I love looking at new gear, I can spend hours on website and reading magazines and by the end of it I’ve parted with an imaginary £100,000. As far as my wife is concerned my studio mags are porn - and expensive porn at that. If Sound and Sound did a centre fold of large format analog consoles each month they could double their circulation.
Trouble is, we can spend more time thinking about gear than we do being creative and at that point something has gone wrong.
I was reading a copy of Mac User on the train last night, it was celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Mac. As I flicked through the pages they reminded me of the amount of hardware and software I had bought, tried, used, sold and forgotten. After spending over 30 years in the music industry I can tell you the list of studio gear is even longer.
The problem is that every time we buy another piece of studio gear we have to spend time learning it on a technical level, we also need to spend time getting used to the characteristic of some gear such as mics, monitors and headphones. All of this time has to come from somewhere and that is going to be time we could be spending writing and recording.
I don’t give a rat’s ass what DAW people want to use, but I do find it odd when some people declare in a fit of anger “that’s it, I’m off to use Logic/Cubase/Pro Tools/fill in the blank” and then 6 months later they seem to be saying the same thing again. Learning any DAW takes a great deal of time and to become proficient enough for that DAW’s workflow to become transparent will take weeks, months or even years. Most professionals simply don’t have that kind of time on their hands. I’ve gone on record with Avid as saying that the reason most Pro Tools users have remained using Pro Tools during the times of its deficiencies or Avid silliness, is that most people just don’t have the time to learn another DAW or just can’t be bothered. If you are considering moving DAWs then do that in a considered manner, not because Avid/Apple/Steinberg/fill in the blanks have p*ssed you off… you may repent at leisure.
In the world of cameras they have a saying ‘the best camera is the one your have in your hand when you need it’, Phone manufacturers have proved this, I own thousands of pounds worth of camera gear but most of the pictures I share were taken on my iPhone. In many cases the same can be said of studio gear - the best gear is the gear you have - so use it.
So to the title of this piece, the most attractive piece of studio gear in the world? It’s the stuff you don’t own. There’s is nothing more attractive as something you don’t own - but often it’s the thrill of the chase, or indeed with gear porn, the thrill of the dream.
Will I stop buying studio gear? Hell no, but if I try and convince myself that my songs will be better for having more gear then I’m an idiot. A bad song is not improved by the gear I record it with, or a bad vocal improved by using a different mic. Discuss.
PS: I don’t recommened showing this article to your loved one. ;)