Mac Setups: The Studio of a Music Producer
This weeks featured Apple gear setup comes to us from Peter L., a professional music producer based in Manhattan. Let’s learn a bit about more about this pro studio setup, and what essential apps are used for both the OS X and iOS side of things.
Tell us a bit about your setup hardware?
I’m running a variety of hardware, all which contributes to my music making in some way:
- iMac 27″ (late 2009) – 2.8GHz Core i7 CPU with 16GB of memory
- MacBook Pro 15″ (late 2009, not pictured)
- iPad 2
- iPhone 4S
- iPhone 5S
- 2x 1TB external hard drives
- Korg Kronos X 88-Key Music Workstation
- Native Instruments Maschine Groove Production Studio
- Akai EWI 4000S Electronic Wind Controller
- Yamaha WX5 16-Key Wind MIDI Controller
- Yamaha VL70m
- EMU XL7
- Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 for the Audio interface
- Various microphones and external controllers
The iPad and the iPhone 4S are basically used as external synthesizers, using some of the apps mentioned below.
What do you use your Apple gear for?
I recently graduated from Full Sail as a Music Production major with a focus in Film Scoring. After graduation, I moved to NYC to see if I can break into the world of independent film scoring.
For my personal music I compose Ambient music, tinged with world flavors. Being a traditional woodwind player I have all sorts of wind instruments I use in my compositions, as well as using the wind controllers/synthesizers by Akai and Yamaha to add more texture to my music.
I also dabble in composition for video games, and have worked with installation music as well.
What are your essential apps for the Mac and iOS?
On the Mac, I can’t live without Logic or Native Instruments. I am currently using Apple Logic Pro X and Native Instruments Komplete Ultimate 9. I also have a gazillion other music making plug ins and apps that make little squiggly noises here and there. Some of the Indy developers are making the most astounding programs. I love generative music, and Nodal is such a fun tool. Photosounder is a gem and a steal at the price. It’s amazing for playing with frequencies of sound, and for creating unworldly soundscapes. Yikes, I feel like I just gave away one of my secret tools in my arsenal!
On the iPad, it is an embarrassment of riches for music makers. The camera connection is essential. But the synths from Korg, Moog, Camel Audio, Propellerhead, Waldorf are essential. But just like on the Mac, the indy developers are coming out with some phenomenal tools. For instance, csGrain by Boulanger Labs is so much fun. On my iPhone, I have so fallen in love with Barcodas, which scans bar codes and turns them into a musical phrase.
There are DAW’s (Digital Audio Workstation) now for the iPad, which can turn it into a self contained music making machine. Using inter-application MIDI and Audio, there are also a ton of step sequencers and samplers as well. I have almost all of them.
Do you have any tips or productivity tricks you want to share?
It’s been said many times, but it’s SO TRUE: Thou shalt learn thy Key Commands. When you are in a session with a client, and they are paying you with their hard earned cash, you don’t have time to diddle around with your mouse. Even in your own personal work, you can save so much time by learning your key commands.
As I said earlier there are a wealth of riches for apps for Apple platforms. It’s so easy to get lost in everything that’s available to you. The best thing one can do for creativity in my opinion is to get all Waldenesque and simplify. Slim down your sonic arsenal to a handful of apps and learn them like the back of your hand. You’ll find tricks in apps that you never thought they could do, if you learn them very well.
Also, be nice to one another, it’ll make your life so much more pleasant.