Trevor here to give you the detailed list (and I mean DETAILED) of what kind of gear we all have to be able to do what we do! I’m gonna tell you about EVERY LITTLE PIECE even if you don’t want to know it. You wanna know why?! Because I WANT TO!! (and linking is really good for SEO 😀 😀 ). Anyways, let’s goooooooo!
PS I’ll include a TLDR list form of everything at the end of this post 🙂
Oh, PSS, we are not sponsored and we don’t have any affiliate links for any of these products/programs. This is all stuff we love and fully get behind!
Alright, so I figured I’d start with our overall recording setup, including hardware, DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), and general plugins we use for mixing our music. If you want to know what we use for our guitar/bass sounds I’ll list those later with Wade and I’s gear.
I’ll start with our hardware. We use a Macbook Pro (2018 model to be exact) for all music recording purposes and a Universal Audio Apollo Twin Thunderbolt as our audio interface. This interface is one of the best on the market, providing incredible recording capability and clarity in a compact package, a sturdy build quality, and it’s super easy to use! For our monitors, we use KRK Rokit 5s (in stealth black because all black > yellow/black) which plug directly into the apollo. They sound fantastic and are pretty affordable as far as monitors go. As for Midi controllers, we use an Akai MPK Mini. It’s compact and provides lots of flexibility. Lastly (and almost most importantly) we store EVERYTHING to do with SonS on a Samsung T5 SSD. We LOVE this thing, it’s so fast we record/mix with the files directly on the drive, saving me space on my HDD.
Next up is software and the most important piece is your preferred DAW and ours is Logic Pro X. In our opinion, it’s the best DAW if you have a Mac computer. It’s a one-time price (as opposed to many other DAWs which require monthly payments) and it includes some great sounding stock plugins, virtual instruments, and royalty-free audio loops you can use in your recordings to spruce them up. When mixing, we use a variety of different plugins from a few sources. These are Slate Digital All Access, Universal Audio Plugins (came with our interface), the Fab Filter Pro Q3, and some of Logic’s stock plugins. Slate digital is something we definitely recommend. It’s an affordable monthly cost to have access to their entire plugin library, all of which are top of the line that many of the top mixers in the world use. I’m usually not a fan of monthly subscriptions but this is seriously one of the best things we’ve signed up for. Many plugins on their own can cost $100 or more (wayyyyy more, like, you’ll go homeless more) so paying a low fee of $10 a month (for the first 6 months then it’s $15 forever) is SO awesome! You could even stop the subscription for a bit if you’re not currently mixing. Our final big plugin/virtual instrument we’ve invested in is Get Good Drums (GGD). GGD is an AWESOME sounding virtual drum set we are using for all of the songs on our upcoming album. We had used the Logic Drummer feature originally but are way happier with sounds/effects/beats of GGD. This company/product was created by the guys in Periphery and they know how to get some KILLER sounds. Plus the name is sooo good because of Adam “Nolly” Getgood.
Lastly, are some of the courses we’ve taken to help us learn what the heck we are doing with home recording/mixing. The first one is from Recording Revolution and it’s called Mixing University. This program is great because it teaches you the very basics of setting up your studio, mixing techniques like top-down mixing, EQ and compression, and gives full mix walkthroughs to help you mix your own song. We cannot recommend this enough if you’re just starting out. The next set of courses are also included in the Slate Digital All Access Pass (again making the monthly cost a NO BRAINER) and it’s called Slate Academy. Here they have more in-depth courses on their plugins, ear training, eq, compression, synths, and mixing walkthroughs from some of the best in business from all genres of music. Finally, the GGD YouTube channel is actually really helpful with drum mixing tutorials as well as full mixing walkthroughs on some Periphery songs.
Phewww, that was a lot. Now for the fun stuff, the actual music gear. WOOHOOO!
Alright, so Beth’s main piece of gear is…. Her throat. Duh. Did I have to say that? So her list is gonna be pretty short. For recording, she uses an Aston Origin mic. This mic looks SO COOL and it sounds EVEN BETTER. She saw it in the store and knew that it was the one. Not to mention it’s very affordable (about 80% cheaper than most pro mics) for the quality it provides, many top singers/studios have switched to this mic which just backs up how great it is. When we practice together she sings with a Shure SM58 Beta, which, at this point, there isn’t really anything left to say about it since it’s the industry standard. ALTHOUGH, I REALLY want her to get one of those really cool bullet mics. Maybe one day.
For vocal training, she’s been taking lessons with Phoenix Vocal Coaching, provided by Orsi Ronai AKA “Rocky”. She has been such a help for Beth, especially improving her vocal grit/distortion but she is just overall a fantastic teacher, and Beth is always so stoked after every lesson. If you’re looking for vocal lessons, check her out immediately!
Next up is ME 😀
I can’t talk about gear without talking about my guitars. They are my pride and joy (don’t tell Beth) and I am so grateful/thankful that I have such high-quality instruments.
First up is Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty Monarchy in MAJESTIC Purple (and it’s oh so majestic). This baby comes equipped with SONIC. ECSTASY. Dimarzio Pickups. HOW CAN YOU ARGUE WITH A NAME LIKE THAT?! Anyways, I love this thing. It’s actually my second Majesty because I bought the original color-shifting model about a month before this one was announced… I loved it but always said I’d prefer an all purple model, so of course, they announce it a month later. I sold the shift to get all purple. The neck on this baby is so smooth and it is a straight-up shred machine with so much versatility. It’s got an acoustic piezo pickup in it which can actually make it sound like an acoustic guitar. You can blend that sound with the electric pickups, split the electric pickups, engage a 20Db sound boost, and more. It’s also chambered so it’s really light and doesn’t add back strain. This thing is my swiss army knife.
My next guitar is a Strandberg Boden OS6 (complete with Nuno Bettencourt’s signature). This thing is so ergonomic and comfortable to play. It also features some fanned frets for proper intonation on each string, Strandberg’s patented Endur-neck (which is really crazy, go take a look), and has Fishman Fluence pickups. These things are really cool because they have two voicings so I can get two different sounds out of each pickup, a modern tone, and a vintage tone. It’s also chambered to make it light.
Finally, the guitar I don’t have yet. While I was in California I ordered my FIRST EVER custom shop guitar. This has been a dream of mine for many years and I cannot wait for it to arrive. It is a Kiesel Zeus guitar. I will not go into any details here as I want it to be a surprise and will be doing a full video rundown of all the options I chose once it arrives! (Which should be any day now…)
Let’s start with the plugins/virtual amp models I use in the recordings of our songs. These are all done with Neural DSP plugins. These guys are AWESOME and the plugins they make are even more awesome! (I should really learn some new words, how about astonishing, awe-inspiring, or breathtaking?). I specifically use the Archetype Plini and the Archetype Abasi. Both of them provide a few different amps, compression, drive pedals, different mic options, EQ bands, delays, and reverbs. All the things you need to create the foundation of a killer tone and both are INCREDIBLY versatile. I used the Plini on all our first few songs and will be using a mix of them on our album. For all FX, I use the Line 6 Helix Native plugin. Not much to say here as everyone knows Line 6 is one of the industry leaders as far as FX goes. I do find I like the tones out of the Neural stuff instead of the amps in the Helix so I just use it for guitar-related FX.
For playing live my current setup is a Fractal AX8, JP95 Dunlop Wah pedal, Mission Engineering Chris Broderick Expression Pedal, and Pedal Train pedalboards. Fractal makes ASTONISHING (see what I did there? 😛 ) modelers. I started with digital modelers back in the day and switched to Tube amps for years but honestly, digital has gotten so close and it’s much more versatile (and lighter) than a big ole’ tube head. With the AX8 I have a ridiculous number of guitar amp heads and cabs to choose from as well as every effect I could ever need, all with the highest possible modeling quality. The JP95 wah pedal is the best sounding wah pedal I’ve ever used so I use it instead of the modeled wah in the AX8 and then the Mission is just your standard expression pedal that has an on-off toe switch so it’s two expressions in one. One thing I’m VERY excited about is that Neural DSP (I’m a big fan of theirs if you can’t tell) just announced they are making a floorboard modeler like the AX8, called the Quad Cortex, and I have one on pre-order. It looks jaw-droppingly beautiful, easy to use, and the sounds are gonna be incredible if their plugins are anything to go by. I will be replacing my AX8 with this once it arrives.
Lastly for practicing or smaller gigs, I have a Boss Katana Air. This thing is a workhorse so go take a look. It has a few amps and effects built-in, with a wireless plug that turns the amp on when you plug it into any guitar (technology is CAH-RAY-ZEY) and you can control it from your phone. It can also be a Bluetooth speaker. What CAN’T it do?!?!
I’ll keep this area pretty short. For strings I use Ernie Ball Slinkys (10-46). Regulars on my Strandberg and Paradigms on my Majesty/upcoming Kiesel since they are UNBREAKABLE which pairs really nicely with a whammy bar. For picks, I use the 1.5mm Ernie Ball Prodigys (can you tell I’m a big Ernie Ball/Music Man fanboy?). I’ve always liked smaller picks because I feel they can’t dig into the strings as much which makes them more efficient for faster picking and other things like pinch harmonics. These things are fast and articulate with their razor-sharp edge (seriously, you could cut someone with them). A crazy fun accessory I have is an Ebow which basically infinitely sustains any note I play with it, making crazy sounds you didn’t even know where possible. Lastly, I gotta recommend the “Tempo” metronome app. It’s so easy to use and makes practicing with a metronome a lot easier/less tedious.
For anyone needing a great course that teaches you how to practice efficiently, I would highly recommend the practice methods used in the Guitar Acceleration course. I went through this and have been able to teach myself techniques I never thought I’d be able to do because of it. Be warned, it’s very focused and intense. I also have to say that while I fully endorse all the guitar practice methods of the course, I found it went down some weird existential/life/non-guitar related stuff later which I wasn’t overly fond of/didn’t agree with such as diet/workout and other things. Anyways the first half of the course on practice is great.
Phew! That’s all my gear and such, now for Wade!
First up is his Dingwall NG2. Wade waited for this bass for 1 year, 1 month, and 26 days. Holy crap. It actually arrived a few days after Beth and I went to Japan for two weeks so, after all that waiting, he still had to wait to come over and jam with us haha. If you asked him if it was worth the wait, I’m pretty sure he would say it’s the best thing he’s ever bought. Not only does it look slick in purple, but it’s also multiscale for proper intonation, features top of the line hardware, and pickups which give him a bunch of different bass tones. If you’re a bass player, this thing is unbeatable.
Next is his Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray 5 string bass. Like me, Wade is a big fan of Music Man and there isn’t much to say about these basses that hasn’t been said. They are one of the industry-standard go-to basses for rock/metal music and provide solid low end with punchy highs. He doesn’t play it as much as his Dingwall (probably because he didn’t wait over a year for it) but he still loves it and uses it on some of our recordings.
For recording Wade’s bass we use two different plugins. The Neural DSP (these guys again?!?!) Parallax for overall bass tone and then the Line 6 Helix Native for all FX like I do. The Parallax is AMAZING for creating any kind of bass tone you can imagine. It lets you parallel process a single bass tone, compressing the lows while adding distortion to the mids/highs separately and then meshing them all together on one channel strip. This is the standard way to process bass in recordings but usually you need to create 2 separate channels to do so. This lets you do it all in one plugin. The Helix Native is, again, fantastic for FX and bass tone and it’s great for Wade because of his main piece of live gear.
The Line 6 Helix floorboard. This multi-fx processor is one of the best out there along with the likes of Fractal, Kemper, and (soon-to-be) Neural DSP. Wade dials in all of his live tones with this baby and it’s bass amps/effects (including his favorite Darkglass Bass distortion pedal) and can easily transfer his presets back and forth between his floorboard and a computer using the Helix plugin. It’s great for practicing and ease of transfer between the two! When we practice together he plugs his helix into his Gallien-Krueger 700RB head and a 15” bass cab. Like some other gear, these Bass Heads are pretty much the industry standard for killer Bass tones and provide as much power as you could ever need.
Lastly for practice he plugs into his Focusrite Scarlett Solo interface and uses Ableton Live to load in any plugins he needs to.
It doesn’t get much quicker than this. Wade uses D’Addario NYXL Bass Strings (.045-.130) which sound great and stay in tune much better than the average bass string 😉 While he mostly uses his fingers to play, when he uses a pick, he will use Dunlop Tortex .6mm picks.
ANYWAYS, that’s it! That’s ALL the gear we (currently) have haha. I tried to get every little detail/reason why we use it that I could and I hope that this has been enlightening (and not too boring) for many of you. I hope it also may help any of you trying to decide what kind of gear you should purchase for your studio/next musical instrument.
Let us know your next big purchase bellow 🙂
Here is the TLDR list