🎼 these are a few of my favorite things 🎵

If only I were as good at using music gear as I am at acquiring it.

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MIDI keyboard 

The Arturia KeyStep is a fantastic, inexpensive MIDI/USB/CV keyboard. Great sequencer, great connectivity, sturdy build, portable, easy-to-use.

Its only flaw: microUSB is a terrible choice and the port wears out.

Recommendation: check this before buying one used. But even better, save a little longer and get the newer KeyStep37 for sturdier ports, a few more options, and another half octave.

drum sequencer 

The Alesis SR-16 is considered a classic; this is the SR-18. Substantial improvements on paper, but many swear by the sounds of the older one.

Many good built-in sounds/patterns, built-in programmable bass line, lots of user save space, this seems designed to accompany a guitarist. With 1/4" audio passthrough, you can run guitar and drums through same amp, and control A/B patterns and start/stop with optional pedals.

I really just needed a metronome.

But it's fun.

Zoom H4Pro 

Fantastic digital audio recorder. Excellent built-in mics, surprisingly good effects, two 1/4" or XLR inputs, lots of recording modes. Easy file management.

As a 4-track recording idea sketch pad, this is pretty great.


-kinda sucks as PC recording interface (high latency)
-slow to start up
-sucks down the batteries [but get a cheap adapter and run it off a huge USB power bank]

Really, it's good but older tech. Worthwhile if you find a used one, else check out the Zoom H6 line.

Korg NTS-1 

Cheesy little monosynth you assemble yourself (not hard, tools included) with CV and 1/8" audio in/out and the useless little ribbon keyboard

but the effects engine is EXCELLENT

and it works on any audio you route through it

and features are hidden behind every conceivable button press combo

I thought this was a cheap cash grab by Korg--but actually it's a gateway drug to their "real" synths

If you have a MicroFreak, this is a great way to add effects. KeyStep pairs perfectly.

Mackie 802VLZ4 mixer 

Mackie mixers are unstoppable, unbreakable, and sound REALLY good. The mic preamps on my PreSonus Audiobox 96 were somewhat disappointing; now I feed it through this bad boy and I have no complaints.

The VLZ line is their more pro-level gear, but their MixFX line is also well-regarded.

I can feed it with mics, synths, direct instruments, anything I have on hand.

I love this mixer.

Tech21 DI bass preamp pedal 

I drove to a Guitar Center in Tucson to get this on Black Friday. I don't generally leave the house on Black Friday, but it was worth it.

This is kind of "old school," my little brother says, but it's the bass preamp pedal I've wanted since I first started playing bass in '99. I use mine to feed the PA system at jam night and I don't need to bring an amp. This version gives me 3 easily programmable presets.

(The Behringer BDI21 ripoff pedal is very close.)

Novation Circuit 

Ha, I didn't see this (under the NTS-1).

Now replaced by the Circuit Tracks and Circuit Rhythm, the OG circuit is a super easy-to-use groovebox with 2 synth tracks and 4 sample tracks. You have to use the PC interface to get full control of the engine, but the built-in control scheme is intuitive and fun.

Gabe Miller on YouTube does amazing bangers with his. I make unlistenable glitchy EPs that my wife hates.

Of all of the things on this list, the KeyStep and the NTS-1 monosynth were the only things I paid full price for.

Everything else was used via Craigslist, Amazon, FB market, or Guitar Center.

@venya urrg I have this problem too - it's a sickness

@venya this was the box I used to try to jam on in the guitar center before I would call my mom to pick me up.

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