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Working mainly in the box doesn’t mean your studio has to be boring. Joran van Pol shows us around his Amsterdam space.
Joran Van Pol – My Studio
Joran Van Pol – My Studio
My studio is located in the Nachtlab building in Amsterdam, where I moved just a few months ago. In total we have 13 music studios located here, as well as a bunch of other creative companies and an event location (Warehouse Elementenstraat). I’ve kept the amount of hardware to a minimum, as I work mostly in the box.
Ableton is the heart of my studio. Many moons ago I worked in FL Studio (version 4.5 back then) and decided to try making music in Ableton for a month. Today the program has very few secrets for me, which allows me to quickly transform ideas into music. I love using the built in plugins, and especially the EQ-eight, glue-compressor and frequency shifter. I love how for example the EQ-eight sounds natural and you can really use it to steer the sound in your preferred direction.
Access Virus TI
This is actually the first hardware synth I bought (I guess 10 years ago or something like that). With the Virus I have my moments of using it super intensively, and then not for a while again.I used it on my first release on Minus. Right now its sitting and collecting dust because the power supply went missing when moving to the new studio.
Adam A77x Monitors
I used to have Yamaha HS80m monitors, but when I moved into this space I felt I needed some new monitoring. When I first installed the demo-set Adam sent over, I was immediately sold. I installed the new set a few weeks ago and am still amazed by the sound. All the elements are so clearly separated and balanced. Although I am still getting used to them, I manage to get my mixdowns right the first time, instead of going back and forth between testing them on the dance floor and adjusting the tracks in the studio.
RME Fireface UCX
The RME is, obviously, where the whole studio comes together. I love the flexibility of total mix when it comes to routing all the in and outputs. Although firewire is starting to get a bit outdated, I really like that RME offers both firewire and usb for connection. Whatever connection you use, their drivers are always rock solid and stable. Especially on stage (I use a Fireface 802 for my shows) is that stability really essential. And of course, the sound is clean as it should be.
Novation Launchkey Mini and Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO Headphones
The Launchkey I use for writing quick ideas and easy control. It integrates well with Ableton since it automatically maps the knobs and buttons to Ableton. Not a special controller, but does the job.
The Beyerdynamic headphones I use as a reference. I originally bought these headphones when I still had my studio at some so I could work at night. This closed version is a bit bass-heavy compared to its open brother (the DT-990), but does the job for me.
I sometimes use the Maschine Jam to quickly sketch beats and ideas. However, I mainly use it as a controller for Ableton. When working on tracks when they’re still loops, I map all the effect controls to the buttons and touch-strips so I can try different combinations and see which work. The touchstrips are really the best feature of the Jam, they are so responsive.
The cliche is true: the Moog is a great bass synth and that is exactly what I am using it for. I haven’t owned it for that long, so I’ve mainly used it in tracks that are so far un-released. I really like that Moog added a VST-editor for the SUB-37, in this way you can save and recall patches with your DAW and automate all the different buttons and knobs. Besides using it for basslines, I love using the filter for filtering things like kicks. Essentially, the filter is what makes this synth shine.
Reaktor is really my go-to plug-in. I mainly use Razor, Monark and Reaktor Blocks. Razor is really good for abstract and new kind of sounds. I love using all the weird oscillators and effects in this synth. Not many synths are capable of producing sounds like this. The Monark I use as a back-up for the SUB37, for example when I already use that for something else and need a second ‘Moog’. When I feel like playing around I start working with the blocks feature, which is essentially Native Instruments’ version of a modular synth. The power of block is not the standard blocks, but the huge user library of blocks made by other users. Sometimes I can just get lost in trying new ones and creating unexpected sounds.
The TR-09 is the latest and a temporary addition to the studio. I am thinking about adding this to my DJ-setup to create fills like snares, claps, rides, etc, so I borrowed this unit from a friend. Although it’s obviously not the real 909, I think it sounds pretty damn good.
I have a Rubik’s cube sitting in my studio for when I am rendering music. In the time I have to wait I try to solve the cube. In general I can completely solve the cube within 4 minutes, with my fastest solve being 2.5 minutes. Not world-record worthy, but I think it’s a fun exercise.
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