Being a fully digital project, production rig used by The Salim Nair Band is made up of several controllers, digital keyboards, software tools and virtual instruments. The following is a brief description of our current production rig. As with any digital setup, things could and will change quite drastically as we go forward.
1. The Computer: Of course, this is where most of the work actually happens. Currently we base our rig on a custom 15.5″ portable desktop with an i7-7700 desktop processor with 16 GB RAM and PCIe M2 storage. An Nvidia GTX 1060 with 6GB drives the video.
2. Audio Interface: Currently we use a Focusrite Scarlett 6i6. This is one of the first generation cards from Focusrite. The performance is reasonable and is sufficient for our purpose. This is one component that will change very soon.
3. Linnstrument: A polyphonic expressive MIDI controller and matrix keyboard with 200 keys that allows intuitive pitch slides and timbre controls.
4. TEC Breath and Bite controller: This is another multi parameter controllers. Along with breath, it can also convert bite force, tilt and vertical movements to midi control signals. Mainly used to control wind instruments, it can also work quite well with complex synths that allows manipulation of multiple parameters (NI Absynth for e.g.).
5. Ableton Push 2: A 64 pad controller for Ableton Live that handles almost every actions one can take in Ableton Live through its user interface.
6. APC Mini: A 64 pad controller for Live from Akai.
7. Keith McMillan 12 Steps: A 13 button foot controller. The form factor is one of the best thing about this controller. Keith McMillan is a very interesting and innovative company and I have been eying at their other offerings. It integrates well with a digital production setup.
8. APC Key 25: Another Ableton controller from Akai with a keyboard.
1. Ableton Live Suite: No introduction needed for most electronic and digital musicians and followers.
2. Max For Live: An extremely powerful plug-in processor and generator for audio and midi. Part of Ableton Live suite.
3. Native Instruments Kontakt One of the most used sample player. There are a large number of instruments from NI and thirdparties that works within Kontakt. One could have a very deep and minute control over sample playback and other aspects of the instruments. Kontakt comes with good set of instruments.
4. NI Absynth: A semi modular synth that excels in creating evolving soundscapes
5. NI Reactor: An extensible graphical modular synth, effects and controller workbench. Quite useful in creating rhythmic bass lines and also can create very novel melodic elements.
6. Symphobia 2: Part of the Sympobia collection from Project SAM. For Kontakt.
7. Albion: Another cinematic instrument collection from Spitfilre Audio. For Kontakt.
8. NI World, India: A set of Indian instruments for Kontakt from NI. A very nicely playable set. It is a bit heavy on resource requirements.
9. Tabla Solo from Cryptic Cyphers: I discovered this very recently. Still getting to know it well. Really nice tabla samples and good playback. The key mapping and factory supplied patterns and fills are more accessible to an Indian musician compared to NI World.
10. East West Studios: They have a dizzying number of virtual instruments, many of them excellent. With their subscription service called Composers Cloud one can access the full collection. We use the collections EWQL Ra and EWQL Silkroad quite extensively. Instruments from various other collections like the choirs, string and brass are also part of our regular picks from EWS.
11. Wivi Band Brass: A modelled instrument from Wallander industries. Plays very nicely with the breath controller. Our first choice for sax and trumpet.
12. Sample Modelling Flute: Another excellent modeled instrument set.