I own a lot of virtual synths. I’ve been limiting myself to a smaller number of instruments over the last year so I could go deeper and create more expressive and unique signature sounds for compositions and live performance.
The image above (click to enlarge) shows a behind-the-scenes snapshot of the synths I’ve been most drawn to over the last year. In other words, these are the instruments I express myself through for music like “And What do the Trees Hear When the Wind Blows”, “Orbiting Miranda”, and “Now is Now Remix”. The instruments range in character from pure synthesis instruments (Zebra and Predator), to sample-based instruments (Sampler, Iris), to hybrids (Alchemy, ElextraX) to virtual drum machines (utonic). When narrowing down to this list, I worked to find a very complimentary set of instruments with great workflow. I give them all 10/10.
The instruments with green dots in front are ones I’ve been spending 100s of hours with working to create signature "patches” from scratch that I’ll use in future compositions, productions, and live performances.
I play these instruments using various controllers (keyboards, AudioCubes, Antennas, Grids, and iPad interfaces) and they are hosted on my laptop within the wonderful Ableton Live. This means I can take them anywhere plus have a backup on a second system – and yes the audio quality is simply fantastic. Also, because I
To give you an idea of how cool and expressive these instruments are, checkout this audio samples from some of my sound design experiments with Alchemy (download MP3) where I use granular synthesis to repurpose the field recording of a fluorescent light bulb.
Here is another example where I use Alchemy (download mp3) to repurpose crowd noise from a CU bastkeball game, a morse code key, and add in something called factalized waveforms.
Now you know what I do when I’m not composing or performing :^)
Electronic Musician, Boulder CO