harddisco current hardware

harddisco early hardware - pre-harddisco hardware

i went through a short sighted period in the early 2000s, selling all the hardware i used
for creating and effecting sounds
(on the previous two pages above) to buy software and computer hardware.

over the last decade or so i've been grabbing a few bits of vintage hardware that i used to own, plus some new items, realising i can't make all the sounds i want inside the box.
studio equipment

i still have my behringer mx802, which i bought around 1998. i sold my mx 2642, and the rack, to make more room in our dining room.

this has far fewer inputs and fx sends, but with the help of the
patchbay it's doing fine.
i got these krk rokit 5s to help solve high-mid frequency problems in my more recent songs, usually because of using too much distortion.

these came second hand from 2 young lads in liverpool for 100. the usual used price was around 180. they're a bit battered, but the sound is absolutely fine.

i've had this for a while - behringer  xm8500 dynamic mic (15). sounds like a shure sm58 - much better than my old mic which cost more.

i have used this from the death of empathy onwards - previously i had to use loads of fx to make the bad mic sound decent.
click here to try oblivion from blatant superior as an example.
i replaced my audio technica at2020 with a used akg c2000b condenser, above.

it hasn't had much use yet, but i can definitely hear that the sound is fuller and less budget sounding than the at2020. my son has that, now, he gave me 20 which he thought was a fair used price.
i did not.

i've had 5 different keyboard controllers in the last 10 years, tending to get smaller each time, but the midiplus x6 mini caught my eye. not only is it a beautiful contrast to all the dark equipment on my desk, it's the smallest 5 octave keyboard i've ever seen. an incentive to play better.


i replaced my old digitech studio quad because i knew it well and always really liked the sound, plus you can have 4 fx at once. it was around 45 on ebay.

the alesis is an interesting complement to the studio quad, in terms of modulation fx.

the studio has a new heart! i bought this behringer umc 1820 and sold the line 6 ux8. the main reason was 8 hi-z instrument inputs on the 1820, compared to only 2 on the ux-8. with the behringer px-3000 patchbay i now have plenty of connectivity options, and it's all very quiet and reliable.
electronic instruments

i had a waldorf rocket which i sold to buy a behringer crave - a very cool synth, fat oscillator and filter, semi - modular. i didn't realise just how many synths behringer have made recently though...

when i found out about the pro-1 (280), sorry crave, back on ebay. the pro-1 is the best monosynth for edgier bass and lead sounds. it's a beast.
i have missed my old fat freebass 383. i could never find a virtual monosynth that rasped in quite the same way, and i also never quite replicated the filter input, with envelope controlled by midi notes.

this is real analog, very fat, it cost 128.88 via ebay, i only spent 129
when i bought my new one in 1999.

i used to have a casio sk1 back in the 90s, and sold it because i had a 'proper' pc-based sampler, but there is something about the way it records, it adds a crunchy yet smooth texture which i miss, so here it is again. bought on ebay for 27.
i had a yamaha sw60 sound card back in the late 90s. this mu10 is the same board, in a box with MIDI and quieter output. used with xg gold, it becomes a 4 oscillator synth with envelopes, lfo and filters for each. a digital complement to the analog pro-1 and freebass. 55 on ebay.
guitars and fx

vintage vs6 gibson sg copy - i have always loved the sg shape, this cost 109 online,
(some seliing for up to 170 then, and now for up to 270).
humbuckers on tap for when needed.
i replaced my old p-bass copy with a squier affinity j-bass v - 5 strings.
it's really smart and easy to play, and sounds great.
i had songs for years which i wished i could play on a lower octave, now i can.

i replaced my gear4music 'knoxbridge' tele with this much more refined squier standard telecaster. the black headstock looks utterly beautiful to me.

it's clearer and crisper than the cheap tele, with improved action. it seems to be a custom; there isn't an all black squier standard anywhere online. i suspect this had a 'chrome' pickguard which was replaced. 150 - ebay.
recently i became nostalgic for my old zoom 1010 (see early harddisco hardware for details), especially the way i used to feed it back into itself using my mixer, creating rhythm & synth loops with squeals of feedback in between the sounds.

i haven't found any way to replicate this in software, so since i still have the mixer, i got a zoom 2100 (no 1010s available when i looked). it was ok but not good enough, so eventually i sold it and got a 1010 after all.

i had an infatuation with mini guitar pedals for a while, they were beautiful but not practical. i am gradually replacing them with better quality pedals of a more usable size.
with my ancient guitar pre-amp (bottom of page) these form an all-analog alternative to the digital line 6 modellers, below the nano pedals.

from left: ehx memory boy, nux chorus, tc electronic thunderstorm flanger, ehx riddle: q balls envelope filter, ehx neo clone chorus, ehx octave multiplexer, tc electronic dark matter distortion, mxr dyna comp compressor, donner viper expression pedal (connected to filter frequency on the riddle: q balls).

nano pedals - even smaller than mini! but wait - above, i'm saying that mini pedals weren't practical? these are minute!

at floor level, i found the knobs and lettering on mini-pedals too small, but these nano pedals are on my desk, wired into the patchbay.
the tiny size works on my small desk. ok, the delay and reverb aren't analog, but the reverb is very versatile and the delay is a pretty good simulation of a bbd echo.

from left: joyo space verb, rowin echo, donner booster, donner jet convolution flanger, joyo ocho octave, ammoon chorus, rowin gumble distortion, kokko compressor,
ok, the jet convolution is mini rather than nano, but i couldn't find a bbd nano flanger. the kokko is also mini, but it was my first compressor, which i replaced with the mxr dyna comp, above. it fits in nicely here and actually has one more control than the nano comp.

about once a month i am getting together with an old friend, to play some of our old songs and a few new ones. we both started off using software guitar fx, and we both bought bias fx 2. tbh i found it hard it to get on with, and was nostalgic for my classic pod farm tones.

since he didn't have pod farm, and our shared projects can only use software we both own, i got myself this line 6 pod hd (eBay - 95), and i have found it more satisfying to play through this and switch fx on and off manually with a foot pedal rather than using MIDI to activate and deactivate within the DAW.
since i play bass on my friend's songs, and vice versa, i got this line 6 pod x3 (60 - eBay) to process my bass as it has all pod farm models, including 28 bass amps. it also acts as a new dongle for pod farm platinum, which allowed me to sell my ux8 audio interface.

since these pods are the studio rather than 'live' versions, i use a line 6 fpv express mkii for foot control over patch changes, and wah.

i have had this old 70s guitar preamp since around 1989 from the local exchange & mart. what a pair of thieving old bandits they were. originally it was a long vinyl covered case with a sloping front panel, it had the controls you see above and another preamp set to the right, just input and eq, but no effects.

about 17 years ago i asked a friend of mine who is an experienced technician to make a new case for this, and reduce the length greatly by cutting off and disconnecting the 2nd preamp. what he left me with was the main guitar channel, with a brilliance switch, bass, middle & treble eq, spring reverb, and a choice of tremelo and autowah fx, with speed and intensity controls.

sadly my friend had other projects to do first before he could finish this. 3 years passed before he completed it, and during that time i had moved from hardware based recording to software based, so i hardly used this. a couple of years i sampled it heavily to make IRs i could use in convolution plugins, which went well, and i still use these, but since i got the patchbay i've been using it properly again. it is amazingly organic, the eq is fat and beefy, and the spring reverb and modulation fx are very characterful.