Posted On: 26th July 2018

Slimming Down


The problem with accumulating a load of ‘stuff’ over one’s lifetime is that ultimately, this ‘stuff’ ends up owning you. It’s a sad fact that collecting anything ends up being a bit of a millstone if you’re attempting to streamline things.

I’ve been looking around my studio over the past year since we moved house, and I’m realising that I don’t actually need some of the gear that I’ve become vaguely sentimentally attached to. And I’m now struggling to recall the reasons that I bought some of it in the first place.

So, some of it is going up on eBay in the not-too distant. First to go will be the Roland Planet S – the MKS30, plus the accompanying controller for it, the PG200. If I’m honest with myself, then this box has been a pain in the arse, really. I bought it years ago from Gary Numan’s tech. It’s cost me to maintain [as all old synths tend to do], and I’ve only used it on a handful of tunes, so what’s the point in hanging onto it? OK, so these rare synthesizers will continue to escalate in monetary value, but all it’s doing in my studio is occupying valuable rack space and accumulating dust.

So, I’m selling it. I’ll still have a decent arsenal of outboard analogue gear to make interesting noises with, and I’m using the money that I’ll sell the MKS30 for to upgrade the heart of my studio – the computer that looks after the sequencing.

Back in 2012 or thereabouts, I swapped out my genuinely old desktop PC that I’d handbuilt myself waaay back in the early noughties with an HP 6200. Compared to what it was replacing, this HP was quick, man. A blistering 4GB of RAM, two hard drives… and everything running smoothly under WinXP, which was still being looked after by Microsoft back then. However, WinXP is no longer supported, and the 6200 is now a clunky old piece of crap, in all honesty. OK, it still does its job, but it’s slow, slow, slow.


So, I’ve bought another, secondhand desktop PC. This time around it’s another HP, but it’s a Z600. It’s built like a brick shithouse, completely modular, and very powerful. It has 24GB of RAM, 4TB of storage and is running Windows7 Pro.

I’ve also upgraded all of my software in the process. Finally, I’m upgrading from Reason 3 to Reason 10. The audio algorithms on v.3 now sound very thin, and v.10 addresses that, and then some. It’s a nice piece of software and I can now integrate my VSTi’s into the program as well.

Cubase 5 is now upgraded to Cubase 9.5. Again, I’ve been pontificating for ages about this, but my thinking is that I’m going to start doing more ‘in the box’ recording, and to do that, I need more firepower. I think 24GB of RAM will be enough…

I’m also hoping that with some new software changes, it’ll have some kind of impact on ‘my sound’. If you’re relying on the same equipment for years, then it’s difficult to record music that doesn’t sound the same too, right?


As I type this, I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with my mate Stephen in a couple of weeks. We’ll build the new box together, and then I’ll bring it home and incorporate it into my studio. It’ll hopefully add a new dimension to my workflow without making things sound radically different.

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