What's your MUST have studio tool? A mixer, synth, plug-in, etc... Myself, I'd have to say my Denon AH-D5000 headphones. It's like being buried in a cocoon of sound. Highly recommended if you ever see them in a shop (or their successors).
my only MUST HAVES are a pc w/fl and a midicontroller. for 10+ years my controller of choice has been the korg microkontrol (recently pictured next to a push on your 9.7 update.
i did buy a push last year so i'm on and off messing about in ableton w/push but i've been using fl so long... old habits die hard
monomachine for me! bought one in 2007 and it's been the brain of my setup ever since.
The only tool I still have that's been with me since the beginning is Reason, so I'll have to go with that. It's still my favourite tool for getting ideas out quickly- with or without hardware.
@Juice: what is it about FL that appeals to you so much? It seems to be one of those tools that has a massive following from a lot of producers. What do you think of the Push?
@zfigz: same question as above for Juice - what is it about the monomachine? I see the same kind of love for the OP-1 and I wonder what people see in them.
@gorf: now this I get. Reason is such a (relatively) simple tool to pick up. Or at least it used to be. I see it's getting more and more complex, like a more traditional DAW.
@bogdan fl is incredibly simple to use even from the time that i was like 15 where my only prior experience making "beats" was dicking around on a korg er-1. if you've used something with a step sequencer you can make a song in fl pretty simply. that being said it's also incredibly powerful and totally capable of making incredibly intricate tracks (see wisp, xanopticon, etc). it's also basically the cheapest full featured daw that's not a tracker.
re: push. i really like it and was using it a lot while trying to learn ableton late last year. i haven't had a chance to mess with it in a while so i'm not even sure what the latest batch of updates to live/push have added or taken away. i definitely hoard more gear than i probably should. now in serious crunch trying to launch a new company website for early '17 (theoretically 1/1/17 but i really don't think it's gonna happen). after that i'm hoping i can work a good bit fewer hours and get back into the music making business(hobby)
I am still very in love with the MachineDrum SP. I use it little for final works, but it is a much different way to switch gears to write a beat in an hour to refresh my brain from the detailed work. Sometimes they end up sounding better than the shit I've worked on for days.
Must have = computer doh ;-) ...software-wise has to be Renoise on the top of the list, to channel protracker & fasttracker 2 vibes with modern vst(i)'s. Hardware wise I've been using 2 behringer patchbays lately which proof to be super handy when sampling from different sources, should have bought a patchbay years ago.
@bogdan for one, it can control 6 channels of midi. it's also super simple to use once you've wrapped your head around it's different ways of routing things / inputting different triggers (amp, filter, and Lego). it can be very modular like with its array of routing sound. you can also multitrack each instrument/machine it's playing. at this point, one of the biggest things it has going for it is i know how to use it thru N thru :-)
I have a lot of synths, modular stuff, drum machines etc in my studio, but in a desert island situation it would definitely be computer + headphones. The rest of my stuff I consider a luxury.
My 88 key weighted controller (a Casio Privia 150 which is good and cheap) and my 1967 Fender Jazzmaster are essential.
As for software, I don't think that I could do a lot of what I do without Live. The way that you can patch things together in the mixer works very well where a lot of DAWs do not, the Looper plugin is perfect and has the ability to insert effects in the feedback loop, which is key.
Aside from that I feel real connection to Echoboy and Decapitator from SoundToys, the FET compressor from Softube, the H910 for detuning and reaktor's (freaking ancient, like 15+ years old) 6-Rev reverb ensemble.