Studio Tour With Orbital’s Paul Hartnoll

In this Fact video, Orbital’s Paul Hartnoll gives a tour of his studio, taking time to share his thoughts on his synthesizers and other gear and to demonstrate how he uses them. 

Video Summary:

Earlier this year rave pioneers Orbital – the British electronic duo made up of brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll – returned with their first studio album in six years, Monsters Exist.

Whilst preparing for a string of live dates in the US and UK, Paul took the time to show us how he keeps the classic sound of rave alive with a combination of state-of-the-art samplers, classic synths and vintage gear.

28 thoughts on “Studio Tour With Orbital’s Paul Hartnoll

  1. Never been a big fan of Orbital – but their latest album is just pure gold. Best album I’ve listened to in years.

    1. That’s interesting because it is probably the most similar album to their earlier work they’ve released in a long time. Even the title is a reference to their In Sides album from the mid-90’s.

  2. Does this guy know the difference between a sampler and a rompler? [The question I was asking myself as he was talking about Dave Smith Prophet X]

      1. What is the difference between a rompler and a sampler then?

        I cannot see any sample input or features like truncation, Time stretch….etc..

        My Waldorf Blofeld can also import external samples, but I would not consider it a sampler…

        1. Please read at least the official description of the synth before you throw a shit on the guy who is obviously really skilled and one of the electronic music legends … Prophet-X: “Users can shape the samples through loop manipulation, sample stretching, and the synthesizer’s many sound-sculpting functions which include 4 envelope generators, 4 LFOs, a deep modulation matrix, and other tools”

        2. People have tended to refer to synths that can load USER samples into RAM or flash RAM as sampler.

          A ROMpler plays samples from Read Only Memory. “Factory Samples”. Originally, the connotation was that they were fairly short samples. Like a Korg M1 is probably a good example.

          However, I understand the distinction Gino is making. If you can’t RECORD samples on it, if there’s no audio input, if there is no onboard editing, then is it a true sampler? That’s valid.

          1. Meh, I’d rather say that’s part of the evolution of modern sampling. No-one wants back to emu/akai samplers from a workflow perspective. Record/edit on your computer, transfer and import afterwards is fast (unlike those cd-roms or floppies and zip drives back in the day).

          2. I know lots of people who are still using the “old samplers”, due to that they find the “workflow perspective” more inspiring and intuitive…example connect your radio, tv or other external sound source directly to the audio input..hit record and form the sound source together with machine´s engine. …compared to this SCI Prophet X, where you get the food [Samples] served on a table like McDonals food and don’t have to work for it.

            I don’t know how to wrap the term, maybe anti-organic? :S

    1. Ableton Live for sequencing. I’m assuming he uses some app on the pads to remotely control Ableton. I believe the “mixers” (controllers) are 3x Novation Launch Control XL.

      1. You can actually see it a bit, around 1:37. He reaches to that tablet-ish thing on his left and then you can see another track appearing in ableton on the laptop in the background.

  3. Respect.
    But Paul that’s waaaay more gear than required to play Halcyon, Chime :
    Macbeth niiiice but c’moooon man really 😉

    1. Maaan early 90s was the time to make it :

      Putting together
      Atmospheres Pads from JmJarre
      Keys from Vangelis
      Sequences from Tangerine Dream
      Beats from Kraftwerk : made heavier
      Samples from Art of Noise styles
      Fx, Dub from King Tubby.

      Nowadays every person and their Doggie has Synths.
      Millions uploads on YouTube.

      1. Although Universe aligns if we are meant to make it.
        That’s why there’s only one Orbital.

        Still …..

        a Waitress, Bus Driver, Street Cleaner are just as Important
        just as Significant as Orbital as any famous musicians.

  4. This may be one of my favorite videos in years on Synthtopia I think, because of the enthusiastic demos of each instrument matched with some nice sequences.

    Haven’t listened to Orbital much (though some tracks are probably languishing somewhere in my music library) but now I really want to hear all of these synths in a live set!!

  5. I like that he knows his gear really well, and understands from experience the strengths and weaknesses of each subtractive that he uses.

  6. Great video. But I am a huge fan. Saw them live back in the day when they were still using Alesis MMT 8’s to sequence everything.

  7. So Orbital’s “chief” synth for live performance is also (by far) the cheapest of his collection… A lesson to be learned.

  8. Oh man. That reallty got me. Memories of cartrips with a discman and headphones. Now I want to see Orbital, and there’s a couple more $100k + synths that I want. Best bet for rocking out on those beasties is in University setting I reckon.

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