WELCOME TO STUDIO Z
This is the place where most of our world gets created. In an old garage located at the outskirts of Ghent city centre we’ve created our own little place. All our gear (/borrowed gear) is connected in a hybrid setup that we use to create, experiment and even rehearse our live shows on. It’s our little baby and it’s amazing.
So... How does it work? First things first: Ableton. From the early beginning of Rumours Ableton Live was always at the forefront of what we did. We’ve recorded all our albums with Live, Stefanie still uses it as a versatile synth for live purposes and in the first year of playing shows we even used it as a backing track. That’s the reason why you will find a mac mini, a pretty big screen and some noodles from Hannah on our big, wooden desk in the middle of the room. A big chunk of the time you’ll find us staring at the screen. Luckily the four of us are pretty capable of working with this amazing program, so everyone’s creative ideas get heard.
An important part of our music is Hannah’s vocals and our hardware synth and samplers, so we do need some recording gear as well. That’s where our lovely little rack comes in place. The rack is situated under the desk and it’s the heartbeat of the whole studio. In the rack you’ll find the X32 (Behringer, we know… But we like it.). We use the x32 as a soundcard to record everything inside Ableton Live and it also get used as a digital mixer if we need to rehearse our liveset. Every sound comes together in the x32 and this results in latency free playing and recording. (The holy grail of a studio, fuck latency!) All the in- and outputs of the x32 are connected to the patchbay underneath. The patchbay makes it easy to connect new gear, route synths through amps or pedals and to communicate with the bigger room next to our studio. Most of our gear is already plugged in to the patchbay with the help of stageblocks or just connected with a cable. This makes the whole studio plug and play and easy to use.
Above the patchbays you’ll find the headphone amp and the midi patchbay. We use the 4-channel headphone amp so everyone can makes it’s own mix on the x32 when rehearsing. It also comes in handy if we need to record vocals and we have to be quiet, but still want to follow along. The midi patchbay is used to connect all our instruments to the PC, so we can record or send midi with Ableton. This makes all the difference in a hybrid studio setup and can be a real life saver if you played that one note not that perfect. Just record the midi, adjust some notes or timing, send back and record! It’s also pretty necessary to connect the midi clock to the octatrack and the prophets to keep everything synced. That’s it for the really nerdy stuff… All the gear we need, that doesn’t make sound but we can’t live without. It sucks because it’s pretty expensive, but it makes our recording/creative process so much more enjoyable.
You can’t be a synth band without owning some synths, am I right? Our live setups are set up against the wall across of the wooden table. After a show the XLR snakes of our setups get plugged in the stageblocks, the MIDI gets connected and we’re ready to enjoy the studio. Stefanie rocks two keyboards on stage. One is connected to a laptop with her Ableton template full of synths we use live. The other one is connected to the desktop version of a prophet 08 (first edition). The prophet 08 is probably the most distinctive sound of Rumours. We’ve always used it on everything we’ve done and we will probably use it on everything we will work on in the future. We probably use it so much, because it was the first synth we had. But also because it is a wonderful and easy to use power machine.
This prophet is connected to an old and broken Bluesky. This boutique pedal looses a lot of gain, the MIX function doesn’t even work properly and the decay knob is taped, because it’s broken. Still it makes the prophet shine and adds to the sound we’ve grown to love. Underneath this set-up is a DL-4 we use to send Stefanie’s backings through in the live setup. In the studio we also use it to route other sounds through it and play with the delay time to get those glitching pitch sounds, after all this time it still is one of the best delay pedals we know of.
Next to this case, you find an even bigger case full of stuff and cables. This is the live setup of Jonas and the heart of the live show. The most important thing you’ll find is the octatrack. This quirky and difficult sampler is the reason why Jonas doesn’t want to buy other toys. You can do things with it that would take ages in a DAW, it’s just so creative and chaotic that it’ll always inspire you. We use it as the backbone for our live setup, but also as a creative machine in the studio. It’s sound and Midi capabilities give something magical that you won’t find anywhere else. The octatrack sends midi signals to the tr-707. It can be synced, or just note triggered. The 707 is an old 70’s drum computer with a distinctive, pretty ugly sound. We love it. The audio signals of groups of different drumsounds get routed in a small mixing desk, where distortion (analog drive), reverb (Mackie built-in) and compression (RNC) can get applied in a creative way. This creates a glue for the live set-up, but also gives creative and fluent expression to a static drumsound that we use as layers in the studio.
The H9, pog and RE20 space echo are used to ticken up Hannah’s vocals live and in the studio. The warbly sound the space echo creates is very good to give that little bit of an edge to clean sounds. Because it’s not midi synced, it also creates some little differences in timing that can be very good to create a groove on a synth or a drumloop.
Next to, and midi synced to, Jonas setup you’ll find a little synth corner. This is the live and studio set-up of Jan. It consists of another Prophet 08. The second version with keys this time. The stereo output of this synth goes through the big sky reverb and the timeline delay. This is the prophet synth that gets used the most in the studio at the moment. The stereo panning really is something else. Above the prophet is the Model D version of Behringer, this little mono synth primarily gets used as the live bass synth.
On the left and right side from the computer desk there are some more little toys we only use in the studio. If we ever need some sounds from these sources we sample them into a multisample library to use in Stefanie’s ableton template. On the right side you’ll find our beloved Korg Trinity. An old synth full of cheesy pad and lead sounds that were used on lots of early electronic stuff back in the late 90’s, early 2000. We love those quirky sounds and the trinity gets used often to start a new idea. On the left side of the desk you’ll find a guitar amp and cabinet (Peavey) for recording some guitars or amping some stuff out of ableton. Most of the demo vocals also get recorded in this little corner. Sometimes we use these vocals on the final mix, but often we do a clean recording in the vocal booth next to our studio. For vocals we mainly use the d:facto 4018, this one also is the main microphone for our live shows. Lately we’ve been experimenting with a warm audio U87 clone and bthe old sm58 still gets some love for backings. Lastly you’ll find some guitar pedals and even a copycat tape delay laying around for creating some lovely atmospheres if we’re in the mood for some experimental stuff.
All this gear plus our beloved fabfilter plugins and the amazing omnisphere give us ample possibilities to make and perform music the way we like it. We love our little studio. If you’ve got some questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.