It’s not about pissing contests with who can get the biggest rack of gear any more, evidently. While some of us CDMer can’t stop collecting computers (see the forum thread on that), many are looking for a minimal setup that lets them focus on actually, you know, making music. These setups often aren’t just minimal for the sake of it; going on the road or moving from one house to another often requires sacrifices at least temporarily, and that should be no reason to give up your daily music creation dose. (See last week’s mobile guitar rig roundup for more thoughts on that.) We got to see Billboard-topping remixer Francis Preve’s setup on Friday; here are some more:

Jan Namecek has a setup that looks quite similar to Fran’s. He writes:

Just answering your call and showing my (temporary) crib. I’ve been recently given keys to a flat so I’ve moved some of my basic stuff there so I can prepare my live set for this year’s Exit festival in Novi Sad (see

This is pretty challenging ’cause I use some (big) hardware synthesizers so it’s pretty refreshing to let it all and go software (at least for a while). My regular gear includes Hartmann Neuron, Access Virus TI Polar, Nord Lead 3, Nord Electro, Dual 2.7 G5, etc… Full list at my website :-)

As you can see, it’s only a MacBook Pro and some basic MIDI controlling (not shown is the Evolution two octave MIDI thing and a LaCie hard drive). Also, it’s much messier than the previous setup you posted (you can’t have all, right). Software-wise, there’s Ableton Live 5.2, Logic Pro 7.2 and a few software instruments (sadly, not much of my stuff is Universal).

I’ve been using a similar setup (well, plus the keyboards) to perform live recently. The whole concert should be released (along with 5.1 mix of it and my previous albums) on a multimedia DVD end of this year. Some pics from the concert are here:

Currently, stuff worth noting is my minimal techno remix of Marko Nastic’s track “U are the reason” out digitally and my space/dark ambient/whatever album “Through the planetary Void” also available digitally (also on iTunes).

More info, full kit list and some music available at

Jan isn’t alone. Marco Raaphorst, aka Melodiefabriek, has a well-reasoned rant about focusing on music making rather than assuming two years in a studio will be a smart investment. Note the shot of his own minimal laptop studio setup. Marco is the creator of the awesome Maelstrom graintable instrument in Reason and plenty of Reason patches, so if anyone can give you good reasons to focus on sounds from your laptop, this is the guy. Now, it seems a little unfair to blame studios for the fact that pop music has all the life violently compressed out of it, but I’m all for arguing that music can be made anywhere. (There is something magical about big studios, too, which is why you shouldn’t compress your music so much that it sounds like crap.)

But back to pissing contests . . . here, I’ve been challenged to just such a contest, and I’m doing nothing but procrastinate. Tom from Music thing has posted his office, with a healthy set of gear set up. Actually, it isn’t quite maximalist; it looks like just the right amount of gear to get some work done, just what I’d expect from Tom. Meanwhile, Chris from Analog Industries just wants to show us expensive things on racks we can’t afford.

So, I assure you, I will post my studio soon. I’m cleaning and reconfiguring now, and unfortunately caught what’s starting to feel like bronchitis. (I’m hoping the two were coincidental.) Like everything I do, it’ll be late, but I’ll get it done.

Got any more studios, minimalist or maximalist, to show?

  • Tim Thompson

    He, he. My office at work is outfitted with a huge workstation desk with about 36 rack spaces available, a desk big enough for a keyboard and several controllers, a monitor bridge, a keyboard pullout drawer, etc. I have a few pieces of aging equipment in the racks that never get turned on, extra crts for working on those big scores and projects. What do I use on a daily basis? I plop my PB down on the desk, and either hook it up to a firewire audio interface, or sometimes just plug my little JBL monitors into the PBs audio out, and that's it! Granted, I don't do any high-end production, mixing, or mastering–occasionally editing 2-channel audio or DV video. I have controllers sitting around that I can plug in if I need to use one; mics the same way. But basically, I come in, open up the PB, and everything else collects dust. For me, it's the way to live. And on the road, I can carry everything I need in one bag.

    But it's a question of the right tools for the job. If someone really needs racks of Apogee preamps, power conditioners, great monitors, analog synths, etc., then that's great too.

  • Tom

    Believe me, it would be way more maximalist if I had the space and the cash…

    Enough cleaning, enough reconfiguring.

    Post it now!

  • Hellgi

    I'd love to know the brand and model of the midi controller we see in the first picture?



  • Peter Kirn

    Sure, Hellgi; I thought I'd mentioned it but forgot to. It's a Behringer BCF2000, complete with motorized faders. Behringer also makes a knob ("rotary") model called the BCR2000, and a DJ/scratch model called the BCD2000, though I can't yet endorse the DJ model, as there are no Mac drivers and PC drivers sound a little unstable. The BCD/BCF, though, are fantastic, cheap little controllers.

  • Kevin

    C'mon, Peter, how hard is it to take some photos? My studio varies from week-to-week because I don't have a lot of space and because I use mine to practice for gigs, not to record, but even I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours. Practice what you preach, brother! :-)



  • Hellgi

    Thanks for the info! Do you know if it works well with Logic? ie. does it come with a key command setup right out the box?