I've put together some hardware that I like and use for my productions that can resemble 80s house and techno pretty good with my setup which is a Roland TR-909, a Roland TR-808, a Roland Juno 106, a Nord Modular, a Roland SH-101, a Samson Graphite MIDI controller and a Mackie 16 channel digital mixer (Pro16Fx) that has builtin compression. I control everything from Cubase and everything is working as it should.

Now as I've sort of reached my goal in being able to make the sounds of 80s and early 90s house and techno, now I want to expand my collection of gear to also get gear that can produce dark and driving atmospheric sounds like early 2000s dark progressive house (e.g. Bedrock Black) and how to make dark, driving, ambient techno like what comes from the Zoloft label (which sounds like dark progressive house used to, only now it's labelled techno).

I'm thinking of perhaps getting some gear from Doepfer or Moog to get a very dark and ambient bass sound, or perhaps a Kog Mini 20 reproduced but I didn't try that yet.

Could you present me with some advice of what synth / drum machine I should need to get a very dark techno sound like what has come from the labels Bedrock Black (artists Deep Amok, Jondi & Spesh, Shmoo, OBA) and more recently from the Zoolof Label (Giorgio Gigli) with dark, driving, ambient and atmospheric basses, synths and drum machines? Can my oldschool gear be set up to sound like that or if I should get some new gear, what should I get?

2 Answers 2


Warning: this is perhaps not the answer you are looking for :)

You have already got enough gear. What you really need is time, patience, perseverance.

Experiment with what you already have, whatever it is that you own, use your imagination and creativity. A typical style of music was not only 'invented' because of the sound or purpose of the gear; it was the user that found a new purpose for the equipment.

Good luck with your quest!

  • 2
    I have to agree with this statement, If I buy a Les Paul and a Marshall stack it doesn't make me SLASH even if I do wear the hat. Feb 10, 2014 at 15:45
  • 1
    don't forget the nose ring :) Feb 10, 2014 at 16:23

The only thing that really stands out to me about your setup is the lack of FX. You can safely disregard any effects built in to your mixer. There are a ton of great rack units out there from the '90s that can be found for peanuts on eBay and your local version of Craigslist.

Start with Alesis - take a look at the Wedge, QuadraVerb, MidiVerb and Ineko/Akira. These are generally inexpensive and easy to work with and usually have great long and dark reverbs.

Next, Lexicon. The MPX500/550 (you can upgrade a MPX500 to be a 550 with a $20 chip from Lexicon. The upgrade requires a screwdriver and about 15 minutes of your time) has a more realistic sound to my ears, a nice contrast to my more trippy 'verbs. There are plenty of other Lexicons worth exploring, but the '500 is a good starting point for your research.

Roland's SRV-3030 doesn't get as much respect as the older SRV-330, but I like its large and 'impossible' spaces.

Finally, Eventide. The "pedal" style Space is great, but if you have room in your rack look up the h3000 and later.

There are some great Sony and Yamaha FX units out there too, but they are much harder to find than Alesis, Lexicon, Roland and Eventide.

  • or just skip the Alesis (putting out another opinion for the record) Jan 6, 2015 at 6:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.