Me in my studio: Noël Jackson
Noël Jackson is one of the co-founders of Superfreq, the tech house label that he heads up along with Mr. C and David Scuba.
Hailing from Detroit, he's a producer/engineer who's mixed tracks on labels such as Ghostly, Cadenza, Get Physical and Rekids, mastered tracks for Kevin Saunderson's legendary KMS Records, and assisted in the construction and planning of Saunderson's newest studio.
Right now, though, he's concentrating on his own project - a solo EP called Behold that will be released on 30 September.
Noël is clearly something of a gear-head, saying that “a good studio is like great sex”. So, we asked him to photograph his beloved facility and explain why he's so passionate about it...
“These speakers are game changers. They make mixing much easier and nothing else quite compares to these classics. Combine these with a sub and you have the ability to move the low-end (sub) independently from the highs and mids, allowing greater control of room modes.
Along with that, the time-domain accuracy of these speakers is insane. The speakers react 'fast', and don't sugar coat your mix. There isn't a reason to waste time on other speakers - with very few exceptions.”
Roland Aira TB-3
“Roland's classic TB-303 will never be replaced, but the filters in the new TB-3 make this an amazing little 'acid box'. I use it on almost everything from pads (!) to reverb-drenched keys. Of course, it makes some classic 303-sounding gurgles as well. Roland is killing it with all of their equipment lately.”
Custom modular synth
“I have the pleasure of living by a really cool Modular synth shop called Analogue Haven, which has turned me into a modular junkie. I've kept my kit as minimal as possible, but really love what it allows me to do. From unique basslines, to out-of-this-world pads and drums you could only dream of making in the box, modular is where it's at.
“My favourite modules are Make Noise's René, the ALM Pamela's Workout and Mutable Instruments' Braids, but the list goes on...
Litmus Audio LA-100 desk
“My desk is one of my favourite parts of my studio. I designed it in SketchUp and then had the desk CNC'd and assembled. It is low profile, eliminates reflections, has easy access to cables, and allows me 32RU of gear - 20 rack units up top and 12 below.
“This was the first of a few custom desks I've made for artists in the Los Angeles area, including one for my friend Stan Greene (O.T. Genasis and Big Sean).”
“My studio is home to an amazing Jupiter-6. It's been to the moon and back but still rocks the party. The depth of sound you get out of the Jupiter is crazy - it has this intense growl and thickness you can't really ever get over. I just end up smiling non-stop when using it. Used it heavily on my next EP.”
Burl B32 summing mixer
“Mixing with a summing mixer was something that truly changed my life early on. Hearing a track being summed vs bounced in the box really makes a big difference to me.
“I was lucky enough to buy one and really get into analogue summing about seven years ago. It's been integral to the way my mixes come out. The Burl in particular really helps glue everything together and give that low end some transparent breathing room. There are a lot of summing mixers out there, but I wouldn't use a different one, even if they paid me!”
Eventide Ultra-Harmonizer DSP4000
“This is the classic reverb unit that never disappoints. You can literally find a reason to run just about anything through this box and come up with beautiful sounds on the other side. The simplest of synths with the right reverb can be magical. There are plugins that emulate similar units, but nothing quite does the trick like the actual DSP4000.”