7 Analogue machines that changed music production


mc505 7 Analogue machines that changed music production

7 analogue machines that changed music

Will 2012 be the year analogue music production equipment makes a large scale return? NAMM 2012 show unleashed a wave of new analogue instruments and numerous leading lights of house and bass music production are talking once again returning to the limitations of those rudimentary machines of the eighties and nineties.

Whilst searching around on the web I stumbled upon this great series, from back in 2001, looking at all the classic analogue kit used in dance music. The series features interviews with legends like Arthur Baker, Vince Clark, Cold Cut and Ray Keith discussing how they started using the early equipment to shape their music production.

Those of you using a purely DAW based studio setup for your music production, then you should really consider adding some outboard synth or drum machines to your collection. After having my Nord Modular sit largely unused in the studio, I picked up one of Dave Smith Tetra synths last year and still find it a revelation. The phattness of sound, the hands one sculpting of the music just adds a whole new level of fun to making the tracks. Ok the limitations of parameter control and the repeatability of sound can be tricky coming from VST instruments, but the limitation also adds so much to creativity.

Anyway, enjoy this hour-long documentary looking at how those early classic analogue synthesizers came to shape our sounds of today… Let us know if you’re not searching ebay for vintage deals by the end of it ;p


Episodes collected into the above documentary:

Mini Moog (15-01-2001) – Cult electronic instruments that helped to shape modern music.

Vocoder (22-01-2001) – Developed as a scrambling device in World War II, includes interviews with Orbital and Rick Wakeman.



DX7 (29-01-2001) – Synthesizer that defined the sound of the 1980s. Interviews with Vince Clarke and Nick Rhodes.

Fairlight (05-02-2001) – Computer based snthesizer offering sampling, digital recording, sequencing and editing. Includes Nick Rhodes.

Simmons (12-02-2001) – Includes producer Arthur Baker talking about making “Planet Rock”.

Roland TB-303 (19-02-2001) – House innovators Coldcut and Orbital discuss the Roland 303 synthesizer.

Roland TB-808 (26-02-2001) – Includes producer Arthur Baker, plus Ray Keith talks about the importance of the bass.

Akai Sampler (05-03-2001) – Instrument that helped fuel the rave scene and the white label explosion





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  1. #1 by Mastering on March 28, 2012 - 11:11 am

    Nice read, the Vari mu compressor is also a wonderful addition to this list, a la.. Fairchild 670, HCL Varis and the Manley Vari-Mu. Ancient compression that has stood the test of time.

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