In pictures: Steve Mac's gear-stuffed studio
28th Nov 2011 | 14:55
During the ’90s Steve Mac was half of one of the most relentless remix duos, The Rhythm Masters and has over 300 remixes under his belt.
Now, Steve Mac has returned to his rightful place as one of the most reliable, rock-solid producers on the dance scene. Based in the centre of Brighton, Mac’s studio is an electronic musician’s paradise with classic synths and incredible outboard, with Logic holding the fort.
Over his 20-year career Mac has collected, sold, borrowed and destroyed nearly every synth you can imagine. But as a self-confessed obsessive, he’s still investing in classic items. When it comes to audio, Steve is a perfectionist and his latest album Rootsis evidence to this precision production
MCI-JH500 model D console
“This definitely has a unique sound, that’s for sure. It’s punchier than an SSL, but maybe not quite as fat as a Neve.
"It’s sort of in between an SSL and a Neve and was actually quite a popular console back in the ’80s. It’s got a couple of noisy channels, which have been taken out for repair. But, usually I only need to get it serviced about once a year, which is pretty good for an analogue console.”
“Underneath the patchbay here is the Phoenix Audio Nicerizer-8 Summing Mixer which I sort of use as a pre really.
"It’s got such high-quality transformers that it makes the synths sound fantastic and prevents any problems that you might have with balanced and unbalanced levels.”
“I bought this ARP
practically in bits and
had it re-cased and
rebuilt. It still worked
out cheaper than
buying a mint
working model so it
was worth it.”...
“A friend of mine has the studio next door and had a set of these set up. I heard them and was amazed by how they sounded – Just like mini NS10s!
"If you’re listening to low level music and want to check that your kicks and basslines are still cutting through, these are a must buy. I found this particular set on eBay for £100.”
Korg MS synths
“Here's my MS-20, MS-50 and MS-10. I’ve owned all three of these at some point in time. I lost some bits in the fire but eventually I bought it all back. Basically, these are all patched together to create an MS system with a massive sound.
"There’s four oscillators in total, with a patch bay and mixer so you can control all of them via a single keyboard and mix all the oscillators together using the MS-50.”
Neve 1084 modules
“I use these on just about everything and the mic pres are fantastic. The EQs are idiot proof because they just snap into place.
"Actually, a friend and I did an A/B comparison with the UAD-2 software versions and they are pretty close. The frequencies are pretty much bang on but the software versions just don’t have that creamy bottom end of the real analogue hardware.”
“On the right side of my main work area I have the Novation Launchpad hooked up to this great software called Numerology. This software lets me control my analogue synths via a Kenton MIDI-to-CV converter.
"Numerology gives me easy step sequencing of notes and other parameters with visual feedback on the Launchpad. This makes it great for creating quick sequences. You can layer all the synths up just using the software and send them into different channels. Now it’s setup, it’s extremely quick and simple to get something going, but it took us a few days to get everything working together smoothly.”