Uses This

A collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done.

A picture of Jeremy Leaird-Koch

Jeremy Leaird-Koch

Musician, video editor

Posted in musician, video, windows

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Jeremy, and I'm a musician, video editor, and YouTube content creator. I run a YouTube channel dedicated to music creation and its tools at https://youtube.com/redmeansrecording

What hardware do you use?

I have some primary hardware that I couldn't live without, and then lots of music hardware that gets switched in and out depending on my mood.

My main DAW (digital audio workstation) and video editing rig is a PC Desktop I built. It's an Intel i9 Skylake-X 10 Core at 3.3 GHz. It's running 32 GB of RAM, a Samsung 970 M.2 for its system drive (Windows 10), 3 Samsung SSDs for project drives, and a bunch of spinning disks for less important content and temporary backups. I have a GTX 970 for graphics, and the whole thing is watercooled with a closed-loop system.

My audio interface on the primary machine is a Focusrite Clarrett 8Pre, which is mostly OK, but I would love to replace it as the way they've implemented ASIO or something causes buffer underruns when different software accesses the drivers. I have a MOTU Midi Express XT that I fire up if I need to hook a bunch of MIDI devices up at the same time.

I have 3 main MIDI controllers: An Ableton Push 2, a Maschine MKIII, and a KOMPLETE KONTROL S49 MKII. The Push and S49 both get used in Ableton, and the Maschine and S49 get used when I'm writing in Maschine Studio, which is a new addition to my setup.

Audio runs out of the Clarrett into a PreSonus Monitor Station v2, which handles headphone mixes and sends to my main monitors. For the last almost 10 years I've been using a pair of Dynaudio BM6a MKII monitors as my mains. Recently I added a pair of Avantone MixCubes for "lofi" speaker testing, and I'm borrowing a pair of ADAM S2Vs I really like and will probably try to grab once the pandemic stuff is done.

When I need to run recordings out of the computer, or record from my hardware "jam station", I have a MixPre-10 digital audio recorder that works flawlessly.

Video recording is done via a Sony a7 iii into an Atomos Ninja V. I record on a tabletop, usually, with the camera pointed straight down at whatever synthesizer I'm working on. I use natural light from the window behind the station which generally works OK. I record ProRes LT into the Atomos which gives me a decent compression ratio at 4k without the CPU burden of trying to edit the Sony AVCHD, which is notoriously hard on Premiere.

Also at the worktable station is a laptop and audio interface for piping line-outs from the synthesizer and mic for my voice, when appropriate. This has gone through a few iterations, but currently it's a Thinkpad and Arturia Audiofuse Studio. I have cables all hooked up for everything I would need to plug in, from 3.5mm stereo to dual ΒΌ inch TRS to MIDI, and just plug in whatever I need. The microphone is a AT2035. I love that mic, and have two of them.

Finally we come to the synthesizer and music hardware. I have been extremely fortunate through my work on YouTube to have developed relationships with some fantastic music tech companies, and a lot of my studio is built of gear I've been sent to review or demo. This includes the Native Instruments controllers, my Audiofuse interface, and some of the gear I'll be listing here.

I'm probably best known for my videos using the Teenage Engineering OP-1. It's a quirky little slab of plastic and metal that packs a full digital audio workstation inside, with synth engines, drum samplers, effects, and a digital 4-track tape recorded. It's powerful and weird and I love it.

I have an Elektron Digitakt, Digitone, and Analog Heat MKII. The Digitakt is a fantastic performance sampler that can be used for anything from a drum machine to a full track maker to an ambient friend. The Digitone is a powerful 4-track FM synth and groovebox in the same form factor. They play wonderfully together: Elektron has one of the best sequencers on the planet. Finally, the Heat I use as a finisher for my hardware jams, using the 2-band EQ and filter for color, and envelope follower as a sort of compressor.

The next most-used piece of gear I have is the Synthstrom Deluge. This was graciously provided by Synthstrom for review, and after getting to know it and its virtually screenless workflow I've grown to love it. It's incredibly powerful, basically a DAW in a box, and the workflow keeps getting improved with every firmware update.

Speaking of screenless, I also have gelled with and use regularly the Teenage Engineering OP-Z. It's like a combination of the Elektron boxes and the Pocket Operator series. Amazing sequencer, incredible for performances.

Those are my main music-making pieces of hardware. I have a few odds and ends I will pull out to use in various contexts, like the Empress Effects ZOIA and Arturia MicroFreak.

And what software?

Ableton is my main DAW and the Adobe Creative Suite is my main video creation software platform. I've been using both for almost a decade now, in one form or another. I rely heavily on Native Instruments plugins for sound creation and iZotope stuff for mixing and mastering.

What would be your dream setup?

Time. I have everything I need, really, and more to make music. I need time and space and the lack of the constant looming threat of poverty. Oh, and a home gym would be nice.

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