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Gear snobbery

For everything after the recording stage: hardware/software and how you use it.

Gear snobbery

Postby _ Six _ » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:40 am

I've been thinking about this a lot lately with renovating the studio. If I would have done the work 4 years ago (when I first bought the house) I probably wouldn't have appreciated the improvement as much as I do now. Many of us (myself included) are very quick to deride a particular piece of kit, turn our noses up at a particular brand or convince someone that it can't be done in xyz space. Thinking about my own personal journey, I've realised that budget equipment and bad experiences are a vital link in the learning chain.

I started my recording career on a Yamaha 4 track tape machine back in 2001 (I still have it!) and it was great fun. I learned how to use aux sends and what monitor sections were for. How to bounce tracks and how to EQ so that they all sat together in the speakers. Listening back now the recordings are laughable but I learned so much from that one unit.

Over the years I must have spent £50k on music gear and I've got a fantastically well equipped home studio now. When i stick a good mic in front of a good speaker, through a boutique preamp and record using a good guitar I know that it's quality. But only because I've used rubbish equipment and had bad experiences in the past, learning the flaws and limitations of what can be achieved for my own ears.

I'm a recording musician.. (not a recording engineer as such) so my passion has always laid in performance. However, I'm very fond of the tech side and it will always be my second love. The point of this post was to express my gratitude for all of those crap mics, chewed up cassettes and dodgy hifi speakers at the beginning....... because without them I wouldn't be where I am today.

So if you're new to recording and feel lost amongst the maze of options and advice.. just take your time and don't focus too much on what gear you own..... but more what it can do and what fun you can have with it. Those experiences will be worth their weight in gold later in your career and keep the game fun... which is the reason why we all got into recording in the first place.

Happytracking and welcome to the club... but be warned... it's addictive and can get very expensive! :D

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Re: Gear snobbery

Postby The Elf » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:34 am

All correct, but, alas, likely to fall on deaf ears, judged by the number of people who seem to think that a single piece of gear, or the carefully-guarded control settings of producer X are all they need for audio perfection.

After all, why spend years honing your craft when all you need is a plug-in to add 'mojo' and 'warmth'? ;) :D
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Re: Gear snobbery

Postby SafeandSound Mastering » Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:44 pm

I think this comes down to sonic reference and the process of using all sorts of equipment to achieve it. Arguably semi pro equipment out performs equipment of 30 years back on paper. However the references we hold dear and approve as being "reference" quality was made using equipment which was possibly noisier and more distorted, especially in the case of tape.

People have been back pedaling for the last 10-15 years trying to attain this goal.

It is impossible to discount the environment and the engineers influence on the end results using any equipment so it's quite complex.

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Re: Gear snobbery

Postby Persian Bit » Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:59 pm

I guess all of us began with that attitude, dreaming while reading magazines and watching music shows. It takes a while that you realize it's the craft and art, not the hardware. I believe a few lucky ones out of many wannabes realize this in time, focus on the job itself and turn out to be pros. I know an army of people with very huge budgets and dreams, but they just gave up because they thought it's all about the gear and the studio that makes that hit album..

me too started in 4 tracks [tascam] back in 1991. passed a long long journey since then, but I believe too that I learned most of my important knowledges through those years.

You can't do anything about that 'Magic App' that everyone is selling these days. people always like 'quick' solutions for anything, from their weight loss to being a rock star!
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Re: Gear snobbery

Postby Combo » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:10 pm

[quote="The Elf"]After all, why spend years honing your craft when all you need is a plug-in to add 'mojo' and 'warmth'? ;) :D
I been working with some young guys who take their craft very seriously. And they tell me that my sounds are the high point of my music. That that's what makes it sound pro. I keep telling them about my warmth and mojo plug-ins but they insist it must be some technical skill.

Some people will believe anything to avoid shelling out for a UAD card.
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Re: Gear snobbery

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:09 am

[quote="britney"]Some people will believe anything to avoid shelling out for a UAD card.


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Re: Gear snobbery

Postby Skerrick » Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:38 am

haha i love this thread! OP youre spot on, ive been at this for 3 years and probably spent close close to 6 grand at least...
and i agree, although im not a whizz so to speak, i listen back to the stuff i was churning out 3 years ago and laugh my head off, and i thought i was so good at the time!! (having said that, im still getting better and theres always room for improvement..)

the learning curve is great in this particular field/hobby, i DO find that when asking about a piece of gear i wanna get (and i must raise my hand and say i do this too) everyone recommends what they have and bags out on anything else thats suggested and nearly every thread turns into a "my gear's better than yours" kind of discussion haha! always a good read, but you learn so much (especially on this particular forum) and i love that its possible to educate yourself in such a way just through reading what people have to say and learning through trial and error with gear and techniques/setups etc.

i whole heartedly agree its expensive, i find myself often missing out on meals cos ive spent my money on a little monotron or a groovebox or a voice recorder or something haha! i heart it, soon ill be studying audio engineering and i can hopefully join in on the more technical discussions with a little more confidence :)

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Re: Gear snobbery

Postby Jabba1 » Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:16 am

Good advice.

I started with a Fostex 280 back in 1991... In fairness, the biggest expense was the Mac, but thats because I was sick of blowing up PC's. I've tried to build up the rest of it slowly, carefully through upgrades and special offers and the suchlike. The thing that is the big difference in my case is that I cant see me outgrowing the capabilities of the system and I'll sure as heck never stop learning. And yes, a lot of what I learned back in the 4 track cassette days have stood me well to this day.

For instance, much as I'd love a Nucleus and I can afford one, I know that my present and arguably future level of expertise is not going to be able to justify the expense of such a single item.
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Re: Gear snobbery

Postby A. AuCr » Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:38 am

[quote="The Elf"]After all, why spend years honing your craft when all you need is a plug-in to add 'mojo' and 'warmth'? ;) :D



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