The most common question I get from fans is “what hardware/software do you use to make music?” Here’s the definitive source for everything I use for my professional work, with little bits of advice on building your own setup sprinkled throughout in italics. For more complete advice on starting your own setup, please read my blog. Last updated 11/20/2017
The studio PC
I built it myself!
- Motherboard – Asus Sabertooth z77
- CPU – 3.4Ghz Intel Core i7
- Heatsink – Cooler Master Hyper 212 plus
- HDD – Two 1TB Seagate Barracudas
- Memory – 16Gb G.Skill Ripjaw X Series
- Video – MSI Radeon HD 6570
- Power Supply – PC Power and Cooling Silencer Mk II
- Case – Fractal Design R4. This case has foam padding to keep it quiet. Perfect for a studio environment.
- Operating System – Windows 10
- Audio interface – Focusrite Scarlett 18i8
- Keyboard – Nektar Impact GX49
- Monitors (speakers) – a pair of Yamaha HS7s, Avantone MixCube
- Mulitpurpose microphone – AKG Perception 200 (note: discontinued. Maybe try the AKG P220 instead.)
- Headphones – AKG240
- Guitar – Fender Stratocaster HSS
Cubase – This is my digital audio workstation (DAW), the heart of the studio. All the audio, software and hardware routes through Cubase.
Ableton Live – Another DAW, but this one focuses on live electronic music performance. I’ve only just started using this, but it is pretty fantastic. For now, though, all my professional work is done in Cubase. Both Cubase and Ableton can basically do the same stuff, though, so what you get comes down to which one seems cooler to you.
If you want to get a massive head start on your software library, get Native Instruments Komplete bundle. It’s expensive, but the amount of great stuff you get is insane. If you’re serious about making digital music, this is worth it.
All these synths can be daunting. The differences between all of them can be difficult to understand if you haven’t actually played around with them. If you just want a basic synthesizer that’s relatively easy to program yourself and sounds great, get Retrologue. Keep in mind that Absynth, Massive, Reaktor, and FM8 are all included in the Komplete bundle. Omnisphere is expensive, but incredibly well-designed, easy to use, and comprehensive.
Favorite Kontakt Libraries
I have way too many libraries to list here, so I’ll just point out some really great libraries that are useful for many situations
This is besides Cubase’s huge library of included effects.