All the material on these pages was written, recorded and produced by me (Denis Hillman) between
1990 to 2000 on minimal ( ha ha - minimal equipment back then easily cost me the price of a modest house in a
country town) equipment with Atari computers, 8 or 16 channel desk and external sound modules. First, a 1040 with
sync lock to a Tascam 8 track cassette, then an Atari Falcon - 8 track to disk drive (using Cubase Audio Falcon).
Unfortunately the Atari hard drive has since died and, although I replaced it with a larger one, I can no longer
get my PSI Backup software to load the drive, therefore some songs like "Jimbour" which went out fast due to a
competition deadline were unable to be better finished.
These days, pricing is
all in favour of the musician and we no longer have to "sell our soul" to purchase excellent music making
equipment. Of course it does still take a thoughtful investment, but if I was starting over again I think I
could get a great sounding and excellent working setup for around $6500.00.
For great deals on new music equipment check out zZounds
I would begin with SAWStudio with Midi WorkShop and
Levelizer - with some 3rd party SAW native plugins from Pieter Stenekes (Sonoris), Anwida,
John Marshall Smith (JMS), Rail Jon Rogut or Brainspawn.
The actions I recommend would be to download the demo versions of SAWStudio, Midiworkshop and the Levelizer; Bob Lentini's great video
tutorials, then check out the most helpful forum I know (SAWStudio
forum), and start making music.)
Computer - a reasonably fast computer (it doesn't have to be a world beater as
SAWStudio is so efficient).
Audio card - an RME audio card (HDSP 9632 is an excellent choice).
Headphones - pair of Sony MDR V6 headphones (very honest phones)
Speakers - a pair of Samson 65a's (great low cost, self powered speakers).
Midi keyboard - new or used (a 2nd hand DX7 or Juno would be fine plus give some
great sounds). If you prefer new, I suggest going to zZounds.
One good mic pre - many recommend Groove Tube's "Brick" as a good
I use a Quad eight (solid state) and a Sebatron VMP4000e (valve). They are different sounding
units (I love the Sebatron for THE valve sound on guitars).
Putting solid state and valve together in one box, Sebatron have recently released "Maximus". I have not heard this unit but I
think it would be a great "desert island" pre, using the best of both worlds.
A word of caution - don't dismiss the Behringer ADA8000 out of hand. It's a very useful 8
channel unit and will plug straight into an RME 9632 for full 8 in/ 8 out audio recording. If you check out
the narration at http://www.sawfishaudio.com/narration.htm you'll hear
the setup I used for that recording.
Kel HM1 / Behringer ADA8000 / RME HDSP9632 / SAWStudio
One good microphone - I have a Soundelux U195 which is a nice high quality mic. I also
have 3 Kel HM1's and love them. They come with a 1-year unconditional warranty plus a 21-day satisfaction guarantee
for under US$100.00 each.
VSTi's - or virtual studio technology instruments.
Well, here you spend a small amount or a fortune depending on your
requirements and pocket. I've used Roland's Hypercanvas for a few years now and for basic stuff, and a quick
start up, is ideal.
You'll probably need some samples and there are lots of them available on
the web for free in sample or soundfont format. I've found sfz+ to be a pretty handy soundfont and sample
Sytrus is an excellent 64 bit (internally) softsynth with some
really hot sounds.
For drums I use Drum Kit from Hell Superior 2.0 or a live drummer
For an upmarket sample player, I'd suggest Native Instruments Kontakt and
for an upmarket synth, NI's Absynth.
There are many newcomers as well but these are two I'm familiar
Please Note :-
All Rights Reserved.
Although the previously unreleased music appearing in these pages is
"free for private use",
the copyright and all mechanical rights of each song is retained by