Red Dog Music | Oct 9, 2018 | 0
Aphex Twin Syro Gear List – top picks and descendents!
In case you missed it, Aphex Twin has recently released a new album. Yes, we know it’s not that recent anymore, but I only got ’round to buying it a couple of weeks ago, so I’m a bit slow on this one. It is called Syro and we’re not really going to talk about it here. Mostly because the reviews have been spectacular, and if you’re interested you’ll go and listen to it. What we are going to talk about is the intriguing Aphex Twin gear list that appears on the album cover.
Well, obviously, a list of gear does appear on the cover, but, particularly with Richard D James’ jocular history, who knows whether this is actually the list of equipment he used to make the album.
That, however, is a conversation for another day! What is clear, is that this is a list of some pretty nice kit, and that is sufficiently interesting for us to take a look at some of the choice equipment picks contained within…
The possible Aphex Twin Syro gear list perhaps
Designed by Saul Walker in the 1960s, equalisers don’t get much more famous than the API 550A. With a design that has found its way into many consoles as an OEM design, this eq is a great performer, and the proportional Q design is an effective way to go from broad tone-shaping to surgical problem-solving with the minimum of fuss. Available in lunchbox-friendly 500-series format, the API 550A is a great go-to eq unit.
Not the most commercially successful of their products, the ARP 2500 modular behemoth nevertheless holds a special place in the hearts of many and, it would seem, in the ears of aliens; if you want to communicate with visitors from another world, or synthesise the sound of them communicating with you, then an ARP 2500 is the synth to go for.
And of course, you’ve got to love the pin matrix. Seen on contemporary synths such as the Analogue Solutions Vostok Deluxe, pin matrices let you get all patched in without turning the front of your synth into something resembling Medusa having a bad hair day.
What needs to be said about the classic Atari ST? Probably very little. Back in the big ST vs Amiga 500 battle of the early nineties, the Atari ST offered something that the Amiga did not: built-in MIDI ports. When you combined this with the early versions of software such as Cubase and Notator, the Atari ST could quickly become the hub of your studio. And – thanks to rock-solid MIDI timing – it still ha a home in a few studios today.
Chandler Zener Limiter
Just look at it for a start. If the Chandler Zener Limiter doesn’t make your studio look a bit more pro, chances are something’s fundamentally wrong with all of reality and you’re clearly living in a parallel dimension somehow.
I can’t really comment much more than that as I’ve not had the experience of mixing through one. But I want one. Even if only to make me feel more pro when I’m at the studio desk. Just look at it. Did I say that already?
Focusrite ISA 430
I’ve already written a love letter to the Focusrite ISA 430 (the mk2 version at least), so all I need to say here is that, if I like this thing this much, and it’s on the Aphex Twin gear list, I must have impeccable taste.
That is all.
Given that the first track on the album is called Minipops 67 [120.2], it does seem fairly likely that a Korg Minipops warrants its place on the Syro gear list.
Korg produced a good few models of drum machine, but if you want a cheap and cheerful source of beat and sample fodder to be cut up, processed and generally extrapolated into a whole new genre, you could give the £60 Korg KR Mini a try…
Lynx Aurora 16
Standalone converters might not be seen as the most fun bit of gear to buy for your studio – synths, monitors and things with flying faders probably trump them on that – but if you want to get lots of channels in and out of your DAW, chances are you might want one.
If you are recording multiple tracks at once, want to integrate lots of external hardware or mix individual channels using a hardware mixer, you’ll be looking to take advantage of your interface’s ADAT connectivity, and the Lynx Aurora 16 is a professional-quality way to use them.
RME Fireface 800
Although now retired and replaced with the Fireface 802, RME Fireface 800s are going strong in the studios of many, as they have been for years. And years. And years. As with seemingly everything RME make, it’s rock-solid, offers great latency numbers, and sounds as transparent as you want.
Roland TR 606
Yes, we know the better known 808 (as well as a clone of the 909) is on the list as well, but the 606 (and the 707) are perhaps the less-sung heroes of the Roland drum machine lineup. If you’re an Ableton Live 9 Suite owner, you’ve probably got the 606 and 707 (and 808 and 909 of course) in your library, so fire them up and give them a play.
If you’ve got Push, even better! Get your real-time step sequencing hands on a 606 in a drum rack and program away!
It’s a niche product, granted – it only appears on the Syro gear list for one track for a start – but if you want something to fill that particular niche, then you won’t do much better than the SSL X-Desk.
Now, it may look expensive for a mixer that doesn’t have any preamps or eq in the channel strip, but in the days of the hybrid studio, it’s a great studio centrepiece.
If you’ve got a mix in your DAW and you’ve taken care of the automation, got groups and stems submixed, but want to integrate a few pieces of outboard gear for the final mixdown while getting your hands on the mix with the tactility of faders under fingers, the X-Desk gets it done.
In addition to the up to 22 inputs at mixdown, monitor controller functionality and the fact you can say you have an SSL console in your studio, the X-Desk makes you feel like your spare room is Abbey Road studio 2.
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