In 2000 through 2003 I recorded and released a series of CDs and participated in music projects with bands around the globe. I played live in Hong Kong, Atlanta, Olympia, and Portland. But in 2004, I moved into a new house, recorded a few tracks and promptly turned my full attention to making my company successful.
Now I think my company has finally reached a point where I feel I can actually concentrate on music again. So last night I started to arrange my new setup.
Things are so powerful now, I am just amazed.
Here is my new kit ... built from the crumbling architecture of my old kit.
This keyboard controller has 49 keys, 8 trigger pads, 8 "rotary encoders", 9 sliders, and 15 assignable buttons. It also has internal memory so that I can save settings while playing, move on to something else, and regain that setting.
M-Audio Firewire 410
This is an outboard audio interface for the laptop. It's what brings the other gear all together. I've had this for several years and love it to death.
Live is sort of an audio canvas that allows you to assemble a wide array of sounds and instruments and manipulate them in real time. Its biggest strength is as an instrument and it's wonderful to play live.
There is nothing like Reason for both flexibility and ease of use. Like Live, Reason can be an audio canvas, but it comes with some very well designed digital instruments. Reason is easiest to play from an external keyboard like the Axiom 49. Reason isn't too easy to play live, but is great for developing sounds and patterns to drop into Ableton Live.
Native Instruments Reaktor
Reaktor is a synthesizer construction package that is so powerful that not even Native Instruments knows what it is capable of. It is ungodly complex and can generate the clearest sounds (pretty or ugly) imaginable ... and likely several ones not imaginable. It will take me a very long time to get through ... or even just get into this.
Native Instruments Massive
Not for the timid. Massive is one single synthesizer with phenomenal sound. It comes with an inhumane 420 presets. And once you start going through presets, you can't stop. It's like 420 of the finest chocolates. As you can see, there are knobs for days in there and behind the big display, there's about 50,000 other things you can tweak. When you first get it, it doesn't look special. But five minutes with you will surely make you a convert.
The labor of love of Ross Bencina, AudioMulch is what got me started in laptop music. I still use it, I still love it. It is also an audio canvas and yes, many of the above products perform similar functions, but just like a guitarist will have several guitars because they sound or play differently - so it is with music software. The music I create in Mulch is qualitatively different than the music I create in the other packages.
Bram Bos is the maker of Tuareg, and even though he's moved on to his Tunafish project, I still love using this thing. Tuareg is basically a wave mangler / beat generator that is what I think of as a Happy Accident Machine. You put several wave forms into Tuareg, adjust some knobs, and you get beat patterns made out of raw sound. I will never tire of it.
AKG Perception 200
I needed to get away from my old microphone collection. Shure SM57s, battered after years and years of use.
The AKG was a mere $150 and is reviewed well on many web sites. It was also highly recommended by the guys at the music shop.
So I've got one now and will report on how well it works.
I am looking forward to being back into music again.
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