MusicTech 209: How to build a studio on a budget

In this issue: we’re watching our wallets with a guide on how you can create an effective studio with a limited budget.

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musictech magazine 209 august issue

Few electronic artists have flitted genres so successfully, or as interestingly, as Soulwax. From their albums, mixes and sets under multiple monikers, including 2manydjs, to a recent record constructed from the sounds of an excavated EMS Synthi 100, Belgian brothers David and Stephen Dewaele have been innovating since the late 1990s, and it’s their love of technology that informs their widely acclaimed sound. This month’s cover stars granted us an insightful chat, which covers a range of topics close to their hearts – not least the use of that recovered lost ark, the Synthi 100, to build the captivating DEEWEE Sessions record. They also take us on a socially distanced tour through their gorgeous studio.

Also in this issue, we’re keeping a tight watch on our wallets as we highlight the myriad ways you can create an effective studio with a limited budget. Today, it’s easier than it’s ever been to hone your sound and production capabilities with affordable tools but no discernible compromise on quality. Check out our guide for practical advice on how to get started.

Elsewhere, alongside our usual range of in-depth tutorials, we’re bringing you a breakdown of how to experiment with FM synthesis using the free DX7 emulation Dexed. In our reviews section, we take the second coming of Akai’s MPC Live out to the park for a socially distanced evaluation, put Novation’s new line of Launchkey controllers to task, and test out much more top-of-the-line gear. We’ve also got interviews with production luminary Ed Buller, and creator of online drum service Emily Dolan Davies. I hope you enjoy this issue.


MusicTech 209 includes:

  • Building a studio on a budget – Setting up a sensational home studio needn’t cost the earth. Here, we’ll help you keep costs down and quality high
  • Dex gratia – We guide you through the basics of FM synthesis with Dexed, a fantastic free Yamaha DX7 emulation
  • Interviews – Belgian brothers and indie-electro icons Soulwax on their gear, career
    and the rarefied EMS Synthi 100; Ed Buller, British producer extraordinaire, talks Suede, Pulp, and being bombed on the beach with Hans Zimmer; Proprietor of Emily Dolan Davies on setting yourself up and getting a great sound
  • Tutorials – Making quick arrangement edits in Pro Tools; Performing with Live Loops in Logic; Committing to an arrangement in Ableton Live, Getting down with Cubase’s Groove Agent SE; Recording live drums in Studio One; and Mixing and blending rap vocals in FL Studio
  • Reviews – We get hands-on with the AKAI MPC Live II, Roland Zenology, Novation Launchkey MK3, IK Multimedia ARC System 3, Erica Synths/Ninja Tune Zen Delay and more
  • DVD – 3GB of video tutorials, workshops, software plug-ins and samples including Sampleson CollaB3 (freeware), Principleasure Synth Samples (samples), Tone Projects Unisum (demo), Overview, Drum Synth, Live Loops, Samplers, Remix FX, & Step Sequencer in Logic Pro 10.5 (tutorial), and Truality Audio TruPressor (freeware)



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