Mr. Sosa has made some pretty impressive jumps as an artist this year, with his 2021 release schedule featuring outings on labels like Of Unsound Mind, Needwant, Last Night On Earth, and Anjunadeep.
The British artist has went from being a relatively unknown producer to now holding a commanding position amongst the next generation of potential top UK club talents.
With his resume of labels ever growing, it’s become quite clear that the Bournemouth-native knows a thing or two about being in the studio, so we felt it fitting to invite him for the latest edition of our own Studio Essentials.
With a wide-ranging and detailed list of picks, he highlights some of his favourite bits of gear, including kit from Focal, Korg, Electron, and Oberheim. Get the full list, including words from Mr. Sosa below!
I’ve been an Ableton fan boy since my first free trial and I’ve only ever used Ableton. It’s probably the most versatile DAW as far as creativity goes, so it’s never made sense for me to change. The native plugins aren’t the best though, when compared to Logic etc, and if you’re just starting out it’s going to take a while to get familiar with the interface.
Focal Twin 6BE
Starting at the source of the sound is important, as my monitors influence all my decisions from the sound design to the mix downs. Knowing your monitors really helps too, I worked with HS8’s for a few years and loved them, but they just couldn’t deliver the level of detail that these Focal’s can. They have incredible accuracy and separation, especially in the midrange where things tend to crossover and get muddy. At the end of the day though, if your room isn’t equipped to handle your monitors then the monitors won’t be effective. Always start with the acoustics of your room first.
I start every track with some form of drums. I need the rhythm to get going and feel the pace of whatever tempo I’m going for. 90% of the time I will use the Digitakt. Its workflow is insanely fast and I can create a pool of samples from any 909, 808, 606 or even a Linn Drum, and lay down a beat within a couple minutes. It doesn’t have to be perfect as i’ll usually keep adding things later on. For drum breaks, I still use Ableton though.
Oberheim Matrix 1000
If you love presets then the Matrix 1000 is the one. I picked up my Matrix a couple of years ago after hearing some tracks that it was used on and it did not disappoint. It’s got 1000 presets full of juicy 80’s sounds. So every time I fire it up, I can guarantee there’s a sound in there that I can work with. The Matrix is probably the nicest sounding synth I’ve heard. It’s really in a league of its own, the only downside is once you start digging through the presets you can’t stop. My track ‘So Much Funk’ was made entirely on this (apart from the drums).
Everyone needs an FM synth in the studio, and the Digitone is probably the modern equivalent of a DX7. This super versatile synth is perfect for bleeps and complex sounds but it also creates wicked bass sounds too and with the Digitakt combo, it’s a powerhouse. It’s not easy to program, as with any FM synth. To use its full potential you really have to know it inside and out. The main lead on my track ‘Euphoria’ is from this synth which is out on Anjuna.
I found one of these not far from me so I couldn’t pass it up. The Kawai features on famous rave tracks like LFO – LFO, and has some really nice 8-bit sounds that are pretty lo-fi out of the box. Quite similar to a Korg M1, just a bit more lo-fi, it’s perfect for atmospheric touches. You can hear it throughout my track ‘Psychedelic Jungle’.
I run a hybrid set up with a bunch of plugins. Mostly for processing, but some great synths as well. I pretty much always end up using the Korg M1 for something on every track, it’s just too good not to use. The Arturia collection is the same, as it just has so many options. I probably have too many plugins, and it’s always best to keep it simple. It’s easy when you’re starting out to think that more plugins will help, but you’re better off learning just a few really well.
I run a UAD Apollo for processing, as having plugins on DSP helps take the load off the computer. The UAD plugins make it hard to justify buying their hardware counterparts as they sound amazing! I use the Lexicon 480 reverb on everything, you really can’t beat the silky smooth 80’s sound. I also use a bunch of compressors etc, for my mixdowns. The plugins do cost an arm and a leg though.
I recently acquired this Toft console specifically for mixing and of course it’s a centrepiece connecting all my analog gear to Ableton and vice versa. The English built preamps and EQ sound great and add a nice analog touch to my mixes. Something you definitely can’t emulate in the box.
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