12 Items To Bring to Every Recording Session

As well as music technology it’s important to have a selection of additional items to make the recording session process smoother. As Mike Hillier explains…

As well as often bringing along my own microphones to any recording session, and on occasion my own 500 Series rack, I have a small wash-bag that I always bring along to recording sessions. This bag contains a number of essential items that can help to keep your recording session running smoothly…

A Multi-Tool



I have an inexpensive multi-tool which has a pair of pliers, screwdrivers and a number of blades built-in. The pliers are probably the most commoly used part, often employed to loosen mic-clip thread adapters from stands, but the screwdrivers and blades all get a workout. If you don’t have one of these, you’ll need to at least pack a pair of pliers and couple of screwdrivers.

Permanent Markers

There’s usually a couple of these in my bag, in various colours.

A Dry-Wipe Marker

Because you don’t want to write on the desk scribble strip in permanent marker. Trust me.

Black Gaffer Tape

recording session items


More useful in live scenarios than in the studio, but always helpful to have a roll on hand in any recording session

White Masking Tape

Easy to write on, and cheaper than desk tape if the desk doesn’t have a proper scribble strip.

Coloured Electrical Tape

recording session essentials

Useful for marking common items as yours, to distinguish them from the studio’s. Put a single strip around the handle of an SM58, for example.

A Drum Key

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve turned up and the drummer hasn’t brought one. Best to keep your own on hand at all times.

Spare Mic Clips and Clip-thread Adaptors

Be sure to count these out and back in!

XLR and Jack Adapters

I have a selection of these covering most scenarios; a pair of male-XLR-to-male-jack, a pair of female- XLR-to-female-jack, and a pair of XLR male-to-male adaptors.

Headphone Adaptor

Most studios use 1/4-inch TRS headphones, but many musicians will want to use their own headphones, which often terminate in 1/8-inch jacks. Best to bring one or two of these convertors to every session.

9V batteries

They’re used to power everything – from some microphones to DIs and, of course, for guitar pedals. I don’t leave home without at least a pair of fresh ones.

Guitar Strings

I always make sure I have two packs of spare guitar strings in my bag, one set for electric guitar and one for acoustics.

Read Mike Hilliers guide to recording a band in the first part of our huge guide