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You’re probably not completely sure who Christopher Comstock is. However, I’m sure that his stage name, Marshmello, rings a bell. Even if you’re not a fan, you’ve seen that American producer DJ with a big marshmallow helmet performing everywhere around you.
He likes to keep a low profile, hence the helmet. But his popularity on the music scene has increased over the years, thanks to his great DJing and music production. Plus when you add some mystery, you’re Daft Punk of EDM artists. They’ve been an inspiration to him, by the way.
He makes us pose so many questions, like: “How does he DJ with that helmet”, or the most interesting topic in the field – “What kind of DJ controller does Marshmello use?” Let’s dig in and answer as many questions as possible.
What Studio Equipment Does Marshmello Use?
Marshmello is also in the music-making business, which makes people interested in every little piece of DJ gear he uses. Indeed, I’ve heard most of his stuff, and it makes you wonder how he managed to combine such beautiful sounds and put them together.
The first myth I have to break is the one where he allegedly has everything premixed. No, that’s simply not true as we’re talking about a marvelous DJ and music producer here. And to the usual question “Where are his headphones, then?”, I’ll say: “He uses earbuds.”
As I said before, he uses earbuds since it’s the only thing that can fit in his helmet. His helmet is pretty much see-through, so he can see the controller and everything. In particular, he mixes using the Powerbeats Pro AirPods, by Beats By Dr. Dre. Some powerful stuff.
You can find them for a decent price of some $150, and that’s more than fair. Fully wireless and perfect for DJs, with control buttons on the pads, and great performance. Check out the link above to see what I’m talking about.
This is definitely not the most important part of the DJ setup. However, it’s part of the look and Marshmello is definitely a guy who pays attention to appearance. So, his laptop is a space grey Apple MacBook Pro, 15 inches across.
Since Marshmello is in music production, everyone wants to know: what kind of monitors does he use? Well, he certainly loves punctual and well-made DJ gear, as he listens to the output through either Yamaha or Germany’s Eve Audio.
Now, I’ve never personally been in his studio, but it’s a well-known thing among the people that do and talk about this job non-stop. He owns a pair of Yamaha HS8 and NS10. At the same time, he relies a lot on Eve Audio SC208.
What Does Marshmello Use To Make Music?
Marshmello’s studio equipment is one thing, but it’s even more fun to see what he uses when he makes his songs. His work is full of unique and minimalist sounds that complement each other all the time. So, what software, DAW (digital working station), or plugins does he use?
Software and DAW
Marshmello has been associated with many digital working stations and software, or the ones used by many producers – FL Studio (the Producer’s edition), Ableton Live (free trial here), and Logic Pro X naturally, as he is a Mac user.
There is an interview on YouTube where he says that Ableton 10 is his choice, but he’s made statements about the other two as well. The story with Logic ended very soon as it just didn’t work out. The fact remains that most of his songs were made with Ableton.
It’s a cool video by the way – it uncovers a lot of fun facts you probably never knew about Marshmello. I won’t be telling you about the car he drives but that YouTube video will.
VST and Software Plugins
Marshmello’s music is very detailed because Mello is the type of DJ that doesn’t let go until it’s perfect. That’s why he uses a lot of pro tools such as software plugins to add the perfect tunes that are missing from the composition.
In case you didn’t know, VST (Virtual Studio Technology) plugins can be seen as an additional set of plugins that DJs use in order to make more of their songs. There are plenty of plugins that are being used, especially by our man Marshmello.
Some of the confirmed software plugins he uses are reFX Nexus 2, Native Instruments Massive, or Xfer Serum Advanced Wavetable Synthesizer, which is free to download. Plugins are mostly used for music production rather than in mixing.
VST is an open standard, meaning that it is opened to the public to be programmed and enriched. Because of that, you have artists, especially EDM ones, contributing all the time so the number of plugins is infinite.
Every day you will find new editions in the sphere of progressive techno, psytrance, Lo-Fi, hip hop, you name it. When using DJ software, these sorts of plugins would be something you’re using instead of instruments.
Channel Strip Hardware and Interface
Do you know what a channel strip is? I’m sure you’ve seen one, but it could be possible that you’re not quite sure about it. It’s a hardware unit that helps you restore some sounds that only existed when we listened to analog records.
You know how people say they can hear something vintage in a song? Some warmth in the voices and lavish instruments? That’s what happens when you have a channel strip as part of your DJ setup.
I guess you noticed that Marshmello uses a lot of DJ and studio equipment to make his songs sound like they do. He seems ready to use everything that’s offered in today’s world if it’s going to make his song sound better.
And that’s the way it should be. Don’t ever think that good artists are those that refuse to use technology that is right in front of them to make a track. They might just be afraid of new things, unlike Mello.
We come to the part that you’re most interested in, based on the headline of this article. I saved this one for last so that you can get a better understanding of Marshmello first, and his way of making music, and also DJing.
The things above were mostly covering the producing side, but now it’s time to see what Mello uses when he is actually selecting tracks he will mix, and drop on the dancefloor. I’ve chosen three controllers he’s mostly associated with, and which I think deserve to be mentioned the most.
Just as you might’ve suspected, Marshmello is using famous and high-quality controllers to perform, such as the Pioneer DJM 900NXS2, also known as Nexus 2. It’s a magnificent, highly professional controller, with four channels and pristine sound quality.
This controller has a variety of effects, with a feature called six sound color FX, including dub echo, sweeper, filter, crush, space, and noise available on every channel at any time. Most controllers cannot support this, but the Nexus 2 has no problems with it.
It also comprises 14 different types of beat effects, which is something I’m sure Marshmello uses a lot!
But maybe the thing that is most exciting about this controller is the variety of inputs it has, making it possible to connect to other devices. It also has a USB port making it so easy to connect it to a laptop. No drivers need to be installed, just plug it in and play.
Marshmello also uses the CDJ-2000 Nexus controller by Pioneer DJ. Another great unit that operates with great features. It’s a single CD player so obviously, he has two of those. Apart from being very well-built, Mello uses mostly the cool effects it provides.
A few buttons have been used with the CDJ-200 to achieve new functions. For example, you have the “Sync” and “Quantize” on the right side, as well as a loop cutter that you can trigger by pushing “Shift” & “Call”.
On the left-hand side, you can find four auto loops and a slightly modified vertical arrangement called “Beat-Divide”, which will allow you to slice up a beat, and use it as a loop function.
At the bottom left, you’ll find the “Cue and Play” button, as well as the “Search” button, which I wouldn’t mention if CDJ-2000 didn’t have a very smart browser that will find the track you’re looking for quickly, by artist, genre, key, BPM, and so on.
To sum it up, this unit has a long pitch fader and huge platters that are very touch-sensitive. It’s a bit pricey as it costs over $1,000.
This one makes me the happiest since it’s the one I often use and is one of my favorite controllers. The Traktor Kontrol S4 is a four-channel mixer that has brought a lot of innovation to the DJing world.
It has some things that others don’t. A lot is connected to appearance but there is a lot to also be mentioned from a technical aspect. The jog wheels, for example, have been improved with haptic feedback, making them ultra-sensitive to your touch.
One of the things that probably serve Marshmello the most are the remix decks that can be triggered through Traktor 3, the software that’s mostly used with the S4. It’s a feature that allows you to introduce dozens of new slots, where you can upload your audio files.
Usually, DJs upload one audio file per deck. If we’re talking about two decks, that would mean you have two songs per channel that you’ll mix together. But with remix decks, you can upload as many files as you like.
Those can be loops, samples, or even two or three songs on one deck. This opens a whole new world of DJing and can be a big inspiration for the artists. I’m sure that Marshmello made good use of the decks, and that it’s one of the reasons he owns this unit.
If you came here to find out what kind of DJ gear Marshmello uses, I hope you found your answers. I could write for days about this guy since I really appreciate his music. However, I suggest we pull the brakes here and see what has been said so far.
One of the greatest EDM artists of today uses digital equipment to help him in his studio and DJ work. We summarized the most important pieces of gear, and here’s how it all goes down.
Instead of headphones, he has ear monitors that perfectly fit under his helmet. This should make it clear that he does not have premixed songs where he just hits play. I mean, he is one of the most selling artists on the music scene. Do you think he got there with premixed playlists?
As for a laptop, he’s just a regular American using Apple’s MacBook Pro that supports all the software needed for a good mix. When talking about software, Marshmello is a fan of Ableton Live but has also been associated with FL Studio and Logic Pro X.
He’s definitely a fan of Yamaha’s studio monitors, as he owns two pairs of them – an HS8, and NS10. I’ve never owned those but I’m sure he knows what he’s doing.
And finally, what kind of controller does Marshmello use? One of my favorites, Traktor Kontrol S4, along with a couple by Pioneer DJ – CDJ-2000 and DJM 900 Nexus 2. All good units, just like you would expect from a DJ like Marshmello.
What Is Marshmello’s Helmet Worth?
His helmet is constantly undergoing some improvements which make the price tag higher. It’s currently estimated at $55,000, but it now has an air conditioning system and LED lighting. His helmet is more comfortable than you’d think.
Why Does Marshmello Hide His Face?
Marshmello hides his face because he wants to avoid fame. Not that he’s not famous right now, but he prefers to stay unrecognizable for the wide public, as his job is to connect people, and nothing more. That’s what he said in 2017.