WHAT’S UNDER THE HOOD? (GEAR LIST)
I thought it would be valuable to have my list of the gear so that clients, especially those inclined with audio knowledge, can better understand what resources are available within the project. I will also be updating this list once a year as new gear is added/improved along the way.
Last updated: January 2019
SOFTWARE BUNDLES (+DAW)
Ableton Live 10 – DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). The software that I use to record and make full compositions.
See it in action in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9Ku5ptjzKw
UAD Apollo Bundle – This bundle has some of the very best analogue based software effects. What makes this software unique is that it interacts with the Apollo Twin audio interface so that this software doesn’t add any additional stress to ones CPU. Also, by running these effects you are adding the analogue sound associated with Neve pre-amps (ie. Abbey Road studios). Learn more about the bundle here: https://help.uaudio.com/hc/en-us/articles/209535566-UAD-2-Apollo-Plug-In-Bundles-Explained
East/West Composer Cloud X – The East/West bundles are some of the best acoustic instrument/orchestral sample packs available. These instruments range from traditional eastern sounds, to all of the sounds of the western orchestra (hence the name). Composer Cloud X allows me to rent their Gold Bundle monthly (valued at $15, 000 in software!). I use this bundle mostly for the orchestral samples, but also find that the pads, atmospheres, and some of the rock based instruments are great additions to my productions. The sampler in this bundle is called Play.
More info/full list of products included: http://www.soundsonline.com/composercloud
Komplete Ultimate 10 – Full production suite. From synthesizers, to samplers, to effects, this was my foundation of software to getting started as a professional composer. The sampler in this bundle is called Kontakt.
Full list of products included: https://support.native-instruments.com/hc/en-us/articles/209550369-Which-Applications-do-the-KOMPLETE-10-Content-Products-Belong-To-
Soundtoys Academic Bundle – I often use this bundle of analogue style effects when mixing bands, or creating a retro style of electronic music (ie. 80’s Synthwave).
Full list of products included: https://www.soundtoys.com/product/soundtoys-5/
Izotope Production Bundle 1 – The core of my mixing and mastering tools. Perhaps my most used piece of software in this bundle is Ozone 7, which I use for mastering. There are also some great effects in this bundle, among which is Trash 2, one of my favourite distortion units. See what’s in the bundle in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRurOo4uvmY
RX Plug-in Pack – This bundle is used for treating audio. In the past I have done work for conferences where residual noise, chatter, and humming need to be removed from the original audio file. I’ve also done audio treatment for a travel agency that was conducting an interview in close proximity to a boat, and the humming of the boat needed to be removed.
Full list of products included: https://www.izotope.com/en/products/repair-and-edit/rx-plug-in-pack.html
SOFTWARE – SINGLE PLUG-INS
Lennar Digital Sylenth1 – For analogue synth sounds, Sylenth is my go-to. Check out some of it’s classic sounds in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4Q4yVx2WBw
Xfer Serum – currently the world’s most powerful and detailed wavetable synthesizer. This is easily the synth that I use the most.
Check it out here: https://splice.com/plugins/15493-serum-vst-au-by-xfer-records?utm_source=adwords&utm_medium=paid-search&utm_campaign=acquisition&utm_content=plugins
Kick 2 – This is a synth engine that specializes in making kick (bassdrum) samples. In dance music the kick is arguably the most fundamental component to the song. So to really get the kick sound perfect, this plug-in is the perfect tool. Check it out in more detail here: https://www.sonicacademy.com/products/kick-2
Wavesfactory Trackspacer – This is a great tool to use to help separate space in the frequency spectrum between various instruments. Think of it as a frequency sensitive side-chain compression. For more details, check it out here: https://www.wavesfactory.com/trackspacer/
Waves MaxxBass – Perfect for bringing out bass harmonics so that bass is more easily heard on smaller speaker systems. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLyFXxnynfc
Waves Bass Rider – A great alternative to compression when mixing live bass guitar. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIHDs1PGGa4
Valhalla Room – A classic room reverb. Check it out here: https://valhalladsp.com/shop/reverb/valhalla-room/
Valhalla Shimmer – The most unique reverb plug-in I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. With potentially very long tails, and pitch manipulation, this reverb unit is one of a kind. Check it out here: https://valhalladsp.com/shop/reverb/valhalla-shimmer/
Valhalla Vintage Verb – One of the best vintage reverb emulators on the market. Check it out here: https://valhalladsp.com/shop/reverb/valhalla-vintage-verb/
Valhalla FreqEcho – An echo unit that has added frequency manipulation. Check it out here: https://valhalladsp.com/shop/delay/valhalla-freq-echo/
Valhalla Space Modulator – A great alternative to flanging. Check it out here: https://valhalladsp.com/shop/modulation/valhalla-space-modulator/
Camel Crusher – A saturation/distortion unit that’s great for colouring the tone of a sound, and adding some grit. Check it out here: http://www.audiopluginsforfree.com/camelcrusher/
Softube’s Saturation Knob – This one knob VST is a great way to add some quick saturation to high frequencies or low frequencies separately, or together.
Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B74Z6R4hVcA
Dimension Expander – This unit is a great way to widen a sound. It has it’s own unique colouring to the sound as well, so I find it’s uses very hit or miss, but the hits are spot on.
Hear it in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVw-6VZ7nQM
Wavesfactory SK10 – A useful tool to add sub frequencies to a kick drum (or other instruments for that matter!) Check it out here: https://www.wavesfactory.com/product/sk10-drum-sub-kick/
Wavesfactory Snarebuzz – This VST is used to add customized buzz to snare drums. Hear it in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXGt-_Rhl0Q
Exhale – A very powerful vocal engine used for creating ethereal textures, powerful choirs, and chopped vocals.
Yamaha HS-80’s – These classic white-coned speakers are a staple in the mixing industry. Having now owned them for 10 years, I’ve really come to know their sound and limitations.
Check them out here: https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/yamaha-hs80m
Yamaha HS-10 – This subwoofer is the complimentary subwoofer to the HS series speakers. I mostly only use my sub when checking mixes towards the end, as I find the speakers themselves reach down to low frequencies well, and in a very balanced way. When I’m really trying to hear (“feel”) frequencies below 60hz, I activate this sub.
Get the specs here: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/HS10W–yamaha-hs10w
Universal Audio Apollo Twin Mk II – This is my main audio interface. Check it out here: https://www.uaudio.com/audio-interfaces/apollo-twin-mkii.html
Apogee Duet 2 – This is my backup audio interface, and is often used for DJing as well. Check it out here: https://www.apogeedigital.com/products/duet
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 – This is going to be my Audio Interface for DJing moving forward. Check it out here: https://focusrite.com/usb-audio-interface/scarlett/scarlett-2i2
M-Audio Profire 2626 – I use this interface exclusively for recording drums. Check it out here: http://m-audio.com/products/view/profire-2626
AKG C214 – This is my main condenser microphone. This mic is very versatile and has a professional/clean sound.
Check it out here: https://www.akg.com/Microphones/Condenser%20Microphones/C214.html
Shure SM-57 Microphone– A classic mic for recording drums, guitar amps, and punk-rock vocals.
Check it out here: http://www.shure.com/americas/products/microphones/sm/sm57-instrument-microphone
Sennheiser e845 Microphone – I use this mic for on-stage vocals. https://en-us.sennheiser.com/vocal-microphone-dynamic-super-cardioid-e-845
Focal Spirit Professional Headphones – These ultra flat headphones are very unbiased and great as a second set of headphones. I would use them exclusively, but they don’t have great sub response (which is needed for creating hip hop or EDM), so I use these to check mid frequencies and spatial effects.
Read a review here: https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/focal-spirit-professional
Audio Technica ATH M50-x Headphones – I use these headphones when DJing and in conjunction with my subwoofer to check sub frequency balance.
Check them out here: https://www.audio-technica.com/cms/headphones/99aff89488ddd6b1/index.html
APC 40 Mk II – This DJ controller does it all! Because the controller is specifically designed to work with Ableton, the controller works well for mixing together DJ tracks AND simply navigating Ableton faster to help improve compositional/production workflow. Check it out here: http://www.akaipro.com/products/pad-controllers/apc-40-mkii
I also have two smaller speakers sets to help better understand how my mixes will translate to mobile devices and smaller bluetooth speaker systems.
*My biggest gear upgrade of 2018. This small interface is a BEAST when it comes to its pre-amp, functionality, and power.