On Tour de France, Kraftwerk Showcases Move to Virtual Studios

Kraftwerk’s Tour de France Soundtracks highlights the shift in music production from hardware to virtual, software-based studios.

The album features all new material, created and produced in an entirely new way for Kraftwerk. “We’ve been trying a lot of new things and the virtual technologies were key to that”, says Fritz Hilpert. “We all have an ‘old-school’ studio background where lots of cables and complex connections are required before anything goes. Working with virtual setups has changed all that.”

Kraftwerk have used completely virtual setups for the first time on their recent live-events in France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Japan and Australia, and found it to be a liberating experience. “The total-recall, power and portability aspects have convinced us completely”, comments Hilpert.

Kraftwerk Tour de FranceKraftwerk’s Virtual Studio

The album Tour de France Soundtracks was produced on a networked computer setup with a PC running Steinberg Cubase SX and TC PowerCore PCI as heart of the system.

Kraftwerk are the first artists worldwide to make use of the new TC Helicon VoiceModeler for PowerCore.

”It is a great tool to transform voices completely”, comments Hilpert. “We used VoiceModeler to create these whispery voices in the chorus on the track Elektrokardiogramm. We have also used the Waldorf D-Coder on that track to create this pitched drum sound. It works really well on drums, because it can produce very punchy, metallic sounding percussion and it has excellent modulation features.”

MegaReverb, ClassicVerb and a vintage Quantec unit are the only reverbs used on the album. “We like MegaReverb’s natural sounding room impressions, especially for percussive material. It creates defined spaces rather than blurring the sound picture”, he adds.

“PowerCore has played an important role in our production process, as it allowed us to run hi-end tools inside our native virtual setups, without clipping the CPU or having to get connected to our outboard gear all the time.

“In preproduction and when processing samples and voices for the album, I’ve also used the TC Native Bundle’s dynamic processors and EQs, especially the DeX, quite a bit.”

Kraftwerk’s new approach may not mean the end of traditional equipment, but it demonstrates the evolution of the cutting edge electronic music studio.

More information about Kraftwerk is available at www.kraftwerk.com.

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