Studio 1

Here you can see some aesthetic highlights from Matthias‘ first studio. The entire interior of this real old piano was removed. Then a midi keyboard was installed, as well as two 19-inch racks. There are also two speakers on the left and right behind the mesh. So you could use this piano alone as a multi-synthesiser.

The original desk was cut in two and the newly built middle section was fitted in between. Then Matthias built two 19-inch enclosures to achieve the same wooden look as the rest of the desk.

To avoid resonances to the desk, the speakers are mounted on floor stands. Finally, a cut-out was made in the centre section for the mixing desk.

Although not too much music was produced in this fantastic room, there is a video that shows the workflow quite well. Everything is programmed with the Cirklon. This sequencer sends its midi data to the devices in the piano racks: Novation Bass Station, Nord 1 Rack, Roland JV 1080 and the Akai S 950 sampler. They send their audio to the Studer 962 mixer. Then everything is mixed and recorded on a Studer B67 mk2 tape machine (1/4 inch). The monitors are PSI 21M. The reverb/echo is the analogue Dynacord VRS 23.

A key device of this studio was the Akai S950. Released in 1988, it was the last sampler in this series with analogue filters. Today, it is the most sought-after Akai 19″ sampler for hardware fans because of its iconic sound.

For this track, three sounds were sampled with this device. You can see the process below.

Producing with hardware equipment has its own charm. Especially the haptic experience of interacting with the equipment, but also the visual appeal, make working with such equipment a pleasure. You don’t necessarily have to use (sometimes expensive) vintage equipment. Groove boxes like those from Elektron or the current hype about modular synthesizers show that hardware still has its place in the current producer scene.

These are all devices that produce or process sound. Whether you should use a mixing desk or even a tape machine these days is another question. In any case, it is great fun to operate „real“ faders and buttons or to insert a cassette into a tape machine and record on it. And that makes a studio something very special.

In a professional studio, where different productions are mixed all the time, this is unthinkable nowadays. The main reason is that with the vast majority of analogue mixing consoles, you can’t save the settings of the faders etc.. And the sound quality of today’s digital recording systems in a computer (DAW) is so good that analogue consoles are disappearing more and more from studios.

But for small project studios that may only use electronics (and no acoustic sound is recorded), an analogue mixing console can still be a profitable and satisfying tool.