Tycho Studio Standouts
We are living in a golden age of sound technology. The tools we have at our disposal today were only a dream just a decade ago. The industry has found the balance between the power and flexibility of digital and the character and nuance of analog. People generally focus on the end result, but for most musicians, producers and engineers, the process is the product and the tools are the enablers.
The following is an off-the-top-of-my-head gear list for this record, my favorite tools, created by the brilliant engineers who make what we do as recording artists possible.
I used a bunch of other things but these are the standouts, stuff I couldn’t do without. “Best” means “in my opinion this is the best I’ve used, personally” and “new” means “new to me, like I got it less than 18 months ago”. Feel free to ask questions about specific applications and I’ll do my best to answer. Would love to hear your favorites as well.
**DISCLAIMER: In this post I’m mentioning some high end (read: expensive) gear. But I want any of you who are just starting out to know that you should never think that expensive equipment is an answer to anything. All it does it add, incrementally, to your sound. A good engineer / producer should be able to produce quality recordings without the use of boutique or prohibitively expensive gear. I used inexpensive equipment for many, many years before saving up for and spending the time to understand higher level recording equipment. Of course, with the right tools a job can become easier, but it’s not impossible without them (but do invest in a good preamp before anything, that’s really the most important thing). That being said, after 18 years as a recording engineer and musician, these ended up being my go-to tools for this record.
Best New gear overall
Kemper Profiling Amp
Best New FX Unit overall: Strymon Blue Sky
Best New Synth: Korg Minilogue
Best New Old Synth: Moog New Minimoog Model D (can’t believe they actually did it. Just got it a week ago, somehow even better than my original 1972 Model D)
Dangerous 2-Bus+ (if you’re looking for analog summing, this is it)
Rupert Neve Designs Portico II Channel (the perfect balance of color and clarity, a modern classic)
Most used: Korg Minilogue
Late bloomer: Korg MS-20 (original)
Indispensable newcomer: Sequential Circuits Prophet 5
Staying power: Minimoog Model D (orignal 1972)
Deprecated: Access Virus C (we had a good run, but now I’m using the Kemper — same designer — so I feel we’re even)
Honorable mention: Korg Arp Odyssey
Rediscovered an old favorite: Universal Audio 6716
Sadly underutilized: Chandler LTD-1
Trident 80B 500 Series
Got a Gibson Les Paul after having an Epiphone Les Paul for years. Now I get why they’re so expensive.
New Favorites: Strymon Timeline and Blue Sky
Stalwart: Ursa Major SST-282
Best new output conversion: Dangerous Convert-8
Best new input conversion: Lynx Aurora 16
Best adapter: Lynx AES16e
Best mixer: Neve 542
Underappreciated: Empirical Labs Distressor EL8-X
Native Instruments Monark (as close as you’re ever going to get to a Mini in the digital domain)
Arturia Jupiter 8V (stunning clarity, always cuts through the mix)
XILS 3 (warmth)
Valhalla Shimmer / Vintageverb, U-He Presswerk, Plugin Alliance VSM-3, Arturia Jupiter 8V, , Waves H-EQ, Waves RS56, Waves Scheps 73, Eventide Black Hole, SoundToys Native Bundle, Acustica Amethyst, Empirical Labs Arousor, Sonnox Envolution, SSL Duende Drumstrip, Kush Omega N&A
Controller: Dangerous D-Box
Monitors: Genelec 8330A
Headphones: DT770 Pro 80ohm (great translation to/from speakers)
9 Comments Leave A Comment
Gustaf says:August 16, 2016 at 10:52 am
Awesome… loving the behind-the-scenes look into the studio. Looking forward to hearing the sum total…
Glad to hear you’re pleased with the Model D reissue… Just got mine this week as well… but I don’t have an original against which to compare.
Regarding preamps… if you could have just ONE preamp… what would it be?
Nick Hess says:August 18, 2016 at 1:25 pm
Kemper at the top of the list! I’ve got the toaster as well, good to know I made the right investment. After I bought it Line6 came out with the Helix and other people were mentioning the Axe FX and others. But the Kemper is amazing. I think the versatility of a separate foot pedal unit is better too.
Have you run instruments besides guitar and bass through the Kemper? Wondering if it would work well with synths for adding delay and verb.
Will have to check out the Strymons and how the Bluesky compares with good ol Holy Grail.
And what’s your opinion on the Prophet 6?
Thanks for sharing Scott, cool shit man.
Craig says:August 20, 2016 at 2:14 pm
Nice post. I enjoyed reading about your set-up and the tools you use to create music. Gear lists always end of being larger than I would initially guess but that doesn’t mean all the gear is used for every song someone writes.
I’m thinking about starting to buy some equipment to make beats and ambient.
Jakub – What do you recommend for the equipment essentials to get started?
I am also looking at transitioning to Mac after windows 10 what’s to harvest every little detail about how I use the OS. What do you recommend for specs for a computer? I realize higher specs are always better but what do you recommend for a baseline?
What software do you use to record (ableton or something else)?
Patrick says:August 22, 2016 at 8:03 pm
Thank you for the thorough and insightful post!
Is this in reference to Scott (as in the title stating Tycho..) or Heathered Pearls (Jakub, the post author?).. Or neither LOL
Nick Hess says:August 26, 2016 at 6:51 pm
@Patrick – Scott originally posted this on the Tycho facebook page, so I think Jacob just transferred the post to the blog.
j says:August 28, 2016 at 1:41 am
Newcomer to production but I happen to have the DT770 80ohms. Velour pads are ridiculously comfy.
kwikshirts says:September 9, 2016 at 8:51 am
I like color of your website
Neil says:September 21, 2016 at 8:14 am
Scott, do you use the DT770s to listen to music casually? or are they reserved for the studio? I’m curious what you use to listen to music on a regular basis.
Neil says:September 21, 2016 at 8:15 am
Apologies, should have referenced Jakub there. I guess my question is directed towards Scott, but very curious what you prefer as well, Jakub!