An Apple commercial shows James Blake making music in his home studio!
Behind the Mac — James Blake cuts his latest track at home
I was surprised that James Blake appeared on a Japanese TV commercial, but it's even rarer for an artist’s recording equipment and plug-in software screens to be broadcast into our living rooms! James Blake is a British musician who was nominated for the Best New Artist Award at the 2013 56th Grammy Awards. I can't forget the impact of listening to his debut album, "James Blake", for the first time! I personally love this album and it’s one of my three favorite albums. I went to see him live three times in the past, so when I saw the commercial, I was so excited, I could barely stand! So I decided to take up my pen! This time I would like to introduce the equipment that was shown in the CM one by one!
1. Logic Pro X
Of course, the DAW software was Apple / Logic pro X because it is an Apple commercial. But he’s not using Logic just for this commercial, as he’s an old Logic user. In the beginning when he made his debut, he used a lot of plugins that come with Logic by default. Although I am nowhere near his level, I am also a Logic user, so I will introduce some useful functions of Logic in the following article. If you are interested, please take a look.
2．Apogee / SYMPHONY I/O MKⅡ
The audio interface he is using is the best of Apogee, the SYMPHONY I/O MKII. Apogee's audio interfaces are compatible with Mac and there are a lot of professionals who use them. This is a large audio interface that can catch any sound or instrument, and provides clear highs, and dense mids and lows. *Symphony I/O MKII has many options for inputs and outputs. The options used in James Blake's studio are unknown.
3．Manley / Reference Cardioid Tube Microphone
https://www.soundhouse.co.jp/products/detail/item/50637/ The mic only shows the outline, but the shape of this special suspension holder allows you to guess what the mic is! (Please note that this is just a guess) A clear-sounding tube mic, used in the recordings oby many top musicians, especially in the United States. Another microphone is shown in the first half, but it’s hard to make it out. It is also known that he uses the NEUMANN / TLM103, so it might be this.
4．Fab Filter / Pro-Q3
It's so clear that you can even see the logo in the commercial! In addition to high performance with sharpness, accurate cut and boost, it also has various functions that make mixing easier. In addition to the analyzer function, it can also detect masking (band over which the sound is covered), the peak of the waveform is displayed by hovering the mouse over the wave, and it is possible to audition in bands, so the "EQ" is sophisticated.
5．FXPANSION / Geist 2
You can see how the Geist2 is being used to make a rhythm track. This is a plug-in that allows you to freely make rhythms by slicing, sampling, and resampling. With this unit, you can also create deep sounds, from sampling to track making, arranging, and mix down to a stereo file.
6．SoundToys / FilterFreak
A filter plug-in that allows you to create aggressive sounds. It is interesting to experiment with ideas using the synth filter part as an insert effect. It doesn't appear in the TV commercial, but it’s clear in the long WEB version.
7．Dave Smith Instruments / Prophet ‘08
Although it didn't appear in the commercial, this is indispensable for James Blake’s massive synth sound. James Blake has used the Prophet '08 as his main synth for most of his career. He calls the Prophet '08 "one of the best synths in the world". The Prophet '08 is discontinued, but the Sequential (Dave Smith Instruments) / Prophet Rev2-8V is sold as its successor at Sound House.
DAW software and plugins in particular are relatively affordable, so you can use the exact same tools as professional musicians and artists! That is one of the real strengths of home recording. However, as mentioned earlier, the fact that James Blake heavily used Logic default plug-ins early in his career may also make you realize that more that the tool, it’s who is using the tool that counts... Still, there are many discoveries that can be made by making sounds using the same tools, so let's pursue our "sound making method" while enjoying the benefits of the sound itself!
I hope that more people will be interested in home recording again through this Apple commercial!