The Amsterdam-based Scottish producer shows us around his studio, picking out a few key pieces of gear from his extensive setup.
Vince Watson – My Studio
My studio is in Amsterdam centre, on one of the three main canals. I relocated it there a year after moving to Amsterdam. I needed a compact room after my last room which was too big. I’ve left a lot of my old synths back in Scotland.. still pondering what to do about them!
I’m using Ableton Live 9 as my main DAW, sometimes using Logic Pro X as a sound source (aggregated into Live).
Monitors are KRK Rokit RP8 G2. They are mid-priced, but are one of the best reference units I’ve heard for the money. I regard them as temporary items until the Martions arrive!
I had been touring with my 909 and 808 for a long long time, so when the TR-8 was announced I was praying they hadn’t made another MC-303, but I need not have worried because after hearing the 808 kick drum with one hit, I knew Roland had nailed it. Completely. And Roland are continuing on this path with other machines like the MX-1, Promars plug-out and the JD-XA, so things are getting very interesting in the market in 2015. The TR-8 sits proudly beneath all of my other Roland and Boss drum machines.
Access Virus Ti
I’ve owned quite a few synths over the last 20-plus years. Some I’ve outgrown and some I’ve abandoned or sold, but every now and then you find one that just has everything. The Virus Ti must be one of the most versatile, editable and enjoyable synths around. Its been my go-to machine for many sounds when I’m looking for something interesting. So much power in such a small package. My only issue with it is the software that comes with it. Oh, and don’t try to lift it up unless you want a back operation afterwards.
Novation Supernova 2
This is on the list by accident. As a standalone synth it’s been solid enough through the years and has some great sounds, but sadly in 2012 the internal amplifier died on me and replacing the part was more expensive than buying another keyboard second hand. But, as luck would have it, I’ve ended up with the most expensive MIDI keyboard ever made thanks to Novation’s forward thinking back then, as well as the most functional controller I’ve seen. It has nice long keys for piano playing, it has 5.3 billion rotary encoders and a paltry 2.4 million sliders. A very happy accident indeed!
My Roland SH-101 was – and maybe still is – my favourite ever machine, so this was always going to be a tough one. When I got my hands on the System-1, the SH-101 plug-out had not been released yet, so I spent quite a bit of time getting used to the internal synth engine. It’s absolutely worth the money on its own, but I was curious to see how good the SH-101 emulation was. Eventually the 101 plug-out was released and it was almost identical to the hardware, but it has one major problem: the SH-2 plug out that followed it. The SH-2 is so bad-ass sounding that I haven’t loaded the SH-101 again since.
I was so excited when I saw this released, and immediately scanned every geek music forum on the web in the hope of finding out if it had MIDI in. It would have been the perfect step sequencer to take on stage with me, while having great solid-feeling controls for my stage software. Sadly, it did not. But my resistance to buying one was futile – it was just too cool to ignore. And now I see that Arturia are releasing the Beatstep Pro… with MIDI in.
It’s not an air guitar as you might expect. Im also a badminton player. I even run a badminton club in Amsterdam twice a week. This is my current 200mph weapon.