Welcome to the Tramtunnel studio. Below I am going to introduce the synthesizers and other analog machines I work with every day and shortly explain how i use them on my tracks.
Behold the MatrixBrute. It’s a big and heavy analog machine. The matrix area on this guy works like patching a modular synth, but then with a grid instead of patch cables. Every button is patchable. Because of this, I have a lot of fun automating knobs with LFO for example.
I use this synthesizer a lot, because it is very versatile. It doesn’t have the greatest sound. It is good, but not awesome. Sometimes I use it for bass sounds, but most of the time I use it for rhythmic plucky sounds. The build-in sequencer works amazing, just like other Arturia sequencers. Every time I invite the Arturia MatixBrute into my music, I do it by programming its sequencer and start turning knobs once i press record.
Korg MS-20 mini
I used to have a ‘real’ MS-20. But I sold it years ago and always hated myself for it. In 2018 i bought the mini version of this beauty, but let me tell you one thing: it doesn’t sound mini at all. It does everything a normal one does, plus it got midi and usb.
The filters of the Korg MS-20 love to scream and I love to listen to that. It is fun to use, but the MS-20 can be a little predictable after using it a while. Maybe it’s just me. Love the sound and the fun you can have with it. But i use it less than I imagined when I bought it.
This is the oldest synth I have at the moment. It is digital but over 20 years old, so I guess we can call it vintage by now. I bought this 90s rack synth dead cheap in 2017 after hearing Legowelts album Crystal Cult 2080. This Roland machine works with samples, but can be tweaked with all the standard synthesizer tools like filters, envelopes, LFO and effects like chorus, delay, reverb etc.
I mainly use the JV-2080 in my music for atmospheric and mysterious pads. It sounds rich, beautiful and very distinct 90s.
Behringer Model D
The Minimoog Model D has always been a dream synth for me. The sound of this classic is so amazingly rich. But it is way too expensive. I know there are a lot of people angry about Behringer shamelessly cloning synthesizer classics. But as someone who just wants to make music, I don’t care much about the politics. I am just happy I can finally afford one of these machines. He may be much less pleasing to the eye than the real thing, but my ears hear no difference. It’s very hard to make the Model D sound bad. It is one big sweet spot.
Ever since I got the Behringer Model D, I have been using it on every single track I made. I use it for all sorts of sounds. I like sequencing it with my Arturia BeatStep Pro and make deep and warm bass sounds, but also leads and short plucky beeps and blips. It puts a smile on my face every time I hear this little machine.
The MS-101 is another clone, or tribute as Behringer calls it, of a classic synthesizer. They did a fantastic job making a replica of the Roland SH-101. They even included the handle to turn this baby into a keytar. The sound is almost identical to the real thing. But they have managed to make this aggressive machine very affordable, so all poor synth lovers can own one too. I have bought it in the color blue and I think it looks very pretty.
I use the MS-101 mainly for short sequenced bass sounds. It is a techno machine all the way. It has no problem fitting in every track I make. Not that I use it in every track, but just saying it could.
Elektron Analog Rytm MKII
This is a very complicated but awesome drum machine. It has multiple analog drum engines, which can be tweaked in all possible ways. Being a fan of analog drum sounds, this is one of the main reasons I bought this beauty. But it can also do samples and that makes this drum machine almost a groove box. If you really want, you can use it to make a full track. It takes a while to fully get to know this sophisticated drum synthesizer. I am still learning to understand all the features it has to offer.
Ever since I got the Analog Rytm, i have been using it on every single track I made. It is the piece of equipment I go to every time I start building a new track.
Arturia DrumBrute Impact
I’m in love with this little analog drum machine. It is uncomplicated and very hands-on. The thing I love the most about it is the FM Drum. It just sounds amazing.
Since I got the Elektron Analog Rytm, I use the DrumBrute Impact a bit less. But I like to combine the two analog drum machines. A lot of times when I make a track with my Elektron drum machine, I add some hihats and the awesome FM drum from the DrumBrute to it.
Tascam Portastudio 424 MKII
This 90s 4 track cassette recorder is a beauty. I bought it second hand for 100 euro, which I thought was cheap. The EQ on the little portable recording studio sounds very nice. This device is made for recording your music to 4 tracks on a standard cassette tape. But that’s not exactly what I use it for.
I use this sometimes for adding nice warm sounding pads to my music. I recorded a lot of loops to cassettes and when I feel like it, I put one of the cassettes in, press play and start turning knobs on the EQ and most import: the big pitch control knob. Also when I need to warm up a sound, I sometimes bounce it to tape and record it back into my DAW.