Getting Value From Your Gear

2010 Jul 21, 2010

We’ve all done it. We set our hearts on that one piece of gear that will make our music sound shiny and new. So we buy it, crack it open, use it for a few months, and then a year later we find ourselves looking for something else to replace it. If we don’t sell said piece of gear to afford something new, we’ll justify keeping it around by telling ourselves “It’s good to have options.” or “I’m adding to my arsenal or tool kit in the studio.” But in this sad process of always needing something new, we are loosing out on an opportunity to garnish real value from the studio gear we spend a good chunk of money on.

Via eFile989 Flickr

Audio Peer Pressure

Think about it, we home studio people are living in a whirlpool of advertising and brainwashing that bombards our minds with thoughts of newer, better, more vintage, more professional, etc. There is always something new to buy. And somehow these companies (and the subsequent online forum lurkers and fanboys) convince us that our once awesome audio interface or channel strip is no longer what we need. In fact, there is something very wrong with it. “The A/D converters aren’t good at all,” “That mic pre really colors the sound in a bad way”, “You’ll never get pro results with that.” You get the idea.

Sure technology is always improving, especially with digital recording (heck we used to have to record at 16 bit, and no other option existed for digital users!). But the idea is that if we are going to research, save up for, and buy a helpful piece of gear for our studio then we need to commit to that piece of gear (or software) long enough to extract the appropriate amount of value from it. The more expensive the purchase the more value you can (and should) get out of it before (or if) you move on to something else.

Why Am I Doing This?

For most of us home studio owners this relates to our DAW choice and our audio interface. I would find it sad to see someone go out and spend even just $300 on a small Pro Tools LE rig (complete with an interface and the software) only to want to switch to Logic and an Apogee Duet a year later. What’s the point? You invested money AND time into a great studio setup only to throw any value you could get from it to pursue something different. Nothing against Logic (I happen to own it) or any other brand of interface (as there are many fantastic options). The point simply is to analyze each purchase you make and weigh out how much value has been extracted. Don’t cheat yourself.

Here are just a couple thoughts that might help you in this never ending process. Ask yourself these types of questions regarding each piece of gear you own:

– How long have I owned/used this? Is it too soon to just move on?

– How many projects have I recorded/mixed with this? Enough to know I need something else entirely?

– Will I make back my money with this new purchase to justify the cost? (If you record professionally)

– Am I debating switching gear purely on what people tell me or after my own listening tests?

– Will this purchase truly help me to make my music any better than I currently am making, enough to justify the loss of value from my previous investment?


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