of its former allure for me. I don’t know, I guess having a steady job, being on my own schedule, sleeping in my own bed and eating my own food for a number of years has cured me of it. Still, I get to see new places, eat new foods, drink local brews. Plus, it gives me some stuff to write about! (I’ll talk about opening beer bottles without a bottle-opener later on)

First, some bits of gear review. If I’m going to be out for at least 5 days, and/or have charts in the queue, I’ll almost always bring a computer with me, unless I know for certain that there will be a music lab where I’m going. Example, I went to the Lawrence University in Appleton, WI in 2006, and I was able to use their more-than-adequate computing facility in their College of Fine Arts, and got lots of work done. As is the usually the case anywhere else I’d go, I have to schlepp my own gear. Here’s what I brought this time:

1) LAPTOP (make/model unimportant) – since we’re fully into the 21st century, or as I like to call it “the monumental disappointment”, every-freaking body has a laptop, and why shouldn’t they? They’re so handy. Mine is govt.-issued, so its bigger, outdated, and free (but not technically “mine”); it also has all of the pertinent files for this “mission”. You can get a PC cheaper, but the Mac’s have neat bells n’ whistles, so take your pick. Hotels and various venues seem to be going the wireless internet route, so that capability is kind of a must.

2) MOUSE – seems like a superfluous thing, but personally, I absolutely have to have a mouse, and it has to be a full-sized mouse. Doing Finale work with a trackpad is like scrubbing a gymnasium floor with a toothbrush.

3) MIDI CONTROLLER – this trip is the maiden voyage for my newly acquired KORG NANOKey, an ultra-portable midi controller. KORG makes a few other NANO- components, for what I can only assume must be location-driven DJ-types, or DSP composers, which I don’t do. This one is OK; keys can be a little stiff, but it’s better that pecking keys using *cringe* Simple Entry. The best thing about this keyboard by far is that it’s super-slim, and packs very easily into a backpack, which I like especially for plane rides, where space is a premium (I prefer to pack light). It is, however, no match for my stationary 61-key at home.

4) Various cables, USB “flash” drives, Ethernet crossover cable. You never know when you’ll need them, or if they’d come in handy. I was able to print from the hotel printer only because I had a flash drive.

If I were doing a “remote” gig that required a small keyboard, where I could get there by car, I’d go with the Oxygen 8 that has served me so well these many years. Now if only they’d come up with a 64-bit driver… (grumble) I’d also bring an standard USB qwerty keyboard that has a 10-key number pad. I might invest in a USB 10-key pad someday.