As his quest to build a studio continues, MusicTech senior editor Andy Jones’ boat runs aground on Synth Island…
“all shouty, snotty and acting like it knew it all…”
I knew that there would be a problem writing a blog on creating a studio from scratch, and that problem is happening right now. As part of my job on MusicTech magazine I get to review new music gear. My area of interest is synths and it’s been quite a year for synth announcements so I have been looking forward to a few new ones coming my way for review. The problem is, in my quest for the perfect studio, I could easily be sidetracked by these sirens, these electronic lovelies with their new (and old) fangled sounds and their bright and shiny brand new fascias. (Pretty much like I was by the PMC monitors a few weeks back…)
I could, then, end up with a very synth heavy studio, and a very synth heavy blog – not exactly a great read for anyone who doesn’t get as excited as me about all things filtery. Therefore I have to take care as a reviewer not to get too attached to what I’m reviewing especially with this studio build blog in the back of my mind. So, back at the start of the blog I put in what I considered a particularly clever filter, a caveat if you will, that I would only buy something if I scored it over 7 out of 10 for the magazine and website. Problem solved.
Then along comes the Moog Sub Phatty which I reviewed here. Now that one took me a bit by surprise. Monophonic, Monotimbral, just, well, mono… But what a mono sound and just look at that chassis. A thing of absolute beauty with a Moog sound to die for. So that scored 8 (you do have to pay a premium for it) and I reluctantly sent it back to the UK distributor with an order for one for later in the year when more were to become available. So the Phatty was already in my studio plans. The Novation BassStation II, however, wasn’t.
That one arrived like the angrier teenage brother of the Sub Phatty, all shouty, snotty and acting like it knew it all – and really quite stunning because of it. So I reviewed that here and, 20 years after the original came out and only £50 more, that scored 10/10. With a similar architecture to the Sub Phatty I’ve kept hold of it – don’t tell Novation – on the ridiculous premise that I’m doing some kind of ‘bass off’ for the magazine, a ‘how low will they go’ kind of feature. (And as I write it, it kinda sounds like quite a good idea, or am I just kidding myself?)
And then, along comes the Nord Lead 4, the review of which has just come online. Now I didn’t want to give this a 10 – it came too soon after the BassStation and looks frankly like I’m dishing out too many maximums. But I genuinely think that we are in a music technology golden era of hardware at the moment with some amazing bits of kit (not just synths, monitors are at something of a peak and some of the new outboard you can get is mind-blowing). So this is how the ‘studio’ looks this week: three sirens, sitting there, all singing their bewitching songs…
3 sirens – the BassStation might look like it is floating like a landspeeder in Star Wars, but is actually mounted on one of the Jerker’s ‘wings’
I think it’s fair to say, that if I was Jason, of Jason of the Argonauts fame, I’d not have gotten anywhere near that golden fleece.
Next time, some tough choices…
Read the previous parts of Andy Jones’ Blog