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Old 3rd August 2005
Gear Addict
RyanR's Avatar

Bass: I'm a big fan of Studio Electronics stuff - I own both a SE-1X and Omega8. Bewteen those two, that's plenty of solid bass. I got close to selling the Omega because the SE-1x comes close to it's bass sound, but I eventually decided to keep it. I have also thought of selling the SE-1x to get a minimoog, and still might.

Piano: PMI sample libraries (The Old Lady and The Emperor) and Vintaudio Yamaha C7. The C7 is a nice pop piano which I use for the upper registers. The other two are a Steinway D and Bosendorfer 290 which I prefer for the lower notes. These sound better to my ears than any ROMpler.

Strings: EWQLSO Gold, GPO, VSL. EWQLSO strings sit a little back because they were recorded with the room (and the close mics are provided with the Platinum edition). GPO and VSL have a more direct and upfront sound. A combination usually gets the best of both worlds. Again, string sample libraries sound much better to me than ROMplers.

Ethnic Instruments: EWQL RA ethnic library (the successor to QL Rare Instruments). The definitive ethnic instrument library - nothing else I have seen even comes close.

Ethnic Perc.: Stormdrum or Culture. I prefer Culture as I have little need for all the loops that come with Stormdrum.

Other real instruments: All gigasampler, kontakt, or similar (I use kontakt for my soft sampler - although many sample libraries come with their own player now). For example, the Scarbee R.S.P. '73 is a killer Rhodes. DFHS has some nice acoustic drums (not to mention the expansions). The full VSL has everything orchestra - strings, horns, orchestral perc., harp, flutes, oboes, etc. For acoustic guitar the Musiclab Real Guitar is pretty impressive.

Basically, I don't own a ROMpler (motif, fantom, triton, etc.) because IMO all the sounds they do are done better (sometimes much, much better) with sample libraries or a real analog synth. I mean, the total wave ROM of the motif es is 175MB . . . compare that to *one* piano program that is 1.5 GB and you hear the difference. That said, I am heavily considering picking up a motif es rack just for the quickness of use/getting the rough idea laid down, then swapping in the sample library sound later on.

Drums: I'll get drums from everywhere and anywhere - vinyls, sample CDs, CDs, drum machines, me banging a pan . . . you get the idea. I never really understood what is so special about the MPCs considering you have to load in your own drum hits. I have never used an MPC extensively, but from my little time with one, I could do everything on a DAW much quicker and with better quality. I find where you get your drum hits less important than how all your drum hits sound together (kinda obvious). In other words, I like working with drum kits, where the drums actually sound like a "kit". I spend a lot of time trying to make the drums sound like a kit and cohesive.

Synths: Owning a SE-1x, Omega8, Virus b, and A6 (just sold the NL3), I'm pretty much satisfied on the synth side. I may sell the virus b for a TI. I may sell the SE-1x for a minimoog rack. I may pick up an oberheim xpander or obxa in the future. I might get a motif es rack just for the workflow. The one synth I'm going to get soon is a Wavestation (maybe I'll just get the Legacy Collection . . . or perhaps the Prophet VS?)). I really like the bells and pads on that synth and think it will fill a niche in the studio. I have also thought of the Jomox Mbase (to perfectly tune in the sub BD to the track), but with Stomper on the computer, I'm not sure how useful it will be. Really, I don't find much use for drum machines . . . or I should I say . . . I don't find much use (aka can't justify the cost) for hardware drum machines when I can get a sample CD that contains all their hits for $20. At this point, I'm thinking more about better outboard to run the synths through than getting more synths. Lastly, I don't use many VSTis anymore (ones that model synths), but I still get something out of z3ta+ every now and then.

Anyway, there's some of the tools I use. I make hip hop and I don't use a MPC or a Triton - however, I'll also say the way I work is not for everyone.