Fostex 250 4-track cassette
Yamaha DX 7
SCI Drum Tracks
The DX7 is very adaptable and doesn't sound too synthy, so it's a good basis to use. It's the main instrument I use - I've got an old guitar which I can't play but it can be an interesting accompaniment.
My Fostex is adequate for things I want to do as demos, because I've also got my own recording studio, so I can enhance what I do later. I think the limitations of a 4-track are very constructive because they make you get to the essential ideas in a song.
I use a Drum Traks for a drum machine - I wasn't keen on the original bass drum in that so I had it replaced with a Linn chip. It's heavier and thicker now, bt still not stunning. I suppose I'm spoilt because I'm used to being in a studio where a bass drum sounds like a bass drum.
The Fostex is dead easy - I had to overcome the technological barrier that most people have, but as soon as I got over that it was straightforward. I tend to put down a lot of vocals, and bouncing those together is easier than bouncing instruments together - the balance of instruments is easier to mess up, I find.
Writing's quite a new thing for me, so the demos are for my own reference, to help me in the studio. And the machines will throw ideas at you - it's up to you whether you grab them or not.
I wish they'd use ordinary terms more in the manuals for all this equipment. I find that I learn more from the machines by trial and error than I do from the instructions. It's not that they're beyond comprehension, they could just put things in a far more basic structure.