Every producer's workflow is different. Depending on how you entered the process, the way you make music could be completely alien to someone else. While the modern era of music production has given credence to the convenience of "in the box" producing, some producers out there can't get enough of their hardware controllers. One group that still embraces hardware controllers is famous Techno Duo, Octave One. The group, comprised of brothers Lawrence and Lenny Burden, have been active in the scene for over 25 years with a number of successful releases.
To celebrate the release of their new album "Endustry", the duo have embarked on an international tour of the same name. This release falls under their working alias called Random Noise Generation and it's their first release through this alias since 2006. If you live in New York City or Detroit, you're in luck. The duo will be performing at both places this weekend. The show in New York will be at Analog BKNY on Friday and the details for the Detroit show can be found at the end of the article.
As for their gear, the brothers have been kind enough to lend us six pieces of gear that are essential to their studio set up. Without further ado, here's Octave One's top 6 studio essentials!
KiwiTechnics Patch Editor
This is a universal patch editor that works on most rack mount synths in the studio. It puts the hardware controls back in our hands. In the past, we used the Behringer BCR2000 with custom setups to edit the individual synths. This unit comes preloaded with editing setups for the Korg EX-8000, Roland MKS-7, MKS-50, MKS-70, MKS-80, Oberheim Matrix 1000, Studio Electronics ATC-X, and SYSEX
Digidesign Pro Tools 12
Our DAW for many years, it’s easy to learn and can be deep or simple, depending on your need. We sequence midi as well as record audio into it. We use it as our editor (midi and audio) and arranger. We have midi patch name libraries set up within the DAW so for each midi track we can choose any synth in the studio from the instrument list (the midi channels are already preset in the daw), then we can scroll through all the patches within the synth right in protools. In combination with the KiwiEditor, you can control most of the synths in the studio from one central place.
Moog Voyager RME
For leads and bass, this synth covers it all. Easy programming can be done on the front panel as well as with the VST Editor. With 3 oscillators it can be as thick as you need a sound to be. The RME is the rack mount edition so it doesn’t take up all the space as the full keyboard synth without sacrificing on the versatility of the unit. We also have the VX-352 CV Input Expander that gives even more flexibility in the shaping and manipulating of the patches.
Native Instruments Maschine MK3
This is the go-to baby of our brother Lorne, whose our principal production partner. He has a large library of Native Instrument samples as well as his personal library he’s amassed over the years. He started on the MPC2000 but moved to Maschine because of the quick access to his library and versatility. He also has a nice library of VST instruments and effects that he uses to lay the foundation for many of our productions.
Arturia Keystep and Beatstep Pro
Small lightweight, and powerful this controller has taken over our studio. With chord memory, an onboard sequencer, and onboard arpeggiator, it’s our go-to controller. It is small enough to fit right in front of the computer monitor and actually sit on the mixing console. Just about anything you want a keyboard controller to do it does, within a small footprint. It even triggers via CV. The Beatstep pro is basically a drum machine type sequencer/controller that give you XOX type sequencing and CV triggers. It works great with NI Battery and the Samples From Mars collection of vintage drum machines. It has tons of knobs that are assignable for CCs. The combination of them both allows us to play the room like one big instrument from one central place in the studio.
Dave Smith Instruments Mopho Keyboard
A straightforward bread and butter synth for us. It’s another synth that’s great for leads and bass. We have the desktop version for the live setup and the keyboard for the studio. The keyboard has full controls for quick editing, large patch storage, and USB to connect directly to the computer. The sound of the synth is completely underrated, it fits nicely in the pocket and has a great arpeggiator onboard. We seem to always find ourselves in front of this synth when we’re looking for something to fill in the groove.
We'd like to thank Octave One for such great insight into the gear that they use! If you're attending Movement in Detroit this weekend, you can catch the duo performing at the KMS Movement Official After Party. The Party will be Sunday at the Magic Stick where they will share the stage with KiNK and The Saunderson Brothers.
Producers, what do you think of Octave One's essential gear and do you use any of the same gear in your regular production workflow?