Aphex Twin’s Gear List


Richard D. James included a bone for the gearheads in the artwork for his latest Aphex Twin album, Syro

The artwork includes a listing of his synths and gear:

Aphex Twin Gear List

You can click on the image to enlarge it so you can read it.

The list is full of both classics and curiosities. Check it out and let us know what you think!

Aphex Twin’s Syro is available for preorder via iTunes and Amazon.

Update: Per Fred’s comment – the dots are arranged in concentric circles that line up with the track list, so they graphically indicate the gear that was used on each track.

43 thoughts on “Aphex Twin’s Gear List

    1. Why do I get the feeling the people upset about using vintage gear are the same people that only have a crack copy of Logic and Komplete 9 and like to talk about “producing”? If you haven’t used real gear you won’t get it. It does change things. A sampled 606 is nothing like a real 606 and if you’ve never used one you will have no idea why this is true. The same goes for a bottom of the barrel machine like a Dr-55, it’s almost what they can’t do that make them what they are (and can do. CV gate makes a huge difference with the 606 and DR-55). Which is fine, retro gear isn’t for everyone and it really comes down to song writing (and preference) in the end. Vintage gear is expensive, hard to use, unwieldily, power hungry, fragile, and totally impractical. It also sounds great, looks cool, and holds a resale value. VSTs are worth nothing after you buy them… that and everyone has them.

    1. I don’t think this is a complete list of every piece of gear he owns, just what he’s been using recently/to make Syro. It doesn’t mention an MS-20 and he’s gone on record saying he’s used one.

          1. i would really appreciate a good link here. transwaves are something i´d very much explore but its not easy to find good info on those yahoo groups and obsolete geocities sites.

  1. Or gear he just wanted to put down there to let people THINK that’s what he used. 🙂 No one said he had to be truthful about what goes onto the album artwork.

    1. i would agree with this in principle but when it comes to music making or any really creative endevour, the process is key. reacting to a certain moment which takes you to another place and so fort until you flesh out a track. i seriously doubt that music making for most is an idea driven process where you go from A to B.

      things mutate and have a life of their own. that is some prefer hardware despite the limitations. it takes them to different places. lots of hardware – lots of paths to take.

      1. just to contradict myself, on the other hand there is cases like the clouddeads first album, produced on a boss dr sample. those limitations and the lofi esthetic is what gave that album alot of soul.
        BOC even commisioned odd nosdam to produce a remix, which is saying alot.

        less gear can make you be more focused aswell. so i guess it´s whatever works for one as an indivdual.

        1. All this is true depending on how you use gear and the way in influences you and your workflow. Another question could be if Richard did the same album solely on VST’s would it sound better in any way (or would it just sound like Last Step fnaar)? I suppose it all depends on the style of music you do and the right tones for the job but I’ve heard many excellent synthy albums done with VST’s that I can’t help feeling would sound even better if done with some good hardware especially analogue although this doesn’t stop it still being good music.

          1. “better” or “worse” are entirely subjective terms. point is the result would be different. 99,99% of the audience it is completely oblivious whether or not something is done with vst or hardware. they dont care and rightly so. i seriously doubt you yourself can differentiate a plugin from a hw synth in a mix yourself.

            1. “99,99% of the audience it is completely oblivious whether or not something is done with vst or hardware”


              Hardware vs. software might have had hardware “winning” 15 years ago when low cpu power and memory put limitations on dsp and sound quality. Now, not so much. Find a nice vintage analog synth of your choosing and get 100 listeners to blind taste-test it against u-he Diva. I feel pretty sure that, as lazer said, almost no one would know the difference and a significant majority wouldn’t care. The people who care are musicians.

              Now that sound quality and variety are not limited on the software side, it’s about choosing what to work with for the musician: how the musician feels and what gives the most inspiration. Practicality can also be involved. I’d love to have a modular setup, but I can’t afford it, and I don’t have room.

              Bottom line: the idea that someone makes better music with hardware is ridiculous and snobbish.

              1. “The people who care are musicians.”
                i would actually argue that people that care are talentless anal retentive kind that think owning a certain piece of equipment will give them more legitimacy as music makers – myself included.

                real musicians dont care and will make do with two sticks and piece of string. i myself need all the help i can get.

    2. “the less gear you have the more talented you need to be to get your idea across”

      There’s some truth to this. Are skill and talent the same? I’d say they hold hands for certain but there are gray areas. Less equipment means you can focus and get more skilled on certain pieces of equipment, and musically it might force you or focus you to think about what can make a piece of music more interesting. The more gear you have the more immediate possibilities you have, but it also means you have a lot more to manage and it can become an endless black hole of gear worship, gear lust, thinking technically and less emphasis perhaps on what you’re trying to create.

      Sometimes less is more even though most of us want more to be more. I’m not giving up my gear, lol.

    3. True.. i made some of my best recordings ever when all i had was a cassette 4-track. now with unlimited tracks and plug-ins, i am definitely not nearly as creative.

  2. i love that he uses the ASR 10, i came into beat making with the ASR X.

    i really like the art, reminds me of a Raster Noton release.

    1. I need some simple image viewer with rotation too. 🙂

      Have you also searched for “your” favorite gear? Atari 1040 is there, nice.

  3. Anyone else notice he has a lot of the same equipment as squarepusher? (Akai s950, yamaha fs1r, cs80, tr-606, all the eventide stuff). Wonder if any of the stuff has been previously been owned by Jenkinson and vice versa. Ya know, since they’re decent friends or something apparently

  4. Aphex twin is lucky to have never had to sell gear to pay the rent! He’s a true Synthesizer freak 🙂
    Hardware rules and the more the better!

  5. Lol, can’t help myself but have 2 say it despite the certain legion downvotes that my comment will generate!

    Deep breath, here’s goes:

    Was thinking of a new name for this site:)

    Which sounds better to you dear readers?




    Can u help choose Richard/ poogle?

  6. I love gear lists and I <3 RDJ, so I especially love this, but I also can appreciate the fabulous irony in releasing it – people have been desperate to know things like this for years, and so, now that you know – are you going to go buy all the same equipment and make music half as good?

    I think the interesting takeaway here for me, is the idea of equipment as a "library" – he's not surrounding himself with all this kit at once, you'd need a warehouse, it's all track specific: he's got little custom setups made up from a few well chosen bits and bobs, he makes a little setup and uses it to make some tracks, creating temporary 'limitations' from a particular selection/curation of gear, then can break it down and move it round.

    Legowelt does a similar thing – from that Future Music interview he's got a few setups he can float between.

    The idea of refreshing your gear/surrounding by being able to move around is really interesting – of course the hard bit is we don't all have tons of gear, and the even harder bit is we don't have the luxury of multiple places to go and make music. But maybe we can take something from that idea and apply it to our own music making processes.

  7. The instrument graph is wonderfully original.

    As for music-making: always be mindful of the difference between making sounds and noises, and structuring a work of music.

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