harddisco music software



Menu: Native Instruments Reaktor - Synapse - Toontrack - Line 6 - UGO - Freeware

skanner xt


skanner xt from native instruments for reaktor

i bought his one for €24, getting €25 off with the e-voucher NI gave me at the
end of 2012 - i usually buy them when on offer.
it's a crazy noise maker, good for gnarly pads.

razor is one of my favourite vsts, again purchased half-price with a voucher from NI - it's an additive synth with a simplified interface, and it has a great abrasive and very large tone. i use it for pads and bass mainly.





this is another of my new powerful reaktor synths - it is fm this time, but again with
an interface designed to make it easier to program, featuring subtractive
elements. it's very different sounding. i particularly like the feedback function.

this is one of my old favourites from reaktor session. i have used this drum synth on lots of tracks, it must have featured on at least 5 harddisco albums. the sounds are good without being amazing, but the sequencer has a great morph
feature allowing aspects of the drum sounds to be changed during the patterns.


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eks pro


dune is Synapse Audio's flagship vst ship at the moment. i only have the cutdown version that came free with computer music mag, but even so it has a fat and powerful sound. it has become one of my preferred bass synths
(the other being ni's razor)

eks pro - i do not own this, i would like to one day. i have tried the demo and it's
very capable - six different analog drum models, and plenty of controls to shape the sound. i love drum synthesis!


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superior drummer

claustrophobix ezx expansion

superior drummer is very powerful - i don't usually own anything as 'pro' - and expensive - as this. thankfully there was a three step purchase process -
ez drummer lite, then ugprade to ez drummer, then crossgrade to superior,so i could
pay in three installments. the sound is fantastic, a little clean for me to start with, but it's easy to dirty up the drums with individual channels appearing in my host's mixer.
this is the dry, pop, hip hop rnb expansion - it's for ez drummer but works with
superior (can't afford the superior expansion packs). this is the most recent
expansion i have bought, got it half price, but haven't used it much yet as
i'm mainly programming electronic drums at the moment.




these ezx expansion kits all work within superior, giving a great deal of versatility in terms of sounds. superior also allows you to load any kit then add elements of any other, which is very powerful. i particularly like the funk kits, the classic setups used by james brown's 2 drummers i believe, and the 'twisted kit' is a virtual recreation of the kit used by tom waits' percussionist on his 'rain dogs' album. it has loads of very wacky, different sounds on - great stuff.


Menu: Native Instruments Reaktor - Synapse - Toontrack - Line 6 - UGO - Freeware


Pod Farm is fantastic. For 90 I got an audio interface (click here to see the UX1) to connect my mike and guitars to, 18 guitar amps, 6 bass amps, 5 famous desk channels, and 64 fx including loads of really individual vintage stuff. Here are some of my favourite components.


bass amps



this amp has a smooth rounded tone and lots of deep bass

this one is good for the slightly overdriven 'indie' plectrum played bass



distortion pedals

this is harsh, nasty, yet i find it really usable in lots of different situations, not just on guitars this is a more well-rounded distortion capable of subtlety and agression
vocal pre-amps
i always use this pre-amp for my vocals. i just insert it and my voice
instantly sounds better!
this is a crazy, use for extreme effects lo-fi monster, the drive
is particularly useful
spatial fx
one of several characterful delays in the classic analogue style, with endless feedback and no 'clean' options at all the reverb has several algorythms and is versatile enough to add space. the spring reverb is very good
picture of male de-esser coming soon (when i remember)


tuner is very useful - i just connect the guitar to the interface, pull up the tuner and do the necessary, very quickly i always used a freeware de-esser before - this is much more
effective and transparent

Menu: Native Instruments Reaktor - Synapse - Toontrack - Line 6 - UGO - Freeware


ironhead tunguska
this is a really useful drum / percussion synth, giving unusual clanging and
metallic tones, fully editable from the comprehensive but easy to use interface.
i bought this when i was in need of inspiration and boy did i get it!
used regularly in harddisco tracks
this mad grain filter delay plugin is sold with ironhead and makes some seriously
crazy sounds. it's hard to sound unoriginal when you put your sounds through
this mangling beauty.

Menu: Native Instruments Reaktor - Synapse - Toontrack - Line 6 - UGO - Freeware

voxengo recorder arcane devices (arcdev) ET-301
i use this to record all audio - vocals, guitars & bass, external sources like mixers
and tape decks. i don't like the internal recording in orion as it bungs all files in the song directory with unhelpful numerical names, i prefer the
convenience of this, and it's great for capturing audio on the fly when
mangling sounds with effects.
although i really like the pod farm delay effects for their versatility, this is the
one i use the most, on vocals, guitars, drums, lead synths - it gives me my favourite vintage smeared echo sound very quickly and is light on cpu.