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Navi Retlav-#DigMyRig Top Ten

#DigMyRig Photo

Gear List

 This is my “Battery powered studio” currently unplugged since I’m missing the multi channel audio interface that could handle most of my synths at once for live play. I’m also hoping to record the new CD with all of them and make some live gigs in local clubs. I’m trying to limit my self only to battery powered hardware to not spend the fortune on the audio and get as many instruments as I can. My biggest dream is to buy the Suiko ST-50, TB-303 and OP-1, I’m also hoping to get the cash for Roland Boutique series, and I’m 100% sure that I will get the upcoming Volca FM. My main DAW of choice is the Propellerhead Reason, which helps me well to run the Sound Design and Soundware testing company ( www.naviretlav.com ). 

Here is the full list of the gear included in photos: Suzuki Electric Taisho Koto, Korg Electribe, Gakken NSX-39 ( Pocket Miku ) ,Stylophone, Mixtape Alpha, Korg Volca Beats, Korg Volca Bass, Korg Volca Sample, Korg Volca Keys, iPad 4 GEN (mostly for Animoog), Korg SQ-1, Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators, Novation Circuit, Yamaha QY70, Yamaha SU200, Yamaha QR10, iConnect midi2+, Korg Monotron and Monotron Delay, Zoom MS-50G, Behringer BCR200, Line 6KB37, Zoom H2n, Korg Kaoss Pad and Kaossilator, Sennheiser HD380 headphones and two notebooks running Propellerhead Reason.

The MIDI Association Artist Interview

•Tell us about yourself briefly.

So, here I am, young sound designer and owner of Navi Retlav Studio, a small sound design studio that focuses on direct collaboration with Propellerhead Software, Rob Papen, Blamsoft, Synapse Audio, FXpansion and many more less known VST developers. In general me and my team, we work as freelancers with top of the line VST developers and our sounds can be found in over 30 products. My personal goal is to be well known like Richard Devine, and set new standards in the music industry, especially if I could switch from VST to hardware sound design at some point of my career. Recently I’m also experimenting a lot with convolution reverb engines, and developing our own custom impulse responses that could easily be used like brand new effect devices rather than just the average reverbs. Hopefully in upcoming months I will finish coding our first VST/RE effect for commercial release. Meanwhile I also plan to record new CD and a set of video live performances with all my gear.

•What was your first encounter with MIDI?

If I remember correctly, the first time ever when I saw the MIDI pin connector was in the old Yamcha workstation/arranger style keyboard in my aunt’s house. She was learning the basics and I always liked to play a bit with that keyboard. Where it comes to the software, I have a very short memory about playing with tracker style DAW on AMIGA 500. Than the first proper midi interface that I bought was the legendary BCR2000 which I still have and use up to this day.

•How do you use MIDI today?

Today, I use midi with iPad thanks to iConnectivitiy midi2+, sync all my gear to Propellerhead Reason DAW by linking it from by old BCR2000 and the new Korg Electribe, than I also use the pulse signal to sync with my KORG Volcas and Pocket Operators, and finally using Korg SQ-1 sequencer I play live sequences with Yamaha QY70. On top of it my BCR2000 is mapped in reason as controller for all the FX devices, and my Line 6 KB37 is the master keyboard for all synths. It’s really surprising how many synths you can chain together with midi and audio sync.

•How has MIDI allowed you to do what you do?

I use midi every day in my job. Without it I wouldn’t be able to control RE and VST instruments that I work with, and adjust parameters on the fly without reaching for the mouse. I plan to do way more live gigs in near future, and if possible turn it all into successful entertainment platform by streaming them live on twitch and youtube. For example some of them you can watch here. 

 It’s funny that some people think that MIDI is the relic of the past, but to be honest it’s essential tool for all of us and I can’t see the future of music without midi.

•Anything else you’d like to add?

Recently I found that in some of my gear the classic midi 5pin connector was replaced with the audio jack and adapter, it’s a nice move, until you realise that there is no standardisation for it yet and the adapter from Korg Electribe doesn’t work with the Novation Circuit. In general I wish that hardware developers could agree and keep it all the same across all the devices. Even more, I think that the idea of audio jack midi could be expanded, and the new synths could also have the option to send the audio sync pulse into that port, so we could easily sync our volcas and other gear to that clock or use midi adapter if desired. I’m also waiting for the announcement of the first ever synthesizer with the new MIDI 2.0 protocol that is still under development and might finally bring some new light and options for the musicians.

To finish it all with the good vibe, here is the quick song that I made to bring back the retro style to our hearts.


Navi Retlav