House Legend Derrick Carter Opens Official Reverb Shop

For years, Derrick Carter's home studio has been filled with an enviable collection of synthesizers, drum machines, vintage recording gear, and more instruments he's assembled across his decades of music-making.

"I was a completist. I collected things, and my idea was to complete these collections and then have an original one—the OEM one—and then one that's the ultra-modded one, and then levels of varying degrees in between, as if I was some kind of museum curator," Carter says. "Like I was a docent touring my studio of Dr. Parnassus' Imaginarium over here."

But now, he's decided to drastically "de-bulk" his collection. The Official Derrick Carter Reverb Shop is live.

"There's a lot of rare shit in my room," Carter says. "I've had people come to my room and are just agape, like Whoa... and look at all this stuff and want to just touch it and all that, and I'm like, 'Are you OK? You need water?'"

Carter's collection of gear includes classics like the Roland TR-909 Carter used on his Sound Patrol records and on remixes released by Classic, the label he founded in the mid-'90s, as well as rare pieces like an Ensoniq Fizmo Transwave digital synth.

"Fun fact about this one," Carter says about the 909. "There's a promoter who was putting together a rave and had Jeff Mills on his line up and I guess Jeff Mills needed a 909 for his performance and I let him borrow mine. So it's my 909 that Jeff Mills also played on for a live show."

Other musical gear that will be available in The Official Derrick Carter Reverb Shop includes:

  • A Roland TB-303. "Acid machine. Original, in the box, with the bag, all the charts, and manual. You won't find one as pristine as this in any place, shape, or form unless you somehow manage to get a time machine," Carter says.
  • A Roland TR-808, modified to include MIDI, that Carter bought from Glasgow's Domenic Cappello, known for his long-standing Sub Club residency and as one-half of Harri & Domenic.
  • Two Akai MPC3000s. "Both of them were refurbed by Bruce Forat out in LA. Both of them have the newest OS [operating system]," Carter says.
  • A Moog Minimoog Voyager Signature Edition. "I've used this quite a lot throughout my career," Carter says. "When they first came out they weren't selling very well and I found one on clearance for a ridiculously low price and I've been using it since then."
  • A Yamaha DX7IIFD used on Carter's Squaredancing in a Roundhouse from 2002. "For a lot of people they were notoriously hard to program," Carter says. "But it was something that I could do, so I did it."
  • A Technics SX-WSA1R Synthesizer. "They are funky. They are fresh. They are just really good machines," Carter says. "I like them so much I have two of them in the rackmount and one keyboard model, because they just sound so good. Buy it."
  • Vintage studio equipment like an RCA BA6A tube compressor, Gates Level Devil limiter, three Gates Sta-Level compressors, and a total of nine Urei LA4 single-channel compressors. "I went through a phase where I was running a lot of outboard," Carter says. "I was trying to have some sort of compression possible for each of the channels on the board that probably needed compression—for vocals, for background, for instruments—whatever I was doing, I wanted to have a compressor for them."

Taken in full, the collection amounts to a kind of laboratory, but, Carter says, "I'm not a mad scientist anymore." He's paring down his rig to his true favorites, the instrument he needs for his current setup.

"I want my life to be less cluttered, less incidental, less interstitial, just more intuitive to who I am now," Carter says. "Think of me as a monk or a nun—I'm going to let go of all this stuff before I go on my journey of a thousand miles."

The Official Derrick Carter Reverb Shop is live now.

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