Not so long ago, musicians wanting to record and release an album would need to head to a brick and mortar studio, gather together all manner of technical specialists and disappear for a few months. And probably have a major label bankrole the operation. But powerful and affordable personal computer systems and the general release of pro-level music creation software have put high quality music production within reach of the average working band. However, the learning curve for getting the most out of feature rich suites like Ableton Live, Cubase or Pro Tools can be very steep indeed. For his latest album release, veteran French musician, remixer and producer Joachim Garraud has decided to share some of the secrets of his trade, and provide a limited number of bedroom producers with all the tools needed to lay down some top notch tracks.
Designed by Sacha Lakic, the Producer Box is a very special version of Garraud's new album, 96/24 – the title referencing the high resolution format of the recording. In what's said to be the first time that an artist has made everything that went into making the album available to the public, project backers are being given the opportunity to open up each song in Ableton Live 9 Standard Edition and take a look under the hood to see how everything is put together.
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Garraud has also provided the Master Session of the album, which comes with exclusive plugins, presets and patch libraries, so folks rework any of the 17 tracks to create something entirely new. And he's got together with industry partners to include numerous sound design and production tools, such as the Sylenth1 virtual analog synth, the Arturia Mini-V, the Egoist groove machine and UVI's Digital Sensations.
Elsewhere on the included 1 TB external hard drive (with USB 3 connectivity), there's a selection of over 50 GB of sounds, loops, FX, one-shots and more from Garraud's personal sonic arsenal, and 20 step-by-step video tutorials recorded in four languages, where the French producer shares tips, tricks and secrets of the trade.
The final component of a package reported to cost over US$3,000 if each item was purchased individually is a CME XKey USB keyboard in black brushed aluminum, with 25 standard velocity sensitive keys with pro-level polyphonic aftertouch.
The first Producer Box prototype was created back in August, subjected to some design revisions and a pre-production version made ready ahead of the launch of a crowdfunding campaign. Only a thousand units are being made available, and the first 100 early bird Kickstarter perks have already gone. The remaining Boxes are listed at $599 each, though lower pledge levels are available for individual components. If all goes to plan, shipping is expected to start in June 2016.
The video below explains what's on offer, and shares some of the thinking behind the project.