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The Black Knight Studio

Getting started ...

 I have had a studio in one form or another since the mid 80's, but moving to a more spacious house with a finished basement in 2015 enabled me to start thinking about the perfect studio set up. I was doing well with my remix work and wanted to continue moving forward, trying to improve every day.

The Black knight studio started in April of 2015. Initially, I started with a laptop computer, a Yamaha CS1x midi controller synth, two 32" tv's and 2 KRK Rokit 5 speakers . I also had a Ram 10 mixing desk, a very rare small desk that I brought with me from the UK. I used the Ram desk mainly for Mic inputs into my DAW.

My black knight "MAX" that stands 6ft high in my studio.


Every reputable studio in the past 20 years, at it's core, has a Digital Audio Workstation, also known as a DAW. A program that takes sound into a computer and can be manipulated inside the computer. This is called producing "inside the box". There are a handful of reputable DAW's a producer can choose from in todays market. My DAW of choice, early on, was FL studio (formally known as Fruity Loops) an up and coming rising star in the DAW world. The reason I choose FL studio was mainly for it's ease of workflow, but also because it was one of the only DAW's on the market that had started touch screen support.

I started mixing and producing in the mid 80's, primarily making electronic music. That was the era of the synthesizer and amazing producers such as John Foxx, Gareth Jones, Daniel Miller and Flood. I studied their  techniques as best I could, which was difficult, without internet in those days. It was the era of the magical mixing desk, tweaking and molding sound through a desk and rack effects. It is from this early exposure to the hands on technique on the mixing desk that led me to start thinking about mixing on a desk in the virtual realm, through a touch screen. I later found out that, though, that this was not tactile enough for me. So during phase 2 of the Black knight studio I added a Mackie controller that could scroll through the DAW mixing desk 8 tracks at a time. I also added another screen in front of me to show song editing and bought IR frames from Glass-tek to go around the two 32" tv screens that I set at an angle to mimic a desk. This enbled both screens to be touch screen, with 10 point touch capability on each screen !! It worked perfectly, I had inadvertently acquired two huge touchscreens for the studio through plug-and-play IR frames that would have cost me over $5000 for each screen. I think I payed $189 for the IR frames and they were 10 point touch. 

Refining my brain child ...

2 years ago I had a catastrophic event in my studio. All my ideas, remixes and tracks on my computer were lost as my computer hard drive crashed. I had no back-up. 4 years of work down the drain, it was a depressing time for me. I researched for a long time, details about the hard drive, trying to find a way to recover the information without spending thousands and thousands of dollars at a hard drive recovery center. Then one night I happened upon an article on the far side of the internet that talked about using power to reset a hard drive. I tried it...and it worked!!!. My hard drive was deteriorating fast but I was able to get about 75% of my music back.

During that downtime and reflection I started thinking about phase 3 of my studio. How I could refine my studio and make the setup smoother. I wanted more analog control on mixing and producing but I didn't want to take my sound "outside the box" through an analog desk. That's when I stumbled upon the Mackie d8b, a 24 track controller from the late 90's that could be used as a midi controller and still keep me "inside the box". There was just one problem though, amazing as FL studio was, it only supported midi control of 8 tracks and also had limited functionality towards controllers. Then, a few months later, FL studio came out with a solution. You could now use any controller with the DAW but you had to program it yourself using Python scripting. I knew nothing about this form of programming but after a few weeks, with the aid of study and several peoples help on the internet I eventually got a d8b to communicate with FL studio. Not only that, I discovered I could use 2 Mackie d8b's side by side to control a mixer as far as I could reach which gave me 48 tracks of control. I used Ralph Wentz's Pro-box as a medium between the 2 and based on the programming it looked like it worked flawlessly. In the new phase I wanted to be able to mix on screens and on the mixer. I wanted to be able to open an effect on screen and manipulate it right there with my hands. So I came up with a plan to separate my touchscreen from my physical controllers but whereby it could be reached by just a swivel of the chair. Below was the original design layout for phase 3.

The design...

The building process...

Studio equipment list

  • Alienware m15 R6, 15.6 inch QHD 240Hz Laptop - Intel Core i7-11800H, 32GB DDR4 RAM, 2TB+1TB SSD's, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6, Windows 10. 

  • FL Studio 21 Producer signature bundle

  • 2 Mackie D8b 8-Bus digital recording consoles.

  • Yamaha RX11 Drum machine

  • Roland 606 Drumatix drum machine 

  • Yamaha QX21 sequencer

  • Yamaha CX5 computer

  • 2 Ralph Wentz D8b Pro-box interfaces

  •  TEAC 3340S 10.5 Inch Stereo Quad 4 channel Reel to Reel Tape Deck Recorder

  • 2 32 inch LG LED TV's with 32 inch IR surround touch frames from Glass-tec.

  • Dell Curved Gaming, 34 Inch Curved Monitor with 144Hz Refresh Rate, WQHD (3440 x 1440) Display

  • 2 KRK VXT8 2-Way 8" Active Studio Monitors.

  • Slate digital Complete effects package.

  • Multiple Waves production plugins

  • Plugin Alliance complete package

  • Multiple synth plugins including Omnisphere, Trillian, Spire, Sylenth 2, Nexus 4, Avenger, Ana2, Kontact 6 (plus multiple libraries) and many others.


If you would like to contact M.B.E he can be emailed at the following address.

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