Show Us Your Studio #1: This modular madhouse is giving us serious gear envy

(Image credit: Yann Le Vot)

Last week, we announced Show Us Your Studio, a chance for our readers to show off their set-up, shout about their gear and invite the world into their home studio. We've had an overwhelming response and would like to thank all those who sent in studio shots. Having picked out a selection of submissions, today we're sharing the very first edition of Show Us Your Studio.  

If you haven't been contacted, don't despair: we'll be continuing to comb through the emails we've received over the coming weeks, so keep an eye on your inbox. If we've already reached out, keep an eye on MusicRadar as we continue posting entries over the weeks to come. If you haven't yet submitted your studio shot, it's not too late: just email us a clear and well-lit picture of your studio space for a chance to be featured. 

The first studio we've chosen to feature belongs to Yann Le Vot, AKA Trucks and Coyotes, a MusicRadar reader and self-described "modular synth geek" from Paris, France. Yann's studio is absolutely jam-packed with gear, and the shot he sent us is enough to make even the most GAS-afflicted members of the MusicRadar team question whether they really have enough junk in their music-making trunk. 

The most striking feature of Yann's studio is the dizzying array of Eurorack modules at his disposal: an entire 2110HP's worth, in fact. This is one of the most impressive modular set-ups we've seen for a long while, and we get to look at a lot of studios. Nestled within the fray of patch cables (laudably untangled patch cables, we might add) we can spot some old favourites from Mutable Instruments, Qu-bit, ALM/Busy Circuits and Strymon, alongside many, many more. 

Elsewhere, Yann's availed himself of the full Moog Sound Studio, an enviable trio of instruments that comprises the Mother-32, DFAM and Subharmonicon. Continuing in the vein of hardware synths, we can spot a Waldorf Blofeld and a Tasty Chips GR-1 granular synthesizer, along with an impressive range of standalone controllers and sequencers: the OXI Instruments One sits alongside the Make Noise 0-CTRL and the now-discontinued Sensel Morph, adorned with a Buchla-style overlay. There's even a humble Arturia Keystep too, thrown in for good measure. 

There are a few vintage curiosities on display too - sitting at the bottom of Yann's below-desk rack of outboard gear, we've spied the Akai S01, a rackmount digital sampler released in 1993. If you needed a reminder of how far technology's come in those three decades, get this: the S01's onboard sample memory extends to a singular megabyte. 

Sequestered in the far corner is Dave Smith Instruments' Evolver, the first instrument released by the late synth designer under the DSI brand in 2002, a feature-packed desktop synth that brings together analogue and digital synthesis with a MIDI-syncable, 16-step analogue-style sequencer. Just behind that, we were pleased to see the Akai Tom Cat, a quirky, budget analogue drum machine released in 2015 that we rarely hear about eight years later. This has us wondering, does Yann have the Rhythm Wolf tucked away somewhere too?

Yann's collection of synths, modules and drum machines may be enough to keep anyone occupied for several lifetimes, but it's evident that he's not only a synth geek, but an avid guitarist too. We can count not one, not two, but 22 guitars hanging from the studio wall, and Yann tells us he actually owns 25. Good luck keeping all of those in tune.

As the owner of a magnificent assortment of gear that likely equals in value the price of a two-bedroom flat, we must admit that we're a little surprised that Yann hasn't invested in a pair of top-tier, studio-grade monitors through which to hear his equipment. Instead, Yann is running the Dynaudio BM5A MkIIs, a respectable, if entry-level set of speakers released in 2011. To each their own: perhaps Yann prefers mixing on headphones.

After sending us his studio shot, Yann was kind enough to talk us through his typical workflow. "The central part of my studio is my modular system, and I use mainly the OXI Instruments One sequencer for composition", he tells us. "It eventually allows me to produce finished tracks. After rehearsing quite a lot, I record on-the-fly in stereo in Reaper or Zoom H6, and never apply post-treatment. 

"You have to learn to live with mistakes or imperfect parts. It is like when you draw directly with ink: no correction possible. It is a liberation after losing so much time trying to put multitrack songs together, without getting at least a demo quality. At the end, it is what it is, but it's done. Then, you unpatch, and you can go for another one."

Yann tells us that he tends to begin tracks by running a textural sample through a granular synthesizer or effects processor; his favourite modules for this purpose are Instruo's Lúbadh, a two-channel looper that's inspired by the mechanics of early tape machines, and Qu-bit's Nebulae, a granular sampler equipped with a phase vocoder audio engine that's capable of all sorts of creative sound-mangling.

"I record on-the-fly in stereo in Reaper or Zoom H6 and never apply post-treatment. You have to learn to live with mistakes or imperfect parts"

Talking about his musical background, Yann recalls buying his first synths, the Korg MS-10 and MS-20, in 1978, two instruments that he still owns today. "I started playing guitar when I was 16 or so. I'm now 64," Yann says. "After that, came a long bedroom music period: a Roland MC sequencer, replaced by Atari 1040 with Cubase and multitrack cassette recorder, and finally Cubase on PC, now replaced by Reaper."

After becoming a little disenfranchised with music-making, Yann says that discovering Hainbach's YouTube channel renewed his passion for electronic music. "This has been a revelation," he says, as he realized that making "ambient music in a mad scientist lab" was what he truly wanted to do. Amen to that.

Yann makes dark ambient music under the alias Trucks and Coyotes. Listen to Gloom #7 below or visit his Bandcamp to hear more.

If you'd like to be featured on Show Us Your Studio, email us today with a picture of your studio. 

Yann's gear list...

  • 2110HP modular system
  • OXI Instruments One 
  • Tasty Chips GR-1
  • Soma Lyra-8
  • Folktek Mescaline
  • Leaf Audio soundbox (highly modified)
  • Make Noise 0-Coast, 0-Ctrl, Strega
  • Moog M32, DFAM, Subharmonicon
  • Eowave Quadrantid Swarm
  • Pittsburgh Modular Microvolt 3900
  • Yamaha DX11, TG33, FS-1R
  • Korg MS-10, MS-20, SQ-10, Prophecy
  • Akai CD3000XL
  • EMU Morpheus
  • Dave Smith Instruments Tetra, Evolver
  • Waldorf Blofeld, Streichfett
  • Nord Modular
  • Arturia Microfreak, Keystep
  • Sensel Morph
  • Elektron Model:Samples, Model:Cycles
  • Novation Circuit Mono Station
  • Tascam Portastudio 424 MK1
  • 25 electric guitars
  • 2 acoustic guitars
  • Bass guitar
  • Lap steel guitar
  • Lots of pedals and 19” rackmount gear
  • Mackie SR24•4
  • Zoom H6
  • RME Fireface 400
  • Dynaudio BM5A monitors
  • Reaper

MusicRadar is the number one website for music-makers of all kinds, be they guitarists, drummers, keyboard players, DJs or producers...

GEAR: We help musicians find the best gear with top-ranking gear round-ups and high-quality, authoritative reviews by a wide team of highly experienced experts. TIPS: We also provide tuition, from bite-sized tips to advanced work-outs and guidance from recognised musicians and stars. STARS: We talk to musicians and stars about their creative processes, and the nuts and bolts of their gear and technique. We give fans an insight into the craft of music-making that no other music website can.
Get over 70 FREE plugin instruments and effects… image
Get over 70 FREE plugin instruments and effects…
…with the latest issue of Computer Music magazine