The Truth About Gear

Today, I want to tell you a simple truth that is frustrating, and yet freeing.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve thought something like: “If only I could get this new microphone (or speakers, or plugin bundle), then my recordings and mixes would be so much better”.

I get it. I’ve been there. In fact, I still go there pretty often.

But I want to tell you something that I’ve discovered through experience: You don’t need new gear in order to make your music sound better. Let me explain.

Let’s say you’re a carpenter who builds houses. Your first house that you build is a wreck. The wall studs are crooked, the roof leaks, and it’s drafty.

Your first thought may be “Hey! Next time I build a house, I need to buy better wood, higher quality crackfill, and more expensive shingles. Then the house will be perfect!”

Guess what. You go buy all of these things. You build another house. And it’s still terrible.

It’s pretty obvious from this example that the problem is not in the materials you used. The problem is you. In order to build better houses, you need to get better at building houses. To get better, you need practice and training, not new materials or tools.

I think that in this example, the point is pretty obvious. So why do we get it all backwards in the studio? We think that the latest plugin bundle is suddenly going to make our mixes sound professional, just like that.

The truth is, the way to make our mixes better is to get better at mixing.

You see, manufacturers of plugins, DAW’s, and gear all want you to think that their newest product is the answer. It will fix your recordings and mixes. That’s how they sell more gear. It’s called good marketing.

But for us home studio folk, the truth is that gear is not going to help our recordings. It can enhance them, but only once we’ve gotten good enough to be able to use our gear to its fullest extent.

I can only speak from experience. But I will say this: the biggest boost in my music production quality came when I spent money on training – not gear. When I invested in my skill, not my stuff.

Yes, there is a lot of free training out there, and it’s absolutely great. But I believe that when we pay for something, we suddenly become more serious about it. We actually consume the content and try to apply it to our lives and our music. This is important, because all the training in the world isn’t going to help you if you don’t take what you learn and apply it.

So my simple challenge to you is this. Next time you want to spend money on your studio, use the money to invest in yourself instead. Buy a training program or ebook. Learn something new. Get better at using the gear that you already have. I guarantee that this will make a much more drastic change in your music than any gear purchase ever could.

What do you think? Want to take me up on my challenge? Leave a comment below!

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2 thoughts on “The Truth About Gear

  1. Good post, Alex!

    I would like to add on your post – instead of spending the cash on gear, spend it on your studio acoustics (acoustic treatment). It will be a significant step in making your music sound better.

    I have some very basic treatment in my studio and I feel it is much better than not having anything on the walls. While it is not ideal or what I really want, it is okay. I plan to improve my studio in terms on acoustics in near future.

    Like

    1. Hi Kaitav,

      Yes, good point! Having a good sounding room does help a lot. Although here as well, the 80/20 rule applies. Your room doesn’t have to be perfect before you can start making great music in it!

      Alex

      Like

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