It’s been a big month for the Doctor, with the release of his new album COMPTON and the release of his NWA biopic “Straight Outta Compton” you can bet it was an easy choice to pick Dre for this Feature Friday. Today we’ll be featuring the equipment Dre used back in the glory days of NWA. If you’ve ever been curious as to what kind of equipment the Doctor used to build his success, we’re here to take a look.
“Dr. Dre doesn’t even listen to his old music, so don’t think he’s going to tell you what the bass line for “Deep Cover” is. It shall remain a mystery, as Dre prefers to keep much of his process. He also doesn’t like to talk much. Why should he? The music speaks for itself. Dre is the measuring stick for how far hip-hop’s come and where it’s going. You can’t deny the gift the man has for putting together some hot shit. Truth be told, he makes anyone sound good.
A few years ago, he said, “Fuck rap, you can have it back.” But it’s been years, and he still hasn’t let go; he’s got this rap shit in a chokehold. This is a man at the top of his game, but after speaking with him, you get the sense that this is just the beginning. Unlike some who feel constricted by the hip-hop format, Dre feels the music has no limitations. He’s about to take this hip-hop thing to another level. Picture him with a 40-piece orchestra at his fingertips, and you begin to realize how serious it is. We managed to chop it up with the Compton superstar for a minute about beats, his process, and the life of the super producer. He’s sold over 50 million records (not including his new 2015 album COMPTON featuring other California stars like The Game and Kendrick Lamar) and influenced the sound of music more than anyone in the game, but he just wants to keep making beats that snap necks. Dr. Dre is a man with vision. He’s trying to help you see it too.” – Scratch Magazine
“I love using the MPC3000. I like setting up like four or five different MPC3000’s, so I don’t have to keep changing disks. So I have them all lined up, and I have different drum sounds in each one, and then we use one for sequencing the keyboard. ”
The MPC3000 is pretty dated from when Dre made his early hits, you can get an updated version HERE
Back in the day, Dre was known for using his original sounds unlike many other producers who were heavily using samples.
“Yeah, I love the old school sounds. ARP String Ensemble, Rhodes, old school Clavinet, the whole shit. I’m a big keyboard fan. I don’t really dig working with samples because you’re so limited when you sample.”
Nowadays most people (including the Doctor himself) emulate these exact sounds using VST controllers, like the Alesis Q49.
The Alesis Q49 is about the best choice you can make if you are looking for a compact budget priced keyboard controller that you can play with both hands.
The Q49 is very spartan in its feature set – 49 full size keys, full size pitch & mod wheels, octave up/down buttons, sustain switch input and just 1 dedicated data entry slider – note that it has no assignable data entry knobs or controller (drum) pads.
It can be powered either by a USB port on your computer (there is a USB cable included – it’s tucked into one of the foam endcaps in the carton) or it can be powered by a 9V power adapter (NOT included). As most people will probably be using this device with a computer, please be aware that the Q49 USB connection may not work with a USB hub – i.e., you may have to plug it directly into a free USB port on your computer – Alesis mentions this in their trouble shooting guide, and that was my experience.
That said, I really like this keyboard – First, it’s pretty much plug & play – you don’t have to mess around with loading a pesky hardware driver (although of course, you do have to configure your software apps to recognize it – I got it to work with Reason 4, FL Studio 9 and all my stand alone software synths with no problems).
It’s fairly lightweight and doesn’t have a lot of excess plastic, so if you want, you can kick back in your easy chair and rest the Q49 on your lap. The keys do not have aftertouch, but they respond well to velocity changes. Pitch and Mod wheels are the same size as what you find on full-size controllers. Dr.Dre equipment
The octave up/down buttons light when they are activated, a nice little feature.
GET ONE HERE
To sum it all up, I’d go with a pair of Dre’s headphone for that exceptional studio quality sound without waking up the neighbors.
Get some for only $150 HERE