Good discussion. And long list, too.
I've started crafting soundscapes quite recently, so I feel your pain.
I didn't want to be second Roach, I was searching to find my sound. Still searching...
Mainly looking into myself and "feeling" the sound I like, I feel, I am missing in someone's music.
Listening to others' music was like searching for the sound matching your inner-sound.
I agree with others, I don't think you need all that equipment to create your own soundworld... Sure it can be an inspiration, but I'm sure you can get similar results with other gear not listed here. It's just a part of the chain, maybe even not the most important.
I think music is similar to cooking, the right ingredients and right amount of them can change the taste drastically.
And how you cook then later, so "reverb before or after mixing" question remains...
I'm certain mixing is the key to have great sounding track, especially in ambient music.
I don't think you need Oberheim to create your music. Other brand would offer you similar results, just in a different way.
I guess it's a "habit" for Steve Roach to use it. He likes the sound, timbre, and and it's great modulations capabilities which is one of the key factor to obtain complex and evolving sounds. I assume he's been using it for many years so you can hear it on many tracks, one way or another.
Maybe the sound stays well in the mix, cuts through well.
It's like custom flutes in Robert Rich's music. Or like Klaus Schulze using JD-800 in the concerts, since it's easy to change sounds quickly using sliders, etc.
Speaking of them, they bring another example of what Loren and Mike and other were talking. Look at Rich's "Trances/Drones". Prophet-5, bamboo flute, lap steel guitar, some bells and WHAT an effect...
And pioneering Schulze and his Irrlicht, Cyborg. He didn't even have full-blown synthesizer, just "mistreated" organ, VCS-3 synth (great for FXs), orchestra tapes and again, what an effect!
Or Tangerine Dream with early albums, like Zeit and Atem. Idea and execution. Or extensive improvising.
All those albums seem to be "simple" in tools, but so powerful in results...
You see, they didn't have all those fancy reverbs, and effects, but somehow the results are spectacular.
I guess once you have an idea for the great composition, you will find a way to record it.
Well, I don't want to sound like preaching, just some couple hundreds words of encouragement.
P.S. Maybe field recording is your way? It gives infinite source of unusual sounds, specially great for inharmonic samples.
You would have 1000 synths just outside your house. Or inside it, for that matter...
First of all, I own your CD "Submerged" from last year, I love it, really feels like you are getting sucked into a black hole when you listen to it in bed at night
I agree with most of what you say, and I agree..music is like cooking in a sense...but in the kitchen to make good food you also need certain ingredients, you can't make cheese pie without cheese for instance...same with musical equipment, you can't create something just from the void, you need some fundamental tools...
But despite what tools you use to create your music your own personal taste is what will color the music most of all..and I am sure..I do not need the exact same gear as Steve to produce similar sounds..but since I do not know where to begin..it seems logical to find out what Steve himself use to create such superior soundworlds..I must begin somewhere..
And yes you mention that in the old days the did manage to create spectacular music..well time change
You do no longer need big modular synths like Steve or Robert use anymore, but I give them respect for being able to use such complex synthesis, but luckily for me we live in easier times now
Regarding field recordings, yes I adore field recordings, both steve roach and robert rich use it alot..
All good ambient music I listen to use it more or less..so I must look over this also..all I know is that outdoor microphones for field recordings like that are very expensive...
I will definitely invest in a microphone sometime in future.. but again everything cost money so this is going slow...
I wish I could just buy all I did need for my studio right away..but it will take years unfortunately..