Alex Niggemann shows us his studio.
Alex Niggemann – My Studio
My studio is located on the ground floor of my apartment.
It was constructed as a room in a room and the acoustic elements have been integrated step by step. There are absorbers on the both left and right walls and also hanging from the ceiling.
Two bass traps and a Helmholz Resonator complete the installation and make the room sound nearly perfect for me.
I’ve put also a thick Persian carpet on the floor (from my father’s office). This makes the room comfortable and at the same time it absorbs the sound.
It’s great to be able to play all types of sound with the feel of a real piano.
Klein+Hummel O 300
Therefore when it comes to lower frequencies, which are very much needed in modern productions, they aren’t that “fun”. To make sure production stays fun, I mostly add the K+H subwoofer (with a footswitch) or switch to the Genelecs via my monitor control.
The final mix is always done from a combination of the K+H’s and the Yamahas (below the K+Hs), which were my first ever monitor speakers. I still use them as a reference. If a song sounds good on them, it should sound good everywhere!
My outboard is a combination of a UA Apollo 8 – which allows me to use all the brilliant UAD Plugins – and my old RME Fireface 400. They are linked, so I’m able to profit from more in’s and out’s as well as more processor power.
To switch between my speakers, prepare a headphone mix and talkback, I use the PreSonus Central Station with its remote control.
Within the rack, I also have my patch-bay to easily pre-plug all external synths, racks & sequencers and easily connect them to my DAW.
One of them, the Moog Voyager RME, you can see on top. For me, it’s still the synth with the “fattest” analogue sound!
I most of the time use the Moog in combination with the Arturia BeatStep.
That gives me a lot of ways to tweak every single tone/note being played by the sequencer.
I love the Prophet for its warm Synth and Pad sounds.
The Moog Sub 37 is my bass and lead machine. The sequencer function is a nice add on which I mostly use for stab sounds or synth arps to create a sequencing “line” that also has a melodic groove.
Logic Studio X
To jam and work live with synths, Ableton is a lot easier, especially when also using the Ableton Push . But I prefer doing arrangements and mixdowns in Logic as I believe that its sound and engine are much better.
With Logic I sometimes also use Live in ReWire mode, as the audio editing and its warp mode are much easier to use.
Lots of quality plug-ins from UAD (like the SSL G-Bus you see in the photo), Waves & Plugin Alliance help me to make things sound as I want. Especially the UAD’s SSL and Neve, EQ’s and Compressors which sound almost identical to the originals.
Akai Advance 49
For controlling external and internal gear, I use a few different controllers. As mentioned already, the Yamaha Clavinova & the Arturia BeatStep.
But to jam on a loop or when choosing instruments and laying my first ideas of melodies before recording them with my Yamaha Clavinova, I use the shiny/blinky Akai Advance 49. With its faders and knobs, I can also record quick automations “on the fly”.
Sometimes, I want to control more than one parameter of a synth at the same time. With my two hands, I’m unfortunately pretty limited, so I love the Touche “Pad” (on top of the Arturia BeatStep) to program parameters and have more automation recorded in one go.
The table (called “The UFO”) was custom made to ensure I can easily reach all controls by just rotating in my chair.
At the back, you’ll see that I like to have my DJ-set-up in the studio. My studio is my creative hub but I use it for power naps when I listen to promos, demos and other stuff too!
On the wall between the speakers, you’ll see one of the first copies of Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn” releases, which my father bought in the 70’s – his wild era…!