What Equipment Do the World’s Top Music Producers Use?

When I first started my production career, I would obsess over what equipment my favorite producers were using.

I reckoned that if I could get my hands on the same equipment as them, maybe I too could sound like Moby or Tiesto. 

(Little did I know then that the only way to sound like my favorite producers was good 'ol hard work and talent.)

That early obsession, however, turned into a fascination with producers and the equipment they use. I've been tracking what headphones, keyboards, production software, synths, and monitors my favorite producers use.

That's exactly what I'm going to share in this post.

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How I Found My Favorite Producers' Favorite Equipment

The first thing you should know is that top producers use a lot of different equipment.

Your favorite producer might have dozens of different synths, a handful of headphones, and tons of other specialized equipment.

Plus, someone like Tiesto gets offered equipment for free from sponsors. Unless the equipment is highly specialized or a personal favorite, there's a good chance a major headliner didn't actually pay for the equipment.

So instead of focusing on producers' equipment, I focused on their favorite equipment.

And how did I figure that out?

Simple: their social media.

Nearly every major modern-day producer has an active social media presence. On their social media posts, producers invariably end up sharing shots of their studios mid-composition. Or they might directly tell their fans what equipment they use and love.

I trolled through the social media posts of all the producers on this list in order to see what kind of equipment they were using.

The end result was this spreadsheet:

Yep, I love my spreadsheets.

Each of the items on this list was culled from careful research.

For example, in this video, David Guetta is sitting in his studio with a Novation 61SL MKII keyboard.

This way, I built together my spreadsheet and am sharing the result with you below.

Your Favorite Producers' Favorite Equipment

Here's an infographic with all the equipment in a single image. Click here or tap the image for a larger image.

For a more detailed breakdown of producers' equipment, and how I found them, read on.

What Equipment Does David Guetta Use?

Despite being one of the world's best known producers, David Guetta's equipment stack is surprisingly approachable. He uses an affordable set of headphones - the Sennheiser HD25-1 II. His favorite synth is a Roland TB3 which, at under $300, is on the low-end of the synth curve.

Here's some of David Guetta's favorite equipment:

Headphones

Sennheiser HD 25-1 II Headphones
Beats By Dr. Dre Mixr On-Ear Headphones

Studio Monitors

ADAM A77X Powered Studio Monitor
Genelec 1034B Main Control Room Monitoring System

MIDI Controller

Ableton Push
Novation 61SL MkII 61-Key USB Keyboard Controller

Synthesizer

Roland TB3

What Equipment Does Tiesto​​​​ Use?

Tiesto has been seen in several videos using his self-branded AKG Tiesto headphones. I haven't ever come across anyone using them in the real world so can't really comment on their performance.

Tiesto also uses one of the most popular synths ever made - the Juno-60. As you'll find out later, TONS of producers use this synth.

Here's the complete equipment list for Tiesto:

Headphones

AKG K267 Tiesto Headphones
Stanton DJ Pro-2000 headphones

Studio Monitors

Yamaha HS80M Active Studio Monitor
L'Acoustics DV-DOSC monitors

MIDI Controller

M-Audio Keystation 61es MIDI Controller

Synthesizer

Roland Juno-60

What Equipment Does Avicii Use?

I've caught Avicii in several videos and social media posts with the remarkable Teenage Engineering OP-1 synthesizer. This tiny synth is probably one of the most revolutionary innovations I've ever come across in the music business. It's also one of the most fun.

No wonder it's an Avicii favorite.

Here's the complete list for Avicii:

Headphones

V-Moda Crossfade LP2 Over-Ear Headphones
Pioneer HDJ-2000 Headphones

Studio Monitors

KRK VXT8 Active Studio Monitor

MIDI Controller

M-Audio Keystation 88es MIDI Controller
Akai Professional MPK49 USB MIDI Keyboard

Synthesizer

Teenage Engineering OP-1 Portable Synthesizer

What Equipment Does Deadmau5 Use?

Deadmau5 is a massive gear head. Of all the producers I've followed, no one obsesses as much over the latest and greatest gear as Deadmau5. If it is new and shiny, you can bet he has it in his lab.

This also means that Deadmau5 has few clear favorites. I've seen him switch between synths and keyboards within a session as a matter of routine.

As for studios, just take a look at this setup from 2011:

If that was in 2011, you can very well imagine how complex his setup would be today, 6 years later.

(Hint, it's even more complex. Check this video if you want to geek out)

From his videos and interviews, here's what I've learned about Deadmau5's favorite equipment:

Headphones

SOL REPUBLIC Deadmau5 Track5 HD On-Ear
Sennheiser HD 800 Headphones

Studio Monitors

Genelec 1035B Main Control Room Monitoring System
Genelec 8250A Bi-Amplified DSP Monitoring System

MIDI Controller

Clavia Nord Wave

Synthesizer

Moog Minimoog Voyager Lunar Gold Limited Edition

What Equipment Does Calvin Harris Use?

Calvin Harris is one of the world's highest paid musicians, and certainly the world's best-paid DJ and producer. 

But Harris has a pretty unconventional approach to music production. Instead of software synths, Harris prefers an old-school hardware-focused approach.

Watch this video as an example. Note the number of synths and keyboards littered around his studio:

Is this the reason for his massive success?

Maybe.

Here's his favorite equipment list, just in case:

Headphones

Pioneer HDJ-2000 Headphones
Sennheiser HD 25-1 II Headphones

Studio Monitors

ATC SCM25A Pro Studio Monitor

MIDI Controller

JUNO-G Workstation Keyboard

Synthesizer

Korg ARP Odyssey

What Equipment Does Hardwell Use?

With some producers, you get lucky if they have a studio tour on social media.

Hardwell was one such case. There's a video on YouTube where Hardwell gives viewers a tour through his new studio, highlighting what equipment he likes, what he doesn't.

Videos like these are a gold mine. For instance, in this video, Hardwell shares his speaker set-up. While he has a pair of Focal monitors in the studio, he also mentions that he "always" has his favorite Dynaudio BM6A speakers with him.

So based on this video and other social media posts, he's Hardwell's equipment list:

Headphones

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO-80 Closed Studio Headphones
Sennheiser HD 25-1 II Headphones

Studio Monitors

Dynaudio BM6A MKI Active Studio Monitor

MIDI Controller

M-Audio Keystation 49es MIDI Controller

Synthesizer

Roland JD-XA Analog/Digital Crossover Synthesizer

What Equipment Does Skrillex Use?

Producers like Skrillex essentially grew up on social media. And because they are so active on social media, it is also much easier to follow what kind of equipment they use.

For instance, there are pictures of Skrillex from his live performances where he is using Beats Mixr headphones:

There are also images floating around online of him working on a track with the Beats Dr. Dre Studio headphones on. Though with Beats, you can never be sure if the artist is actually using them or if it's just a product placement.

Based on these social media posts, here's my equipment list for Skrillex:

Headphones

Beats by Dre Pro Headphones
Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Professional Studio Monitors

Studio Monitors

KRK ROKIT 5 G3 Studio Monitor
Barefoot MiniMain12 Studio Monitor

MIDI Controller

Akai Professional MPK49 USB MIDI Keyboard

Synthesizer

Teenage Engineering OP-1 Portable Synthesizer

What Equipment Does Daft Punk Use?

Figuring out what equipment Daft Punk uses was particularly difficult.

The Daft Punk duo are very secretive about themselves, their music, and how they produce their tracks. These aren't social media friendly artists; you can't even find them without their helmets on. 

To source information, I had to dig hard.

For example, I stumbled across this interview of Daft Punk's recording engineer where he mentioned the band's choice of studio monitors. 

In some cases, I had to assume information. Like I assumed that Daft Punk might be interested in using the Monster Tron T1 headphones since, well, they carry Daft Punk's name on them (not that these are particularly good headphones).

So based on this scant information, here's what I have:

Headphones

Monster Tron T1 Daft Punk Headphones

Studio Monitors

Guzausk-Swist GS-3a Studio Monitor

MIDI Controller

Doepfer MAQ 16/3 MIDI Analogue Sequencer

Synthesizer

Roland Juno-106 Synthesizer
Roland Jupiter-6

What Equipment Afrojack Use?

Afrojack's equipment stack is pretty easy to figure out thanks to his interviews and social media posts. Afrojack hit it big through social media, so there are plenty of videos floating around of him in his early studio setup.

For instance, in this interview he says that he uses the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro headphones (fantastic headphones). 

And in this video, you can see the KRK VXT8 monitors in Afrojack's studio.

Here's my equipment list for Afrojack:

Headphones

Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Studio Headphones
Sennheiser HD 25-1 II Headphones

Studio Monitors

KRK VXT8 Active Studio Monitor
KRK ROKIT 8 G2 Studio Monitor

MIDI Controller

Yamaha MOTIF XF8

Synthesizer

Moog Little Phatty Stage II Keyboard Synthesizer

What Equipment Does Martin Garrix Use?

Martin Garrix is one of my favorite producers, so I've been following him around pretty faithfully. His production style matches mine - a laptop, headphones, and as little equipment as possible.

Unfortunately, most of the videos and social media posts with Garrix talking/playing his instruments are usually live. This is far from a production setting and may not represent the equipment he actually uses in studio.

For example, in this video, Garrix is performing with Tiesto and using the AKG Tiesto headphones.

Based on his live performances, here's Martin Garrix's equipment stack:

Headphones

V-Moda Crossfade M-80 Headphones
AKG K267 Tiesto Headphones

Studio Monitors

Genelec 8351 AWM (White) 3 Way System
Yamaha NS-10M Studio Monitor

MIDI Controller

Cakewalk by Roland A-500S MIDI Keyboard Controller

Synthesizer

Roland Gaia SH-01 Synthesizer

What Equipment Does Diplo Use?

Diplo is another gear head. Dig through his social media posts and you'll find him wearing a huge range of headphones. 

For instance, here is Diplo wearing Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphones in this promo shot:

And in this Instagram post by Nocs, Diplo can be seen performing with the NS900 (though it's not clear if this was sponsored by Nocs).

Instead of cataloging every single piece of equipment Diplo uses, I decided to focus on equipment he most commonly uses while performing live.

Here's Diplo's equipment list:

Headphones

Pioneer HDJ-2000 Headphones
Sennheiser Adidas HD 25 Originals Headphones

Studio Monitors

ADAM Audio A7 Powered Nearfield Monitors
ADAM A77X Powered Studio Monitor

MIDI Controller

M-Audio Keystation 61es MIDI Controller

Synthesizer

Teenage Engineering OP-1 Portable Synthesizer

What Equipment Does Steve Aoki Use?

The cake-throwing producer and DJ favors his own brand of headphones - the Sol Republic Steve Aoki HD headphones. 

Apart from this, much of what I know about Aoki's equipment comes from his documentary (available on Netflix) - "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead". It has tons of shots of him performing live, in his studio, or in his tour bus, working on a song. 

For example, here's a shot of Steve Aoki's studio from the documentary. Did you notice the Teenage Engineering OP-1 on the table?

So here's Aoki's equipment list:

Headphones

SOL REPUBLIC Steve Aoki Tracks HD On-Ear
Pioneer HDJ-2000 Headphones

Studio Monitors

Dynaudio BM6A MKII Active Studio Monitor
Pioneer S-DJ08 Studio Monitor

MIDI Controller

Akai MAX49
Novation ReMOTE SL COMPACT MIDI Keyboard

Synthesizer

Access Virus TI2 Polar Synthesizer

What Equipment Does Flume Use?

Flume is the quintessential modern-day producer. You won't find a ton of hardware in his studio; it's mostly software. 

That said, Flume does have a few favorite instruments. 

My source for much of this information was this video where Flume does a quick walk through his bedroom studio. You can see the Event Opal studio monitors and later, the Sennheiser HD600 headphones.

Based on this video, and others, here is Flume's equipment list:

Headphones

Sennheiser HD8 DJ Closed DJ Headphones
Sennheiser HD600

Studio Monitors

Barefoot Sound MicroMain27 Gen2
Yamaha NS-10M Studio Monitor

MIDI Controller

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S49 Keyboard

Synthesizer

Teenage Engineering OP-1 Portable Synthesizer
Rhodes Mark I 88

What Equipment Does Kygo Use?

Like Flume, Kygo too became big in the Ableton age. His equipment stack is similarly bare - headphones, monitors, and a laptop, at most.

In this video, you can see Kygo wearing his favorite (and mine) studio headphones - Audio Technica MTH M50x.

Similarly, in this Instagram post, you can see his Genelac 8040B and Yamaha HS7 monitors in action.

Here is Kygo equipment list:

Headphones

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Monitor Head
V-Moda Crossfade M-100 Over-Ear Noise-Isolating Headphones

Studio Monitors

Yamaha HS7 Powered Studio Monitor
Genelec 8040B Studio Monitors

MIDI Controller

Akai Professional MPK88 Keyboard and USB MIDI Controller

Synthesizer

Roland Juno-60
Nord Stage 2 88-Key Stage Keyboard

So that's it! My list of equipment used by your favorite producers.

Understand that this is for illustrative purposes only. This is from my own understanding of what equipment top producers use based on their social media posts, interviews and videos. I can't vouch for the accuracy of this data, nor have I interviewed producers to ask them about their preferences.

That said, if you enjoyed this post, hit the share buttons below!

Ryan Harrell
 

Ryan is a part-time DJ and full-time producer with over 15 years of experience. His interests span genres and includes everything from Classic Rock to EDM and Bollywood. He primarily works in Ableton, though he is also well-versed in Logic.