When we caught up with award-winning techno and trance DJ/producer Joris Delacroix last year, we asked him about his general attitude towards gear.
“To be honest, having a lot of gear is cool and allows you to shine with other producers" he told us, "but as time goes by, the more I am starting to think that gear is not really so important. The only important thing is what your sound does to people.
"It doesn’t matter if it’s made with fancy hardware or not.”
Which is easy for Delacroix to say, as you'll find out on a tour of his current studio set-up, below...
Ableton Live 11
"For producing, the DAW I use is Ableton Live 11. I have used several different softwares in my career.
"I started on Fruity Loops, while some of my first released tracks were made on Logic Pro. In 2015 I changed to Cubase, and finally moved to Live from last year.
"I think this is the one I’ll stay on. I use many external plugin suites: Arturia, Native Instruments, Waves, FabFilter, U-He, Soundtoys, ShaperBox, Output… etc."
"As the main controller, I use the Push2 from Ableton. I love working with it because it allows me to quickly add tracks and get ideas.
"I also use it a lot to sequence my drums. I also use another controller by Special-Waves when I need more. This is a modular controller, meaning any button, knob or fader can be removed or placed differently, I really like this concept."
Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88
"The master keyboard is this big S88 by Native Instruments. I originally started music by learning piano when I was a child.
"So I love this keyboard because of the 88 heavy keys, which make it feel like a real piano. And I also love the fact that I can control almost all my plugins directly from it with the NKS feature."
Moog Sub 37
"The Moog Subsequent (or Sub37) is certainly my favorite one. I have had it since its release in 2014 and directly fell in love with it. It has a strong, efficient and catchy sound which makes very often the starting point of my tracks.
"This synth is now very common, but I have a good knowledge of it and I still can create cool and unexpected melodies with it. I use it a lot with the paraphony and the looped envelopes feature."
Access Virus TI
"The Access Virus TI is the very first hardware synth I ever used, when a friend lent it to me in 2009. This is a digital synth, so there is a very large range of possibilities to use it.
"You can do basically everything with it from basslines, leads, pads, FX, Arps… Once you master the Matrix section on it which allows you to modulate almost every function, you can get the best of it."
Sequential Pro 3
"I got this one recently. Pro 3 by Sequential. This is my new live synth and I have a lot of fun using it. It has 2 analog oscillators + one digital, and all of this can be played with paraphony! I have very interesting and unexpected results with it.
"It’s also very convenient to use with the incorporated FX and the 2 additional digital envelopes which can modulate every parameter. With the several distortion and feedback effects, it can get really crazy!"
"The Moog Matriarch is my first step into the world of modular synths. This one is semi-modular, so it’s perfect if, like me, you need to learn the modular ways.
"It has a very particular sound, which quickly goes dirty (in a good way). I generally use it to do some destroyed leads or FX, but it also can provide very good basslines."
The Korg MS-20 is a classic from the 1970s. This one is a re-edition of the original with the new features including a USB connection (which is more convenient than the original CV/Gate control).
This is also semi-modular, but for me, the principal interest of this synth is its raw filters and basic/brutal oscillators. I often add some distortion and delay on it to get a “space-destroyed” raw sound.
Another Moog, the One-8. This one is not easy to use. At first, I didn’t like it much, because with the Moog synths I’m used to, I get exactly what I’m looking for. The Moog One requires you to work it, and you have to work it hard because there are like a million features on it.
But once you make the effort, you get directly rewarded with a rich and powerful sound. The possibilities of modulation on it are almost infinite, so the sound I get with it are very original one.
Killer hardware effects chain
And finally, here is a hardware effects chain I made with different devices. The blue and yellow ones are BIM and BAM by OTO Machines respectively. BIM is a delay, BAM is a reverb.
On the top of the pic, you can see 2 small hardware compressors, RNC and RNLA by FMR Audio. Everything goes in the Mackie mixer on the right. I use this chain to get spontaneous modulated FXs, and also to do some layering on my tracks when I’m finalising it.