Moog Sub Phatty Demonstration with Nolan DeCoster

Moog was generous to loan us a prototype Sub Phatty for a week. Right away we had to turn it on and see what it could do. A knob-per-function layout was quick to reveal a robust LFO section, 2 versatile and rich oscillators, a sub-octave square-wave oscillator, a noise generator, and a Multidrive overdrive circuit.

Just to satisfy my nerd-curiosity, I broke out the ole’ oscilloscope to see the sweeping and evolving harmonics in action. A simple sine wave will quickly reveal the added 2nd and 3rd harmonics as you add more and more of the Multidrive to the signal. It beautifully turns saws into razor blades.

Nolan, being that his desk is not too far away from mine, couldn’t stay away from it. We were left with only one option; to make a full track using only the Moog Sub Phatty and document the results. So, off to the empty warehouse space in 20 degree weather to spend 3 hours creating. Equipment used was a Zoom H4n, Ableton Live, KRK Rokit 5, Canon 60D and, of course, The Moog Sub Phatty.

As an added bonus for anyone reading this blog we have included a link to download the Ableton Live session. Enjoy!



Kooley High Rooftop Performance

Hailing from the dogwood heavy hills of North Carolina, super-group Kooley High arrived on the scene in early 2007. Two sturdy producers (Foolery and The Sinopsis), three intelligent and witty emcees (Tab-One, Rapsody and Charlie Smarts) and one keenly crowd-aware DJ (Ill Digitz), the group’s collaborative works have resulted in numerous features with Kid Daytona, Skyzoo, King Mez, Homeboy Sandman, Phonte and others.

Before hitting the stage later that night Ill Digitz, Foolery, Tab-One and Charlie Smarts dropped by for pizza, soda and rooftop antics.

Notes About the Recording:

The performance was recorded with Logic onto a USB external hard drive using a Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2. For monitoring we had a QSC K10. Microphones were Electro-Voice N/D 767s. Files were transferred to Pro Tools and mixed.

The Electro-Voice N/D 767 is the mic of choice for live hip-hop vocal since they are designed to handle vocalists who tend to “cup” their microphone. Electro-Voice VOB (vocally optimized bass) technology reduces proximity effect and muddiness associated with close proximity capturing. The result is an incredible clarity, balance and level before feedback.

DJ Ill Digitz’ setup comprises of an Apple Macbook running Serato Scratch Live, a Rane TTM-57SL, and a Technics 1200. This is all he needs to make it to multiple gigs in one night with a fast setup and tear down time. He also has some impressive skills as a scratch DJ.

First Look : Passion Pit on The Arturia MiniBrute!

We check in with Passion Pit while working on their new album to see what they think of Arturia’s brand new all analog synth, the MiniBrute. Arturia lent us a demo and once we showed it to the guys with Passion Pit we knew we werent getting it back. They liked it so much they had to put it on some of the songs they were doing and even re-recorded some bass parts with it. With is robust sound and ease of use this keyboard will no doubt be a must have!

Heres what Arturia has to say about it.

“The MiniBrute is Arturia’s new analog synthesizer. With a pure analog signal path and several innovative features, it sets a new standard for what a hardware synthesizer should be. The pure analog, multi-wave oscillator combined with a huge sounding classic multi-mode filter, and wide range of modulation capabilities will bring new life into your recordings and stage performances. Add to that outstanding features like the Ultrasaw, Metalizer, Brute Factor™, Arpeggiator, LFO with sample & hold, full USB/MIDI/CV connectivity; all of which are housed in a rugged metal enclosure”

Technobeam: The New Deal Live In Brooklyn

I’m still polishing up the Phish post, but in the meantime, The New Deal were at Brooklyn Bowl last week. Turns out their SPD-S was not. Lucky for them, I live in Williamsburg, and had my bandmate Zack Hagan‘s SPD-S with me. So I brought them a sampler, and they let me take pictures of Darren and Jamie’s rigs (Dan’s rig is a secret, but for a good set of ideas on how to craft similar tones, check back for our photo breakdown of Jojo Mayer & Nerve’s rig next week). Breakdown will happen later this week, once I’m done wrangling the Phish post (thanks again to all the even-bigger-nerds-than-me who helped out with that). Anyway, without further ado, Darren Shearer and Jamie Shields of The New Deal’s current rig:

One quick caption before I forget. Didn’t manage to get a great shot of it, but that’s a vintage Korg CX-3 Organ under the similarly vintage Roland Juno-106.

More to come, and as always, feel free to drop any suggestions in the comments, or email me directly at wayan-at-proaudiostar-dot-com.

And The Light Is Growing Brighter Now: The Most Detailed Photographic Documentation of Phish’s Live Setup Ever Published

I’ve just returned from a 4 day excursion through the wilds of Hartford, CT and Saratoga Springs, NY following the reunited jamband empire that is Phish. If you’ve ever seen a Phish show, or heard anything about them, you know that they are grand achievements in both sound and lighting design, regardless of your opinion of the musical quality. In the next 48 hours, I’ll be posting an exclusive up-close photographic breakdown of their backline and front-of-house rigs, including all the instruments and effects they use, as well as all the gear that populates their legendary soundboard.

I’ll be filling in as many details as I can about the specifics of the equipment they use, plus a brief breakdown of how their industry-innovating Live Phish recordings happen, and recent adjustments to the drum setup. As a bonus, there will be a few more choice shots from the soundboard during the show to show off the majesty of their Chris Kuroda-run lighting design.

Keep checking back over the next day or two as we fill this space with possibly the most detailed photographic document of Phish’s live setup ever published.  Please note that in the interest of allowing everybody to enjoy the photos as soon as possible, we will be updating the gear breakdowns over the course of the week.  Should be completed by the 4th of July, at which time we’ll start uploading our photo documents of The New Deal and Jojo Mayer/Nerve’s setups.

Trey’s longtime Koa-bodied, Paul Languedoc-built, hollowbody guitar.  Info on the guitar from

This guitar is all koa with a maple neck, and the same tapered body shape as the second one. The finish on this one is a darker, redder stain, with a slightly different headstock shape, different (even smaller) inlays, and two chrome-covered humbuckers. The saddles are bronze on this guitar as opposed to the bone of the first two. He used this for the first time in October of 1996, and sporadically for the remainder of the year. In 1997, it completed the transition to his main axe, leaving the two blonde ones as backups. Languadoc states that “The koa guitar is the best of all of them because the wood has the most elegant and solid sound of the three.”  The electronics consist of a pair of Schallar Golden 50 humbucking pickups.

As has been noted in the comments, this is not the Koa guitar described at

Located behind the Languedoc is Trey’s pre-1998 100w Mesa Boogie Mark III head, running in to his classic Langedoc-built 2×12 cabinet, mic’d by an SM57 and an Royer 121 Ribbon mic (thanks John from The Bunker).  Behind the main amp rig is a Goff Leslie, full-sized as opposed to the “top” cabinet he used pre-breakup.

Trey’s smaller-than-usual rack currently features the following units:

Furman M8-L Power Conditioner
Korg DTR-2 Rackmount Tuner
Vintage Ibanez DM2000 Digital Delay
Custom Audio Electronics (CAE) Black Cat Vibe
CAE Super Tremolo
Alesis NanoVerb (x2, 1 set for delay, one set for Room reverb)
Alesis Microverb set to a gated reverb
CAE 4×4 Switcher

Trey’s floorspace is currently less cluttered than probably any other point in Phish’s history, and the layout currently prevents Trey from actuating the ubiquitous post-97 delay loops (see: studio version of “Ghost”).  Floor setup currently includes (on Trey’s right side):
Footswitch for CAE Tremolo
Expression Pedal for CAE Bad Cat Vibe
Original Boomerang Phrase Sampler
TC Electronics Nova Repeater Delay
Teese RMC Wah (hidden within a Crybaby shell) ->
Ibanez/Analog Man TS9 “Silver” Modded Tube Screamer (x2, one cranked and feeding in to the other) ->
Vintage Ross Compressor (thanks Chris M in the comments)

Trey’s left side is more for controllers than individual pedals, save for the Whammy:
Digitech Whammy II pedal (externally MIDI controlled)
CAE 4×4 footswitch board (for on/off control of rackmounted units)
Boss FS5U footswitches + Leslie control (all for control of the Leslie)

Mike has also trimmed down his rig.  Noticeably absent are the small combo amps that formerly perched atop his setup.  Main loudspeakers are all powered Meyer Sound cabinets, a pair of 750-P 2×18’s and a pair of MSL-2 15″ 2-ways. (some reports suggest 650-Ps and UPQs, but I’m 99% sure these are the same 750-P and MSL-2’s that Mike’s been using for a little while)

This rack houses all of Mike’s pedal effects, processors, including 2x Eventide Eclipse, and his CAE switching systems.

Expression pedals, CAE switcher (note the button marked “DWD”), and a Boss SYB-5 Synth Bass pedal.

1 of 2 Eden WT800 Heads (using preamp section only)
Meyer Sound Parametric EQ
Korg DTR2000 Tuner

The classic Mike effects we’ve been hearing for years.  The pedal effects include:

Lovetone Meatball
Akai Deep Impact
Source Audio Soundblox Prototype Bass Envelope Filter
Source Audio Soundblox Pro Multiwave Bass Distortion
EBS Octabass
Boss BF2 Flanger
MXR 10-Band EQ

I believe that the CAE switchers allow Mike to change the routing of the FX as he sees fit, so as such there isn’t a specific “signal path” to the pedal FX.

Classic Eventide DSP4000, Lexicon LXP-15, and 3 CAE 4×4 Switchers.

For direct processing, another Eden WT800 Head and an Avalon U5 tube-driven instrument direct box.

Here’s a little rundown on Fish’s current setup.  I got to chat with his drum tech Scotty for a while after taking the photos and he had a few specific insights as to what’s going on with the kit.  For example:

– the 2nd snare is a Yamaha Brass snare that actually belongs to Trey, and is 30-50 years old (I would assume that they had Yamaha change out the lugs with the Nouveau lugs back when Fish was playing a primarily-Yamaha kit).  This is the first time that anyone can remember Fish using 2 snares, and despite its presence, Scotty doesn’t remember him hitting it once at the 1st night of SPAC

– the main snare is in fact a DW 7×14, acquired just before this tour.  It “cuts” much better than the Black Beauty of old, believe it or not.

– the rest of the kit is a mixture of Noble & Cooley CD Maple toms (thanks Matt in the comments), a vintage Ludwig kick, and no longer includes any Yamaha or Ayotte toms

– the concept behind the tom arrangement is as such

  • the 6 and 8 are located off to the left as part of the left-side “percussion” setup, which is allowing Fish to move much more efficiently around the kit, with his elbows tucked in, as he generally prefers
  • the 10 and 12 are further left than before, ultimately giving Fish a classic jazz 3-piece arrangement with his bass    drum, 12″ tom, and 14″ floor tom.  This allows for closer ride placement, a more comfortable posture for Fish, and more use of the 12 for articulations (i.e. the “entrance” to David Bowie)
  • the 14 and 16 are where they’ve always been, although slightly covered up by the closer ride
  • Fish had been using coated Ambassadors on the toms, but for this tour they’ve been experimenting with clear Emperors, which has made mic’ing the kit much easier
  • Earthworks mics on the toms, Royer stereo mic for overhead

– the “little drum” in front of the kick is in fact a Yamaha Subkick, which uses an 8″ speaker as a microphone transducer

– cymbals are a mixture of brands and sizes, mostly older Zildjian, including a vintage Zildjian ride, New Beat hihats, K crash, A Cst splash, etc, some Paiste prototypes, and an odd UFIP and Wuhan here and there.

-hardware seems to be of the “whatever’s lying around” variety

– mostly Vic Firth Peter Erskine sticks

I really can’t beat Alex G from the comments on Page’s setup, so here’s his breakdown:
Rhodes Mk II, made somewhere from ‘75-’79 (the “73″ on it refers to the # of keys). He usually runs this through a phase shifter (now an mxr phase90, previously a maestro), but I don’t see it in the pictures, maybe on the floor?. On top of that is his beloved Yamaha CS-60 polyphonic synth (1977 i think?). Those are super rare and are a pain to keep in tune, hence the Sabine tuner placed on top of it.

1967 Hammond B3 organ going through a Leslie 122 rotary speaker (the classic Hammond setup). The organ was modded by the Goff brothers who added fine control/boost of chorus and percussion, and who removed the tubes, replacing the internal amp with solid state circuitry. On top of that is a Bob Moog Signature Little Phatty synth, which I believe he got fairly recently. The small module to the left of the Moog is a tuner, as the synth is all analog.

Wurlitzer 106p. These were made in the early 70s and sold in sets of EIGHT, all mounted on (the same) folding frame for classroom instruction. The internal mechanics are very similar to a Rhodes, except with reeds instead of aluminum tines, thus the sound is a bit “barkier” if I can call it that. I have never even seen one of these, let alone see someone play one.  Page acquired this somewhere along the line during the Summer 2010 tour.

2001 Yamaha C7 grand piano fitted with German Steinway hammers (an exact replacement of the one he used from 93-01) for better attack and brightness. The piano has Helpinstill pickups fed to an Avalon DI and an Earthworks microphone system to capture the piano’s acoustics. Atop that is his Hohner D6 Clavinet fed through a Fender Deluxe amp (shown below). He usually uses a myriad of effects on that, you can see the mxr phase90 on top, but I’m not sure what he has on the floor. Typically a wah (vox recently, crybaby in the 90s), sometimes a boss distortion and/or digitech whammy.

Front of House sound is run by Garry Brown on a Midas XL8 Digital board.

From top to bottom, we have:
Crane Song HEDD 192 Signal Processor
Dolby Lake Processor
Apogee Big Ben
Rane C4 Quad Compressor
Empirical Labs Distressor
Midas DL451 Modular I/O
Tascam CD-01U

On this side we have:
API 8MX2 8ch Mic Pre
Crane Song HEDD 192
Crane Song ISIS EQ
Manley Stereo Variable MU Limiter/Compressor
Tascam HD-R1 x2
Midas DL451 Modular I/O
Klark Teknik DN9696 Hi-Res Audio Recorder
Glyph GT103 w/ 1 drive

The left side of the Live Phish racks includes:
Apple Mac Mini
Presonus Firestudio
<unidetified unit>
Presonus FP10 Firepod

The right side of the Live Phish rack contains:
Apple Mac Pro Tower
Glyph GT103 w/ 1 drive
Avid Audio (Digidesign) 192 Convertor
Studio Technologies AN-2 Stereo Simulator

Both Kuroda and his assistant are running full-size MA Lighting grandMA 2’s.

Kuroda’s grandMA2 is equipped with an M-Audio Axiom 61 for tactile control over the lights.  The first 2 octaves are marked as “wipes”, the middle octave as “sprinkles” and the last 2 octaves as “scrim ex w/ color”.  The black keys with green tape are each marked with different colors.  In the scrim section, the keys are marked with letters and numbers.  There is also one white key in the sprinkles section labeled “Bowie Pt 2″. is great place to buy pro audio and dj equipment.

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