Dutch producer extraordinaire Eelke Kleijn released his fourth studio album Oscillations on Friday and today he takes us on a written tour of his amazing studio.
Not everyone has been lucky enough to benefit from the last couple of months, but Kleijn has been able to use his time very well indeed, incubating another masterful project. Releasing one exceptional album after the other, Eelke Kleijn is and remains an outstanding artist and we’re glad to have the opportunity to explore his studio and creative flow.
I built my current studio in 2016, although I have been collecting the gear in it since around the early 2000s. It’s on the top floor of our house and I think the actual build time was about 6 weeks. I’ve written both my previous album (Moments Of Clarity) and my new album (Oscillations) in this studio, plus a couple of remixes, mostly the ones released in the last 2 or 3 years.
I have been working with Steinberg Cubase for as long as I can remember. More than 20 years. The first version I owned was VST 3.5. Because I have worked with so many versions of Cubase I just know all the ins and outs. I use Ableton as well, and I have some experience with Studio One and Bitwig, but my main DAW is and probably always will be Cubase. Ableton is run in rewire mode for creative processing of loops. One of my favourite tools in Cubase which I use all the time is random quantising, it’s especially amazing if you want instruments to sound a bit more lively and not so computer-esque tight.
My main monitors are Neumann KH310A, really great sounding 3-ways. I have also worked on Dynaudio’s for ages, BM6A mk2, they are now my second set that I have positioned above my synth corner. I also use Avantone’s for mono compatibility and checking things like vocal balances. Headphone wise I use a Beyer 770 and also a AKG 712 Pro. The main thing I always tell people is that monitors are not *that* important. It’s the room that makes a monitor sound good or bad. I never get it when I see people putting a pair of really expensive monitors in an untreated room, I really don’t get it. The first thing you need to make sure is that the room sounds good. Put in bass traps, first reflection panels, second reflection panels. Once that is all taken care of, only then should you worry about what monitor to put in.
A lot of my studio is built around hardware. I’ve got a large modular system that I love, it’s connected to my system by ADAT so I can send 4 stereo channels of audio in and out at the same time. I also love hardware synths, some of my most used ones are the Moog One, Moog Voyager and Dave Smith Mopho X4. A big part of my sound comes from experimenting with those sound sources, so I have a lot of modular effect modules, but also lots of guitar pedals, many of the Strymon ones, some eventide, and also weird boxes such as the Sherman Filterbank, Dynacord SR 56 and an oldschool mixer by Roland with real spring delay that I like to run stuff through. It’s not all hardware though- I’m a huge UAD effect freak, so many of my effect chains are sort of hybrid with UAD plugins and external processing at the same time. Even though you can probably achieve the same thing with software these days, I just really like turning knobs instead of clicking and pointing with the mouse all day long. One thing that is still on my want-list is a proper monitor controller. Something like a Grace design or an Avocet. I haven’t decided which one yet.
For a long time, I used to collect all kinds of small souvenirs from places that I visited. So there is a whole collection of small items that remind me of my travels. But apart from that it really is a 100% studio, there’s not a lot of other stuff in there that doesn’t belong. That is also due to size limitations, the room is about 3.5 x 5.5 (meters), and it’s pretty much as full as it can be without becoming disorganized. Also, the whole room is built around a standing studio idea. So most of my work is done standing up, it helps with energy and also, sitting down is just really bad for you.
Eelke Kleijn’s newest album Oscillations is out now! You can stream or buy it here.