Studio series III – Keys

February 9, 2007

A mea culpa up front – I suck at the keys. That’s not not being self-deprecating – I suck at least twice as much as anyone has ever sucked before on keyboards. One day I’ll have time to get lessons and suck slightly less, but until then…

That’s why I stick with my old-school Casio WK-1500.

  • Significantly cheaper than dirt, per pound (really!)
  • Velocity-sensitive keys / expression pedal input
  • Fully general MIDI capable (IN / OUT)

It’s a cheap and more than adequately expressive controller for lots of virtual synths:

I mostly use it for techno-experimentation and adding ambiance / color tracks in Sonar. For some inspiration see (hear) Richard Barbieri‘s work with Porcupine Tree. Some great demonstrations of how to integrate keys into a mix.

Studio series II – drums

February 3, 2007

Here’s the drum kit – mostly I use this for practice and laying down scratch rhythm tracks in Sonar. Hart Dynamics Giga Pro, with a DW-5000 kick pedal.

It drives a Roland TD-10 module. The TD-10 sounds pretty good, but the output is fairly low and can’t really stand up to other instruments without some preamp on the way in.

A couple of things make this stand out for an electronic kit. The heads are all mesh, not plastic, which makes for a much more realistic response. It’s still a little different than a set of acoustic heads, but it doesn’t take nearly as much adjustment as the hard-rubber kits.

The snare is especially nice – if you spend the time to dial it in with the TD-10, you can get damn close to the response and feel of the real thing. The snare closed the deal for me – I didn’t think I could live with an electronic kit until I ran into this.

The hi-hat and ride are both brass (although slightly heavier than the real deal). They provide a nice familiar feel (if a little loud when the kids are sleeping) and fairly realistic force-feedback. That makes a huge difference compared to beating on a plastic bar with a lot of other e-kits to keep time ;)

Studio series I – basses

February 3, 2007

Well, now Paul has provoked me so I have to haul out the gear ;)

Rick 4001This one is *not* for sale:

Rickenbacker 4001 – usually I put it through my Bass V-Amp Pro into an Edirol direct box (USB) into Sonar. The tone is distinctive through a plain amp, but it’s very comfortable and through the gear you can pretty much get any tone you’re looking for.

For a lower bottom-end I tend to use a cheapie Cort 5-string. I think I got this thing for 50 cents from a gumball machine, but it’s always done the job well enough that I haven’t gone looking for anything better yet. It’s nice and loud – I always have to tamp down the levels when I lay down a track in Sonar with this thing.

Hey – are you looking at my axe?

February 2, 2007


So I’m looking to get rid of my RG. I actually love *almost* everything about it – the action is great, the weight is right, the neck is perfect…

RG - Side
But I’ve recently started doing a lot of drop-D tuning in my recording, and the Floyd Rose is driving me nuts. It’s fine and wonderful if you stay in a particular tuning, but if you switch back and forth it takes about a day of tuning to get to drop-D and another day to get back :)


Only gigged twice, mostly used for recording. One or two micro-scratches, but otherwise in
impeccable shape.

Very versatile (5-pos pickup selector, etc.) All hardware, trem bar, soft case included.

RG-320-DX, inspected by H.K. Lee, even ;)


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