How The Industry Is Stacked Against You (When It Comes To Home Studio Gear)

2014 Aug 18, 2014

Before you upgrade your DAW or invest in different plugins, consider the fact that you just might be diluting your efforts and reducing your chances of churning out a great recording or mix.

The beauty of being a music maker today is that the tools are ridiculously cheap and easily accessible. What used to take a few hundred thousand dollars to pull off, can happen in your bedroom for $300.

The problem though, is that digital technology is constantly changing – and so are our tools.


Via fr4dd Flickr

Give Me A Hammer

With every DAW upgrade there are not only countless new (and mostly un-needed) features, but new layouts, interfacing, system requirements, OS requirements, and sometimes even plugin format requirements (Pro Tools 11 anyone?!). All of these changes make getting to know your tools deeply a real challenge.

In a recent article on Tape Op, John Baccigaluppi argued this point – comparing our audio craft to that of a carpenter:

One of the primary tools for any carpenter is a hammer. Once you find a hammer you like, the more you use it, the more you learn its nuances and how to use it efficiently. After a year or so of using the same hammer, it’s like an extension of your arm. – John Baccigaluppi, Tape Op

For many of us, the DAW is our primary software tool – it’s our hammer.

If we jump around from DAW to DAW or version to version (either willingly or out of necessity) we may never spend enough time with it to learn its nuances.

We’ll be picking up a new hammer each and every session.

A Call For Simplicity And Familiarity

You see, the entire marketing mantra of the pro audio industry is stacked against us.

Its very goal is to convince you that you’re one purchase away from great recordings and mixes – and if you’d only open your wallet and purchase (or upgrade to) their latest and greatest gizmo or software, you’d be that much closer to reaching your goals.

But the truth is quite the opposite.

Since gear is neither your solution nor your problem then you are free to focus more of your attention on improving your craft, your skill set, and simply gain more experience.

You can simply ignore the noise, the ads, and the catalogs and get back to making music.

Couple that with me giving you the freedom to not upgrade but rather stick with your same old gear from 10 years ago – and you’re in a much better position to create the best sounding music you’ve ever made.

When we give ourselves time to create a simple, but stable setup and then actually familiarize ourselves with it – I mean really know it inside and out – then we are primed to do our best work ever.

Simple, Dependable Tools Help You Get More Done

To put it plainly – if you have a simple and dependable home studio, one that you become intimately familiar with, rarely gives you issues, and does what you ask of it day in and day out – then you my friend have a much better chance of churning out a great sounding recording or mix.

Don’t be lured by the promise of more, better, or faster.

Remember – the only way to get really better recordings and mixes is to become a better engineer, producer, or artist. Ignore what the industry says you need, stick with the simple tools, focus on improving your craft, and have more fun in the process.

Thoughts? Sound off below.

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