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#955061 - 03/15/01 01:34 AM Is Gear an Excuse?
Anderton Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 01/28/00
Posts: 7377
When you get right down to it, you can record music on just about anything these days and have it sound fine. The sub-$1000 all-in-one hard disk recorder holds up well against commercial facilities, and anyone can get a CD pressed.

Yet there's constant wondering about this gear vs. that gear, minute differences in mic preamps, and so on. None of this makes any real difference to the end listener.

Is all this gear lust just an excuse to avoid coming face to face with making music? Do people have insecurity problems that has a ready excuse in "my gear isn't good enough?"

I like Lee Flier's attitude regarding the Yamaha AW4416: "Hey, I have this piece of gear, it works fine." Sure, the debating and pondering is fun, but only if you recognize that gear doesn't have that much to do with the emotional impact of a piece of music.
_________________________
Craig Anderton
*check out my podcast at www.cyberears.com

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#955062 - 03/15/01 01:38 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
hiraga Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 02/04/01
Posts: 1078
Loc: Inside Venus...
We're just too old to play with LEGO..

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#955063 - 03/15/01 02:08 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
copacapri@pacbell.net Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/30/00
Posts: 256
Loc: Hollywood,CA,UNITED STATES
ROTFLMBO

hiraga very funny.......very true...

------------------
Cheers,

La Vida Musica
Copa Capri Recorders
Hollyhood Productions
_________________________
Cheers,

La Vida Musica
Copa Capri Recorders
Hollyhood Productions

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#955064 - 03/15/01 02:26 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
copacapri@pacbell.net Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/30/00
Posts: 256
Loc: Hollywood,CA,UNITED STATES
Whew.....

To answer the question I believe that gear often is an excuse however, maybe that 1073 inspires you to want to do better.
Or that new Vipre gives you so many choices it adds new spice to your ideas. The reality is we all are probably recording on more advanced technology than some of our favoite records were recorded on.
Nothing matters in audio more than a good song anyway. A great performance and a great song recorded on a 4 track is far better than a bad song on an Studer/SSL combo.

I once had a Peavey Sampling system (SX/SP)
It was my first sampler. It was hard to learn at first but eventually got the hang of it. I later had a high profile project come along and my partner had been using Akai samplers. I got a chance to use one and I've been hooked ever since. Switching gear in this instance became inspiring I loved using that instrument. Now I own three Akai samplers. The Peavey still works (traded it to my neighbor) but I just did not click with it. It did not inspire me.

------------------
Cheers,

La Vida Musica
Copa Capri Recorders
Hollyhood Productions
_________________________
Cheers,

La Vida Musica
Copa Capri Recorders
Hollyhood Productions

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#955065 - 03/15/01 02:31 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
hiraga Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 02/04/01
Posts: 1078
Loc: Inside Venus...
Seriously, I do play with LEGO.. no, wrong answer.

It's difficult, Craig.. I'm a musiciam, I'm an engineer, I'm a producer, consultant, loudspeakerbuilder, analog gear designer.. even gotta a half day job as a sales weasel.. so YES, I LIKE gear.

But I try pretty hard not to let gear get in the way..

Btw, I've been a VS1680 user for a long time (no more though)(I wrote that VS manual you asked permission to post here), and that just works peachy along with Neve, SSL, 2" and U47s..

I don't think there's one single technology/way of recording that fits all kinds of songs/albums. I use whatever compliments the project..

If the gear 'isn't good enough', I simply switch..

I too like Lee's attitude.. can't wait to hear some kick ass stuff from that ol' rocker!

I do wonder how much more *home recording gear* the market can carry, though.

And yes, too many people fuck around with gear instead of recording actual songs.. but they're in the process of LEARNING. Nothing wrong with that, imho..

Finally, YES! the listener (not us, the *real* ones) don't give a rats ass if it's PT, AW4416, 2", VS or 4tr cassette, as long as it delievers what they're looking for..

Me, I dig analog, mono and vinyls.. no, I'm not an ol' stuck up fart head. I'm 26.

MUSIC RULES!!

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#955066 - 03/15/01 02:32 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Lee Flier Offline
10k Club

Registered: 09/13/00
Posts: 15398
Loc: Atlanta,GA,UNITED STATES
LOL Craig! I find it highly ironic that you've chosen to single ME out as being the one who has such a great attitude about gear. Because, for the last few days, I've been having major gear anxiety. I'd say it was more like a digital rebellion.

I did wonder, when I bought the AW4416, when it would hit me. I wondered how long it would take me to start sorely missing analog recording. Well, a few days ago that longing kicked in big time. I'm crazy for thinking I can get anything decent out of this little box, I thought (well I'll grant you, a couple of less than stellar experiences with Yamaha's tech support, and their refusal to deal with some obvious and fixable shortcomings, were partly responsible for this attitude). Then somebody told me about a great analog rig that was going for "cheap" on eBay. I was seriously ready to drive out to St. Louis and buy this rig if I could win the auction for a reasonable price... and hey, it could still happen.

Then I called Fletcher and asked him about the Fatso. And OK, if I don't end up scoring this analog rig, I'll probably get one of those or else a Cranesong HEDD. In many ways, this would make more sense for me. But I can't say that I have been very sensible lately.

Am I making excuses? Hell yes! I am blaming my gear for all of my own shortcomings and I'll cop to that. Hell, most musicians (or artists of any kind) are massively insecure about their own work. I think I'm over the worst of the gear fit now... I think. The fact is that I am well used to recording in a certain way that I know will always sound right to me, I am now having to deal with a different way, and when it doesn't sound like I want it to I get frustrated and blame the gear.

Somewhere there is a line that can't be crossed, a place where it really WOULD improve my sound to get better gear. But I ain't there yet. And it would frankly be kinda silly to spend much more money until I find out where that point really is.

So ummm... yeah, I think it can be really pointless to argue over minute differences in preamps and such. However if the difference is really audible, and not so minute, I think it's worth checking out. I think I could improve my studio a thousand percent with a couple of well chosen pieces of higher-end gear - even just one great preamp and a couple of great mics. Maybe the end listeners wouldn't know the difference, but I would.

But all that said, I still suck if I can't make great music with what I already have. So my mission, should I decide to accept it, is not to suck. I guess I am just tired of wrestling with all this new gear and feel like it's hosing the creative part. And I know I'll get past that point soon, but man, that 1-inch 8 track on eBay sure did look nice...

--Lee

This message has been edited by Lee Flier on 03-14-2001 at 11:41 PM
_________________________
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#955067 - 03/15/01 02:34 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
hiraga Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 02/04/01
Posts: 1078
Loc: Inside Venus...
Yeah, Capri, there's nothing like gear that kicks you OFF!

I just bought an ol' ancient Roland S330 sampler.. I'm having a blast..

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#955068 - 03/15/01 03:04 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Valkyrie Sound Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 01/01/01
Posts: 1891
Loc: LA, CA, UNITED STATES
Is gear lust an excuse? Maybe for some... for
me, I don't think it is....

I record classical music. Yes, a work that
is well performed but poorly recorded can still
move someone.

Can a poorly recorded performance move you
as much as a live peformance?
I don't think so....

I do believe that thinking about how
my gear sounds is very important.
I want to capture the feeling I get
when I hear the music live in a great hall.
If I don't have the best sounding gear,
I will not be able to record all those wonderful
nuiances of the performance....those little parts
of the performance that
make the recording great and that can
help a listener fully feel the performance.

I recorded the LA Phil on Monday. While
I think it was one of my best recordings,
I don't think I could possibly capture
the true, moving, inspiring sound I heard
that evening with any gear.
So far I don't think I've ever heard a
recording that is as moving as a great,
live performance. When I do, only then will
I be able to say that my gear lust is
just an excuse....

I'm looking forward to that day....

Valky
_________________________
Valkyrie Sound:
http://www.vsoundinc.com
Now at TSUTAYA USA:
http://www.tsutayausa.com

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#955069 - 03/15/01 05:10 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Graham English Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/13/01
Posts: 335
Loc: Somerville, MA USA
I'll tell you, I thought I was gonna record my 4 piece rock band with a Korg D8. I quickly found out that wasn't gonna work. So I bought a VS-1680. I was on my way until I tried to really mix on it. That's when I got Cubase to mix and now I'm on my way. It's been a huge learning experience for me. And, yes, I think I need more gear to get it done
Now if I could only get my ass out of this forum and get to work
_________________________
++ Graham English ++
Ear Training, Songwriting Tips, and Music Theory

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#955070 - 03/15/01 05:29 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Alndln Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 08/15/00
Posts: 6451
Loc: ,NY,UNITED STATES
Although I love everything out there new/old I must concede I got way more done when all I had was a 4 track Fostex caseete multitracker.Part of it was I could always say that these were just demo's and will be done over in the studio,now that I have the studio............
_________________________
"A Robot Playing Trumpet Blows"

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#955071 - 03/15/01 05:33 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Uh Clem Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 03/13/00
Posts: 3443
Loc: Atlanta, GA USA
I have to disagree about none of this making any difference to the listener. First, that lumps every sort of listener into one category of earless clods and I have not seen that to be true. Second, I've been one of those listeners for a hell of a long time - long before I ever thought about trying to create something worth listening to. I don't know if I would have gotten into this if I hadn't heard some recordings that were just so amazing that I wanted to know how to do that.

Most of the musicians I work with can spot really subtle things like mic changes, pre-amp changes, the difference that 24 bit recording makes, using an Eventide verb over a low-end Lexi. Some of the things they pick up on really surprise me. My wife even notices a few dB bumped here and there between a mastered and un-mastered project and she's pretty much a "music consumer".

I think people - probably half a bell-curves worth - hear some degree of the extra effort that _we_ hear. Whether or not they can explain what they hear or just pass it off as low-budget/big-budget does not mean they don't hear it. I've got plenty of fav tunes that I listen to that were low budget recordings, and I'm betting a good many fans of those groups would appreciate better recordings as much as I would. People will put up with it if they like the song, but that does not make it OK.

Lee is right - do the best you can with what you have - and don't buy anything if you don't know what problem you have that it will solve. But don't think that, just because nobody says anything, that they don't notice if you skip a day on your deodorant. If your ears say it matters, then it probably does.
_________________________
Steve Powell - Bull Moon Digital
http://www.bullmoondigital.com

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#955072 - 03/15/01 06:01 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Anonymous
Unregistered


I think that gear lust is very common and a natural part of musicians ,engineers, producers.
As a keyboardist I can find inspiration in new keys, samples and Fx that take me to songs or ideas that otherwise not would have come up.

When recording we are (I'm at least) keen on having the best result that is possible. If we find that a mic is not perfect for a specific target we buy a new, better one, as with compressors and what ever.

Does it makes sence? I don't know.

I can be frustrated knowing that the "normal" people is satisfied downloading some MP3 files, and saying: it sounds awsome!!
Do they hear any differance between 16 bit and 24 bit? I don't think so.

But all this gearlust is a personal thing. If I buy a new gear for 2000 bucks to replace something worth 200 bucks and the end listener doesn't hear any difference. So what?
I do it for my plessure only!


------------------
--Smedis,--

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#955073 - 03/15/01 06:26 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
dansouth Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 09/01/00
Posts: 3915
Loc: Metuchen,NJ,UNITED STATES
Steve's right - never forget your deodorant.

I think the guys in retail see this problem frequently. Someone orders a Triton. A couple weeks or months later, they call up and say the Triton's not happening for them anymore, can they trade it for a Kurzweil? A short time later, they trade that for an XV-5080. Then they call up and say, "Man, I should never have sold that Triton."

The point is that it's easier to buy a new piece of gear - even an expensive piece of gear - than it is to write or record a good song. We all hit a wall at times when we just can't seem to get past our limitations - technical or personal - and finish that great track. We have to impose discipline and a little psychology on ourselves and find a way to make it work. An equipment upgrade is the answer in perhaps 20% of the cases, if not less. You just have to step back and figure out how to solve the puzzle. A new thingymabob isn't going to do your work for you.

I heard a great quote last year. It keeps coming back to me, because it's very inspiring. Someone said, "Don't think about your goals. Think about what type of person could achieve those goals and what you would have to do to become that type of person." In other words, don't bang your head against the wall because your last project was a disappointment. Get busy fixing the weaknesses that contributed to its demise, so that next time, you'll be able to go further, maybe MUCH further.

On the other hand, Steve is right - always wear... - er, I mean, equipment CAN make a big difference. What if someone asked you to sell all of the equipment that you've purchased in the last three years and replace it with second-hand stuff that's at least three years old? You probably couldn't do with that old stuff what you can do with your new stuff. I know I can't. So, equipment is not necessarily an excuse. It can be, but it can also be very empowering, as long as you don't expect it to solve problems that only you, or another human being, can solve.

Hey Lee, don't you fret, girl! I'm sure you're stuff is COOKIN'. You're just a little too close to it. Let it be for a day or two and see what you think then. Don't hate your AW, and don't let temptation take that little gadget away from you. You two are gonna make a lot more beautiful music together. Oh, and try using a REAL drummer this time - I hear it makes a big difference. Only messin' with ya, ma friend, tryin' ta git cha ta smile 'n' all that. I'm gonna post a couple of my AW mixes soon; just wait'll you hear what I've been doin' with my little no-longer-does-the-fan-make-noise dream machine.

This message has been edited by dansouth@yahoo.com on 03-15-2001 at 03:56 AM

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#955074 - 03/15/01 06:36 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Jazzooo Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 01/17/01
Posts: 504
Loc: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
I don't think that Stevepow's point about his wife hearing the difference between a mastered and a non-mastered recording is exactly what Craig was talking about. I think it's more like a mix that was mastered with a Finalizer versus a software program, by guys with the same level of talent.

<is well performed but poorly recorded can still
move someone.>>

Again, I don't think that "poorly recorded" is analogous to using less expensive gear. It's the talent, not the tools that make the most difference, in my experience.

<as much as a live peformance?
I don't think so....>>

Well, maybe as much as a poorly amplified live performance...

For me, this never used to be a problem...until recently, when I recorded the last three of my own albums with a professional engineer behind the board in fancy studios as opposed to rolling my own as I'd done several times in the past. Suddenly, i recognized the gulf in our engineering talent--particularly in the area of patience. It has wrecked my self confidence in terms of recording at home, making me susceptible to the taunting promises of high end gear advertisers, and it has me looking sideways at my previously loved gear. Will the new gear give me the talent I lack? No...but it might help disguise my flaws.

Then again, sometimes new gear is just a heck of a lot of fun.

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#955075 - 03/15/01 07:02 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
musicman1@ovation.net Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/06/00
Posts: 167
Loc: Duncanville,TX,UNITED STATES
Folks... it's me, Mr. Long Post. Some of you may want to skim or skip, but I am hoping at the wrap up, some may have some advice on my slightly off-topic, but smoothly segued query.

Love this TOPIC. I ponder this sometimes, especially now, and while I do agree some on the "excuse" theory, for myself, I can trace the reasons why, and possibly help myself over certain hurdles. Pardon me if I do it publicly.

First, my roots are deep into the time when all gear was not only not "created equal" (within the bounds of your close-enough-for-listener's-ears ideas, which I agree with), but where studios wanted and needed to find that cutting edge to get a better and more commercial sound.

From 1978 to the mid-80s, I had a Tascam 80-8 w/DBX, a Model 5 mixer, 1 Neumann U-47 FET and a few electrets of varying quality, a large 4 ft. MicMix MasterRoom II spring reverb, 1 channel of Orban parametric, a couple of Gain Brains, a couple of Kepexes, and a fully loaded MXR Digital Delay (I'm not sure if it's actually fully digital or bucket brigade, but it still sounds really cool). Most all my recording... even that which I did for clients... was a matter of me doing overdubs. I played drums with a click track (imagining the song in my head), then went back and played either keys (Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Univox Organizer thru Leslie or Yamaha grand) or main guitar "rhythm" track. Most pop-like songs, to me, are either guitar or keys based. After that, bass. Then I'd add various guitars (electric/acoustic) doing leads, fills, etc., and/or "horn" parts (via one of my two mono analog synths, playing one part at a time, filling up tracks and ping-pong bouncing) or synth parts or "strings" (via my Univox Stringman) and on like that. When I'd do my own stuff, it was common for me to have as many as seven vocal tracks (lead and two sets of three backups doing various parts). The same with the synth "brass" and "reeds", etc. For me at the time, I was most interested in the arrangement. It was a good thing, because when you do all that sub-mixing on an 1/2" 8 track passing through a Model 5, things muddy-up pretty quick. That high transparency that I heard in "real" studios was not there even if I didn't do the ping-ponging. I went all out (for my budget) on the microphone trying to get the sound, but I just didn't know how many other elements were in the way.

I'm not an engineer. I can do what I have to, but I do have to work at it, and even then, I don't work as hard as I might if music weren't always tugging at me to spend my time with IT. I attempted to keep gain structures right, etc., but this was a loosing battle. Still, friends and associates at "real studios" where I've worked as a studio musician (the two 2-inch 16 or 24 track machines that were synchronized, and the racks of great outboard, and the large Harrison consoles, etc.) were always very supportive of the arranging and producing on those tapes, and when I'd pick their brains as to what was "wrong" (I meant, why I getting cleaner recordings that sounded like "records"), they all said I needed more tracks and a "large format" machine(s). In other words, 8 tracks on 1/2" couldn't get the sound of 24 on 2"... that being their "worst case scenario"... and even more so, 16 on 2". Nonetheless, I did a few local/regional releases for clients. Since the clients usually had at least some live musicians, the ping-ponging was less, and the releases were passable for "custom". Sometimes I did bands that just played live and there was no bouncing, and those came closer, especially if the music was hard rock. Even so, still not really the real deal to my ears.

A few years ago (the week before Macintosh went PCI instead of Nubus), I got a Mac 8100 w/80Mb RAM and Pro Tools Project (what used to be called Mac Session Eight) and one black face ADAT. I had eight hardware analog outs for "Project", and I intended on adding another ADAT so that with all of it I'd have 24 tracks to mix. I only had time to discover that (1) I had the only Mac model which, at that time "Project" couldn't deal with (later fixed), and (2) the paradigm shift from being able to slap down track after track without making ALL those decisions and assigning memory and naming segments and trying to get OMS up and going (later easier)... well, it was hellacious. Soon after that, I was "rescued" by family responsibilities that weren't allowing me the time to deal with it anyway. The digital "fix" was a pain in the ass.

Come to NOW. Now I am getting free again to do it again. I'm very enthused, and I want to finally release a few CDs of material (old and new). For my audience's sake (small or large) I want the stuff to sound as much like "records" as possible. In other words, all other things being equal (disregarding my own musical performance and songs), I don't want the audience to get this feeling that the CDs or "sort of" CDs... not really sounding like the real deal. Naturally, even in the world of the real deal, there is variation. For instance, I think "Two Against Nature" is just wonderful... great recording and great Steely Dan. ) I don't have to come to that level to feel OK for myself and audience. Shoot, any "famous" CD recorded back in '82 would do the trick for fidelity, etc. I intend to make whatever investment it will take to get a system that will work with, not against me. As far as the variation from system to system, I do believe at this point, with so many being 24-bit, as long as I get some user-friendly system I can deal with and understand... something that will be MIDI friendly and let me track easily, without being real conscious of hardware/software resources... I will be there. THERE? Well, "there" is that place where I understand the equipment enough to deal with it, and it can make at least SOME use of my older stuff (if it matters). If I can get a system that will let make pro sounding recordings (my performance aside), that will do the trick. I know I could think about various pre-amps and converters and all the rest, but being able to lay down pianos, keys, guitars, drums (most all of this being of the MIDI variety now in my setup... 'cept for guitars)... and do a reasonable job with voice... I will have to look only to myself to do what I want.

I'm having a hell of a time getting the right beam on this thing. Sales people tend to not quite hear or relate to my desire for user-friendliness. I'm definitely computer literate, but in the studio I am looking for flow and as few problems as possible. I'm prepared to get a new Mac. I'm prepared to spend as much as $10K or more if needed. Do I want to? Not really. I'd like to get the direct route to efficiency. I'd like to find the system that I "get" and that takes advantage of what I already have but gets me where I'm headed. I've considered such things as the new Roland 24-track all-in-one. I was having trouble getting an answer to a very direct question, though. Are the tracks recorded as 24-bit linear digital (no compression)? The fact that you can choose all the lower "modes" seems curious to me. It has me thinking that resources is an issue. Also, what of my 24x8 Mackie? Should I go for a computer based system. Will ONE computer do it? I've heard, even from manufacturers, things that make it sound like these systems won't really be solid without two computers. If that's so, so be it. But after diving into a shallow deep end last time, how I long to be informed this time, and not buy based on someone's make-it-look-easy demonstration. The demonstrations are generally the same song and the same "routines" over and over. No wonder it is easy. I am willing to learn a new system and put in all the time I have. It's what I love. But I know there's just the right paradigm of operation out there... both audio and MIDI... and I only hope I can be led there instead of to the latest thing. Two or three things BACK would do me if it lets me roll.

Anybody got ideas on that? Perhaps I should've started another post... "No More Excuses"? But this topic touched all those nerves in a big way. I'm very ready to get past the gear and in gear.

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#955076 - 03/15/01 07:06 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Max Ventura Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 11/13/00
Posts: 511
Loc: Bergamo, Italy
I am usually the advocate of a "spend as less as you can and have as few things around as you can" philosophy.
I appreciate ease of use, streamlining and simplicity above anything else.
I myself cannot hear a difference in a recording made on a Neve or one made on a Mackie. As much as I cannot hear a difference in a piano sound lifted from a Kurz or from a Casio. And when I got my AKG C-2000 (the cheapest condenser mic on the market) I thought it sounded just perfect and wasn't gonna change it ever again.

What I do upgrade, instead of *quality*, which I cannot seemingly appreciate, is *quantity*. I will always upgrade to more tracks in the same format (I'll really soon step to the VS-2480 from the 1680), and to more features in the same package (if a keyboard synth, besides having great sounds, also has realtime controls, and a built-in sequencer, and other stuff, it'll allow me to be more streamlined, have less things around, and be more productive).
That works for me. My whole life runs along the same rails.
Let any man choose his path, but watch your wallet.
_________________________
Max Ventura, Italy.

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#955077 - 03/15/01 07:09 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Max Ventura Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 11/13/00
Posts: 511
Loc: Bergamo, Italy
Oh yeah, I forgot one thing:
I do believe that arrangement and production techniques, and fantasy in employing them, are WAY more important than the individual sounds you are using and the equipment you use for processing it. It may happen that sometimes, some sounds or some filtering might inspire some opus, but seriously, what's the ratio of that happening?
_________________________
Max Ventura, Italy.

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#955078 - 03/15/01 07:16 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
BK_dup2 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/19/01
Posts: 113
Craig,

These boards tend to be a battering ram for the same topics. Everyone wants to have their opinion heard. More often than not music takes the back seat.

I remember when I got my first 4 track . The new worlds I got to explore and the sounds I realized sparked this seemingly never ending fire.

To this day I still feel the same about hearing back something that came from me or making another artist feel great about their music. The satisfaction can't be measured no matter what the hell I used to record. Sometimes I wish I was on a desert Island with nothing but a guitar and a captive audience.

I do feel I am making a difference one note at a time.

Thanks for a great topic.

Brian Kahanek

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#955079 - 03/15/01 07:47 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Valkyrie Sound Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 01/01/01
Posts: 1891
Loc: LA, CA, UNITED STATES
Quote:
Originally posted by Jazzooo:


<is well performed but poorly recorded can still
move someone.>>

Again, I don't think that "poorly recorded" is analogous to using less expensive gear. It's the talent, not the tools that make the most difference, in my experience.


Well, I believe this topic was discussing upgrades
to better "quality" gear. I never said anything
about price.
Yes, I do think that in my line of work,
cheap gear can lead to poor recordings
right from the start.
I really don't think that the extra
noise of most lower cost equipment can
be called a "good sound" in classical recording.
Sometimes some grunge in a pop recording can be good...

Yes, it is all about talent but what I
was talking about was my desire to capture
the sound I was hearing live with no color
or noise from my equipment. So.... I'll be upgrading
forever....

http://www.valkyriesound.bizland.com
_________________________
Valkyrie Sound:
http://www.vsoundinc.com
Now at TSUTAYA USA:
http://www.tsutayausa.com

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#955080 - 03/15/01 08:15 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
the stranger Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 09/18/00
Posts: 5760
Loc: THE TOP
Musicmans post really summed up my feelings, but I'm on a much smaller scale than he.

I'm still doing the four track thing. I did the two tape decks and a mixer thing (every track is a bounce) for 6+ years before the 4 track thing.
Well, the couple of years of 4tracking has given me a taste of working with a broader palette. I'm also planning on making an investment in a better setup, but I also want to be able to work without a whole mess of issues related to this new gear. I work fast and don't linger around on any given song too long. I am lucky enough to be inspired on a regular basis and don't have enough time to follow every damn riff or idea that I come up with. (Shit, I've got boxes full of tapes of ideas thrown down over the years-I always figure one of these days I'll sample all that shit and get that Acid 2.0 really cooking)
Anyway, I want a machine that is intuitive. (Software is always quite amusingly retarded in this respect. Do they even attempt to use half this shit before they release it to the public?)
Anyway, I can plug in a few things, throw up a mic, arm a track or two and being laying down some riffs in about ten minutes with my current novice equipment. I want that kind of ease of use in whatever I decide to get. The muse is waiting and I'd rather not be scrolling through 14 menus, arming the third world, contacting 4 satellites, and linking up with the NSA just to get a damn riff down.

Oh yeah! Yeah, I make excuses quite frequently. "Man, I need that triple quad de-indistixellaster and then I'll be in the big time." I say shit like that all the time. But, I slobber over the latest mag, catalog, or whatever on the shitter, and then I go in my room and make some music. So, yeah I do think I "need" this and that, but it doesn't stop me from working with what I have. Because, in reality, I'm working with some high tech gear compared to what I made do with for quite a few years. Even if all I had was a little GE tape recorder, I'd still be recording. I used one way back when, I'll use one again if I have to.

(Imagine this: way back when- I would record a guitar part on this little $20 GE tape recorder with the little built in mic. I would then play back that tape on a cheapo boom-box while I played another guitar part and I would be recording this with the little GE. I would end up layering 4 or five damn tracks this way. It would sound like total dog shit, but it worked and I enjoyed doing it. I was totally empowered. This was how I got into recording. It took me almost 8 years after that before I finally got a 4 track. I went from that GE setup to the ultimate: 2 consumer tape decks and a radio shack mixer. I was a ping ponging fool! I did this for 6+ years. I can't even count how many cassette decks I put in the grave. So now, after a couple of years of 4 tracks, I'm going to get me 16 tracks of digital bliss! I paid my dues, damnit!)

Anyway, gear is great. Yes, we ALL "need" that one more piece of gear to make our setup really hum. In the end, though, I try to be grateful for what I DO have, and use it for every ounce it's worth.

Blah, blah, blah.....

dr "radio shack" d saying "man, I just gotta get that zycotixciter and I'll be in business."

This message has been edited by dr destructo on 03-15-2001 at 05:19 AM

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#955081 - 03/15/01 08:18 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
alphajerk Offline
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Registered: 03/06/00
Posts: 7950
Loc: asheville nc usa
i dont really care if it makes a difference to the end listener, it makes a difference to me. and its not minute differences either. its not an excuse, it a reward for hard learning that made you outgrow lesser gear. like playing a guitar, you buy el cheapo... one of two things happens, it sits in the closet never learned or you buy a better one after you played so hard on it you broke it and so on.

my 4 track is in dire straights, but damn did i pump some sounds through that thing. i recorded hundreds of bands, myself, others... now i am starting to amass high end gear that inspires me, i buy gear to fill purposes, to carry out the sounds in my head. ESPECIALLY when you are still doing rock bands, not this one person holed up in a room type thing [although im known to do that too, usually ripped out of my skull] the sounds in my head cant be made with bad gear but all gear inspires me some way.

well anyways, none of this gear lust nitpicking pres holds up the music at all, i cant wait to use it on different things and lately i have been looking foward to the tracking dates over the mixing [maybe its those pres and mics i bought] i've sunk a bit into my studio and will continue to do so, he who has the most toys wins.


so for me, more gear is just an excuse to record even more. after all... why are your buying it in the first place? to sit there and look pretty?
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FATcompilation
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#955082 - 03/15/01 12:31 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
miroslav Offline
Cosmic Cowboy
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Registered: 05/23/00
Posts: 14215
Loc: NY Hudson Valley, USA
Hey!...looks like I'm not the only one.

http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000915.html
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miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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#955083 - 03/15/01 01:22 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Calfee Jones Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/25/00
Posts: 395
Loc: Memphis USA
Yes, you've got to have a great song, arrangement and players. And there has to be fire in the performance, some sort of emotion that builds up the heat. But the gear it is recorded on can help people enjoy all of that.

And sometimes you take a recorded performance that is not so skillfull and inspiring, but you can get it sold because it is sonically pleasing. So for the big time studios and artists - it is a cost benefit thing. They make enough money off the sales to justify the cost.

I would see improvement in my stuff would some better mics and pre-amps. But as with everything in life - ya does what ya can wid' what ya got!
- CJ
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#955084 - 03/15/01 01:25 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
lbjmusic Offline
Member

Registered: 02/27/01
Posts: 23
Loc: Ottawa,,CANADA
Interesting comments. I was thinking about this the other day. My buddy and I were laughing about how cheezy his first drum machine sounded (circa 1987 Korg), and today, expensive samplers and synths actually have patches to emulate those "cheezy" sounds because all of a sudden...that sound is 'cool'.

As for gear lust...it's unavoidable. But I try to make things sound as good and as BIG as possible with as little gear as possible: it forces me to be creative. And in the process, I usually stumble across something really neat that actually helps the songwriting process. Who knew.


Robert

This message has been edited by lbjmusic on 03-15-2001 at 10:33 AM
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#955085 - 03/15/01 01:31 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
hiraga Offline
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Registered: 02/04/01
Posts: 1078
Loc: Inside Venus...
The listerner only cares about the music.. if those crunchy saturated drumz we're done with 2", or a 12 bit sampler, a plug in or a stompbox.. well, that don't mean shit to them. Only to *us*.

What I mean they don't care about the process. We do.

That doesn't mean they can't hear the benefits higher bit rates give though...

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#955086 - 03/15/01 01:36 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Anderton Offline
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Registered: 01/28/00
Posts: 7377
>>I don't think that Stevepow's point about his wife hearing the difference between a mastered and a non-mastered recording is exactly what Craig was talking about. I think it's more like a mix that was mastered with a Finalizer versus a software program, by guys with the same level of talent. <<

You're right. I'm not talking about poorly-recorded vs. well-recorded. Obviously, most people can recognize the difference between good and bad sound. What I'm trying to get at is that talent and experience tends to be the limiting factor in much of today's gear, not the gear itself. I've heard Jazzooo's recordings, and he has the talent; but as his time at a pro studio shows, he doesn't have the experience. That didn't prevent me from enjoying his CDs, because the music was good; but having an experienced engineer will only make it better. On the other hand, give an experienced engineer ANYTHING to record on, and it will probably sound pretty damn good.

But there was a very interesting (and different) sub-thread happening here, and that is about finding gear with which you have chemistry. That's a whole different subject; sometimes gear is just so simpatico as to indeed be inspiring. And sometimes a piece of gear, no matter how capable on paper, just doesn't turn you on. Does having simpatico gear help you make better music? Yes, I think so. After all, WE'RE the ones making the music, not the gear, so anything that puts us in a better frame of mind is bound to help.
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Craig Anderton
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#955087 - 03/15/01 02:00 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
BP3 Offline
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Registered: 07/31/00
Posts: 6524
As far as the gear goes, I think it falls into 2 categories.

Audio-
As Craig points out, audio gear today allows us to do great music on a low budget. The talent level of the musicians and composer are of first importance. Sure, we would all love to have the best that the gear world has to offer, but for many of us, compromise is necessary and teaches us how to do better with less. Having fewer choices often makes us focus more on the music, rather that the gear. This is usually a good thing.

Instruments-
I've always found that a new synth or guitar effect, etc. will stir the creative juices a bit. Sometimes the inspiration for a new song can come from the first time you discover a new tone on that new piece of gear. In this regard, the gear is not an excuse, merely a new color to choose from and enhance your creative choices.

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#955088 - 03/15/01 02:05 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Calfee Jones Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/25/00
Posts: 395
Loc: Memphis USA
Quote:
Originally posted by Anderton:
What I'm trying to get at is that talent and experience tends to be the limiting factor in much of today's gear, not the gear itself. [/B]


I agree. I guess that is the point. So it seems clear that a never ending search for different gear can be an excuse for poor performance (but not always). I also work in the software field and it seems like some computer guys are always saying "You can get that as soon as the next new version of is released."
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#955089 - 03/15/01 02:19 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
staupep@hotmail.com_dup1 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 06/07/00
Posts: 38
Loc: sarasota,,UNITED STATES
I have been lusting after some new software and convertors and mics and preamps etc recently as well. This last year was spent tracking acoustic guitar in a studio with some seriously righteous gear. Vintage Neumann, Telefunken, Avalon, Focurite, Lexicon, 2" tape , $10,000 Martin blah blah. It was a let down to come back to my home studio with DAW, ADAT, Rode, Shure57, Mackie, Presonus, cheap Gibson type stuff.
But I had a major break through with some old AT mics that had been laying around. I don't even know what model because the numbers are not visible. I never even tried them for anything but drum overheads. Mistake! Through them in front of my Gibson Gospel(A difficult midrangy sounding guitar) as an xy and put a Rode NT1 up as a room mic as well and BINGO! It is a different, but totally cool acoustic guitar sound that makes me smile. The AT's are a bit dark sounding and sound very smooth to digital. I have discovered my own sonic signature. And you won't be able to duplicate it This I love. And now I am at least temporarily satisfied and don't even need those new convertors that I thought were surely the problem. I have arrived on the cheap!
Lesson is just keep trying experiments. You may find an interesting combination of equipment that really works together. Well that's all the time I have, I'm off to lay more tracks. See Ya!

Eric

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#955090 - 03/15/01 02:45 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Lee Flier Offline
10k Club

Registered: 09/13/00
Posts: 15398
Loc: Atlanta,GA,UNITED STATES
Quote:
Originally posted by Anderton:

But there was a very interesting (and different) sub-thread happening here, and that is about finding gear with which you have chemistry. That's a whole different subject; sometimes gear is just so simpatico as to indeed be inspiring. And sometimes a piece of gear, no matter how capable on paper, just doesn't turn you on. Does having simpatico gear help you make better music? Yes, I think so. After all, WE'RE the ones making the music, not the gear, so anything that puts us in a better frame of mind is bound to help.


TOTALLY agree. Yes, I think I can get a good sound out of any halfway decent piece of gear that you throw at me. But how much of a headache will it be for me to get the sound I want? And how magical is it when you find that one piece of gear, or combination of pieces, that you can just plug in and turn it on and it loves your music?

I think there's something to be said for the tactile experience of gear as well. DAW users sometimes like to diss analog-heads for "not wanting to learn to use new tools" for example, but I think more often than not it's that you are sympatico with certain media and the way it works. Some filmmakers don't like to work with video because video very definitely changes the character of the image, and the way you work with video is different from film too. Sure, if you applied some effects and whatever, you could probably get the look of video to simulate film pretty well, but why bother if you enjoy working with film? Nobody would suggest that an artist who loves painting in oils should switch to computer graphics or even watercolors if they are sympatico with oils. Why should it be any different for audio gear?

Of course the reverse is true as well - if working in a DAW is what inspires you, there is no reason you should feel obligated to work with tape or any other format. The one argument I do not buy into is that the tools don't matter (e.g. "It's not the equipment, it's the operator" or "Analog or digital doesn't matter, in the right hands either one will do the job"). These arguments are true so far as they go, but the tools you use and like DO define you and your work in some way, and will affect the end result. It's just that for each person, the tools that work for them and those that don't will be different.

--Lee
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NEW CD out April 7th! >> Get it here , or here ! <<

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#955091 - 03/15/01 03:29 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
d gauss Offline
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Registered: 02/15/01
Posts: 3231
Loc: Somewhere in the Swamps of Jer...
i think the amount of gear people have (myself included) is insane. recording has become so overblown from the days of sam philips plugging a mic into portable ampex 350 in a backroom. if you are recording your own music, you shouldn't be tied up in the thinking process of engineering.
that's why it was cool for those of us who did the "back and forth boombox" way of recording. you could get your ideas down as fast as you could think and play them. your quality just suffered. however, having to thread tape onto a deck, bias a machine, replace tubes, patch in outboard, etc. can really suck a lot out of the inspirational process. so...
when the portastudio came out (and later the akai betatape 12 trak thingy), i thought "this is a step in the right direction. now just build me one with built-in fx and a second transport to mix to, and you've really got a portastudio!" well it seems we're getting closer to that idea with these new all-in-one type boxes from roland and yamaha. i'm all for that.

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#955092 - 03/16/01 06:54 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Curve Dominant Offline
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Registered: 10/29/00
Posts: 4223
Loc: Philadelphia USA
There was a saying about rock musicians I heard once - that they play loud because they have little to say. The less you have to say, the louder you have to play.

Modern recording has become a "less = more" equation. If your musical ideas are strong and concise, you want ultimate simplicity in the process of recording those ideas. If your ideas are diffuse, you need more options. It's ironic, because Craig & I have been debating these same concepts on another thread.

If you can compose a song just walking down the street or sitting in the park or in your bedroom, what need do you have for gear, besides a pen and a small pad of paper? But if you are in the business of recording any composition that may come your way, you need any gear that may possibly be utilized to record anything. You have to decide what niche you are going to fill. It's always good to find something to focus on: why are you into music? What do you like to do? Answer these questions, and you'll find a those pieces of gear that will fulfill those desires, whether they be a Neve and a sh*tload of mics & outboard gear, or a pen and some paper, or something in between.
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#955093 - 03/16/01 12:17 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
DC Offline
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Registered: 01/17/01
Posts: 2706
Loc: here to eternity...
I think you need competant gear, but too many of us get into the mind set; "If I just had this (shiny new toy in the latest catalog or mag ad) then I could record so much better." We spend oodles of time researching gear instead of recording.

Like Craig said, a great engineer could do a better mix on a four track than some of us with state of the art gear. Equipment is not nearly as important as capturing a great performance.

I'm concentrating on arranging these days. So what if I don't have the greatest instruments, mics or path to disk? If the instruments stay out of each other's way and are all heard, if the backup vocals compliment the lead vocal and the song is groovin, if someone who's never heard the song before can understand all the lyrics, then that's most of the battle.

I think we all need to reach a point where we stop researching new stuff and get out our manuals and start experimenting to get the best out of what we have. And after I replace my dying dat, and find a mic that better suits my own voice, and perhaps a pristine mic pre, I swear I'm done buying stuff.... ahem....
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http://www.garageband.com/artist/MichaelangelosMuse

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#955094 - 03/16/01 12:27 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
d gauss Offline
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Registered: 02/15/01
Posts: 3231
Loc: Somewhere in the Swamps of Jer...
maybe, but i read threads all the time where people are so concerned about "never using a synth preset" or whatever, because "that sound is so played out." put horowitz, little richard, chick corea, and my tone-deaf mom behind the same grand piano and you'll get very different results from each indeed. no need to tweak a thing! think about the blues brothers scene where they complain to ray charles that the action sucks on the piano they're trying to buy off him and he says "oh really?...." then does shake a tailfeather....

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#955095 - 03/16/01 04:57 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
KenElevenShadows Offline
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Registered: 12/20/00
Posts: 13225
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, UNITED STATES
It may be because I am working with really budget gear in general, but every purchase I have ever made has been with a really careful consideration: "What can I purchase that will make the single biggest impact on the sound quality?". So far, I have heard a huge difference every time I have upgraded something (mic preamps and microphones, mostly). If I don't need it, I don't bother with it since I don't have that much extra cash to throw around and don't like clutter. I've gotten a nice tube mic (AT4060 modified), a couple of nice mic preamps, FMR RNC compressors, and all this has really improved the sound quite a bit.

FWIW, I record on an old Akai MG1214 12-track analog recorder, mix to a Fostex D5 DAT, and use a 1994 Micron PC with SAW+ and a 1994 AdB digital I/O card for my setup. I have a Lexicon LXP-15 as a main reverb unit and a few other odds and ends, and a bunch of microphones (everything from 57s to 421s to AT4051/4049s to a Rode NT2 and the aforementioned AT4060). Nothing fancy, but I get a good sound nevertheless (in my opinion).

For me, I don't get gear as an excuse (although it'd be fun to have enough money to be more frivolous!!). If it helps to create the music, I get it. If it's just something to fuss over without any real benefit, let someone get it!!!

------------------
Ken/Eleven Shadows/d i t h er/nectar
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
music*travel photos*tibet*lots of stuff
"Sangsara" "Irian Jaya" & d i t h er CDs available!
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This message has been edited by Ken/Eleven Shadows on 03-16-2001 at 01:58 PM

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#955096 - 03/16/01 07:01 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
michael saulnier Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 12/06/00
Posts: 4070
Loc: San Diego,CA,UNITED STATES
Interesting thread.

Many people feel Sgt. Pepper was one of the most innovative recordings ever and wasn't it all done on a couple of 4-tracks? Would Sgt. Pepper have been "better" if George Martin and the Beatles had access to a modern recording studio and its capabilities? I would guess that George Martin was more important to the recording than the equipment was.

If you or I were to go into the exact studio setup and make a recording would we be able to make one up to the "Pepper" standard? It depends...

It's realistic to assume we will always have new products that bring new capabilities and other products that simply refine what's been done before. There will be people who adopt the new things and make good recordings and people who will make crap with a similar setup.

Also, there will be people who will "stay with the old stuff" and make great recordings and others that make even more crap.

The difference will probably be what it always was... good engineering capturing good performances of good material... you're probably making a good recording...

weakness in ANY of the area's and you're probably adding to the cut-out bin.

guitplayer
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Check out my music if you like...

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#955097 - 03/16/01 07:49 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Lee Flier Offline
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Registered: 09/13/00
Posts: 15398
Loc: Atlanta,GA,UNITED STATES
Quote:
Originally posted by Curve Dominant:
There was a saying about rock musicians I heard once - that they play loud because they have little to say. The less you have to say, the louder you have to play.


Well I don't know who came up with that "saying" - obviously not somebody who has a clue about rock music. Whoever said that oughta rent themselves a copy of the Who documentary "The Kids Are Alright" and take a listen to what Pete Townshend has to say about why rock bands play loud. Basically (I'm paraphrasing here), he says it's because they want to obliterate the rest of the world. There should no question whether you can hear anything else in the outside world, or even talk to anyone else. You're there to listen to the band!

Plus, seems to me whenever I've been to a rave the electronica is blaring pretty loud, too.

--Lee
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#955098 - 03/16/01 07:49 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
d gauss Offline
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Registered: 02/15/01
Posts: 3231
Loc: Somewhere in the Swamps of Jer...
<>

maybe, but not as good as "my dog ate it."

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#955099 - 03/16/01 08:36 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Yuri T. Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 02/27/01
Posts: 656
Loc: ,,UNITED STATES
Quote:
Originally posted by guitplayer:
Many people feel Sgt. Pepper was one of the most innovative recordings ever and wasn't it all done on a couple of 4-tracks? Would Sgt. Pepper have been "better" if George Martin and the Beatles had access to a modern recording studio and its capabilities? I would guess that George Martin was more important to the recording than the equipment was.

If you or I were to go into the exact studio setup and make a recording would we be able to make one up to the "Pepper" standard? It depends...

[/B]


Well, let's not forget that those were some serious 1 inch Studer 4 tracks and I think they had 2 synced up. They have as much in common with a cassette 4 track as a Tricycle to a Rolls Royce. All of the gear used to record Pepper would hold up just fine and in some ways better to contemporary equipment. The gear sounded fantastic it was just simpler and more limited than what is available today so creative solutions had to be used to create what they wanted.
By no one else and at no other time could that music have been created and i can't see any way to imagine if they had a more modern facility to work with. Cosidering the talent in and around the group a newer studio may have made the experience a bit faster and easier. But sometimes the hard work shows more.

I'm a guitarist. I've gone through a lot of amps looking for 'that tone'. Obviously choosing between a Crate and my '65 Vibrolux is a no brainer. I also have a Bogner, it was worth the $1500. Myself, the rest of the band and the audience hear the difference. Hendrix could sound good with any guitar & amp but the Marshall and Strat made his sound.

I'm also an engineer, I hear the difference. I have a 1 In. 16 Track and a 32 channel Soundcraft and a little outboard gear. I'm limited by my budget and can hear what's missing. i have worked a big budget facilities. If I was just working on songwriting I would still use the cassette 4-track or a simple DAW. I try to record projects that can hold up to major releases. The hard part is being the engineer AND the musician at the same time. If I'm too concerned with gear and sound putting the musician hat on is more difficult. You have to learn to get the best out of what you have. A great engineer can take some SM-57s, a Peavey mixer and a cassette deck and given half decent acoustics make a fine recording. Given a million dollar facility a great recording. Of course what's being recorded counts the most.

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#955100 - 03/16/01 09:28 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Dylan Offline
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Registered: 02/28/00
Posts: 3671
I think that not having a specific piece of gear can be an excuse for not getting any work done. I know that I've put off projects in the past cause I was waiting for that piece of hardware or software that would 'make my life so much easier'. Now, I just use whatever I have in front of me and go with it. I could care less what software program, audio card, tape machine, mixer, whatever I use as long as I can get my ideas down clearly and effectively.

-Dylan

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#955101 - 03/16/01 09:35 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
lwilliam Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/17/00
Posts: 497
Loc: Canyon Country, CA, USA
I think that a new piece of gear can be inspiring, if nothing else.

Whether I (or others) can hear the difference is less important to me, than whether the new gear will inspire me to write, engineer, or produce in an improved manner. It's a little like grabbing a different guitar or changing amps to get a new idea for a song. This area of "gear" - being part art and part science - has some intangible improvements as well as some measurable (and many times audible) improvements. I'd say that whatever inspires you to create is worth it.


------------------
Larry W.
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#955102 - 03/16/01 10:17 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Curve Dominant Offline
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Registered: 10/29/00
Posts: 4223
Loc: Philadelphia USA
quote:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Curve Dominant:
There was a saying about rock musicians I heard once - that they play loud because they have little to say. The less you have to say, the louder you have to play.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

>>Well I don't know who came up with that "saying" - obviously not somebody who has a clue about rock music.<<

I remember who said that now: it was Herbie Hancock, I think. It was definitely a Jazz musician, anyway, but that figures, because Jazz musicians tended to look down on rock. But it's like that with gear, too, I've definitely noticed it here in Philly: the guys who are always getting fancier gear are the ones with the weakest musical ideas, as if the gear will create the music for them, whereas the artists with really strong concepts of what they want to do don't want to bother with gear so much. I remember auditioning guitarists for my bands - we always knew who was gonna suck before they even plugged in, because they were the guys who would show up with huge stacks, expensive custom-built guitars, elaborate digital effects, all packed into mink-lined deluxe cases, and they would take forever to get their axes in tune with their Boeing-Douglas X-5SZ-28 Atomic Strobe Tuners. And then there was the guy who would show up with a Fender Twin, a Tele, and an old MXR overdrive, say to the bassist "gimme an A," and then just peel the paint from the ceiling with raw soul. THAT's Rock & Roll.

Another local musician I know, I watched this guy gradually build his MIDI studio up into a $40,000 rig, but he doesn't know what to do with it now, the sh*t just gathers dust. It's like this: can you compose a lyric? A melody? Write some chord changes for it to sit on? That's it - you got a song. What do ya need to record it? A 4-track cassette recorder, period.
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#955103 - 03/16/01 10:54 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Jazzooo Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 01/17/01
Posts: 504
Loc: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
<,I've considered such things as the new Roland 24-track all-in-one. I was having trouble getting an answer to a very direct question, though. Are the tracks recorded as 24-bit linear digital (no compression)?>>

I'm going to answer you, then ask you a question. The answer is no--if you record in the mode that uses no compression, you're turning the machine into a 16 track, from what i understand. If you record in the slightest compression mode (MTP), then it's a 24 track (16 simultaneous tracks recording, 24 tracks at playback). The other recording "modes" are for other applications--the higher the compression rate, the longer the recording time and the more obvious the degradation to your sound. This is useful for long, spoken word programs, band rehearsals, things that are important to document, but not be squeaky clean.

Here is my question: after reading your well-written description of where you're at in terms of music and music production, why on earth would you care if there is a compression scheme that enables you to have 24 tracks at playback? In that least active mode, MTP, many people cannot even hear it. I understand that I am setting myself up here to look like a schmo, but if I'm hearing it at all, it sounds fantastic to me (I've used a 1680 for years). All I'm suggesting is that you should use your own ears in a case like this--if it sounds good to you, then the bang for the buck is pretty compelling. You can definitely get outstanding and pro-level results from the VS line, if you take the time to learn how---as with almost any piece of powerful gear made today.

<>

Seems like quite an amazing box, just keep in mind that for $4K, you get the recorder and nothing else. Factor in a mixer and effects, for certain. Depending on what you select, you might be getting closer to that $10K threshold than you'd prefer.

<>

Maybe it's me, but any demonstration that suggests I need not one but TWO computers to record my songs and make CDs, doesn't "make it look easy" to me! "Easy" is an ADAT and a mixer. Easy is an all-in-one box like the yamaha or the Roland.

Best of luck,

Doug

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#955104 - 03/16/01 11:11 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Batman_dup1 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/16/01
Posts: 311
Loc: London,,UNITED KINGDOM
Hey Curve....
Sure sounds like Herbie....
The guy who seriously dissed synths in the 1960s, then turned up with a Sennheiser vocoder, and inflicted "Sunlight" on us in the '70s.
Don't get me wrong, the guy talks shite, but plays sublime and inspired, which I, for one, much prefer, rather than vice-versa.
Gear can be an excuse, and, anything that hinders the creative process is a prime target for exfenestration........
It's yet another case of "whatever turns you on", and whether or not you're prepared to suffer the grief.......
Yodel
Ade

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#955105 - 03/16/01 11:51 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Curve Dominant Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 10/29/00
Posts: 4223
Loc: Philadelphia USA
Yo Adrien, do you have "Gershwin's World?" Herbie put it out in '98, and talk about sublime...w/ Kenny Garret, Chick Corea. Wayne Shorter, Stevie Wonder (!!!)...

It may have been Chick who said that about rock; that's actually an infamous quote that has been repeated over the years by Jazz musicians. Of course, it wasn't until the late '60's that rock and roll began to be played at the extreme high volumes we associate it with now. That's another thing that pisses me off: cats think it's rockin' if it's loud, and that is just bullsh*t. Some of the most rockin' music is played by all kinds of musicians such as bluegrass, C&W (not the lite kind we have today), yes, Jazz (come to Zanzibar Blue and see Joey DiFrancesco for living proof), Latin (Tito Puente - 'nuff said), and not necessarily at extremely high volumes. Most of the loud '80's hair bands, on the other hand, were not rockin' at all, in my opinion.
_________________________
Eric Vincent (ASCAP)
http://www.curvedominant.com

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#955106 - 03/17/01 12:29 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Curve Dominant Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 10/29/00
Posts: 4223
Loc: Philadelphia USA
BY THE WAY, JAZZOOO, 2 THINGS...

1. I'm w/ya on MT1. If I do hear it, and I'm not sure if I really do or if Lee Flier and Phil are just puttin' ideas in my head, I like it. It's got a nice fine-grain texture, and the stereo reverbs on the VS are remarkable - lush and transparent. I luv my VS.

2. Do you, or anybody else who's a VS user here, use the Logic VS? Does it work? Is it worth buying a MIDI sequencer for? Just curious. I don't need it badly, 'cause I can play, but it might be cool to have, especially to shut-up clients who think one actually needs sequencing software to create music.

Hope I didn't offend anybody - and if I did, go have a martini. It's Friday night.
_________________________
Eric Vincent (ASCAP)
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#955107 - 03/17/01 01:59 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Anderton Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 01/28/00
Posts: 7377
>>What do ya need to record it? A 4-track cassette recorder, period. <<

Well...I appreciate the motive behind saying that, but if you're going to record on a 4-track cassette recorder, it helps to have a really good mastering engineer!!!
_________________________
Craig Anderton
*check out my podcast at www.cyberears.com

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#955108 - 03/17/01 02:50 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
dansouth Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 09/01/00
Posts: 3915
Loc: Metuchen,NJ,UNITED STATES
Quote:
Originally posted by alphajerk:
i dont really care if it makes a difference to the end listener, it makes a difference to me.


Good point, and I agree. I remember when I recorded songs on a Portastudio. I'd agonize over the sound; it was okay, but not up to my expectations. My friends said that the songs sounded fine. But it just didn't sound "right." Now, ten years and a lot of gear and experience later, it's beginning to sound right.

Henry James said something to the this effect: if you endeavor to be less than your best, you'll never be happy. I think the same idea can be applied to music production. You'll never be satisfied with a song until it's right. It might require a lot of gear or a little, but what it needs, it needs. Why argue?

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#955109 - 03/17/01 02:57 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
dansouth Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 09/01/00
Posts: 3915
Loc: Metuchen,NJ,UNITED STATES
Quote:
Originally posted by Lee Flier:
Well I don't know who came up with that "saying" - obviously not somebody who has a clue about rock music. Whoever said that oughta rent themselves a copy of the Who documentary "The Kids Are Alright" and take a listen to what Pete Townshend has to say about why rock bands play loud. Basically (I'm paraphrasing here), he says it's because they want to obliterate the rest of the world. There should no question whether you can hear anything else in the outside world, or even talk to anyone else. You're there to listen to the band!


And today, Pete has tinnitus and is a big proponent of toning it down. I saw The Who a few years ago and the SPL was enjoyably loud, not deafingly loud. Pete doesn't smash guitars anymore either, thank goodness.

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#955110 - 03/17/01 03:04 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
dansouth Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 09/01/00
Posts: 3915
Loc: Metuchen,NJ,UNITED STATES
Quote:
Originally posted by DC:
I think you need competant gear, but too many of us get into the mind set; "If I just had this (shiny new toy in the latest catalog or mag ad) then I could record so much better."


Yes, we've all been there, but I think we learn quickly that gear is a helper, not a collaborator. We have to make the music. Gear can magnify our ideas, but it can't fill in for them.

Agree with Curve on creating a niche. If you're not setting up The Record Plant II, you don't need one of everything, and you don't need the best of everything. You only need what your projects require.

Less is more? Yes, definitely. Not because stoicism is cool, but because complexity can become overwhelming. When you have to spend 80% of your time thinking about gear, you're no longer effective as an artist.

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#955111 - 03/17/01 03:40 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Curve Dominant Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 10/29/00
Posts: 4223
Loc: Philadelphia USA
>> if you're going to record on a 4-track cassette recorder, it helps to have a really good mastering engineer!!! <<

Maybe living so close to Pete Humphrys spoiled me! Even with the VS, I'm going to Pete to "finish" the job. Really, though, I was just making a point about composing - a strong couple of songs recorded on a 4-track could lure you a production deal, or even a label deal, and you could leave the high-end recording to the pro's. Songwriters can get sidetracked by getting tied up in the gear game. Having limited options for production forces one to concentrate on the important elements of songwriting, such as melody, arrangement, development, etc. If I was an A&R guy, I'd give a prospect a 424 PortaStudio and say, "Here, if you can get your songs to impress me with this, I'll cut a check for Hit Factory." I held on to my 424 for the longest time for that reason, and only broke down and got the VS so I could snag more high-end soundtrack work, which I happen to enjoy immensely, and the VS is killer for soundtracking. I used to have to go to high-end studios to produce works for the Koresh Dance Company, and now I produce them at home in my free time, as well as the corporate and TV/film jobs. I still can't believe how much bang for the $1600 I've gotten with the VS. I don't even consider going to commercial studios anymore, unless someone's gonna foot the bill and insist on it for one reason or another, in which case I can just ring Dan South and say, "When can ya fit me in, dawg?"
_________________________
Eric Vincent (ASCAP)
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#955112 - 03/17/01 04:19 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
dansouth Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 09/01/00
Posts: 3915
Loc: Metuchen,NJ,UNITED STATES
Commercial studio????

Voice of Bones McCoy: I'm a composer, Jim, not a record exec.

Sorry, Curve, I could never handle an account of your stature. No room for the groupies.

Give Puff Daddy a call when he gets outta the pen. Better yet, let's give his ex-GIRLFRIEND a call. Damn!

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#955113 - 03/17/01 05:08 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Curve Dominant Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 10/29/00
Posts: 4223
Loc: Philadelphia USA
>>Give Puff Daddy a call when he gets outta the pen. Better yet, let's give his ex-GIRLFRIEND a call. Damn! <<

Yeah, let's. Just one question, tho, Danno: heads or tails? Never mind, we can switch off.

We're discussing polarity issues, by the way, folks. Y'all know about polarity, right? The ground contact is a wider...ok, I'm gonna quit while I'm behind.

This message has been edited by Curve Dominant on 03-17-2001 at 02:31 AM
_________________________
Eric Vincent (ASCAP)
http://www.curvedominant.com

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#955114 - 03/18/01 11:17 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Lee Flier Offline
10k Club

Registered: 09/13/00
Posts: 15398
Loc: Atlanta,GA,UNITED STATES
Well, in case anybody was wondering (yeah, right!), I think I'm over my momentary gear lust now. I've muddled on through the project I was working on which had me frustrated last week, and I'm starting to be really happy with it now.

Gear IS an excuse, dammit!

--Lee
_________________________
What The...?
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NEW CD out April 7th! >> Get it here , or here ! <<

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#955115 - 03/18/01 11:24 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Jazzooo Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 01/17/01
Posts: 504
Loc: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Curve, don't use Logic myself, sorry. I know a few who did and didn't like it, but I'm sure it has its followers.

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#955116 - 03/19/01 04:20 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
dansouth Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 09/01/00
Posts: 3915
Loc: Metuchen,NJ,UNITED STATES
>>Well, in case anybody was wondering (yeah, right!), I think I'm over my momentary gear lust now. I've muddled on through the project I was working on which had me frustrated last week, and I'm starting to be really happy with it now.

I WAS wondering. You GO, girl! Mix those tunes!! Show that AW who's boss.

>>Gear IS an excuse, dammit!

Johnny couldn't go to school yesterday because he was wiring up his new gear.

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#955117 - 03/19/01 12:37 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Yuri T. Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 02/27/01
Posts: 656
Loc: ,,UNITED STATES
Quote:
Originally posted by Curve Dominant:
__________________________________________________________________________
....we always knew who was gonna suck before they even plugged in, because they were the guys who would show up with huge stacks, expensive custom-built guitars, elaborate digital effects, all packed into mink-lined deluxe cases, and they would take forever to get their axes in tune with their Boeing-Douglas X-5SZ-28 Atomic Strobe Tuners. And then there was the guy who would show up with a Fender Twin, a Tele, and an old MXR overdrive, say to the bassist "gimme an A," and then just peel the paint from the ceiling with raw soul. THAT's Rock & Roll.

quote:


AMEN Curve!! I used to run live sound and when I saw a 12 space rack for a guitar amp I knew the sound would be as big as a gnat. My little Fender Vibrolux records better than almost anything else I've used. a little Vox kills too. It's like recording gear, a simple signal path sounds the best. 80% of tone is the hands, feet, mouth and brain, the rest is the gear.

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#955118 - 03/19/01 01:39 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Tedster Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 5935
Awright, Curve...I agree, Yuri.

And Craig, I think Curve has a point with the four track. The way I take it...for me, anyway...have enough gear to compose your tunes, and get a halfassedly decent sounding demo. For me...that means taking the rest of your bucks to someone with the right gear who knows how to use it.

I sorta equate owning megabucks of gear with owning a plane...for someone who can't fly. Expensive, and how often are you going use it for yourself, especially if you can't fly? Better to own a plane if you're providing a service. Otherwise, rent a ride from someone who knows how to use it.
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#955119 - 03/19/01 09:19 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Anderton Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 01/28/00
Posts: 7377
>>Really, though, I was just making a point about composing - a strong couple of songs recorded on a 4-track could lure you a production deal, or even a label deal, and you could leave the high-end recording to the pro's. <<

Okay, to get a deal and to release a finished product are two different things. My heartwarming "you don't need gear" story goes to David Arkenstone, who used a Commodore-64 sequencer, a TX7, and a Casio CZ-101 to record a demo (onto cassette) that got him a major record deal with Narada records. He has since sold hundreds of thousands of CDs. But he recorded the finished product in "real" studios!
_________________________
Craig Anderton
*check out my podcast at www.cyberears.com

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#955120 - 03/20/01 03:46 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
dansouth Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 09/01/00
Posts: 3915
Loc: Metuchen,NJ,UNITED STATES
Quote:
Originally posted by Curve Dominant:

Yeah, let's. Just one question, tho, Danno: heads or tails?


Head, tails ... hell, I'm gonna flip that so many times I'll get it to stand up on its side.

Yes, certainly, you can hide behind gear, you can buy so much gear that you never get anything done because you spend all of your time figuring it out, you can procrastinate because you think you don't have the right gear. But none of these scenarios can be blamed on the gear itself. Gear never promised to deliver a finished project, to bring you acclaim, or even to make you happy. Gear just a set of tool, and it's up to you to learn those tools and apply them to your vision.

Is all you need a cassette 4-track? Well, it's a start, but don't expect to score the next James Cameron film on it, or you'll be laughed out of town.

Is it "all you need to get a record deal?" That depends. If your songs are VERY good, you are a very talented performer, AND if you get some lucky breaks, then yes, you can probably get someone to hand you a letter of intent based upon a Postastudio demo. Whether you'll actually make any MONEY from the ensuing contract is another matter entirely. Record companies are very good at keeping all of the proceeds for themselves.

If, on the other hand, you'd like to avoid making a deal with the devil, or if you'd like to have complete control over your productions and use the big names only for distribution, then you'll need the ability to produce your own CD. If you're going to record your CD in a studio, you don't even need a four track, although it will help you rough out your ideas in advance and save you big bags of dough in the long run. If you plan to make your CD's in your own studio, you'll need better gear than a Portastudio. You'll also need a lot of talent, patience, taste, and expertise, and I have yet to find a music store that sells any of THOSE commodities.

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#955121 - 03/20/01 04:48 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Curve Dominant Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 10/29/00
Posts: 4223
Loc: Philadelphia USA
>>Head, tails ... hell, I'm gonna flip that so many times I'll get it to stand up on its side.<<

LMMFAO!!! You talk like I think, mah brutha!

BTW, that "Jus D"Orange Ou Pamplamousse" track on my mp3.com site was recorded on a Tascam 424 PortaStudio. But, I got a way with gear, so don't try that at home, kids.

http://www.mp3.com/TransluxTheater

This message has been edited by Curve Dominant on 03-20-2001 at 01:53 AM
_________________________
Eric Vincent (ASCAP)
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#955122 - 01/17/02 10:56 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
techristian Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 11/01/01
Posts: 1253
Loc: Windsor,,CANADA
If you don't have the music in you, the best equipment won't make a bit of difference. It will just make CLEARER NOISE.

Dan
http://musicinit.com/trader/trader.html
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#955123 - 01/18/02 03:22 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
lovesinger Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/02/01
Posts: 406
Loc: DALLAS,TEXAS, USA
A worthy thread to revive. And I so loved all the nuggets expressed by the creators here! Craig has said this many times over the years and it's always a refreshing back on target tension-reliever to hear him say it again. I've seen others say this in other threads and either get greatly ignored, flamed to a quick death, or drowned with a plethora of gear name-dropping and i-didn't-know-you-were-so-ignorant-not-to-know-this-gear-can-heal-the-sick chiding. But who's gonna mess with the pioneering A man in this area?

Thanks Dan for recalling this jewel!
And thanks to all for the gems from your experience, like:
Quote:

Alndln's: I got way more done when all I had was a 4 track Fostex caseete multitracker. (so did I on my TEAC A-3440, than all the PC digi-tools I have now)

stevepow's: If your ears say it matters, then it probably does.

argomax's: I do believe that arrangement and production techniques, and fantasy in employing them, are WAY more important than the individual sounds you are using and the equipment you use for processing it.

bk's: I remember when I got my first 4 track . The new worlds I got to explore and the sounds I realized sparked this seemingly never ending fire. (sure did for me, too)

TinderArts': Having fewer choices often makes us focus more on the music, rather that the gear. This is usually a good thing.

staupep: It ... makes me smile....I have discovered my own sonic signature.

Lee Flier's: the tools you use and like DO define you and your work in some way, and will affect the end result. (stated by others also)

d gauss: if you are recording your own music, you shouldn't be tied up in the thinking process of engineering.

YuriT's: sometimes the hard work shows more.

dansouth's on-the-nose: complexity can become overwhelming. When you have to spend 80% of your time thinking about gear, you're no longer effective as an artist.
and too many more to cut and paste \:\)
For me the focus is smooth sound, and all my future upgrades must have that or no up gets graded. [if I want grunge, I can make grunge, but with some supposedly great digital gear grunginess or objectionable aliasing is the BEST they give, and while the great song may make it ignorable, I've been continually surprised that what used to be called 'cheesy' is industry acceptable state of the art]. In digi-land the AW's and Fostex recorders fill that smooth criteria nicely. But I've found nothing that surpasses even consumer-pro analog's unbroken smoothness and depth of "liveness". The Curvemeister loves his VS (and admittedly digi gets the job done faster), but I totally adore the smoothness of songs he made on the 'little' 4-track, and if he'd not told me what it was (by email, b4 I read this thread) I'd never have known.
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#955124 - 01/18/02 11:32 AM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
strat0124 Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 04/03/01
Posts: 5056
Loc: ,VA,UNITED STATES
To me, its way more exciting reading about or talking to someone who recorded their CD or whatever on modest gear, done on little cash, and with killer results. I like tech....but it doesn't necessarily equate to good tunage.
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#955125 - 01/18/02 03:22 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
G. Ratte' Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 04/17/01
Posts: 671
Loc: NYC
Quote:

Is all this gear lust just an excuse to avoid coming face to face with making music? Do people have insecurity problems that has a ready excuse in "my gear isn't good enough?"


Yeah, I think it's an avoidance issue. I knew this kid a few years ago who was in a weird family situation where they were flowing him ridiculous amounts of money and he'd blow it all on gear. He had these crazy loaded-up rack setups with a zillion sound modules and high-end keyboards and a couple ADATs and a giant board in the mid-90s, and he was never recording _anything_ on it. He could play ok, didn't have much taste really. But I'd see this kid every few weeks, "How's music stuff?" ..."ah, I'm trading in my blahblahXL, gonna get a neenerBT, blah blah"
All his efforts were focused on gear, material things and playing around with it...rewiring it, moving it, swapping it around, hunting for deals. Like the guy said 2nd message, it's really expensive LEGOs.

Sometimes I'll have songs I need to be doing but instead I'll opt to spend my evening sorting out even more drum loops and hits to have at the ready...freakin' goofy, I've got like thousands of everything.
'cuz you get the feeling of making progress, moving forward in easily-quantified ways. More sound options, more synth patches, more more. Real work is trickier though, 'cuz it's not just something you add to a pile and look at and go more=better. Real music work, is an unknown amount of time and effort put into something of questionable value - "Will this song suck? Can't tell yet. Will I be entertained doing this? Will anybody else be entertained? Will this help my 'career'? Maybe I should wait for feedback on that other tune from the label guy. Maybe I should be developing my new techno-bluegrass synthbanjo chops. Maybe I should be doing volunteer work. Hmmmmm... hour to go 'til bedtime."
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#955126 - 01/18/02 04:17 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Synthguy Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 10/28/01
Posts: 1116
Loc: a lovely flop on Baker Street
I'm hopping to the end without reading all but a few posts, and with the quality of posters here I bet it's been said already, but I like hearing myself think, humble me. \:D

I'm sure that some of it comes from a degree of perfectionism that's in most artists. We strive for excellence, for the "big studio sound" in everything we do, and we equate that with "big studio gear." A fully blown Kurzweil K2600 has to sound way better than a fully blown K2000R, it just stands to reason. To some extent that can be true, but in ways only we might know, probably not the listener. We're spoiled by the quality of the gear available to us these days, and at the prices some of it goes for, some of us have a lot of it. It's way better in most ways than the gear used to record all the classic rock albums, but we hear some "flaw" in our stuff, and we cringe, thinking a better unit would never have let that happen. Even tho the warts on some of those classic albums were part of the charm, but not on OUR stuff, not in the CD quality world we live in - check that, 24/96 5.1 world we live in. We equate those warts with cheap, amateur quality, substandard, not worth the trouble of playing on AM radio when gripped in our most feverish angst.

I think we need to loosen up sometimes. Like someone said before, new gear can open up channels of creativity, like a new synth or guitar, tube compressor or mic. But it shouldn't be the crutch we rely on. My K2000 can emulate virtually any style of synthesis, even FM to an extent, and tho I'm saving up for a V-analog synth, it does the job really well. And there's my Fizmo... ;\)

I can do anything right now any studio wizard can do, so I just need to get off my caboose and start jamming. Right after a few more posts, a peek at the new gear and a game of Gran Turismo. \:D
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#955127 - 01/18/02 04:21 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
lovesinger Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/02/01
Posts: 406
Loc: DALLAS,TEXAS, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by gratte:
Sometimes I'll have songs I need to be doing but instead I'll opt to spend my evening sorting out even more drum loops and hits to have at the ready...freakin' goofy, I've got like thousands of everything.
'cuz you get the feeling of making progress, moving forward in easily-quantified ways.
Reminds me of rearranging the room furniture after an argument with one's spouse. Like that's gonna really make things better \:D
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#955128 - 01/18/02 07:23 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
strat0124 Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 04/03/01
Posts: 5056
Loc: ,VA,UNITED STATES
Quote:
Originally posted by lovesinger:
I've seen others say this in other threads and either get greatly ignored, flamed to a quick death, or drowned with a plethora of gear name-dropping and i-didn't-know-you-were-so-ignorant-not-to-know-this-gear-can-heal-the-sick chiding. But who's gonna mess with the pioneering A man in this area?


Hilarious....I hear ya! Craig isn't selfish at all, and has been a cyber mentor here for those of us laboring trying to magnetize our collective creativity. I know if I asked a serious question, he'd give me an honest and thoughtful response. There is comfort in that.
_________________________
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#955129 - 01/18/02 08:48 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
techristian Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 11/01/01
Posts: 1253
Loc: Windsor,,CANADA
I must also admit that at times I can also get caught in the EQUIPMENT WEB. Just 6 months ago I picked up the 700 mhz Compaq and after I got the Roland Studio Pack on the Labor Day Weekend I began to realize that I might need more POWER. So last week I built a 1.4 ghz P4. This week I also added a better video card. Now I think I need more memory and so on and so on......

All I want to do is make music with this thing and I don't want "LOW ON SYSTEM RESOURCES" popping up EVER AGAIN! But I suppose that it will never be a "perfect system" so I should just get used to occassional LOCK UPS and SYSTEM FREEZE. Don't even ask me if I even want to try Windows XP. I have enough headaches already!

This is not a perfect world and I suppose if I'm in the middle of a GREAT GROOVE and the thing dies I should just REBOOT and come up with ANOTHER GREAT GROOVE.

Dan
http://musicinit.com/pvideos.html
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#955130 - 01/18/02 08:49 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
chessparov_dup1 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/08/01
Posts: 219
Loc: Aliso Viejo,CA,UNITED STATES
Gear doesn't kill music-people do!

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#955131 - 01/18/02 09:36 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Synthguy Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 10/28/01
Posts: 1116
Loc: a lovely flop on Baker Street
One thing I need to do every saturday is go into Craig's "show us what you got" thread and listen to your guys' stuff. I know you people put a lot of work and dumped your souls into your music, and I look forward to working my way down the list, one by one, and one day adding something of my own to it. In the meantime I can grouch over your equipment list and suffer severe gear envy. \:D
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#955132 - 01/18/02 10:11 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
halljams Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2689
For me it all comes down to tone.

Tone of vocals, guitars drums ambience.
I'm still discovering what i like most in relation to tone in other instruments than guitar, because most of my life i have just concentrated on the one instrument. Only in the last 4 years or so have i been getting really analitical about what i do and don't like with other instruments.

Subconciously though, tone has always had an enormous impact on my taste in music.
I have always been drawn to sonically exceptional recordings.

Now i am starting to dig more variety.

Latley i just love to listen to early Conway Twitty rock and roll. It was produced really slick in my opinion but the limitations of the time just makes it so pure.
I just really love the sound of his voice and gritty glow all around it. I wish i knew what that equiptment was.

Anyway, when i write something and go to put it down, there is nothing more depressing to me than hearing it playback and not hear it come out sounding as good as the best recordings i have heard in that style.
I want top top notch for my creations. I want fidelity and i want to be able to manipulate fidelity as a an artistic tool.

This is my quest in learning about recording; to be able to give my music the extra impact of making it a great sonic experience.

I agree with the concept that a great song is great even on a 4 track, but who's gonna sit and listen to it over and over in a good set of headphones or home system and bask in the glory if super great sound if it sounds like shit.

In fact i think it is disrespectful to a great song to not give it a chance to really shine through the use of really great production and production tools.

So given that, i want to learn all i can about my different options and new technologies etc.

I think also that it is just a very very long learning curve that people go through for a number of years and it is easy to be obseesd by it cause it is stimulating and fun and just like playing with toys so who wouldn't be obsessed by it.

The thing is, eventually you gotta make some music and it is there, at that point where we find our place in all of this.


(Just a side note on the loud rock musician issue, Bullshit!
I've heard some stunning guitarists with plenty to say blow my fucking head off with volume. so there )
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#955133 - 01/18/02 10:18 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
lwilliam Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/17/00
Posts: 497
Loc: Canyon Country, CA, USA
This is a great thread that I must have missed when it came out last year... a lot of gems in here.

I think gear lust comes in waves...I'm drooling over the PT HD system - but probably will buy an used MixPlus or something down the line, but I was fine only a couple of weeks ago.

There comes a time/level where you're equipment is "good enough". Should I buy a Massenburg-built mic pre, or is my upgraded Studio Technologies pre good enough? It's good enough for right now. I limit my new gear to something that will make things easier or quicker for me - or something noticeably better-sounding than what I have.

OK, I still need a PCM91 or two; and an M3000; and an Eventide (the new single-rack space unit is very cool);

OK, I still need those Genelecs - or Westlake Audio, or Blue Sky or something better than my Tannoys;

OK, I still need that nice Taylor 800 series

OK, I really do need a Triton; and Gigastudio (and a PC for it); and ACID Pro;

OK, I still need a Martin D-28 to compliment the Taylor; and a 2nd one (maybe a D18 would be OK) for high-strung or slide parts; oh, and a Dobro; and a mandolin;

OK, I still need SOMETHING from Manley;

OK, I still need...TO WRITE THE MUSIC THAT USES ALL THIS STUFF!

OK, I still need...to send it out there to everyone who will listen;

OK, what I REALLY need is a couple of years of 28-hour days.

I'm OK, really...I'm OK...once I get back from NAMM, I think I'll be OK...Yeah, that's the ticket...
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Larry W.

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#955134 - 01/18/02 11:54 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
henrysb3 Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 10/03/01
Posts: 1026
Loc: on the move
I wish I could send a capsule of this thread to a friend of ours who we worked with for maybe too long before taking an extended break. You can buy all the effects in the world but it will never make a Les Paul sound like my '66 tele. Nor, maybe should you want to, as my little lightweight squealin' baby can't approach the LP's live sustain and sweetness. Many better players than I have held that axe and made it sing, and I treasure the vibes left therein.

Anyway, this friend is a gear nut, and has the kind of career that allows him to indulge in stuff most of us have never seen in person. He got so much PA equipment that we would overwhealm the crowd at a local coffee house before the switches were turned on. One of the guys in the band observed that we never played thru the same system twice. We were like roadies on a big tour for a small virtually no-pay gig. I saw singles play that same room with an all-in-one single speaker PA that did the whole show quite well.

When we started recording, the arms race began all over again. We went thru three recorders, two mixers, and God knows what in the rack. There was this mic and that mic and finally, the PREAMPS. After spending night after night watching him trying to figure out the new gear, we did some recording and a LOT of listening to the same thing over and over and over again. After months of this, the PREAMPS became an issue. All vocals, even the ones we liked, were trash because first the Mackie 1604's pre's were excrement. Didn't sound bad to me, but the mixes lacked bottom and overall fullness. This was not a preamp problem. Soon, another rack appeared with megabuck pre's and new mics. The learning curve was more like the switchbacks going up Pike's Peak. We were informed that none of what we had spent months recording and rerecording would stand up to this new boutique stuff. After treading water, our music finally drowned in a sea of gear.

It's what I tell my daughter all the time: there's a vast difference between what you need and what you want, and sometimes what you want is the opposite of what you need.

I agree with Tedster that if you want top quality, your money might be better placed in the hands of a good engineer who knows his/her gear and room. That way, you can be the player and not the electron wonk. The Beatles would have been great without George Martin, but with him they produced musical icons that have made the test of time and will continue to do
so.

Now will someone tell me how to set up my new outboard hard drive? It has kickass preamps...

"It was dirt, dirt in the fuel line. I just blowed it away."
Michael Pollard (I think) from the movie "Bonnie and Clyde"

Henry
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He not busy being born
Is busy dyin'.

...Bob Dylan

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#955135 - 01/18/02 11:58 PM Re: Is Gear an Excuse?
Duhduh Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 04/27/01
Posts: 1602
Loc: Costa Mesa, CA
Quote:
Originally posted by hiraga:
We're just too old to play with LEGO..



We are?!?!

\:D \:D
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