Last Updated - 2021 March 14
What is this
- This is NOT an overview of everything I use. It’s just the stuff that I enjoy using (or is necessary, but the least terrible option).
- Some of these (like DAWS) are not my “daily driver”. Sometimes I use things that aren’t my favourite because of necessary functionality, ease of use, accessibility or consumability (for items that are consumable or use consumables).
I could write entire articles on why I like many of these things over their competitors, so I will only be adding small notes if anything on this page.
I will try to keep this up to date if and when my tastes change. If you have questions about anything listed, or suggestions, then please leave a comment.
There are NO AFFILIATE LINKS. No discount codes. I have not listed any products for companies that I’ve done paid work for (even if it’s my favourite product). Every link is clean and safe to click. I get absolutely nothing for you clicking around. Your browsing habits are not tracked by me in any way.
- If I lost all of this, it’d be fine. It’s ok to enjoy things.
A Common Thread
There’s one thing I generally like: creators that are opinionated. I like to experience someone’s vision, to see how they see the world and experience their ideas of how to get things done.
If something is a wishy-washy mess of bleh, then I usually don’t care.
I want to see enjoy a design, a vision, a concept.
Rarely do I want things that allow me to explore my own visions. I make stuff. My house is a series of workshops. I can program. I can work with metal. I can work with wood. I can work with electronics. I can work with clays and ceramics. I can draw. I’m not the best at any of these things, but if I have a vision then I am confident that I can attempt to execute it myself.
I want to experience design.
- Affinity Photo - mac and ios
- Affinity Designer - mac and ios.
- Omnigraffle - mac only.
- Hype - I use hype for all animations currently. I quite like this software.
- Final Cut Pro - I resisted for a long time, but I use FCP now and I couldn’t be happier.
- Panasonic G9 - Not my only camera, but definitely my favourite.
- Talon - This is how I primarily use my computer. Amazing software.
- Omnifocus - I use omnifocus to organize nearly every aspect of my life. It is central to my ability to function as a human.
- Omnigraffle - I use omnigraffle to organize my ideas before I execute them.
- Visual Studio Code - I’ve been happily using VS Code for nearly 6 months now. Zero qualms unlike last time. Main Extensions I use are as follows:
- Vim - I use Vim bindings no matter what editor I’m in. I’m a fairly advanced vim user and heavily rely on good vim emulation.
- Calva - Calva is pretty nice. Wish it didn’t rely on nrepl, but… whatever.
- Gitlens - Oh. My. Goodness. Gitlens is the coolest. It’d be an entire post in itself to explain why I love this so much. Gitlens alone is nearly a singular killer reason to try VSCode.
- Code Spell Checker
- Path Intellisense
- Bracket Pair Colourizer - Yeah, I’m one of those people. I’ve been using some form of this for over 25 years. I’ve always used the same colours and it’s hardcoded into my brain for reading code now. I don’t recommend it, but I can’t work without it.
- A bunch of java crap that I’m not going to link.
- Visual Studio Code - I’ve been happily using VS Code for nearly 6 months now. Zero qualms unlike last time. Main Extensions I use are as follows:
- I love Emacs and I can’t live without the following packages:
- Evil - I prefer vim, Evil is better than vim.
- Ivy/Swiper/Counsel - I use this hundreds of times a day. If I ever develop dementia, I’m sure I’ll forget my wife before I forget how to use it.
- Dired Plus - The best file browser on ANY operating system.
- Visual Regexp Steroids - Python backend regex for Emacs. More sane syntax, and expressions as replacements.
- Org Mode - Spreadsheet, scheduling, timing, multi-language programming and more. I have 100s of org files on my system, most used weekly.
- Ace Windows - Keyboard based window navigation. I can get to any window I want with my eyes closed using a set of static keys.
- Company Mode - My preferred completion engine.
- Alfred - I use Alfred for so much. I easily use it 100s of times a day. App Launching, App Switching, Math, Conversions, Clipboard Management, Itunes Control, General System Automation, Document Opening and more.
- Steel Series Sensei Ten - Recently switched to this over the 310. Preferred.
- Filco Majestouch TKL - Blue switches with 80g springs. No Dampers.
Specifically I study Korean and Vietnamese.
General Music Software
- Sonarworks Reference - It’s not magic, but it does help enough to be worth the tradeoffs.
- Metronome Pro - iOS Only. Fantastic Metronome program.
- Sonic Visualizer - Amazing FREE audio analysis tool.
- Loopback - I use this SO MUCH. I love this program.
- Audio Hijack - Also used quite a bit.
- iReal Pro - Lots of chord charts. Excellent practice tool.
- Shure SM7B - Fits my voice brilliantly.
- M201TG - My favorite guitar amp mic.
- Royer R-121 - If the M201TG doesn’t do it, the R-121 will.
I’ve never owned a condenser mic that I would call “My favourite”. However, the warbler series offers what I would consider the absolute best value on the market. Not the best mics, but the best for your money by a significant margin.
- Mogami Platinum Silent Guitar Cabling - I don’t believe that cabling makes a difference for most studio applications, but guitar cables do matter. These also have a super cool switch that breaks the connection when removing the cable. Zero hum when unplugged.
- GLS Audio - Excellent cabling for the price. Sufficient quality in most cases to be worth buying over making my own cabling from bulk.
- Universal Audio Apollo x8p - I have a stack of these. Worth every penny and more.
- Universal Audio Apollo Twin mkII Quad
- Softube Console 1 - I like the workflow and it integrates nicely with the UA Interfaces.
- Pro Tools Control - iOS. Works with any euphonix compatible DAW. Better than most DAW company’s native product.
- Clement 34” 6-string.
- MTD HD34 Custom Bass, Avidore - My baby.
- MTD 534-34 - Incredible instrument
- 1969 Fender Mustang factory color test.
- Fender 1952 Time Machine NOS Telecaster with Seymor Duncan Custom Pickups (stacks)
- Suhr Classic S.
- Sonor SQ1 - 20/10/12/14 in Cruiser Blue.
- Benny Greb Signature Snare
- 1965 Ludwig Steel Snare drum.
- Puresound Custom Pro Snare Wires - I don’t use these on every snare drum, but they’re my favourite snare wires when appropriate.
- Pearl Eliminator Demon Direct Drive P-3002D - My goodness, I love this pedal so much. It’s helped me improve my performance capabilities as my physical capabilities have deteriorated.
- I make my own drumsticks and prefer them to store purchased products.
- Rockslide Aged Nickel slide
- Blue Chip Jazz 80 Large - You probably think I’m crazy right now. $50 for a pick!?!?!? IS IT MADE OF GOLD???. No, it’s made of Vespel. The material alone for the pick is worth ~$10-$15, and it’s difficult to work to the level of the Blue Chip products.
- I have difficulty holding a pick due to health issues, and this material is practically magic. I’m able to keep it in my fingers, but it feels glassy smooth on the strings. I’ve tried 100s of picks and this is it for me. Smooth on the strings, stays in my hand.
- Dunlop Straplocks - I dislike any other strap locking system.
- Peterson Strobostom HD - Best tuner that I’ve used by a mile.
- Keeley Time Machine Boost - Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh. If I only had one pedal, this would be it.
- Empress Compressor mkII - The best pedal compressor I’ve encountered. I adore this pedal.
- Empress Bass Compressor - On guitar I prefer the bass compressor.
- Keeley Compressor Pro - The least intrusive compressor I’ve found for both guitar and bass guitar.
- Dual Utter Stutter - Custom feedback pedal. 1/1, just for me.
Computer Music Production
- Waveform - Not the DAW that I use the most. I think that the Waveform team is doing some of the coolest stuff and improving their software faster than any other company.
Reminder: What I use and what’s my favourite aren’t the same things. My primary DAW isn’t necessarily my favourite, and I may use it because of necessary functionality rather than a desire to enjoy the product.
I prefer to reach for a channel strip before anything else.
- SSL 4000 E - I learned on a 4K, and this is one of the best emulations out there that I’ve used.
- API Vision
- bx_console N - Guitars and Voice. Lovely.
- apQualizr - If I can’t channel strip it, apQualizr is what I always reach for I’ve changed my preferences since an older post
- Added SlickEQ - I’ve used slickEQ nearly exclusively in 2020. It was not a conscious decision. I grabbed it once and have reached for it ever since.
- Klanghelm - Mjuc and dc8c are amazing.
- Voxengo Marquis Compressor - Unassuming, but versatile and excellent sounding.
- TrackComp - Quite possibly my favourite compressor. Incredible emulations and quick to get what you want out of it.
- Multiplicity - GOOD STUFF.
- Limitless - The best. End of story.
- Elephant - My “Grab and Go” for (I think?) 15+ years. It’s always improving and staying on the cutting edge of Limiting capabilities.
- Ocean Way Studios
- Goodhertz Megaverb - Megaverb makes reverb fun again.
- Valhalla Delay - It’s not a “reverb”, but it has quickly become one of my favorite reverb tools.
- Pulsar Modular - I only trialed this. I did not purchase on principle, as the author did not respond to any of my presales e-mails over the course of 4 months (Including two anonymized e-mails in case he was somehow ignoring me specifically).
- The Legend - The Best emulation on the market.
- MSoundFactory - I wouldn’t recommend MSF to anyone unless you enjoy a menu/window based workflow and endless deep diving into parameters. Something about MSF makes me forgive the sins of UI design and I love using it.
- No Amp Sims. - There’s definitely ‘my favourite amp’ sim. But nothing that I’d rather play over a real amp, yet.
- Redwirez Cabinets
- Blue Cat Axiom - Not as an amp sim specifically, but as a universal guitar tool.
- apUnmask - Unique and extremely effective.
- StandardClip - Clipping is GOOD, when done right. This is where you get it done right.
- Voxengo Soniformer - I consider this my “secret weapon”. It’s a 32-band multiband compressor, but the way you interact with the controls is unique, intuitive and appropriate.
Woodworking and Manly Stuff
Electrically Powered Blades
- Spectrum Supply KERFMaster - Fantastic for resawing. Nearly identical (if not OEM ) to the Woodslicer, which I also like.
- Freud 10” Think Kerf Rip - Fast and clean rip, 8/10 crosscut. The best multipurpose blade that I’ve used to date.
Hand Tool Blades
- PM-V11 - I use PM-V11 based product wherever I can. Amazingly durable and easy to sharpen.
- Koyamaichi Chisels - Shirogami #2.
- Knew Concepts Coping Saw
- Pfeil Carving Tools - My wife purchased these for me initially. They’re fantastic.
- Veritas Low-Angle Jack Plane - I use this darn thing so much. I’ve nearly used up a 30° blade in least than 5 years.
Marking and Measurement
- Uni-ball Diamond Infused Lead - I thought it’d be a gimmick. It might be, but it works. No more breaking lead on rough grain, but I get to maintain consistent lines and sharpness with a mechanical pencil.
- Kuru Toga Roulette Pencil - Much better than the Pentel GraphGear series.
- Variety of vintage Mechanical Pencils - I collect vintage mechanical pencils. I have too many that I like to list.
Every Day Carry
- Tom Bihn Synapse 25 - The best backpack I’ve ever owned. Period.
- Tom Bihn Daylight Briefcase - I carry this with me everywhere, always. Outside of my house, it is my 3rd arm.
- Opinel No.8 - I have many fancy pocket knives, but my Opinel No.8 goes with me everywhere.
- Kaweco Brass Sport with Colorverse Cat Ink and a 1.5mm calligraphy nib - Always with me, in my bag.
- Mnemosyne N195A Notebook - I write all my notes here. Anything that pops in my head while I’m out, it goes in the notebook.
- My Shop Apron - Made by my wife for me. Works brilliantly.
- Incra Miter 1000HD - Forget having a shop-made wooden miter sled. I prefer this miter gauge for precision work.
- RabidModels Cyanoacrylate - Some of the best prices and value. I particularly like their “Flex” product.
- Veritas Honing Guide - Some tools need precise bevels, and this is the best honing jig on the market. I’ve tried them all. I hone by hand while “working” and finish my day with a precise bevel grind.
- GRR-Ripper - Two of these. Awesome. Easy to adjust to the work so that you can feel confident in the outcomes of the potential failures of a given operation. Better cut results through better work control as well.
Kitchen and Food
- Kitaoka Blue #2 - I have a number of Kitaoko Blue #2 kitchen knives. High on my list of “Would grab in a fire”.
- Chopsticks - I make my own chopsticks from exotic woods with rough tips. I eat most of my food with chopsticks, not for weeb reasons but because it’s been easier for me since I started to have hand issues.
- Wüstof Offset Spatula - You might think that $50 for a spatula is crazy, until you use one for a few years then try to go back to anything else.
- Chefalarm - Best on the market that I’ve found. Absolute essential kitchen tool. I prefer this over the Thermapen.
- IR Thermometer - I also believe this to be essential, particularly if you like to cook on Cast Iron and Carbon Steel like I do.
- Blue Breeze Vanilla Almond Milk - I’m allergic to dairy products, and Almonds are one of the few nuts that I’m not allergic to. For some reason I can’t smell or taste almonds, so this just ends up being a pleasantly thick, slightly sweet vanilla drink.
- Earthgrown Veggie Patties - Particularly the Kale ones. I eat these things bees eat sugar.
- Hakko 936
- Hakko FR-301 Desoldering Tool - Until you have one, you can’t understand how useful this darn thing is. I refused to by myself one because I though it was “too expensive”. Got one for christmas and now I can’t figure out how I lived without it.
- Klein Solid and Stranded Wire Stripper/Cutter - This thing rocks.
- Darn Tough - Lifetime warranty (I’ve had socks replaced for free around 10 times now), and quite comfortable.
- (I’m supposed to wear compression stockings, but I love my darntough socks too much!)
I’m keeping this relatively short. Note: I don’t like Fiction.
- Not always so
- The Book of Five Rings
- Starting with No
- The Psychology of Persuasion
- Rethinking the Chess Pieces
- Scientific Sailboat Racing
- Fundamentals of Industrial Instrumentation and Process Control
- Advanced Cobol
- The Seasoned Schemer
- The C Programming Language - Not for the content, but for the impact this had on my life’s trajectory.
- Eloquent Ruby
- The Ashley Book of Knots
- Structural Hearing
- The Anarchist’s Design Book
- The Anarchist’s Workbenc - It’s a woodworking book as much as it is a book about practical decision making and learning from experience.
- The Black Swan - I don’t agree with everything in the book, but was a catalyst for me to rethink some presumptions I had about human motives and common assumptions.
- Roubo on Furniture
- Woodworking in Estonia
- By Hand and Eye
Only what I’ve been listening to in the last ~2 years, not an exhaustive list of music I enjoy.
- David Bazan
- Damien Jurado
- Toe, Té, Mouse on the Keys, LITE, Jizue, Uchu Conbini, Elephant Gym, Jizue, Toconoma, Haisuinonasa, Tricot, Ame No Parade, Lucie, Too, Rega, österreich/The Cabs, Haranemuri etc… you get the idea.
- Melt-banana, D-Clone, Ghoul, Hi-Standard, The Stalin, Gauze, Disclose, Balzac, Guitar Wolf, Suns Owl, Ging Nag Boyz etc… you get the idea.
- TTNG, Tera Melos, American Football, Yvette Young/Covet, Maps and Atlases, Colossal, Collections of Colonies of Bees, Giraffes? Giraffes!, Bear vs Shark, Minus the Bear, Ghosts & Vodka, Make Believe, etc… you get the idea.
- Mogwai, This Will Destroy You, Mono, Tortoise, Album Leaf, Do Make Say Think, El Ten Eleven, (post ok computer) Radiohead, 65daysofstatic, Caspian, And So I Watch You From Afar, Caribou, Manitoba, etc… you get the idea.
- Animals as Leaders, Scale the Summit, Dillinger Escape Plan, Periphery, Chon, Tesseract, Chimp Spanner, Polyphia, Plini, etc… you get the idea.
- Whatever the hippest K-pop is. Particularly Red Velvet.
- Squarepusher/Shobaleader One
- The Main Squeeze
- Kamasi Washington
- Clojure - Clojure saved me from leaving the software development world entirely. I love working with it. I don’t necessarily agree with every aspect of it, but I value that there is a clear thread of intention and architecture.
- zsh - Big fan of ZSH. Used to prefer fish, but I was constantly dealing with bash-incompatibilities.
- Fira Code - I’ve been using Fira Code for a while now, and it’s only when I move away from it do I realize how much I rely on it. I prefer ligatures as well.