There's never been a better time to start recording when it comes to how much gear there is and how cheap a lot of it is. I always smile when I see people complain about the cost of many products that get launched, for example baulking at the expense of a plug-in emulation that's a tenth of the price of the original hardware, that is if you could even get one.
This access to so much gear, especially in plug-in form means that many of us have an almost limitless choice when it comes to recording. You combine this with the amount of information that bombards us daily, for example, there's probably a hundred Facebook groups around production, recording and mixing and it all seems like a dream.
It's not. I'd like to suggest it’s a nightmare.
Let me tell you why. Because more doesn't equal better.
With gear, more means longer learning times, more distractions and less time to get the job done - and although everything is a lot cheaper than it used to be, if you click buy every time then you end up with a big plug-in folder and an enormous credit card debt. If you buy more stuff the law of diminishing returns starts to kick in. As the dictionary definition states this law is "used to refer to a point at which the level of profits or benefits gained is less than the amount of money or energy invested."
The same can be said for the endless stream of 'advice' we can garner from Facebook groups, forums, blogs and news aggregators. There's probably gold in all of them, but it requires a lot of wasted time to find it. We often join them for fear of missing out, but take it from me. I'm muting more and more of this stuff because the noise/quality information ratio is mostly on the noise side.
Ironically in one of the said groups, I saw someone post recently "You wouldn't believe how good a mic placed in the right part of a guitar cab can sound." I then sat and waited for the responses which weren't pretty for the OP, but it does lead me to something that's becoming a core part of my creative workflow these days and counter to the industry, in fact, I've known it for years, but I've allowed myself to be seduced too easily.
Like the guitar on the cab revelation - simplicity is the key. Or as the old mantra goes Keep It Simple Stupid summed up in the acronym K.I.S.S.
I'm using less stuff than I ever did, but spending real money on those things, because despite what we are told, quality still costs. To put that into context I think I've used about 5% of the gear I own and got the job done every time... now that's insane when I sit and think about it, but am I brave enough to sell all the stuff that's clutter? Some de-cluttering advisors suggest that if you don’t use something for a year then sell it, I also heard that if it wasn’t useful or beautiful then get rid of it.
I'm also leaving, ignoring or muting those channels of information that are mostly noise. For some reading this, it might be our blog or social media channels, but let me be clear if we are part of the problem to you being more productive then that's counter to our desire, so please mute us in preference to something that does tick the box. I'd rather that be the case than us diminish your potential... really. I don’t doubt that like us, many of the Facebook groups were set up to be a help by those who created them, but as time goes on they get bigger, are poorly moderated and become a free-for-all, then the quality of discourse goes down as the attempt to be all things to all people. There’s something to be said for well moderated forums where people have to sign up, in fact the best one I belong to insists and checks that you use your real name to contribute… that prevents the keyboard warriors from hijacking the threads. A free-for-all benefits no one in the long run.
People used to ask why Steve Jobs wore the same black turtle neck, jeans and sneakers to work every day; he answered that it was one less choice he had to make and he could use that thinking for something more important.
I think it's critical for those of us who want to stay sharp and be productive to reject the abundance philosophy and be more discerning about what we buy and where we get our information from.
Great long distance runners have to reject many things to be successful, it's a lonely path to take but the price they pay to win.
Rejecting the desire to keep buying stuff and to belong to every group around can make us feel as if we are missing out, I suggest quite the opposite may happen. You'll certainly have more money, and I think you'll be smarter and more productive too!