DAWless Setup 2021
For 2021, I've decided to go with a DAWless Setup. What does that mean?
A DAW is a Digital Audio Workstation on a computer, which is a digital representation of an analog recording environment. Some popular DAWs include Logic Pro, Pro Tools, and Abelton Live.
Unfortunately, the latest version of Logic Pro crashes my MacBook Pro. While I could roll back to a previous version and OS, I've decided to forego using a software DAW altogether this year.
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I've had the Digitakt for a few years now and I love it. As someone who's new to the synth game, I've found the Digitakt to be the perfect introduction in terms of drum synthesis, sequencing, and sampling. It's an exciting instrument and it's the most inspiring piece of gear I've ever purchased.
The Nord Drum 3P is the newest piece of gear I got in 2020. For the past few years, I've been itching to play the drums in my apartment but my neighbors wouldn't appreciate me playing blast beats at 2am. I'm a big fan of electronic drums. I did a lot of research into electronic drum kits and pads and for what I want to do, the Nord Drum 3P is easily the best option. You can read more thoughts about the 3p here.
The Roland KT-10 is expensive but the majority of the reviews for the Nord Drum 3P say this is the best kick pedal to pair with it. It feels like an actual kick drum pedal and it's almost silent. The Nord Drum 3P/Roland KT-10 duo is an investment but the ability to play drums at home at any time of day without needing to rent a dedicated space and in a near silent fashion makes the setup more than worth it.
I use the Pearl AX25L clamp for the Nord Drum 3p. It's attached to a ride stand. What's cool about the clamp is that with a turn of the knob, you can revolve the 3p downward when not in use. It's sturdy and works well.
Moog is known for sound and quality. The Minitaur might be my favorite synth. I feel like this is the bass synth sound I've always heard and been like, "What is that sound?" It does one thing and it does it really well. It's a mono synth and sometimes that's all you need. This has been a great tool to learn more about synthesis and it pairs well with the Digitakt.
I got this synth from Jody and man is it cool! I like the digital quality and harshness of FM synthesis; it's always a great juxtaposition with analog sounds. Don't let the size of this unit fool you because the sound engine is deep. The Volca FM and the OP-1 below are also both awesome for Digitakt sampling.
Another synth from Jody like the Volca FM above, the Teenage Engineering OP-1 is one of those instruments that you need to check out. The design itself is a work of art. This is another FM synth, and I've found it easy to use for someone who doesn't know much about synthesis. It's super easy to dial in patches. It also has a digital reel-to-reel recorder that I've been messing with and that was a big reason I wanted to check out the OP-1 in the first place.
The Furman PL Plus DMC Power Conditioner is a glorified power strip in rack form. It protects your gear from power surges and regulates electricity.
I used to use this PA speaker when I played live. It was an amp for the Sansamp, I ran my vocals and vocal effects through it, and I also ran a drum machine through it. I got the idea from Thee Oh Sees; they have their own PA setup when they play live. It makes sense if you want to have more control over your sound or play places that don't have PAs. I'll probably hook up the Nord Drum 3P at some point. The best thing about the DBR-12 is that it has a mixer built into the back. Grab a stand and some mics and you've got a full PA setup in one speaker.
The Model 12 and the 424 are the heart of my setup. I'm using the two units in conjunction with each other and have the option to use them as mixers and recorders. I like the idea of running all of the drums and bass through the 424, with the option to record them to cassette. In this sense, the 424 also acts as a sub mixer, freeing up inputs on the Model 12 where I'd plug in drum and bass gear. The Model 12 also has MIDI functionality, which I need to learn about.
The ART Tube MP is one of my favorite pieces of gear. In this setup, I'm using it to boost the gain of dynamic mics before they hit the Model 12. I've been using the Model 12 for voice overs for the videos and this makes it easier to get a hot signal. I'll also use this if I plan to sample any analog instruments or vocals with a mic and the Digitakt.
The Behringer HA400 is the headphone amp I use with the Model 12. I use it through the sub output for tracking and mixing with headphones on the Model 12.
Why is taking a break important for the creative process? We reflect on the DAWless year so far and taking a break from DAWs.
Is there an element of nostalgia to DAWless recording or is it about using what works for you?
Is DAWless recording cost prohibitive? Jason and I weigh in on both sides of the argument.
The Nord Drum 3p solves problems associated with recording and playing drums in an apartment. You can read more thoughts about the 3p here.
DAWless songwriting has been challenging! Jason and I discuss the ups and downs of the process.
There seems to be confusion about why people would want to record without a DAW; in this video, I outline reasons people choose to do so.
In episode two of Analog Thoughts, Jason and I chat about our loose set of guidelines for DAWless recording.
In the first video of 2021, I unveil my new setup. At the heart of the setup is the 424 and Model 12.
In the last video of 2020, I announce the move to a DAWless Setup in 2021. You can join in the fun and discussion this year on Discord.
Analog Thoughts Podcast is back on Anchor! Jason and I announce and discuss our DAWless plans for the upcoming year.