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Through the Past, Darkly... Them good old Sonar 4 through 8 days.


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Taking a trip down memory lane, I was going through archives and found these old photos of my first home “studio”  (top 2) - that is, the first time I had a room dedicated to nothing but music. (My first “studio” was technically any corner of any room where I could plug that Sony reel to reel that you see in the back of one of the pictures).


Anyway, that room was maybe 6 1/2 x 10, and no consideration whatsoever was ever given to acoustics. But it was mine and I wrote tons of songs in there, using Sonar 4 through 8. I am guessing this pic shows Sonar 6 since Simon Cann’s Cakewalk Synths book, present in both photos, was published in 2006.

I’d inherited the room after the roommate moved out. He had painted it red and I decided to keep it that way. The only window was blocked with thick red velvet curtains, and the ceiling light was also red, so it was really dark in there. Not something that would work for everyone, but I loved it.

After my gf and I broke up, I essentially lived in that tiny room, eating there, sleeping on a piece of foam, and hanging out in there when I wasn’t  making music. Back then, I used to smoke almost 2 packs a day, more when I drank. I can’t imagine…

The cheap passive speakers from my old Toshiba stereo acted strictly as monitor stands, the other pair on the side may have been connected to check mixes at some point. Not that that made any difference in quality. I still have the little Samson mixer in storage somewhere. I only ever used it as a volume control for the monitors.

Somehow, I got used to the ambience, so I always ended up painting the rooms where I worked red from that point on. This one here (bottom photos) is not as cramped and I did try to make the acoustics a little better. It’s also not as dark because of the eggshell carpet and the better lighting.

There’s not a bit of daylight - the only window is hidden behind that big cushioned board (not something I had planned for but it ended up in my garage and it’s actually a great addition to my setup - and it looks better than the piece of acoustic foam it replaces). I like things a little morbid and I was raised in a Catholic household, hence the two last rites crucifixes...

There isn’t much gear, but I really don’t need much more than what I have for my purpose. To be honest, practically everything I sold, like the Pro Tools control surface and outboard compressors and mixers, was rarely ever used, and when it was, it usually was because I felt a bit guilty not to use it. When creativity kicks in, I need as little in my way as possible.

As long as I have a few guitars, a MIDI keyboard, a pair of monitors, and Logic, I’m alright. The vibe is more important than gear.

People usually comment that they’d go nuts with all the red but to me, this is the most comfortable, relaxing place in the world. It’s my safe space, my mancave, and my little cocoon. I’ve spent the bulk of my waking hours in here for the last 10 years. Fortunately, I no longer smoke and I don’t have to sleep on the floor…


Any of you guys care to share old set up pics or photos chronicling evolution of your space and rigs through the years? I am always curious to see old gear and old software - I even keep a folder with screen captures and images of old DAW software and plugins photos. Heck, I even have Cakewalk Pro Audio 9 installed on an old laptop somewhere. Never use it but wanted to reminisce and see how far we’ve come.

Edited by Rain
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Pro Auduo 9 was when I first jumped in IIRC.

I have some pics of my old recording room. Term used loosely. Hah. Back when I lived in Iowa 23 - 24 years ago. The view from my window was amazing. I miss Iowa.

I really miss S8.5PE. It was the last truly customizable version of Cakewalk. I wish they would bring it back with the modern features.

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The only time I had a view, in NY, on the corner of 42nd and 11th, in 2012.


It was exciting for a small town boy to live in the big city for a bit, so I took it in as much as I could.

Usually, prefer to black out everything but I sometimes pictures of set ups with a stunning view on nature, and I can understand how this can be inspiring. Here it'd be houses across the street, a few trees and a street light. Nothing too exciting.

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Nice memories I'm sure.

My old studio desk is presently under a tarp on my side porch until I can get the space i intended for it finished. No other place to put it for now, so I'm parked in my dining room and it's tidy if that is even possible with 6 keyboards and various guitars. Plenty of working space though, just not extremely intuitive.

I tried to give it a vibe with wifi lights, and it sorta works. 


studio two.jpg

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