I’m in the middle of my first major studio overhaul in quite a few years and I was wondering how often you guys do major change ups?
I decided to finally get a new computer and a decent soundcard, so I’m paring down a lot of my hardware. I’m just sick of nests of cables and loads of things that sit on shelves (or in drawers or closets) and don’t get touched or worse sit and collect dust. December is going to be a PITA getting everything out on the auctions, but when it’s over it’s going to feel good. I’m looking forward to a streamlined and tidy setup. I’m definitely a minimalist at heart.
My advice is patchbays, labels, cable tidies and making sure the cables are the correct length - yes it can be a right PITA buying new cables but the hassle saved in the long run is worth it I found, a lot of planning in advance made my setup a joy to use, I can easily know what I’m connecting and reconfigurations are simple because everything is on a patchbay and clealy labelled, both midi and audio.
One thing I’m really stuck on at the moment is what to do about a midi controller keyboard.
I have an Arturia Keystep and a Yamaha Reface CP. I really only want to keep one keyboard.
Keep the Reface since I love the sounds and use it as my midi controller (sacrificing aftertouch, the mod wheel strips, and the arpeggiator)?
Get rid of the Reface and try to replace those Rhodes and vintage key sounds with software since my computer will be pretty powerful and I really only use those sounds in my studio so the loss of portability won’t be a major downside. (FYI: Logic will be my main DAW)
*Note: I’m not much of a keyboard player, but I absolutely love Rhodes (and Wurlitzers).
when I’m faced with that sort of decision I just throw stuff in a closet/storage for a while to de-clutter, and if something stays in storage too long I’ll probably sell it after some months or years. If you find yourself needing/wanting the one that’s put away you can always swap equipment back and forth depending on what you desire at the time. Obviously this strategy works best and is easier to implement on less expensive and physically smaller gear.
I’m in the same boat. Even with the few hardware things that I still have, I don’t feel like I’m lacking in tools or the ability to create the sounds I want to make. What’s missing are in the areas of human interface and expression.
Small keyboards are handy for programming in steps and are easier to fit within a confined space, but when it comes to capturing a performance in a recording, having more keys, the quality of the keybed, as well as pitch wheels/sticks and other forms of expression like aftertouch becomes more important. I realize I’m now ready for a big kid keyboard.
There are some impressive keyboard controllers on the market but I haven’t found one that sits for me in that sweet spot of a great keyboard that also doesn’t attempt to be an all-in-one interface that tries to do too much including sprinkling CV control on top. I already have a pad controller as well as a knobby controller with faders. They are both unobtrusive, feel right, and do their jobs well when I need them.
So I’ve been thinking about finding a hardware keyboard synth that I can also use well with my current screen-based activities. But the funny thing is, I can’t think of anything out there that I really want. I’m less likely to buy something like a DX7 than an old Nord Lead that lacks aftertouch. I’ve also considered a Blofeld keyboard. But again, nah. I don’t think so. The Sequential stuff doesn’t get me excited in the way it’s supposed to either. So for now, I get nothing… and keep looking.
The thing I keep coming back to is a line from one of my favorite books on minimalism (The Joy of Less). I can’t remember it word for word, but it is essentially: you have to learn to differentiate between “you” and “fantasy you”.
I have this cheap, funky ES-130 copy guitar in the closet that I very rarely play, but I keep telling myself that it’s a shame to get rid of it because it would make a cool slide guitar or would make a neat compact jazz box if I start to take lessons again. The thing is that while that’s true, I don’t play slide and I don’t have the time to start up jazz guitar lessons again. I’ve been telling myself that story for several years now. “Fantasy me” should definitely keep that guitar, but “real me” should part with it and just use my tele if I start up lessons again.