DAWs and Stuff

Covering the Software and Gear…

The software and gear in any music studio is all about supporting each creator’s process. In this inaugural post I want to talk about how I use Ableton Live 11 and several additional tools to support my composition process. For each piece I like to find just the right sound and then I work with it and add to it.

The grand piano and orchestral packs in Ableton are probably my go to sounds when I’m exploring an idea. Since many of these sounds are samples of individual notes on actual instruments I find I can get a very rich and thick sound palette from them. The same is true for Spitfire Audio, I use their sampled instruments a lot.

Some other sound sources I use a lot are FM8 and Massive from Native Instruments. I keep exploring these synths and I figure out ways to make amazing original sounds. I love the Native Instruments guitar and organ sounds, and I keep going back to their Drum Lab.

I’ve explored Serum quite a bit and have gotten some great sounds from that source. But I gotta admit the presets that other people have created are mind-blowing. I need to progress along the learning curve before I get to that level!

Finally I should mention Universal Audio. I use their Apollo Twin audio interface and I love it. But what comes with it is the Luna Recording System, which is a complete music ecosystem by itself. The instruments in Luna and the emulations of classic analog equipment is amazing. You can easily burn a week of time just playing with those sounds. I have a couple of videos on my youtube channel with sound tracks that were made entirely with Luna…

… they are Latte Dreams (https://youtu.be/cWxJIRjYcnI) and Memories of England (https://youtu.be/Ut83YFPMVY4).

My MIDI controller is a no-frills Keystation88 from M-Audio. About the only thing I do from the controller is play notes, so I don’t really need a lot of fancy knobs and faders. But when I need a really good piano sound I have a Kawai GS-40 grand piano in my studio. It delivers a rich warm sound and has a wonderful action.

Rounding out the gear list is a pair of Yamaha HS5 monitors and a pair of AKG P420 microphones. I use the mics for playing, sampling, banging, just about any kind of noise-making. 🙂

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