The Recording studio of Electronic music composer David Wright

I’m often asked about my studio and equipment, so I thought it might be of interest to include in the blog regular features about the studio and synths, processing and mastering equipment I use to create my style of instrumental music. Today’s blog will just chat about what’s in the studio, whereas future blogs will give a personal impression and review of different pieces of equipment, both hardware and software. If anyone wants me to comment specifically on anything listed herein, then just let me know and I’ll make it the next equipment blog I do.

In recent years, good quality soft synths have become an integral part of most professional and home studios. I was still using Atari computers with Cubase until 2002, linked to a couple of Fostex D80 multi track recorders through a 32-8-4 automated Allen & Heath Mixing console. I used Atari with Cubase for such a long time, and remember joking with Klaus Schulze in 1996 how we would always be “Atarians”. How times and technology have changed! Since going the Mac/Logic route (and never looking back) my “soft synth” range has increased while my hard synths have diminished. I definitely kicked against it to start with – I loved my old keyboards and it seemed almost sacrilege to get rid of them. With some, it was like losing a limb – how sad is that? But over the years, I’ve tried to evolve my sound and set up to avoid becoming stagnant and for fear of repeating myself musically. Although I like to program and tweak sounds, I never considered myself a “programmer” which was more out of laziness than anything else – so changing and exploring new synths was always a key element in the process.  In the last few years though, with so many versatile soft synths available, I’ve found myself more open to creating instrumental music sounds and settling on a set up which should keep me happy for many years to come.

My studio is a 16ft x 18ft room, nicely soundproofed with a corner that doubles as an extra workstation or a recording booth courtesy of a removal screen. My main computer is the Apple MacPro with 2 x 2.8HHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors, 6GB memory and 4 x 500 GB hard drives and a 30″ Apple monitor that’s ideal for running Logic Pro 8. I also have a Macbook pro with an Edirol FA-101 running Logic and some soft synths for live work. My Allen and Heath mixing console died in 2007 and I intended to temporarily use my live desk, an Alesis Firewire 16, until I replaced it, but have found the Alesis desk to be perfectly adequate.

I use Alesis M1 active Mk 2 nearfield monitors and the larger Alesis Monitor Two for midfield, although the latter tend to be used sparingly because they require a Samson amp to drive them and the volume is quite loud when driven at the correct volume. Great for checking the feel and bass though!

External Midi in/out is handled by an emagic amt8. I use various headphones, including Sony MDR-7506, Beyer DT770 and Sennheiser HD650 all through a Sampson headphone amp. Despite the wonderful array of computer processes, I still like to use the extremely versatile Joemeek VC3’s Pro Channel: Preamp/Compressor for vocal, guitar or indeed any instrument recorded onto Logic. I have a nice array of mics, probably too many for the amount of studio work I do now (or rather don’t do), including Samson drum mics, AKG condenser directional and omni directional, and Audio Technica cardoid condenser mics. The Alesis desk includes digital effects but I retain an external Lexicon MPX1 reverb unit which still sounds great and I often use it for piano. Mastering is done via a Quantum DBX and that also acts as my digital sound card.

I have a Yamaha EX5, which is a great sounding synth workstation, Korg Karma, O1WFd and a Novation Remote 61 master keyboard that I use for convenience when not using the keyboards. Modules in the set up are a JD990, Kawai K4r, Roland XV5050, Kurzweil piano module and a Alesis DM5 drum machine.

Logic 8 Pro comes with a sampler (EXS24), a drum machine (Ultrabeat) and a large collection of soft synths including the modular “Sculptures”. There is also processing equipment, including the excellent Space Designer convolution reverb, delays, limiters, eq, compressors, guitar amps and a very lengthy list of extremely useful and high quality studio tools. I also use the Camel Phatt and Camel Space effects processors.

I have a huge array of sample banks besides those that come with Logic Pro 8, including Bizarre Guitars, Vocal Planet and Sounds of Asia.

Finally, external soft synths include Jupitor 8, Moog Modular, ARP2600, Camel CA5000, M-Tron, Sonik Synth, Korg Legacy collection, Albino, Blue, Cube, Tera, Stylus RMX and the big daddy of them all, Omnisphere.

So this is the studio set up to produce my electronic music and in the next equipment blog, I’ll talk about my use of Camel Audio soft synth CA5000 and Camel Phatt and Camel Space as used on Dreams and Distant Moonlight.

~ by admusic on December 24, 2008.

2 Responses to “The Recording studio of Electronic music composer David Wright”

  1. cool

  2. One of the best blogs so far.

    Even though I’m a regular visitor to this studio, it was still a good read and certainly gives a good understanding of the modern project studio belonging to one of the more successful musicican in this genre.

    Looking forward to future blogs regarding techniques.

    Nice one David

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