Petar Dundov is a bit of a studio rat. The Zagreb-based electronic musician—whose latest album Sailing off the Grid was recently released with Music Man records—has an analogue collection of studio gear, and shows it off like a museum director. When everyone was getting rid of analogue gear, that’s when Dundov went shopping. His haul includes everything from speakers to synths to garage sale finds, all of which he's kept in fantastic condition. You can see the history of music making in the evolution of instruments, side-by-side, in his studio. One thing is clear: toys these days are just not as colorful.
All the way from Croatia, here's a peek inside Dundov’s cozy sound box in Zagreb, where he reminisces about the acid era and nerds out in electro tech-talk. Somehow he manages a thousand wires without getting lost in them, nevermind tangled.
Petar Dundov: This is my control room at Neumatik Studio in Zagreb. I have been collecting gear for 20 years and have been lucky to get some nice pieces when everyone was getting rid of analogue gear. Room-in-a-room is DIY design. I did it with two friends and it took us six months to complete the whole thing plus two months of cabling and tuning. It was lot of work but the good thing is that you know where every cable goes.
For me, the key point in having studio is to be able to hear what you’re doing. The sound field is like a canvas where you can draw shapes and bring musical experiences to life. That’s why I decided to go for soffit mounted three-way speakers. I worked on Genelec most of my career and I like the sweetness in highs and depth of low end they can provide. Also there are NS10s I use mostly to check mid-high overall balance. Avantones are nice to see how it can all sound on small system and are very revealing if there is a problem in low mids.
I was looking for transparent console so I went for SSL AWS900+SE. It has everything I need regarding signal routing, EQs are very precise and dynamics are just great and versatile. It also saves a lot of room because of DAW controller integration. The new VCA automation option is great and it can all be done from within Logic. That keeps the project handling nice and tidy.
Most lead sounds in my tracks comes from Roland System 100. With this machine you can never run out of possibilities. The strong points are in micro-modulation where you can create very natural sounding synth sounds. Filters are smooth, they can give that organic feel to the sound, but also razor-sharp edges of VCO help cut easily through the mix.
Jupiter 4 and Prophet 600 are my favorite polyphonic synths. Both have distinctive characters. Jupiter is very easy to use, fast envelopes, and nice for bass and electronic organ sounds. Prophet has wider range of sounds, but it is not that accurate as Jupiter. Together they are a perfect match for most of the situations where good polyphonic synth sound is needed.
These are my favorite digital synths. I used to have more of them but ended up keeping JD990 and TG77. They are top of the line from Roland and Yamaha, from the dawn of the digital synth era. Beautiful layered pads are coming out of these modules, the best of both subtractive and FM worlds.
I am big fan of the classic Roland TR series. 808 and 909 are still very intuitive machines and I use them often for programming beats. I found that working straight on the machine is much more rewarding, once when you learn how to program it you can get some serious grooves much quicker. Below is Oberheim DX, I use it often for kick layering, snares and ruff sounded hi-hats. Also there is CSQ600 sequencer, great for some weird drum triggering.
I remember when I got those 303 and 606, with these two, I performed many gigs in the acid era. 303 is moded so I can reach CV, Gate, Filter, Accent, Slide control to work together with analog sequencer or modular system. I love 606 hi-hats and snare, they are still one of my favorite—noisy, rough—they just fit almost any situation.
Here are some different dynamics processors I use. Chandler usually for leads, it’s very fast, accurate and completely transparent. When I want to add some color I usually go for tube compression. TL Audio C1 works great for bass and kick sounds. Sometimes I drive Fat Man a bit hot to get sweet distorted string sounds. RCL10 is there when I am looking for that lo-fi effect. There is also Drawmer and Rebis Comp/Limiters that are usually patched to do a little squeeze on main synths.
When I get my first hands on RE301 it was love on first sight. This is an amazing machine, it is much more than just echo, even if it is mono, it somehow sounds stereo. I went so in to it that I ended buying 201 and 501 models too. Each is different in sound and they are essential ingredient in all of my productions.
I just love plugs. After seeing possibilities with modular synths, I wanted to be able to patch the whole studio. All my gear in the studio goes through some 800 points and all signal path combinations are possible.
I love coffee. A cup is always somewhere within hand’s reach. When I want to do something silly, I turn on this Tetris-like game that I found at a garage sale.