|A brief introduction. For the longest time I wasn't able to give a tour of my home studio because my job precluded me from having a real studio. Now that my studio is a reality, I've cataloged the events and assimilation of gear. But still be sure to check out my roadrig which until June '99 was my primary music-making gear. My dream of one day having my synths all in one place, all connected, and all playing at once is now a reality.
My first real synth was a Roland U-20, and was purchased shortly before leaving for college. Over my five year stint at college I added an Ensoniq Mirage, later followed by ART and Alesis effects processors, mixed by a little MidiMan MiniMixer. I added a Kawai K3 and Casio VZ-1 shortly after purchasing a Soundcraft Spirit Folio mixer. While on vacation the following summer, I happened upon a Roland MKS-50 and Yamaha TX81z. Then came the SCI SixTrak and Oberheim OBX. From there I went a little crazy adding an Akai S2800 sampler and a myriad of other devices. Many hours were spent writing and recording music instead of attending class, which made its mark on my grades. In its last few months of incarnation, the school rig included Roland D-70, Ensoniq ESQ-1, OBx, Alesis MMT-8, Mackie CR1604vlz, CR1604, Alesis 3630, ART SGE MachII, Alesis D4, Yamaha TG55, another 3630 compressor, Alesis Midiverb II, ART FXR Elite, Alesis QuadraVerb GT, Kawai K3m, S2800studio, MKS-50 with PG-300 programmer, TX81z, Casio VZ-10m, Kawai XD-5, Akai ME-30 MIDI delay, and Sony 75ES DAT recorder.
My setup grew a little more after taking a job with MCI in Houston, TX. The first thing on my shopping list was a Pansonic SV-3800 DAT recorder to replace the Sony 75ES I had previously borrowed from my college. A Sony DTC-670, which I owned for only a short time, was used to write a song created by bouncing tracks between the SV-3800 and the DTC-670 DAT machines. Next up was a dbx 1066 compressor and Yamaha RY50 drum module. I picked up two Roland MKS-20s while on a visit to Nashville, finally giving me that digital piano sound I was after. I was also very fortunate to find a moog memorymoog in the classifieds for sale at a local church. Shortly before taking a position travelling, I added an Akai GX912 cassette recorder to mixdown DATs and an Akai ASQ10 for sequencing duties.
This is a picture of my small basement studio. Oops, correction: This is a picture of Studio A at Emerald Studios in Nashville, TN. Also in the picture [in front of that gorgeous SSL 4064G console] is a soon-to-be famous guitarist friend, Kris Woodrum. While Emerald doesn't have much in the way of cool synths, they do have great outboard including a Lexicon 480L and various optical compressors, along with Studer A800 2" analog and Sony and Mitsubishi PCM recorders.
Here I am at one of Ohio University's practice studios with cohorts in crime Joe Erwin and Brian Lindenmuth. We tracked a nice little song reminiscent of the '80s Vice type music, and I'm pretty sure the instruments dictated the style, not the other way around. We had a Kurzweil K2000 loaded with LinnDrum samples, an Oberheim OBx, a moog memorymoog, and Korg Wavestation A/D. Also on hand were Mackie CR1604 and CR1604vlz mixers, Lexicon LXP1, LXP5, and PCM60 effects processors, and an Alesis ADAT. Everything was tracked live to the ADAT except for sequenced drum parts, mostly 'cause my OBx and memorymoog didn't have MIDI at the time. I should probably mention the Fender Stratocaster and Princeton Chorus amp, mic'ed with a Shure Beta87. The final track is pretty clean, especially considering we wrote, tracked, and mixed it in less than seven hours, although I would like to go back and clean up a few guitar and synth parts. One of these days. One of these days. One of these days.
Once again at Ohio University, but this time in the recording studio, Joe Erwin and I slave away at ProTools III. We had a few pieces of gear along with us, used for the basic building blocks of the song. Sampled sounds and noises bound for mutilation were provided by a Roland D-70, D-550, MKS-70, Korg Wavestation A/D, and Sony TCD-D3. The song was tracked on a Amek Langley BIG console with virtual dynamics. The song was created by cutting, chopping, and pasting small one and two bar clips in ProTools. Drums were mostly sampled live loops, although an Alesis MMT-8 was used for a few parts. The vocals were recorded through an AKG 414 with C12 capsule. The song is about 75% complete, but hasn't been touched in a year. When time allows I'll load it in my ProTools system and finish it up, with Joe's help of course. In the mean time, here's a tune Joe and I did in his spare room studio.
This setup from October '97 was used to record our smash hit "OctoberRain." Gear included a Roland D-70 as master controller and sound source, Korg Prophecy for arpeggiated strings, Tascam DA-88 to track guitar, bass, and Alesis MMT-8 sequenced tracks, and Mackie CR1604vlz to mix it all up. Also on the track is a Roland MKS-70, D-550, Korg Wavestation A/D, Yamaha P-50m piano module, and Lexicon PCM60 and Alesis QuadraVerb GT for sweetening the mix. Oh, and a nifty Roland M-120 line mixer was used to mix the synths into a stereo feed before hitting the DA-88. [Joe Erwin of SkyLab on the left, me in the middle, and Brian Lindenmuth of Nationwide on the right]
A complete list of tunes hidden in the above: