Saturday, November 22, 2014

Astro Chicken Studio

Welcome to Astro Chicken Studio, my abode of creativity. My man cave. Here I have focussed on an oldschool workflow and layout, 'cause I love to do music the oldschool way. I have more modern stuff as well but it's not all in my studio. Here I wanted to recreate something like an early 90s electronic music production setup with equipment ranging from the late 70s until the early 90s. My favorite era hardware-wise.

Astro Chicken Studio

Late 80s design in its full bloom


Let me give you a little tour of my workflow:
The main sequencer and audio hub is a desktop PC running Ableton Live 8 on Windows XP. I sequence my synths via 2 MIDI interfaces (Musicquest 8Port/SE and Steinberg Midex 8). I do all the sound sculpting, effects processing and mixing with my sound generators, analog mixing consoles and effects processors, OUTSIDE of Ableton Live. And NO SOFTSYNTHS here! All I do here with Ableton Live is MIDI sequencing and audio recording / summing. I have produced music with softsynths but I am trying to avoid that by any means. At least here at Astro Chicken Studio it's totally hardware.

Roland Juno-60, SH-09, MKS-50, MKS-70, Korg Mono/Poly, EX-800, EX-8000, Wavestation AD, Arp Axxe, Waldorf Microwave I (Revision B), Casio VZ-8M, Kawai K1m

Oberheim DMX, Yamaha RX5 with WRC04 ROM, Simmons SDS800, Lell UDS, Kawai R50 with custom ROMs, Roland TR-505, Akai XR10, MFB-712

Akai S1000, Ensoniq Mirage Keyboard

Effects / Outboard Processing:
Dynacord DRP-20, Korg DRV-3000, SDD-1000, SDD-1200, Roland RSP-550, Lexicon LXP-1, ART Proverb, Vermona Phaser 80, Boss RCL-10, Audioforce FourGate

Soundcraft Spirit M12

My main mixing console is a Soundcraft Spirit M12. It's been around for a while and I really love it. Great sound, low noise, very reliable. My only gripe: I wish all aux sends were post-fader. Other than that it's pretty much perfect.

Ibanez RM80

This is an old Ibanez RM80 which I use as a submixer mostly for drums and for bass duties. Very warm and beefy sounding! It really adds lots of balls to the rhythm section of  my tracks. And it's got VU meters! I got it for little money from an old Krautrock pioneer in Berlin.

I am using a 48-channel Klotz patchbay to route all my audio signals through my setup. Fortunately the Spirit M12 has all the patchpoints on the front so patching is a breeze.

When I finish a track I lay down single tracks of audio into Live via a Marian Adcon ADAT interface through an RME Digi96/8 PCI ADAT card into Ableton Live. I mostly record these tracks "wet" i.e. with their respective effects as stereo tracks. So basically I do all the mixing in my analog mixers and only record the stems in Ableton Live for summing. That's my workflow.

I will go through my equipment in detail another time, so stay tuned!

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