Tag Archives: Studio

Waldorf Microwave XT

New kit! I had previously convinced myself that my synth shopping was done, but I recently figured out that I would never bother using the ROMpler sounds in my RM1X (still digging it as a sequencer though) and that I didn’t need to be routing the out from my effects box in to one of the proper stereo channels in the mixer when there’s a “playback” channel that would accommodate that just fine. So I decided to fill these recently-emptied channels. I was initially toying with the idea of getting a Blofeld, but decided that since I have a Q that I love already, the XT would be the way to go. And it has two stereo outs.

I’ve not yet really spent any time with the manual, but the short amount of time I’ve spent fiddling with a couple of sounds has left me really impressed. Here’s some gear pr0n:

New synth:

Revised studio setup:

Now I just need to get some monitors and I should be basically done. There’s no space left in the mixer for expansion and no space on the desk for a larger mixer, so I think this should be a it for a while! Not that I’m left wanting, mind.

Busy weekend

Much ado in Saint Reatham this weekend gone. Must pack this in quickly and catch up on sleep.

Friday evening my new mixing console was delivered right after work. It’s a Soundcraft Spirit ES, which is a 10 stereo channel, 4 mono mixer, which is a rather unique configuration, but perfect to my needs, as I have/use more stereo devices than most people do. The mixer was recently taken out of production, so I had to do some serious hunting. I’m fairly certain I got the very last new one in the UK.

For the last month I’ve been struggling to get the new kit up and running together through my Allen Heath Xone:32, which is only a 3-channel DJ mixer, and I’d totally run out of space on my desk. The new keyboard was hanging out back on top of the turntables, and there was absolutely no space for a 21″ wide mixer on the desk. Basically I had to do a full-scale rearrangement, which has taken me almost all weekend, but all is done now!

Half-way through I convinced myself I would need to buy a new computer desk because I so fully filled my old one (which is fairly massive) with the musical kit, but I’ve managed to get around that and fit everything into a really compact space via the purchase of four new shelves for my Ikea Jerker. Now everything is within reach, all the cables are neatly twist-tied, and I even got the computer set up so that it tucks away while not in use (the whole aim of this reversion to hardware is to use the puter less). Most importantly I can use all my kit at once and the mixer sound dope. I even got the monitors/sub into a sweeter position today. After a few minutes of fooling around with it all for a bit today, I’m most pleased. I feel like I accomplished a lot this weekend. Anyway… have a gander.

Last night, before figuring out what to do with the computer

Now, with the computer added

Now, with the computer tucked away

We also officially kicked off the house hunt on Saturday. More news on that as things transpire.

A few more notes on Machinedrum

This thing has such a stupid level of control for a) hardware, and b) a drum machine – in one. It’s crazy. The parameter locks are probably the coolest function, which allow you to take a normal step sequencing drum machine and tweak the hell out of any one of the 24 parameters which colour the sound for just that note, or for any note that you want to do it to. Then you can adjust the ‘slide’, which tells it how much to ‘fade’ between the parameter settings on each different note (or the defaults if they haven’t been set on some notes). Then you can apply that slide on any combination of notes that you want to, so some parts of the pattern will blend and other parts will be more severe. It’s just crazy!

You can also get stoopid with swing and accent in a way that a good-ole drum machine just doesn’t permit. The effects sound very nice, the level of control you can get on the kicks is fairly unique in my experience, the muting interface seems like it will be perfect for live performance, and the mode of navigating between banks of patterns is really intuitive. It’s all just so well thought-out and most importantly the resultant sound delivers in every way from raw to crystal-clear.

I’m probably going to try making a few tracks with just the Machinedrum now because the stuff is sounding much different than what I would normally make, I don’t want to get distracted from learning it by trying to finish a song in the way I normally would, I want to get more practice with the live elements of the interface, and mostly I just really want to see what happens!


So my friend Kent just blogged about the new moog, which looks pretty slick:

…which reminds me I should give a proper pic of my new machinedrum, of which I took possession yesterday:

Still figuring it out, but so far… FUN!

And… yesterday I stumbled across the Reload forum, in which Mark Pritchard was talking about the new Reload album he’s working on. The post was from last May, and he’s since moved to Australia, which has apparently slowed things down a bit, but he also mentioned The Waterphone, which has to be about the craziest bowed-theramin/harp contraption thingy I’ve ever seen. Sounds cool too. Well horror. There are sounds and video clips on there too which are worth spending 5 minutes of your hard-earned time on.