Teddy Riley has always had the cutting edge when it comes to production – one of his many achievements was co-producing Michael Jackson's Dangerous album.
He has also produced countless other landmark records, such as Make it Last by Keith Sweat, Bobby Brown's My Perogative, Blackstreet's No Diggity, several hits for the late Heavy D and many others.
Teddy has a purpose-built studio space – Future Recording Studios 2 – in his house north of Atlanta, Georgia. His gear choices are diverse but refined: a mixture of classic sound modules from the ’80s and ’90s, numerous high-quality outboard processors and some modern synths, all connected to a DAW system running PreSonus Studio One software.
"I like to do a lot of testing with gear. So the things that you see in here are here to stay, because I love the sound of them," commented Riley. "I'm still old-school with my outboard instruments and analogue stuff, I even still have my two-inch tape machine – I call it the washing machine. But I have my DAW system, which I love. I try to keep it as close to the sound I used to have, sonically, and it's very close. Some people are saying it sounds stronger; some people say it's very authentic to the Guy and Michel Jackson stuff."
Key to Riley's studio rig is the Focusrite Control 2802 analogue console and DAW control surface. Among his favorite things about it are the moving-fader automation features and the built-in stereo compressor.
"I do all my automation rides on the 2802. Then, once I get my mix where I need it, I pop the two-bus compression in and tweak the controls," he explains. "The more I push it, the more punch I get, and it sounds amazing. It's similar to the compression on a Neve or on an SSL, there's really nothing else I can compare it to. I used to have a Euphonix board, and the Focusrite two-bus compression beats it by a long shot."
Teddy also uses numerous VST instruments inside his DAW, which he controls with a Novation 61 SL MkII. "I can control all my instruments from the SL, and I never have to touch the keyboard. The transport control is right here, and I can alter any of the sounds from right in front of me. I can pretty much do anything with it. I also like the configuration of the pitch and mod wheels, because you can be more expressive, and it feels great. This is the ultimate for me; this stays in the stable."
Focusrite recently spent a day with Riley checking out Future Recording Studios 2, and sent over a video of the experience, which you can see below:
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