Show Off Your Studio – Part Nine

These MusicTech readers are here to show off their studios. Get in touch via Facebook (or in the comments below this post) so you can too. Here are this month’s top three…

Steve Cain


Interviewee: Steve Cain

Kit list
Technics K450, Roland RS-101, Roland SH-5, Arturia BeatStep, Korg Monotron and Duo, Yamaha PRS410, Univox MaxiKorg K3, Ensoniq EPS, 2 x 2-track reel-to-reels, Korg Electribe: ER1, EA1, EM1 & EA1; Korg DW-8000, E-mu Xboard49, Omnichord: OM300 & OM27; effects and Mackie SR24.4 mixer.

Which DAW do you use and why?
I currently don’t use a DAW – everything in the studio is run through the Mackie board. All levels get balanced out there, and effects are added inline to whichever piece needs it.

While technically it is a recording studio, it gets played as a single ‘thing’. All recordings are essentially live recordings, all done in one take, and no editing or remixing is done once the track is done. I used to work in a more standard recording style, layering instruments, mixing and blending, being able to adjust minor parts of each track.

But for the last year or so, I’ve been taking a different approach, trying to develop an intuitive way of playing, not dependent on the ability to rework a track. You could say I use an AW, and that’s the Mackie SR24.4.

Favourite piece of gear?
My favourite piece would have to be the Roland SH-5 (a very close second being the MaxiKorg). It offers more functionality and pure sound generating power than anything else in my kit. With a variety of inputs for audio as well as sequencing abilities, it’s almost a studio all by itself.


How often are you in your studio?
Anywhere from an hour to six or seven hours a night, depending on my obligations. I’ve had a fairly serious insomnia problem for over 30 years, so if I can’t sleep, I play and record.

How do you use your studio?
I’d say I’m an ‘extremely dedicated amateur’. In the last year I put out over 150 tracks, all finished songs (out of several thousand recorded – it’s a messy process). They are all free for anyone to download.

Anything annoy you about it?
The doorway. It’s too narrow to move a Thomas 2001 Organ into the studio (it’s now living in my dining room).

What is next on your shopping list?
A Korg SQ-1 or Arturia BeatStep Pro. Either will help tie gear together and sequence the SH-5 using Electribes.

Dream piece of gear?
The Roland System 700. It’s one of the most amazing modular systems ever, and when Roland was at the top of its game.

One piece of advice?
Make the mixing board a priority, don’t wait until you are overrun with gear to plan for one. Don’t be intimidated by cost – it can be overcome. This entire spread, the gear, cables, racks and tables… even including the bed (as well as a fair amount of gear not pictured), cost less than $1,500. If I, as strapped as I am, can do it, anyone can – it just takes determination, hard work, and patience.

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