Studio tour Otorongo

Updated: Mar 2

For those of you who are into music production and/or gear, I thought I'd do a little virtual studio tour. For those who may be on the newsletter list, I have expanded upon that post here, highlighting a few pieces of gear.


Gear used on sleeps:

Rhodes MKI MF-104m Strymon reverb pedal Rings, Marbles, uMIDI, Scales, Optomix Moog Grandmother/Matriarch/M-32 Ableton Live 9 Genelec 8020's Ocarinas 2 hand made wooden flutes by Derrick from Skinny Beats Various plugs and software, samples,

Field recorder - Zoom H4n

Studio A

I really love this space. It's the main room I create in.


This room fills my soul, especially with the light coming in during the day. It's warm and inviting and I've got most of my gear in here. I constantly shift things around, as it seems I can never quite find the perfect configuration. Sometimes I wonder whether the rearranging is part of the creative process, or a distraction from it.


If I could I'd spend 320 days a year in here. That's about enough. But its also a square box of a room, and doesn't work well for mixing, so I've been working in the living room to mix lately, with better results. See image below of Studio B.


Eurorack Modular


About 3 years ago I started exploring the Eurorack Modular world a bit. I did what every beginner does: bought some random modules that don't work well together, spent a lot of time researching/buying modules, and made a few cool sounds along the way. This is the system I've currently got. I just put everything in this new Intellijel case which is very slick. Having the 1u options and built in jacks on the back is very useful and a great way to get more out of a relatively small case.


New 7u 104HP case along with a few new additions


For ages I had a very small skiff, 60HP, and just a few modules centered around Rings by Mutable Instruments.


While I appreciate the format and it's flexibility, I've also become highly aware of the potential pitfalls of a modular approach. While modular is my preferred way of learning the nuts and bolts of synthesis, one can easily get a little carried away with collecting and learning new modules. It's easy to get distracted by new tools period, but something about Eurorack triggers obsession in a way other instruments don't. It's also an expensive hobby: I recommend starting off with just a few modules and building from there. If you think of the intended function for your system (effect rack, or monosynth) this can guide your purchases and exploration. There's a lot of really inspiring modules out there.


Tour of my System


One of my favorite pedals: Mood


Mood might be my favorite effect pedal, ever?!? It's a fun filled happy accident machine that has a great sounding reverb and delay built in, as well as a really unique looper that allows you to get into granular and time stretching territory. The pedal has a master clock knob in the middle that is essentially tuned to octaves and fifths, keeping things musical when pitch shifting. It pairs nicely with the Chase Bliss Blooper, which is another fantastic pedal from Chase Bliss.


Ergonomics


You can have all the gear in the world but if it's not immediately accessible you probably won't use it much.


Mixers and patch-bays really help by allowing you to quickly access an instrument or route it into an effect. A friend of mine helped me set up my patch-bay and while it took over a year to fully understand how best to use it, they are invaluable. They are also cheap and allow you to route any instrument into any outboard effect or combination of effects, easily. This saves you time especially when you're collaborating. I can also have most of my gear pre-patched and ready to feed into my Apollo interface.


Patchbay interconnected with my Moogferfoogers

One studio addition made in the name of ergonomics is this handy cantilevered mic stand that looks like a robot arm. I can adjust and move it as needed. My main mic is plugged in ready to go when I need it or it can be tucked back and out of the way when I don't.

This is another really handy new addition, my drum throne. It adjusts up and down which is great, but also works well to prop up synths so that I can get it next to the rest of my eurorack gear but also push it under the table or my Rhodes. It's adjustable which really helps when sitting on it, playing drums or keys. It has wheels, allowing for easy movement between my two rooms. It's not a good main chair for computer work, for that I have a Herman Miller chair that is quite comfy.


Seating


Studio B - Mixing and Mastering Room


Because everybody needs more than one room to mix in.

Studio B is replete with my trusted Mackie HR824's, which are my favorite affordable monitors. You can get these used for under 500 dollars. I have the MK1's which were apparently made in the USA. They really do the trick, and offer a different perspective to my Genelecs which don't go down past 70 Hz (without a sub).


Moog One


You need 48 Analog Oscillators.

The Moog One and various acoustic instruments hang out in this room. I like having instruments separate from the main room, so I can focus on just, for example, playing keys and not thinking too much about how I'll turn this or that into a full production. The keyboard on the Moog One is a delight to play and encourages practice.


Having my Zoom field recorder ready at all times means I'll capture some magic during these practice sessions in Studio B. These recordings can become full tracks, fleshed out in Ableton later.


Acoustic Instruments


Rav Vast Pan Drum and J Bass in good company


Wind harps produce mellow and dreamy sounds to soothe the heart.

Looking out a sliding glass door, the river trickling by, I can drink in the sounds of the frogs and ducks and sometimes, lawnmowers. I can hear the rain and the wind and the occasional howls of a train passing. Besides more time to spend here, what more could I need?

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