All year long, and especially around holidays, many of us have to travel—to our family homes, across cities, over oceans, enduring whatever the TSA throws at us each time, cramming ourselves into airborne Petri dishes while a pilot with the voice of Chuck Yeager slingshots us across the continents.
If that doesn’t sound fun, don’t worry: we at B&H have solutions to make the trip less painful—even more fruitful, if you’re a creative person in the audio sphere. After all, nothing speeds time like creative enterprise. So, whether you’re looking to relax or make music on the go, you might benefit from the following overview. Let’s start by taking a look at items which might minimize the hassle.
Bose® QC 20™ Acoustic Noise-Canceling In-Ear Headphones
If you prefer in-ear headphones, perhaps the Bose QuietComfort 20 will do the trick. They offer high-class noise reduction, as well, with the addition of an Aware Mode that lets you stay in touch with gate announcements from the airport terminal at the click of a button. The battery lasts for 16 hours, and the in-line remote and microphone allow you to handle phone calls, skip/pause tracks, and more.
Maybe you don’t want to listen to music. Maybe you just want to sleep. In that case, you need a set of earplugs that’ll truly cut the noise. How about 24 dB in reduction? Such numbers are possible with the SureFire EP3 Sonic Defenders. The stems of these earplugs filter out most of the noise, but you’ll want to make special use of the attached filter caps; they offer significant damping and protection. As a plus, these earplugs are also comfortable.
In our epoch of tablets and streaming devices, the purchase of an iPod might seem counterintuitive. But I am here to tell you, with tested authority, that purchasing a dedicated iPod is a wise decision. I recently picked up an iPod for my wedding’s reception with the full intent of returning it for a refund afterwards. I didn’t—I’ve found it far too useful. And here’s how…
Do you consider yourself technically savvy, yet essentially unable to free up space on your phone? Sure you do; they make YouTube commercials about this very phenomenon. A dedicated iPod sidesteps the problem because the only thing you’ll keep on the device is downloadable media and applicable creation apps—you know, the stuff that’s super hard to get in the sky.
Now, the new iPhone might have more digital real estate than its predecessors. But an iPod is comparatively budget friendly for a comparably usable amount of space. And yes, carrying one around makes me feel as though I slipped into 2003. On the other hand, I remember how much simpler music devices were in 2003, and am comforted that I don’t have to endure those “storage almost full” messages for content I didn’t want in the first place (I’m looking at you, U2).
Okay, grandpa’s rant is done; but seriously, don’t sleep on the iPod: in addition to all the aforementioned travel-friendly features, the iPod also facilitates a lot of what we’re going to be talking about next (as does any applicable iOS device).
Tools for Creation
Now onto the fun stuff: in a properly noise-reduced space, you are now free to concentrate, and therefore, the hours-long plane or bus ride is now an opportunity to create (unless you have motion sickness; if so, skip to the end). Sure, mixing in such environments is not a good idea, but you can still compose and edit music, provided you have the right tools.
While a few companies facilitate such content creation, now might be a good time to direct your attention to IK Multimedia’s line of little helpers, for the iRig series is truly designed with the mobile composer at heart, with all sorts of useful tools for many manners of mobile musician.
For instance, if you’re a keyboard player, then you might want to check out the iRig Keys MINI MIDI Controller, which gives you 25 velocity-sensitive keys, an assignable knob, two backlit up and down octave buttons, and plug-and-play support. You can easily fit it into your carry-on bag, and with its class-compliant design, you only need to plug it into your computer or iOS device to get started composing music on the go.
Perhaps you’re a guitarist—and what is more, you’ve snagged/hogged that seat at the back of the bus which is actually two seats, thereby giving yourself all the room you’d need to whip out your axe on the trip and practice. But why just practice when you can also record with the iRig HD 2, which allows you to generate amp tones for your guitar via your device, and comes with a full copy of AmpliTube 4, to boot?
It doesn’t stop with guitars and keys; people who love that MPC style of triggering can get their hands on the iRig Pads MIDI Pad Controller, which gives you 16 velocity-sensitive drum pads, as well as a fader. And if you want something just truly weird for creating stuff in transit, check out the iRing, a controller you wear like, you guessed it, a ring. It utilizes your device’s camera to manipulate up to six parameters at once with the movement of your hands. It’s almost like a digital Theremin, though for parameters instead of outright sound.
Lastly, if you’re going to be making music on your mobile device while travelling, you might need an adapter—for a little longer at least (soon all wires will be cut, but that day isn’t quite here yet). So whether you need an Apple Lightning to USB Camera Adapter kit, a cable that sports USB, micro-USB and Lightning terminations, or that Dongle Apple is touting, suit yourself up for the appropriate piece of gear.
Have any other traveling audio gear suggestions for us? Please share them in the Comments section, below.
This article was just posted, but the first item mentioned is already discontinued?
John, our apologies. Sometimes this happens—we publish an article and a product will be discontinued after the fact. Sharp-eyed readers tend to inform us first! Thanks for pointing this out. We have amended the situation.
— Copy Editor
the zik2.0 link is messed up. to many http's
Indeed it was, ricky bobby. The product was discontinued, as well. We have removed the extra https and the product, too. Thanks for alerting us!
— Copy Editor