The end of the year and beginning of 2019 felt like a good point to do a studio refresh.
I wasn’t feeling particularly creative after a bunch of long work weeks and Christmas preparations. The time was perfect to focus on some other studio activities. I find this is a good way to stay in the studio zone when you don’t particularly feel like writing/mixing/etc.
Here’s a run down of most of the work I did:
(Music while writing: Cocteau Twins – Head Over Heels)
- I picked up an Elektron Digitakt to replace my old Electribe SX1. I love the SX machine, but it takes up a ton of table space and the Digi has a lot more modern features. I also use a very old piece of software to manage SX1 samples and who knows how many more Mac updates it will work on.
- My new working configuration is:
- Laptop / Arturia Keystep / Squarp Pyramid are all sync’d for ease of writing to either Ableton or Pyramid using the Keystep (midi/usb midi).
- Pyramid midi A goes to: 0-Coast, Digitakt, Volca FM, Waldorf Streichfett or D-05. Pyramid B goes to RYTM.
- I updated all the midi channels since the Digitakt is midi 1-8, this was easy but a good refresher on how to set midi on each machine (I sometimes forget!).
- Outs either go to the laptop or mixer, and can also easily record direct to Digitakt which is quite simple (amazing).
- This setup allows me to write freely and capture easily to all 3 end points. For example, I might want to layer some parts together into one sample and I can either do that in Ableton or the Digitakt.
- I went through my RYTM and cleaned out a ton of samples I didn’t need anymore. It felt great to clean the machine down to some essentials and add a few more essentials in to work with. Transfer is great for managing Elektron samples but I wish you could edit from the machine on the interface. You have to do all the work from the RYTM, this is easy, but not as easy as a computer. 🙂
- I also started using a file-format naming convention for samples that is working nicely, I might write more about this process but basically I’m using: bpm_song_sample-name_synth-name_xtra-info.wav. So like 125_LAFog_FM_01.wav
- Spent a fair amount of time messing with the Waldorf 2-Pole filter I picked up back in the autumn. I knew some basics but hadn’t fully explored what it could do. I then took some of the cool settings and tried to replicate them on the Digitakt to learn it’s own filter/lfo settings.
- The other benefit to this was honing in on signal input/output to the filter from the mixer bus for live performance
- I wrote down my favorite settings and will probably tape these to the filter for easy access later.
- I love this Carole King song Goin Back, specifically The Byrds version of it. I learned how to play it on the piano and was totally digging King’s songwriting on a deeper level. (Also used this time to figure out some good synth pairings with the D-05 and Streichfett)
- I ultimately got a few demos going after all of this, not sure if anything will come from those, but I could tell I was more focused from the time spent above.