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Is It Really The Gear?
Old 27th January 2007
  #1
Lives for gear
 
uptoolate's Avatar
 

Is It Really The Gear?

I've been soul searching lately. I have probably got around 40K or so invested in my gear and turn out what I feel to be solid work. Especially considering what I charge. I have a buddy that I helped get into recording and he has stayed way low budget, but is really great at what he does and he is turning out some great stuff with probably less that 5k invested (Great Teacher! ).

My point is this: Sometimes I get so caught up in the gear, that I forget that you can still make Great recordings on a really small budget.

It would be a whole lot of fun to see a High End vs. Low End Shoot out!

I'll bet there are 10K studios out there that can kick the big boys asses! Now that would be a trip. People could just put their mixes where their mouths are you know?

The problem is that people would just lie about what they used to keep from being embarassed.

It sure would be fun to try though. What do you think?

Save your breath if you are going to preach to me about how good gear is just plain better. I know it's better. But that's really my point here. It's really about who is using it and other factors and blah blah blah, so just save it you high dollar slutz. (can you feel the jealousy?)

What do you think about the idea of a shootout?
Old 27th January 2007
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

The nut behind the wheel causes the most accidents.

Ron Allaire, Skyline
Old 27th January 2007
  #3
Lives for gear
 
doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by uptoolate View Post
What do you think about the idea of a shootout?
I'd prefer a shooting....
Old 27th January 2007
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Acoustic Cloud's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HIGHENDONLY View Post
The funny thing is were all gearslutz with expensive tastes. But honestly too me, high end gear just makes someone with talent just shine so much stronger. Like if you have a cheap interface and good singer,yea you will be able tell they are good but with great gear you will get that wow factor and really feel their talent...high fidelity baby
Thats true, but engineers dont track for only engineers to hear the outcome. Probably 95% of listeners wont notice bad sound quality like we might. I have had some students in past years that actually LOVE lo-fi sounding tracks ala` some of Beck, for example.

IMO, that sometimes leaves the 4000 dollar pre pretty low on the food chain.

Just my opinion.
Old 27th January 2007
  #5
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Mike O's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by uptoolate View Post

What do you think about the idea of a shootout?
How in the world do you 'shoot out' tracking? Arguably the most important part of the process? What would a high end vs low end mixing shoot out prove?
Old 27th January 2007
  #6
Lives for gear
 
DeathMonkey's Avatar
 

To use a cooking analogy, I view it like this : The performance and the song is the meat, the studio is the kitchen, and the gear is the spice rack. Now, you can make a great steak on a cheap Weber grill, but you gotta have a great piece of meat, and you have to know what you're doing. Now, you can take an average piece of meat and make a decent meal out of it with great spices in a great kitchen.

The better the ingredients, the better potential for the meal - of course, then it depends on the cook staff.

I think you can take a simple recipe with few spices in a somewhat challenged kitchen and produce an outstanding meal. I think you can burn the best meat in the world in the greatest kitchen in the world. You can hide bad meat in sauce all you want, it's still bad meat, and someone is going to get sick.

You see where I am going with this? A great cook can make a good meal anywhere, but they prefer to work in the best kitchen available, and with the best ingredients available. In the end, it all comes down to treating your meat right!
Old 27th January 2007
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
Ganglion's Avatar
I was going to chime in, but that analogy was perfect!
Old 27th January 2007
  #8
Lives for gear
 
uptoolate's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
I'd prefer a shooting....
Calm down a little violent dude.

Besides, this is way more fun than doing a search as you suggest.
Old 27th January 2007
  #9
Lives for gear
 
uptoolate's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeathMonkey View Post
To use a cooking analogy, I view it like this : The performance and the song is the meat, the studio is the kitchen, and the gear is the spice rack. Now, you can make a great steak on a cheap Weber grill, but you gotta have a great piece of meat, and you have to know what you're doing. Now, you can take an average piece of meat and make a decent meal out of it with great spices in a great kitchen.

The better the ingredients, the better potential for the meal - of course, then it depends on the cook staff.

I think you can take a simple recipe with few spices in a somewhat challenged kitchen and produce an outstanding meal. I think you can burn the best meat in the world in the greatest kitchen in the world. You can hide bad meat in sauce all you want, it's still bad meat, and someone is going to get sick.

You see where I am going with this? A great cook can make a good meal anywhere, but they prefer to work in the best kitchen available, and with the best ingredients available. In the end, it all comes down to treating your meat right!
I hear you Death Monkey,

I know it is impossible, but it would be really interesting to see what the low end guys could do vs. the high end guys if both groups were given the exact same piece of "meat" to engineer and mix. I'll bet there would be a few surprises out there.

I love good gear as much as any of you. I just think this is an interesting topic.
Old 27th January 2007
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Bob Yordan's Avatar
When I started to invest my money in pro audio gear, it was because now
I cant blaim my bad music making on the gear any longer. heh

And I do not want to look back on my music making 15 years from now and say, what if I only had bought some better gear?



But as with all tool it takes a lot of investigating to be able to use them in a good way.

I have used a low budget set up during the 80:s & 90:s, so I know how it feels.

Old 28th January 2007
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Well a1 on steak makes any steak tastes better,esp when you put it on a good piece..haha
I think of A1 more as some gimmicky effect, which may distract you from a boring (or bad) mix...but a really good mix doesn't need it, and it actually might cover up what's really there.

-Duardo
Old 28th January 2007
  #12
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

There are so many components, you are focusing on but one.

But, everything else being equal, the final result will be better with the better gear. How much better is very subjective and the answer will be different for everyone.

However, the song and performance itself is infinitely higher on that list of components.
Old 28th January 2007
  #13
Lives for gear
 

I bet 99.9% of the people here would rather have a great engineer on low end equipment than the other way around. No doubt - I would too.

Quote:
Sometimes I get so caught up in the gear, that I forget that you can still make Great recordings on a really small budget.
Sure, but why would you want to? Gear isn't usually the budget killer.
Old 28th January 2007
  #14
Lives for gear
 
theblotted's Avatar
 

i've also heard that great gear will help one get there quicker.

sure, the engineer could be great, but it'll take that much longer to dial in them sounds with lower-end gear.

now, apply THAT to steak analogy.
Old 28th January 2007
  #15
Gear Nut
 
Skeetch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by uptoolate View Post
I hear you Death Monkey,

I know it is impossible, but it would be really interesting to see what the low end guys could do vs. the high end guys if both groups were given the exact same piece of "meat" to engineer and mix. I'll bet there would be a few surprises out there.

I love good gear as much as any of you. I just think this is an interesting topic.
What's the definition of "low end"? How much money does one have to spend to be considered "high end"? Or is it a combination of how much one has invested in gear and also the caliber of clients one brings in?

$40K worth of gear, IMO, isn't exactly low end. I've got a tad over $40K in gear and racks and about $32K in the construction of my room. Is that high end, or low end? I've had clients come record at my place because their first albums done at a local "high end" studio came out sounding like ass.

I'd agree that great recordings can be made on modest gear. It's also true that a great engineer with great gear can turn out stellar work. I think the cooking analogy made previously is also true. Then again, when I listen to the majority of what passes for "pro music" on the radio these days (most of it done in high end studios), I'm reminded of the truly great music of the past done in studios that had far less capability than what most of us have today.

Ultimately, it's the song - arrangement, hooks, etc. - and the talent of the artist performing it that are the primary ingredient for a good recording. Everything else is icing on the cake.
Old 28th January 2007
  #16
Lives for gear
 
DeathMonkey's Avatar
 

I was thinking along those lines too - is anyone going to argue that a GM pre is any less "high end" than a Neve? No. But they serve very different ends.
Old 28th January 2007
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Mark Warren's Avatar
 

I'll throw my 2 cents in, again using a food analogy, lets say ice cream.

If you've got the gear, and a lot of it, then it's often easier to get workable sounds and tones.

Sort of like if you're going for 'strawberry'. With the right gear and enough of it, you'll get to strawberry real quick, and might end up with 6 different flavors of strawberry, then it's simply fun to pick which one.

Without the gear, yeah you'll still get to strawberry, but you'll probably be messing around in vanilla land for a while just trying to get the tones/sound/mix right to the point where you get into strawberry land, and then probably don't have many flavors to choose from at that point, and just have to be happy and settle for the fact you got strawberry at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by uptoolate View Post
I hear you Death Monkey,

I know it is impossible, but it would be really interesting to see what the low end guys could do vs. the high end guys if both groups were given the exact same piece of "meat" to engineer and mix. I'll bet there would be a few surprises out there.
Yes, for sure, but again the time it takes to get there is many times quicker and easier with the gear. In the end with enough time and decent stuff yes, I'd bet there'd be lots of surprises. But if you're in the game full on, having the gear helps to speed the process along.
Old 28th January 2007
  #18
Lives for gear
 
uptoolate's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Warren View Post


Yes, for sure, but again the time it takes to get there is many times quicker and easier with the gear. In the end with enough time and decent stuff yes, I'd bet there'd be lots of surprises. But if you're in the game full on, having the gear helps to speed the process along.
Very good point.

In fact, I have read many good points in this thread. This is helping me to justify my investment. (and those in the future)

Remember, this thread started out with me doing some "soul searching". This becomes necessary for me from time to time when it comes to spending large amounts of money on this craft that I love so much. I still think my little shootout would be fun if it were possible though! But, on with the quest to capture magical moments in a way that get's them across to the listener with quality.
Old 28th January 2007
  #19
Lives for gear
 
dlmorley's Avatar
I buy nice gear for ME!
Having nice gear is rewarding in that it is nice to work with. Whether it sells more records, I don't know, but if I do something, I want to listen to it again without thinking "hmm...I got away with it again!"

If I could afford a nice AMEK 9098 or a mint Helios desk along with a box full of U47's and a Fairchild, I probably would BUT it would be for me.
Old 28th January 2007
  #20
Gear Addict
 
lane thaw's Avatar
 

Without a doubt it's first about the songwriting, talent performing, room acoustics and engineering. But what I find is by spending the coin, the equipment let's you focus better on all those things, it removes bad variables and can also influence the talent in a good way. I recently had a hard time in a studio trying to get good vocals, poor cue/headphone system. Another studio, good cue system, nice U47 into a neve and very inspiring. I believe the first engineer was limited by his equipments abilities as the second spot allowed vocalists to dial in a mix. To this extent, we traveled 10 hours for a second vocal session passing by lots of big cities and studio on the way. I think the cue system was MYTEK Private Cue but there are several out there.
Old 28th January 2007
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
I've had clients come record at my place because their first albums done at a local "high end" studio came out sounding like ass
I really don't like hearing things like that. How do you know it was the fault of the high end studio? Secondly why would a band pay for a high end studio if they haven't heard prior work? If they did, was it good? Why was it good, and not now? Was it crap? Why would they book a place that hasn't put out anything good?

Everyone here is quick to point out how well you can do things on the cheap, how it's the performance, the song writing...blah blah blah - but the first place to take the blame when something sounds like crap is the high end studio?

Weird.
Old 28th January 2007
  #22
Lives for gear
 
lord_bunny's Avatar
 

so lets start posting stuff. i've got demo's of mine i did in a cramped one bedroom basement apartment while in toronto. i'd love to throw that into the mix against some of the expensive guys stuff. just to hear the difference
Old 28th January 2007
  #23
Gear Addict
 
lane thaw's Avatar
 

A high end studio without a great engineer means absolutly nothing. There is nothing finer than a seasoned pro on the other side of the glass - nothing!
Old 28th January 2007
  #24
Lives for gear
 

I am a bit surprised about the fact that so few in here talk about instrument quality. Let's forget gear in terms of mics, monitors, converters, consoles etc. for a while and focus some on the frequency-generating equipment, the sound sources! Place high quality sound sources in a cheap home recording studio and it will sound pretty awesome when the session players know what to play. It's about the frequencies. Great sounding sound sources are not necessarily expensive but often they are. I recently bought Synthogy Ivory, for around 200$, it sounds much better than most of the hardware I've tried (besides real pianos) and with 64-bit samples coming out from EastWest right about now people will be able to record really great sounding stuff on a very low budget. It's not about the money, it's about the technology, it's about knowing how to utilize new technology and it's about making smart decisions.
Old 28th January 2007
  #25
Lives for gear
 
DontLetMeDrown's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duardo View Post
I think of A1 more as some gimmicky effect, which may distract you from a boring (or bad) mix...but a really good mix doesn't need it, and it actually might cover up what's really there.

-Duardo
So A1 is the Sonic Maximizer?
Old 28th January 2007
  #26
Lives for gear
 
taturana's Avatar
everything makes a difference... the sound you end up is always limited by the weakest link in the chain, be it the artist, the instrument, the gear, the engineer, whatever... of course if everything in the chain is top notch, you have a better chance of getting top notch results.

that said, there are pretty good pieces of gear that sound good without the very high prices... and great engineers and artists who can make them work...
Old 28th January 2007
  #27
Lives for gear
 
Greg Curtis's Avatar
 

I just did a shootout between my cheapest mic (.99 cents store mic, cost $0.99) and my most expensive mic (Soundelux e49, cost $3,400).

The e49 won in all areas. Go figure!

Seriously. The previous posts are correct in that the weakest link is the limiting factor, but a good engineer will always create a work of art with whatever he is given.

The problem is that there are so many talented engineers/mixers out there. Having great gear is part of what sets the Neve/Telefunken elite apart from the Behringer/M-Audio crowd.

But owning and using are separate issues...

Greg

.
Old 28th January 2007
  #28
Lives for gear
 
djui5's Avatar
 

gear is worthless if the song or the source sucks.
Old 28th January 2007
  #29
Lives for gear
 
woomanmoomin's Avatar
 

My recipe for successss:

Take some nice spicy low-end gear.

Add some nice zingy high-end gear.

Get a room (you deviants).

Season with sheer unadulterated genius in all areas creative and technical.
Old 29th January 2007
  #30
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblotted View Post
i've also heard that great gear will help one get there quicker.

sure, the engineer could be great, but it'll take that much longer to dial in them sounds with lower-end gear.

now, apply THAT to steak analogy.
Yeah, you'll burn the steak faster with the 4k pre..

:D

JFN
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