What Unique Gear Do Top Producers Use?

Originally published by DJ Tech Tools
http://djtechtools.com/2015/03/30/what-unique-gear-do-top-producers-use/

What Unique Gear Do Top Producers Use?

Production Gear is more powerful and accessible than ever, but it’s not the gear itself that makes great music. It’s ideas, taste, and practice combined with a solid kit that makes the messy process of creating a song much easier and more fun. So what trusted tools do the pro’s rely on everyday to craft some of this biggest songs in the biz? Good question. We’ve gone ahead and compiled an extensive list of studio staples so you feel like you’re right there in the studio checking out the setup of each producer on our list!

Finding Out What Gear They Use

It really takes some digging to uncover what top producers really use in a constantlychanging and somewhat secretive studio environment. Of course, we’ve done our best to make sure that this article is as accurate as possible, but there’s certainly the possibility of error here.

Common Studio Tools for Producers

DAW

DAW_Producer

There’s a huge overlap in DAW’s chosen by the pros since there’s really only a few popular options. Here’s what we found:

  • Ableton – Flume, Netsky, Dada Life, Kill Paris, Diplo, Wolfgang Gartner, Skrillex, Baauer, Flosstradamus, Bass Kleph, Deadmau5
  • Logic – Disclosure, Hardwell, Flosstradamus (yes twice), Nicky Romero, Chocolate Puma, Boys Noize, Calvin Harris, David Guetta
  • FL Studio – Martin Garrix, Porter Robinson, Afrojack, Avici, Camo & Krooked
  • Cubase  – Stimming, Breach, Sharooz, Noisia, Zedd

Synths

Synths

  • Native Instruments Plugins and Sylenth seem to be crowd favorites no matter who you talk to.
  • Komplete/Native Instruments plugins – Sharooz, Diplo, Dada Life, Camo & Krooked,Skrillex, Flume, Netsky, Nicky Romero, Boys Noize, Calvin Harris, Breach
  • Sylenth – Martin Garrix, Hardwell, Camo & Krooked, Flume, Netsky, Dada Life, Afrojack

The Interesting Bit: Unique Gear & Setups

FLUME’S STUDIO SETUP

Flume_Producer_Studio

  • DAW – Ableton
  • Monitors – Barefoot Micromain 27, but he started with the popular KRK Rokit 8’s
  • Studio Headphones Sennheiser HD-600 (check out studio headphones in the DJTT Store)
  • Soundcard – RME Fireface UCX
  • Go to plugins – Sylenth because he “can make anything (with it)”
  • Other ToolsMaschine MK2, Akai Apc 40, Teenage Engineering OP-1, Novation 25SL keyboard
  • Production Secret – “I like NI Guitar Rig as an effect on things like vocals. I do that quite regularly. It’s great running things through the amps, and even if I’m not using much distortion you can get some really cool, different sounds.”

NETSKY STUDIO SETUP

netsky_producer_in-studio

  • DAW – Ableton
  • Monitors – Mackie HR824 which are popular with the Drum & Bass crowd due to their emphasis on bass
  • Studio Headphones – Audeze LCD XC
  • Soundcard – RME Fireface UFX
  • Go to plugins – Omnisphere, Sylenth, Razor, B4, Real Guitar

DISCLOSURE STUDIO SETUP

Disclosure_inthe-studio_

  • DAW – Logic
  • Monitors –  Tannoy Reveal 6D Studio Monitors
  • Soundcard – RME Fireface UCX
  • Go to plugins – “We use a lot of logic synths and sample stuff from Access 24 and make our sounds on that.”
  • Other tools – Moog Little Phatty, Roland Juno 106, and a Korg ms20

WOLFGANG GARTNER STUDIO SETUP

Wolfgang_Gartner_Studio

  • DAW – Ableton (Looking for Ableton tips? Check out these 5 tips to revolutionize your workflow)
  • Monitors – Tannoy Reveal 601a in the studio, Krk Rokit 8′s on his tour bus
  • Studio Headphones – “I don’t produce in headphones.”
  • Go to plugins -Waves Kramer Tape
  • When mixing, what do you find the hardest thing to get sounding right? The low end: the way the kick and bass sit together – always has been, always will be. The solution for me ends up being a mix of side-chaining and multiband compression, but I still haven’t found any magic settings or combination of plugins. It’s always hard work to get it right, and the process is different for every track.

DADA LIFE STUDIO SETUP

Dada_Life_Studio

  • DAW – Ableton
  • Monitors – Barefoot Micromain35 (a smaller version of Flumes speakers)
  • Studio Headphones – Audeze (unspecified model) as well as the Sennheiser HD800
  • Soundcard – RME Fireface UFX
  • Go to plugins – Razor, Sylenth, Ableton plugins, and Sausage Fattener – a plugin created by Dada Life themselves.
  • Other tools – “What’s the best piece of audio equipment you’ve got recently?!”
  • “It’s this thing called SubPac, it’s basically a portable sub woofer that you can put against your chair (or wear) in the studio. So for us it’s great to be able to feel the bass in the studio like we can in the clubs. Plus it’s really fun to re-listen to all our old favorite records again and hear them in a different way”

KINK STUDIO SETUP

Kink_Studio

Bulgarian House master Kink creates quirky house with very unique gear.

  • DAW – Jeskola Buzz, a free modular software.  
  • Monitors – Tannoy Reveal 6D Studio Monitors
  • Go to synths -MFB 522 and a lot of analog gear
  • Other tools The Roland TR-8 (learn how to make music with the TR-8)

SHAROOZ STUDIO SETUP

Sharooz_Studio

  • DAW – Cubase
  • Monitors – Yahama NS-10 for the majority of the mixdown and Focal Twin 6BE for club translatability checks.
  • Soundcard – Prism Sound Orpheus
  • Go to synths -NI Komplete, Juno 106, The SH-101
  • Other tools – “50% of what I use is analogue or classic vintage gear, the rest in the box.”

CAMO & KROOKED STUDIO SETUP

Camo_Krooked_Studio

  • DAW – Fl Studio
  • Monitors – Neumann KH 310
  • Studio Headphones – Audeze LCD 2
  • Soundcard – Prism Orpheus
  • Go to synths -FM8, Kontakt, Fab Filter pro-q , h82 harmonic maximizer, NuGen Stereoizer
  • Other – “We only use soft synths. Hardware synthesizers are great, but we love a quick and easy workflow. And you can automate everything on a softsynth in a way you could never work with a hardware synth”  However, Camo & Krooked did recently purchase a Dave Smith Prophet 08, and a Moog Sub37.
  • Studio Secret –  At 5:00 min on “peak-controlling” and optimizing your song for loudness

For producers working strictly on a computer, check out these productivity boosting apps to stay focused.

KILL PARIS STUDIO SETUP

Kill_Paris_Setup

  • DAW – Ableton
  • Monitors – Focal Solo 6Be
  • Soundcard – UAD Apollo/Twin
  • Go to synths -He uses analog synths like the  Jupiter 80, Juno 106 with lots of processing
  • Studio Secret – “Lots of UAD processing. Multiband comp and EQ BEFORE distortion.“

 

HARDWELL STUDIO SETUP

Hardwell_Studio

  • DAW – Logic
  • Monitors – Focal SM9, Dyn Audio Bm6
  • Studio Headphones – Beyerdynamic DT 770
  • Soundcard – Apogee Quartet
  • Go to synths – Virus TI, Sylenth, Nexus, BazziSM for designing kicks in every track
  • Other –  “It took me years and years to develop my ears, I listen to other producers, I read a lot of tutorials on the internet.” (it takes time to develop skills as a producer, you can save time by avoiding these 5 mistakes every beginner producer makes)

DIPLO STUDIO SETUP

Diplo_Studio

  • DAW – Ableton
  • Monitors – Adam S3A
  • Soundcard – Apogee Quartet
  • Go to synths – Komplete, Battery, Massive

 

MARTIN GARRIX STUDIO SETUP

Martin_Garrix_Studio

  • DAW- Fl Studio
  • Monitors – Krk Rokit 6
  • Soundcard – Apogee Duet
  • Go to synths – Ozone (Multiband compression and the maximizer), Sylenth, Nexus, Massive

 

FLOSSTRADAMUS STUDIO SETUP

Flosstradamus_Studio

This duo is pretty secretive about studio stuff, but we found one interesting bit about the way they work together.

  • DAW – Ableton + Logic
  • Other tools –  They use a Midi Fighter 3D  & Launchpad live, which we assume also gets some studio action.
  • Studio Philosophy – Flosstradamus’ studio secret seems to be their complementary strengths, “Curt is an incredible engineer! And for years, his passion has been just to find plug-ins and things to mix the songs and make them sound huge. That’s not my strong point. My strong point is just to kind of have an idea and get it on the page and send it over to him and he will mix it and make it sound incredible.”

Flosstradamus was also featured in our “What Unique Gear Do Touring DJs/Producers Use”, see what they use on the road!

Wrap Up

What’s crazy here is that most of the pros are making music in their home studios! The tools of the trade are all within your reach. What’s that mean? Go make some music! Not sure where to start? Talk to our DJ/producers on live chat if you need some help figuring out the perfect setup for you! Or come visit us at our community space and store in San Francisco!