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Studio Accessories

Studio Accessories...
Don't Leave Home without 'em!
by Ron Tongue

Before I share with you my list of studio accessories, I'd like to tell you a little story that inspired this whole topic...

A while back at a gig, I was rockin' out on stage to an 80s cover my band was playing and the damnedest thing happened. My strap-lock snapped right in half.

I'm talking about the actual part screwed into the guitar. I couldn't believe it.

In fact, I was so blown away I had to save the broken part.

So there I am, third song of the night with two sets to go and I'm stuck sitting down. Thanks to Michael (bass player) and some tape I was able to rig my guitar back together in between sets.

Michael brings a clear plastic container to every gig filled with all kinds of tools and doo-dads. He proceeded to tell me that he has tried to think of everything (within reason) that can wrong at a gig. Let's just say, he's saved the show more than once.

So it got me thinking, lots can go wrong when you're recording music. Having "Michael's Toolbox" full of essencial studio accessories along with you can save you a lot of headache and frustration, especially if you're on location getting paid for the recording.

I now have my own "Michael's Toolbox" which I keep close and handy
when I'm making a recording. Except I keep mine in a few heavy-duty bags.

Here's a peek inside.

Headphones: You've got to have a set of headphones when recording. In fact, you might want to have a several in your box of studio accessories if you're recording a band and that is the only way they can monitor each other.

Careful!! Many types of headphones come with a 1/8" jack and a 1/4" adaptor. Although this is a handy feature, don't misplace your adaptor. Chances are you'll need it most of the time. Ask Joe what happens when you forget to bring that adaptor to a recording gig!

Adaptors: Take a trip to Radio Shack and load up on these things.
And by the way, they grow legs, so watch out.

  • XLR female to 1/4" male stereo
  • Stereo mini 1/8" female to 1/4" male
  • 1/4" male mono to RCA female
  • 1/4" female to RCA male
  • 1/4" female to 1/4" female
  • Stereo 1/4" female to stereo mini 1/8" jack
  • 1/4" inch male stereo to two 1/4" female stereo
  • What am I leaving out?


  • Flat head and Phillips head screwdrivers of various sizes
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Wire cutters
  • Allen keys of various sizes
  • Or just buy a mini tool kit

Tape: I sometimes believe that Duct tape can solve the world's problems. But keep these others nearby just in case.

  • Gaffers Tape (a must!!)
  • Masking tape
  • Mixing board labeling tape

Writing materials: Be sure to stash some pens in various locations. You'll be glad you did!

  • Sharpie marker
  • Pens, pencel and a notebook

Extra cables: Always have a backup supply of these. Not having
enough working cables with your studio accessories is like a fisherman losing a fish because of a poorly tied knot. I know, I lost a good-sized fish that way once and got ridiculed.

  • XLR cables
  • 1/4" instrument cables
  • RCA cables
  • USB cable
  • FireWire cable

Blank media

  • CDRs, DVDs, tape stock or whatever you use

...And finally

  • Mic clips
  • Microphone boom stands
  • Measuring tape (Yes, sometimes we get that precise with our mic
  • Digital camera (Great for taking a snapshot of your mixing board
    settings for future mixing sessions.)
  • Snake cable if you can afford it
  • Condoms (You know what they say, if you can't be good, be safe!)

I think that about does it.

Before you go out buying all this stuff, take a look around your house and see what you can find. If you've been playing music and collecting gear for a long time you probably already own a lot of these things. Just put them all into one location so you know where they are when you need them.

What's in your toolbox of studio accessories? We'd all like to know. Share with us your Tips, Tricks, or Tweaks for a chance to be featured in an upcoming newsletter. Contact us. We'd love to hear from you!

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