The equipment I use to produce music

by on Saturday, March 7th, 2009, under Music

Here’s a list of the equipment/software I use to produce my music.

M-Audio Axiom 61

M-Audio Axiom 61 MIDI Keyboard

M-Audio Axiom 61 MIDI Keyboard

This is the MIDI keyboard that I use, mostly to record notes for software instrument tracks, though it does serve many other purposes.  The MIDI device sends data to the computer that represents which note I have played, the note velocity (how fast/hard a key was struck), and aftertouch data (based on the pressure used to hold the key down).  This data is processed by the audio software and used to determine which audio file should play and how it should be played.  It may be clips of a guitar, piano, or a completely synthesized (computer generated) sound.

For a good example of how the data changes the sound, imagine an electric guitar audio file.  When the key is struck, the note data will be used to select the audio file to play.  The velocity data would likely control how hard a string sounds like it was plucked (the audio file would start with a sharper attack, and a higher volume).  The aftertouch might be used to control the pitch thus making a sound like the whammy bar normally would.

Rode NT1-A

Rode NT1-A Condenser Microphone

Rode NT1-A Condenser Microphone

The Rode NT1-A microphone is a large diaphragm, condenser microphone designed for studio use.  This microphone requires a 48v power supply known as ‘phantom power’ which comes from the preamplifier.  Condenser microphones use an electrically charged plate with a diaphragm stretched in front of it.  The diaphragm and the plate create a capacitor, and any vibration of the diaphragm will create a variation in the capacitance, thus representing the analog sound.  The capacitor assembly is collectively known as the condenser or capsule.

This particular model uses a large, 1″ capsule with a gold plated diaphragm.  The Rode NT1-A is known for having the warmth, clarity, and the wide dynamic range that you would normally find only in the most expensive models.

M-Audio Fast Track Pro

M-Audio Fast Track Pro Preamp

M-Audio Fast Track Pro Preamp

The M-Audio Fast Track Pro is the preamplifier (preamp) that I use to supply the microphone’s 48v phantom power.  The preamp’s job is to amplify the low level signals that the microphone produces, to line level prior to sending the signal down the wires.

This preamp supports stereo configurations with 2 microphones, has 2 MIDI ports (for a keyboard or other midi device), and 10 additional input/output ports on the rear for a few different types of audio connections.  The Fast Track Pro is essentially a USB sound interface that gets all of your external sounds and MIDI data into the computer.

Apple Logic Studio

Apple Logic Studio

Apple Logic Studio

Apple’s Logic Studio is a software suite containing all of the tools one would need to create music.  I mostly use the Logic Pro 8 application on Mac OS X 10.5.2 for my music projects.  This software is what collects any MIDI data and audio input and turns them into tracks.  Logic Pro comes with a variety of instruments and preconfigured channel strip settings which control things like echoing, filtering, compression, and much more.

Logic Studio is commonly regarded as the premier audio production suite, and many of the artists you know probably have some portion of their tracks loaded into Logic Pro at one point or another.

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Saturday, March 7th, 2009 Music

6 Comments to The equipment I use to produce music

  • avatar Mars says:

    how are the pres on the m audio fast track pro?

  • avatar kandy says:

    Pretty impressive post. I just came across your site and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your opinions. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

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