More of your amazing studio workspaces under the spotlight (or blue striplight) in this latest Show off your Studio roundup…
Focal Twin Be 6 & Yamaha HS50 monitors; Speck X-Sum mixer; Drawmer 1968 ME tube compressor; API A2D & PreSonus ADL 600 preamps; SPL2 monitor controller; 2x Speck ASC-T EQs; Lynx Aurora 8 & AES16e; Korg Triton ProX + various cards; Roland V-Synth XT & XV-5080; Yamaha Motif ES Rack; E-mu Orbit; Access Virus A; Korg MS2000R; Kurzweil K2VX; NI Maschine MK1; Arturia KeyLab 49 & SparkLE; many guitars!
Which DAW and why?
I have most of them: DP8, Logic X, Ableton, PT11, HarrisonMixBuss. I started with Performer 1.0 when it was MIDI, and even used to use Opcode Studio Vision. I mainly use DP and Logic for composing and Pro Tools for tracking and editing. I’m trying to get my head around Ableton and would like to start composing in that.
I have two special pieces of gear: the WashBurn Boogie Street Southern Cross replica, that I got as a birthday present from my wife, and a tube mono power amp that my father built many years ago.
How do you use your studio?
I work with select projects when I can. The studio is in a bedroom in my house, so when I record bands the whole house gets taken over for isolation. Last year, I recorded a young band called Slow Hollows that are doing really well.
We had the drums in the living room, the guitar amps in another bedroom, bass direct, etc. I’ve done some composing and sound design for games, some industrials, an album for my last band Division Six, and I do some keyboard tracks for another project.
What annoys you about it?
Well, I wish I had more space. The room can get cramped, and I think having more depth would help with my mixing.
What is next on your shopping list?
I want to check out the Roland JD-XA, or the Prophet 6 (I used to have a VS and Prophet 10). My current setup is mostly ‘in the box’, and I’m missing having a keyboard
I can truly interact with. The other piece of gear that interests me is the Allen & Heath GSR24 console. Before I went in the box, I had a GS3000-32 console, and I really miss that sound.
I had a lot of vintage synths in the past… Yamaha DX1, CS-70M, Sequential Prophet 10 and VS, Roland MKS-80, 70, JD-800, JD-990, etc, Oberheim OB-X, Matrix 6, OB-MX, Minimoog D, Waldorf Microwave… I wish I had them all still, but space was an issue. I always wanted the Oberheim Matrix 12 or Expander. I was lucky enough to use both in college, and I always thought they were amazing synths (I do have the Arturia Matrix 12 version).
Get the best monitors and headphones you can afford, and make sure your room is set up correctly. Gear acquisition syndrome is real – make sure you have a balance of being a tech vs a composer or player. A lot of time can be spent with software updates.
Spyros L Kolelis
Key studio components
Apple Power Mac G5, MacBook Pro; Mackie, Tapco monitors; Mackie Onyx 1640i mixer; Presonus FireBox and ESI U24XL interfaces; Focusrite Voicemaster Pro preamp; TC-Helicon VoicePro & Line 6 Pod X3 effects; Behringer BX300 amp; Kurzweil K2000 & Roland V-Synth XT synths; NI Kore 2 & Arturia BeatStep controllers; Blue Baby Bottle & AKG D320B mics; AKG K240 DF & K271 MkII headphones; OLP OCC-T Tank, Daion Power Mark XX-B & Ibanez AES guitars
Which DAW do you use and why?
Cubase 4 on the desktop and Cubase 8 on the laptop, as I find it very easy to use and it matches the way I work. Also, I sometimes use Logic Pro.
What is your favourite piece of gear?
The TC-Helicon VoicePro, not only for its voice editing and effects capabilities, but also for its amazing AD/DA conversion.
How do you use your studio – fun or professionally?
I can record instruments per person, but not a band. Professionally, I used to do many productions (like sound design, radio and TV spots) as a freelancer, but that work has gone over the last five years, in conjunction with the economic crisis in my country. Now, I spend a lot of time making my own music.
Does anything annoy you about your setup?
Yes. I would say one thing is the difference between the Mac G5 (OSX 10.4.11) and MacBook Pro (OSX 10.9.5), and the partial incompatibility between the two software platforms, and the problems that then arise with third-party software and hardware manufacturers.
What is next on your shopping list?
I would like a control surface to make my mixing workflow easier; maybe an Avid Artist Mix (8-fader control surface) or a Mackie Control Universal Pro. But the word ‘next’ seems to be very far away.
And what is your dream piece of gear?
Apogee’s Symphony 64 ThunderBridge is my dream piece of gear, because I would like a better quality of AD/DA sound conversion in my studio.
Do you have any advice on setting up and running a studio?
Buy something according to your needs. You should also try to buy the best quality you can. Finally, think twice before you buy.
UAD Apollo Twin Duo; Dynaudio BM5a MK2 monitors; UAD, Slate, Waves, Soundtoys & NI plug-ins; Apogee Duet 2; MOTU 8 Pre; Focusrite Platinum Octopre LE, TrakMaster and Voice Master; Frontier AlphaTrack; M-Audio Axiom Air 32; Akai LPK25; Presonus HP4.
Logic Pro X. The choice when at university was either Logic Pro or Pro Tools. At the time, Logic had better features and was better value for money, whereas Pro Tools did not feature 64-bit architecture.
UA Apollo Twin Duo – a great little box of tricks. Unison technology is fantastic, and yields good results when it comes to preamp emulation. It also gives me access to the UAD plugin library, which I couldn’t work without.
How do you use the studio?
I record bands, but mostly it’s editing, mixing and mastering. We use it to record the MNFM unsigned podcast show.
I’m torn between a Neumann TLM103 mic and the Kemper Profiling Amp. The TLM will probably win – it was my mic of choice at uni – I really like its sound.
Dream piece of kit?
A Neve Genesys Black Hybrid 8. It would be a dream to work on a console that has eight channel strips with 1073 mic pres and four-band 88RS EQs, alongside full DAW control and motorised faders. It would be a lot of fun and make my workflow much easier.
The most important studio component is the room. Spend time to understand acoustics, learn how to make your own treatment to save money and aim to get the flattest room response that you can.