Why Gear Is Not Your Problem (Or Your Solution)

2011 Dec 23, 2011

The sooner you realize that gear is not your problem, the sooner you can get on with making better recordings and mixes. I honestly want you to know and believe this, because it’s true. More gear is not the solution. Your current gear is not the problem. Lack of experience is the problem. But nobody wants to hear that.


Via Audio Mix House Flickr

I Get The Same Questions Every Day

I can preach about setting up a a studio for only $300 till I’m blue in the face, but I will continue to get the same questions from well meaning audio peeps. Questions like: “What microphone is the best for under $500?”, “Which plugin bundle do you recommend?”, “I have some gear from [insert budget brand], and I know it’s not quality so what should I upgrade to?”

Questions like these clearly illuminate a pervasive thought in the home and project recording studio world: that cheap (i.e. affordable) gear is the problem and high end gear is the solution. Nothing could be further from the truth and that’s what kills me!

Correlation Does Not Equal Causation

My wife was a psychology major in college and she would describe to me the concept that just because there is a correlation between two things does not therefore mean that one caused the other. For example, you could elect me President of The United States tomorrow and a month from now crime is at an all time low across the nation. Those two events, my being elected president and the drop in crime are correlated, but surely me being in office for one month couldn’t be the cause of such a big trend.

To put it in our context, just because you see professional mixers in nice studios using boutique equipment and expensive plugin bundles doesn’t necessarily mean that is the reason why their mixes sound legit. It’s likely do to their extensive years of training and experience. They have honed a skill, perfected a craft. But we foolishly assume one leads to the other: that expensive gear leads to better recordings.

The Opposite Is Just As True

The same could be said about the opposite illogical assumption. We look at inexpensive gear or simple studio setups and assume that because we see a correlation of a lot of people using budget gear and turning out crappy mixes (ourselves included perhaps), there must be a causation between the two. The budget gear must be causing the horrible recordings. Wrong again! All it takes is one or two examples of people using the same affordable gear and churning out label quality mixes to prove that theory false.

So we have to then come back to the big question: how do I get better tracks in my studio? Do you want the truth or just what will make you feel better about yourself? The ongoing myth is that you are only one or two upgrades away from making professional recordings in your home studio. The truth is, you are months and years away from your goal, and only if you are doing a lot of recording and mixing in the process.

There’s Good News

The bad news is like every other skill in the world, you must practice, train, and continue to learn in order to improve. The good news is it won’t cost you nearly as much money as buying a bunch of nice gear. And that’s what The Recording Revolution is here for. To help speed up that process for you and save you money in the process.

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