Introduction of equipment and tools
It takes time and relentless curiosity to find the right tools. I do not like to change my devices often as some are deeply integrated into the rig. That means a lot of re-programming (not fun after some repetition). However, there are many minutiae and sometimes just one little thing renders the whole device useless or at least not ideal.
For example, Allen and heath Xone 2D. It is a fantastic sounding small DJ style mixer and audio interface, with Midi in and outputs. As it turned out that it does not have Sysex implementations. Who would think? From my point of view, it meant an immediate return.
The idea behind the current setup is to keep the delicate details of the songs and the structure that lyric demands yet to have some room for improvisation with a certain degree of experimentation.
The rig below results from a long experiment. In the following weeks, I will go through one by one and give a more detailed presentation, and tell more on how we use them; benefits, subtle details that we discovered along the road, obstacles, limitations, etc.
The brain is Ableton. This where everything is merged and routed. I also arrange many stems I get from Bina, who works only with Logic. It is a versatile music-making environment, with many sophisticated extensions that provide endless flexibility and customizations for the users. I use quite a few MAX devices, but my real swiss army knife is Clyph x pro. It is a simplified scripting language with python backbone in the background. With that, I can automate many repetitive actions, give an otherwise impossible set of functionality to Midi controllers and all that with a very user friendly, easy to learn syntax.
I will dedicate a separated section to Clyphx pro.
Microsoft Surface Book 2
It is a very powerful yet compact laptop. See specs below. I set up a perhaps unusual limitation for myself. What I cannot do on this laptop, I will not do it at all. Meaning, I am not jumping to my more powerful desktop and attempt to produce stuff there. Limitations are good, they force us to find creative ways and discover what we have in a deeper manner.
CPU: i7 8650U
GPU: Nvidia 1050M
Allen and Heath Xone DB2
This is the audio interface and the mixing console before everything goes. The sound quality is superb, and it has an exceptional routing matrix.
Access Virus TI2 Darkstar
This synth is magnificent. The sound design capabilities are absolutely fantastic and it can handle some very heavy lifting. What do I mean by that? Even though the laptop can handle a lot, it has limitations. Reverbs and delays are the most resources hungry effects. This is where the synth can jump in. It has ear-pleasing ones. And we use them!
It is a must-have with Ableton. One of the most sophisticated controllers out there. The controller scripts behind it get more and more fine-tuned with the updates. The LED screen is a treat for the eye.
It is a simple Midi controller. The reason it stands out for me is the layout. I do not use the Livid scripts and MAX devices (which are great by the way), rather I use my own Clyph X pro scripts that that let me customize this device for my needs.
NI Traktor F1
This is the controller for Vocals. Bina has hands-on controls on the fine-tuned parameters. NI did an impressive job on the controller editor. However, it has also its specific set of customized scripts.
NI Komplet 6
This is our secondary audio interface. Mainly for Sends and testing vocal FX on the synth.
ART DPDB Dual Passive Direct Box
It is a must-have. We learnt it the hard way. More about that later.
Shure Beta 87A
Bina`s mic. It suits her voice.
In the next post, I will explore what is happing in Ableton and Clyphx pro.