Emperor Machine shows us the incredible studio he shares with studio partner Richard Hale featuring a Fairlight CMI, two llamas and impeccable synth taste.
Llama Farm Studio is situated in a converted stable, at the end of a long winding road, in the wilds of Staffordshire and in the middle of nowhere! It’s just a few minutes drive from my home and I’ve been working there for a few years. It’s a truly inspirational place.
Adam Audio A77X
The bass on these monitors is fantastic. They are brilliant to mix on. I read a lot of reviews because I only had a modest budget to spend on some monitors and I took a gamble with these and it really paid off. Amazing speakers.
I mixed half of my new album, “Music Not Safari”, on Yamaha NS10s then I got these and started all over again!
The MPC2500s are probably my most used pieces of equipment for writing music on initially, getting ideas together but also for playing live. I have always been an MPC user. I started on the MPC60, which I sold to buy an MPC3000 which I still have and use. My new album was written on the MPC2500s.
In the background on the right you can see my new MPC live. I have been using that more recently as it is a lot lighter to carry around and use live. I think that it is absolutely amazing but I think that I am probably going to end up buying the MPC X as I really like the new Akai workflow.
Korg Minilogue XD
I bought this on a whim based on some reviews and it has ended up being an invaluable synth in the studio. I wrote my latest single, “House Des Lowe”, (which is out on the 6th December 2019 🙂 ) entirely on this synth, apart from the drum sounds. I think that this synth is amazing.
I am surrounded by vintage analogue synths but I always turn to this synth first. The only thing that I don’t like about it is the small key bed. I always end up controlling it with a full-size keyboard.
I bought this from Sphere auction about 6 years ago. There are actually three of them in the studio in total. One doesn’t work. One is the keyboard/synth version and the other is just the Polymoog (Gary Newman) version.
It is such a lush sounding synth. I used it on the track “Two Voice”, my previous single release on Skint. You can hear it come in around 4 minutes.
I used this on my new album on the track “What you Need (SDS)”. I also used it on my first release with Skint Records on a track called “Function”.
It’s such a good all-rounder. It is a warm sounding synth and I always find that it makes the best basslines. It is used on a lot of the album in parts. I have had it for what seems like forever but when I work it out its a mere 18 years. It has never been serviced and never lets me down…starts first time every time!
I used to take it on the road with me too because at the time it was the only synth that would slice through a guitar sound on stage. I found that most Roland Synths seem to get lost in a live mix whereas the Prodigy was so much better at cutting through a Fender Strat. It’s also quite lightweight. It is a good go-to synth.
The Oberheim 2 Voice
I used this to write all of the percussion and bass on my cunningly named previous single for Skint called “Two Voice”! I sampled some bass notes from the 2 Voice into the MPC2500 and wrote the bassline on the 2500. I sketched the bassline on the Oberheim sequencer and re-wrote it again on the MPC. I did this to help me play around with the notes separately.
UAD Apollo x4
My most recent purchase. I was using an RME Fireface 800 but it died. So I had to buy a new interface and I chose this one.
Let me tell you the sound is sublime! It is almost transparent, especially with Adam’s monitors. It is so crystal clear I almost think, every time, that I don’t need to do any mixing. It sounds so precise. It really helps me to hear the textures in the synths. I am absolutely blown away with it.
The zero-latency monitoring is so good it means that I can take my laptop and the UAD and work with a synth anywhere without any latency. I have just done my first remix for someone using this new set up. I think that it is going revolutionise the way that I work and has sped up my process significantly.
This was just an opportunity to have a photograph of a new studio arrival! I’ve not used it yet but can’t wait to have a go.
While it’s not the monster that the CS-80 is – it’s still a thing of beauty.
Here are a few more of my favourite synths…
E-mu Emulator II & ARP Omni-2
Roland ProMars MRS-2
Roland Vocoder Plus VP-330
I like Robots. I like them in the studio when I work. A bit weird perhaps…?
I used to have a lot more including a Robosapien – but he took up too much room and had to go; I prefer old vintage robots anyway.
Thumper & Aloette
Lama Farm Studio is home to very friendly Llamas called Thumper and Aloette, numerous cats and Giant Tortoises.