Tools and Tricks

So here’s a list of the main tools I’ll be using. Obviously I won’t be rigidly limited to this list but this is what I’ll be using most frequently. The equipment is all of good enough quality so if it turns out the mixes are bad we’ll know it’s all down to a lack of skill on my part and not the tools.  Lets wait and see though!

Software

  • Reaper
  • Sonar X1d Expanded
  • Melodyne

I have previously used Sonar as my main DAW but recently I’ve decided to start the switch over to Reaper. This is for three main reasons. 1 – Reaper has varispeed and Sonar doesn’t. I love using varispeed. 2 – Reaper has very easy, flexible track routing that is absolutely perfect for Ambisonics. This is not so easy in Sonar, especially at higher orders. 3 – Sonar have started doing a lot more locked down, propriety effects and I don’t want to be locked into Sonar forever because I’ve spent so much money on it.

Hardware

  • Roland Octa Capture
  • RNP8380 (Really Nice Preamp by FMR Audio)
  • Presonus FaderPort
  • Akai MPD18 MIDI controller
  • Alesis Q25 MIDI keyboard
  • 2x KRK Rokit5 monitors
  • KRK KNS-8400 headphones
  • Various microphones (Shure Sm57&58, Shure SM81, AudioTechnica ATM450)
  • sE Electronics Reflexion Filter (to try reduce any bad room influence)

The two MIDI inputs are very new for me and I’ve not had a chance to try them out in music making. It’ll be interesting to see if/how they change how I write. They’ll certainly allow much more potential for sounds and textures.

Instruments
  • Tanglewood acoustic guitar
  • Epiphone Iommi signature SG
  • Second hand bass guitar from CashConverters

Nothing too fancy here. I really like my acoustic guitar and it’s probably the most heavily used instrument and composition tool. The Iommi SG is great as well but I need to get it refretted some time soon. The bass was cheap and second hand because I’m not really a bass player and I didn’t want to spend lots on an instrument I’ll hardly play. It’s not too bad and it’s good to get live basslines down instead of programmed ones.

Location
  • My bedroom…

This is the single biggest limiting factor in my signal chain and is the reason I try to do as much as possible of the recording direct in. That just leaves vocals and (when the sound the pickup isn’t appropriate) acoustic guitar to be recorded with a microphone. One of the main challenges will be to try and minimise the influence of the room.

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