BT Synth Studio Tour (Full Version)

In this video from 2019, composer & synthesist BT (Brian Transeau) gives an in-depth tour of his synth studio. 

BT talks about each of his main synths, which include a sort of “Who’s Who” of the synth world, his modular systems and the custom configuration work that he’s done to make his set up effective. Along the way, he talks his approach to powering the studio to minimize electricity use and wear and tear on his gear, synchronizing clocks across a complex set up, his ‘vintage’ rig and more.

Check it out and share your thoughts in the comments!

via sonic state, Black Hole Recordings

25 thoughts on “BT Synth Studio Tour (Full Version)

  1. That sure is an amazing studio, Brian. I can only imagine the hundreds of thousands of dollars that cost you. Wow! You are a very, very fortunate man. Enjoy!

  2. i’ll never forget that article where he was bitching about MIDI being “too slow” because of how awesome his keys playing is, and it cant keep up with his blinding speed and precision

    1. didn’t guitar-wonks shredding disprove the whole idea that “fast is best”? sheesh, even I can shred at blinding speed, but I wouldn’t want to listen to more than a Mannheim’s Rocket worth.

    2. Does any knowledgeable person disagree with idea that the MIDI standard from 40 years ago limits how it can be used? Or that much of what BT does musically has to be done with audio, because MIDI could not handle it accurately?

      Suggesting otherwise make me think you either have gaps in your knowledge or an axe to grind regarding BT specifically.

      1. MIDI definitely has huge limitations in bandwidth and speed and so forth… but as i said in the original comment, i was talking about that article and his responses specially.. it was a big mag like Electronic Musician or Computer Music or something

    3. Regardless of how we feel about BT :)… I’m a big Silent Way user (lets you use CV’s through audio interface), and for 16th-note sequence kind of things, you can definitely hear the difference. And to be clear I’m always the first to call b.s. on minutiae/cork-sniffer forum fodder.

    4. BT has actually done that a lot, complaining about how a given system/norm/technology is unable to handle how awesome he is. Things like MIDI, the UAD platform, monitoring systems, other stuff

      1. It sounds like you’re imagining a beef to pick with BT.

        Anybody with MIDI experience understands its bandwidth limitations.

        MIDI 1.0 over DIN is NOT up to capturing expressive performances. It’s barely able to do it with MPE over USB. This was a big driver for MIDI 2.0.

        Microsound & microrhythm are huge elements in BT’s style – and in no way, shape or form are traditional MIDI devices up to the task.

        It sounds like you have some huge gaps in your knowledge. BT isn’t bragging about ‘how awesome he is’, he’s just got the knowledge and the technical chops to know the limitations of music technology and what you have to do to work around them.

        1. it sounds like you are getting defensive about it… and BT is definitely bragging about “how awesome he is”

          MIDI bandwidth isnt the point here…. incredibly over-inflated egos are the point.. and you are providing a nice example for us on that

          so thanks for your help

        2. We all go down GAS/tech-brain rabbit holes obsessing over the limitations of a given technology. It’s human. But what I’d say to anybody is that in 2023 the technology is not the thing holding them back. Just make better music.

  3. Impressive set up.

    I didn’t quite catch why he has the working old PC with CRT in the corner. I get that it is cute to show, and very very occasionally it’s very useful. But couldn’t it be in storage?

    I’m not meaning to criticize, genuinely curious about what makes an optimized working studio with this amount of equipment.

    1. I haven’t seen this video yet. I know that in the BT interview on the “Why We Bleep” podcast BT talks about recreating an old computer of his. I believe he said it was the computer he used to make music with for much of the 90’s. It was a personal/dream project of his.

  4. Yes, its synth porn and I’ve done my part over time! However, it takes a synth wonk to fully appreciate why you’d gather them in such numbers. No one seems to put off by a guitarist playing 4 or more instruments in a show, or stacking up 30 at home. Its about individual tone. I just say No to arguing over whether or not a given artist *needs* them or not.

  5. that was an interesting tour:) thanks Brian and his camera operator (his wife). i went into the video thinking he was a bit over the top, but by the end of it his enthusiasm is quite infectious

  6. this is a nice update. I remember 10 years ago or so (maybe more?0, on muffwigler/gears__ts seeing him post that his studio was robbed. i think he listed all the gear and serials to flag the market . im not sure if that it was all ever tracked down , but the whole thing seemed brutal. great to see him safe . to be fair, no shade, i dont know his music at all, but remember him from his posts . really knowledgable kind guy it seemed . the community does show up when something that awful happens. or am i totally wrong and this was someone else/handle?

  7. stucking drums notes can couse phasing issues with midi (try to play two together) midi clock can drift (if other data like notes or modulation passed in the same time) and uad systems does feel fairly limited especially when you cascade, than again, his remark about his very expensive audio interface sound show that maybe he is not the most critical thinker

  8. That’s the dream room, down to the Keyboard magazine stash. (Mom threw all my back issues away, still bummed but I saved a few.) I missed those new experimental records, adding to the listening pile. Thanks for sharing this space.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *