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Instruments vs. gear!!
View Poll Results: What is more important for a great music experience?
Instruments
48 Votes - 92.31%
Gear
4 Votes - 7.69%
Voters: 52. You may not vote on this poll

Old 19th August 2007
  #1
Lives for gear
 

Instruments vs. gear!!

Every day I'm amazed of how many people here talk about music and gear without mentioning instruments. Are you even recording instruments?! I just had to ask...

So, in your world gear must be pretty important... Now you have to choose!

Good luck!
Old 19th August 2007
  #2
Gear Or Instuments

I have a decent studio set up. But if I had to chose....I would chose instruments. I was a musician first. I record all acoustic instruments.
Old 19th August 2007
  #3
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

If i had to chose between the two i would say gear, i can take a cheap $79.00 bass guitar and make it come alive with great gear but sometimes a expesive guitar sounds bad through my great gear, id rather have both but if i had to choose , again gear.
ps: o yes instruments are no good without great musicians playing behind them, just another factor to share.
Old 19th August 2007
  #4
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

The finest gear out there can only do so much to polish a turd.
Old 19th August 2007
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Unclenny's Avatar
My musical experience has to start at the source. When the instrument begins to feel good it also begins to sound good....that's when I reach for the gear.

That said.....the evolution of the musical experience depends upon both.
Old 19th August 2007
  #6
i think the Instrument is more important(are amps included as instruments?).

but a good musician can make any instrument sound good, so with a good musician, i would say the gear will get you further.
Old 19th August 2007
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Meriphew's Avatar
 

I'm mainly a musician who loves to record his own stuff. Doing dual duty always causes conflict (ooh should I buy that nice amp, or that cool mic?). Both are equally important IMO. Though as always, good music will shine through whatever gear you are using.
Old 19th August 2007
  #8
Lives for gear
 
max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RainbowStorm View Post
Are you even recording instruments?!
I'm always surprised by how many people are sitting at home making music without ever having moved air until the vocal goes down.

Is it a control thing? All these virtual instruments and sample libraries give me the willies.
Old 19th August 2007
  #9
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
Instruments. Duh! But even more important than instruments is PLAYING the instruments. I see even less talk of that. I know it's GEARsluts and not PLAYsluts. But I always been a little confused by people who get sidelined into the glitter of the gear/instruments and spend less time actually using them. As if drooling over their acquisition will take the place of doing something with them.
Old 19th August 2007
  #10
Lives for gear
 

I dunno, can't record a vocal track with a floor tom....
Old 19th August 2007
  #11
If I ever use a Midi or soundboard sample, it's played by a musician, not a computer. Midi parts are played live with either a keyboard controller or the Axon guitar interface. The only difference is the source is electronic instead of acoustic. Even then, I'll often feed these into a amp and mic it. Then it's acoustic.

Like David Crosby said, " I'm getting a little tired of all these insect sounds".

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 19th August 2007
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
esteso's Avatar
 

blah, blah, blah......
Old 19th August 2007
  #13
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

You can also look at this issue like this ?

would you rather have a cheap guitar and a JCM800 /mesa boogie
or
a ultimate Strat, Les paul PRS through a Godzilla amp

Then think again, instrument meaning the guitar or gear meaning the amp.

I can always work on the guitar settings and get it good enough but a cheap amp is just a cheap guitar amp.

I still like the gear first, hell i can make a MXL mic sound decent through a great preamp piece.

Something to think about if there is a choice on a desert island.
Would you want to run your u87 through a $99.00 preamp ?
Old 19th August 2007
  #14
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
On a desert island I'd want a guitar I could play rather than a mic I could record the sound of waves and sand with!
Old 19th August 2007
  #15
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
On a desert island I'd want a guitar I could play rather than a mic I could record the sound of waves and sand with!
lol. a good one. I agree... it was a joke about desert island.
Old 19th August 2007
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Possibly it's because this is a gear forum, and there are other forums for instruments ...

There is plenty of excellent discussion about instrument if you look.

Are you an artist, or a producer, or an engineer? Or are you trying to fool yourself you can be all three? It can be done, but it's hard.

The artists need his instruments. The engineer needs his gear. The producer needs everything. It's not an either/or decision.

Should an artist need to choose between canvas or paint?
Old 19th August 2007
  #17
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwiburger View Post
Possibly it's because this is a gear forum, and there are other forums for instruments ...

There is plenty of excellent discussion about instrument if you look.

Are you an artist, or a producer, or an engineer? Or are you trying to fool yourself you can be all three? It can be done, but it's hard.

The artists need his instruments. The engineer needs his gear. The producer needs everything. It's not an either/or decision.

Should an artist need to choose between canvas or paint?
All i was going by was the heading : Instruments vs Gear....a choice.
I want to best of both worlds but my choice would be gear over instruments if a gun were at my head.
Old 19th August 2007
  #18
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwiburger View Post
Possibly it's because this is a gear forum, and there are other forums for instruments ...

There is plenty of excellent discussion about instrument if you look.

Are you an artist, or a producer, or an engineer? Or are you trying to fool yourself you can be all three? It can be done, but it's hard.

The artists need his instruments. The engineer needs his gear. The producer needs everything. It's not an either/or decision.

Should an artist need to choose between canvas or paint?
All i was going by was the heading : Instruments vs Gear....a choice.
I want to best of both worlds but my choice would be gear over instruments if a gun were at my head.

BTW...paint
Old 19th August 2007
  #19
If you have gear and no instruments, what are you to record? Perhaps the sulfuric emisions from a large Mexican meal?

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 19th August 2007
  #20
Gear Nut
 
MusicKat's Avatar
 

I believe that the value of good instruments can not be overestimated. My experience was that the more pieces of the puzzle that I could control, the better the end product would be. Thus became my quest for better drums, guitars, basses, etc, etc.
Because I was often working on a lot of indie, low budget projects, many times the musicians were grateful to have better instruments to play. The world of session players is another story - often they have better instruments, properly set up for the way they play. That said, another piece of the puzzle is the not just the gear and the instruments, but the players. Give a great player a mediocre instrument and you will get good results. Give a bad player a great instrument and you will get bad results!
Old 19th August 2007
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
If you have gear and no instruments, what are you to record? Perhaps the sulfuric emisions from a large Mexican meal?

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Paying musicians with gear.
Old 19th August 2007
  #22
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicKat View Post
Give a bad player a great instrument and you will get bad results!
so true.

btw, this is impossible, you need good instruments, great gear and great players BY ALL MEANS to do it right.
Old 19th August 2007
  #23
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
If you have gear and no instruments, what are you to record? Perhaps the sulfuric emisions from a large Mexican meal?

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
They already made the Blazing Saddles movie, so thats been recorded.
Old 19th August 2007
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllAboutTone View Post
If i had to chose between the two i would say gear, i can take a cheap $79.00 bass guitar and make it come alive with great gear but sometimes a expesive guitar sounds bad through my great gear, id rather have both but if i had to choose , again gear.
ps: o yes instruments are no good without great musicians playing behind them, just another factor to share.
Yeah... maybe.

You have to be really lucky to come up with an 80 dollar bass guitar that plays well enough to consistently put down really good tracks.

I mean I love cheap guitars as much as the next guy but if I send you into Guitar Center or Sam Ash on a given afternoon with 80 bucks for a bass guitar to track with -- it's going to be a REAL crapshoot. Chances are no amount of studio magic is going to even that thing up, remove the fret buzzes or intonation problems and make it sound like a really nice bass.

Now, get a great player on a mediocre instrument and you can still get a musically viable track, at least with some luck and some flexibility/creativity on his part.

But when you're putting together a toolset you can't count on luck to guide every use of a given tool.
Old 19th August 2007
  #25
Lives for gear
 

Thanks all for your replies!

Should amplifiers be considered instrument or gear, that's an interesting question, I would want it to be considered as an instrument, but it is not an instrument in the sense of the traditional definition. Some say the studio is an instrument, that's another tricky thing because in that case the gear can be considered the parts the instrument consists of.

Anyway, I do agree this forum is not aimed for instruments, it is a gear forum and Gearslutz has forums for instrument discussions as well, so what I mentioned in the initial post was not exactly totally applicable...

Currently 33 have voted "Instruments" and only 2 have voted "Gear". That's interesting.

Some thoughts... Some have mentioned players, songs and how to use instruments/gear, I agree that these are important elements as well, but in this case we need to vote between instruments and gear, they are equal in terms of the format and in that way easier to compare. I voted on "Instruments" and the reason is primarily that great vocals is the most important element of a great recording and since vocals is an instrument as well it easily makes Instruments more important than Gear. Nobody can really argue that. What I find interesting about this is when you start asking yourself why the sound of the vocals is so important. The obvious answer is that it is the heaviest part of the musical expression.

Great instruments are enhancing the quality of the musical expressions, through:

1. Tonal control
2. Expression control
3. Tonal register
4. Expression register

One way of looking at the recording studio is that it is an emotion filter. The more emotions in the input the more emotions left in the output. So if great instruments are enhancing the quality of the musical expressions and because they are musical expressions all by themselves, then instruments become very important.

When dealing with the quality of the musical expressions I think we need to take a look at how we communicate with the instrument and why. For instance, when using MIDI to interface with samples we might find serious musical expression limitations linked to all 4 things listed above. Another way of looking at this is that when you combine many different instruments with great expression qualities, the combined expression quality is high, in other words the timbral balance quality is high.
Old 19th August 2007
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
jordanh's Avatar
 

I think musicians and engineers have a lot more in common than we give credit... I've been a musician first, but I think that an engineer is sort of a musician-- or an extension of one.

If you don't have musical sensibilities, you can sit behind the best gear and have a crappy recording come out the other end-- but a musical engineer will make the recording aesthetically sound.

So whats more important, instruments or gear? I think recording gear should always be used as an instrument and not just a prop in the signal chain.

yep
Old 19th August 2007
  #27
Lives for gear
 
lowfreq33's Avatar
 

It's a bit of a loaded question, because it assumes that good must mean expensive. A $300 fender can sound good if it's set up well and properly intonated. 57's sound good on just about everything. I think "technique" should be a third option. I mean really, you could hand Eric Clapton a $50 pawnshop guitar and he'd still sound like Clapton.
Anyway, I'm an engineer. Instruments are the band's problem.
Old 19th August 2007
  #28
Lives for gear
 
chrispick's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jordanh View Post
I think musicians and engineers have a lot more in common than we give credit... I've been a musician first, but I think that an engineer is sort of a musician-- or an extension of one.

If you don't have musical sensibilities, you can sit behind the best gear and have a crappy recording come out the other end-- but a musical engineer will make the recording aesthetically sound.

So whats more important, instruments or gear? I think recording gear should always be used as an instrument and not just a prop in the signal chain.

yep


Totally agree.

If driven to divide and choose, however, I definitely say instrument over gear. All these years, and I still love holding a guitar and playing. Makes the gray matter happy.
Old 20th August 2007
  #29
Gear Head
 

A crappy mic pointed at a great instrument will probably sound good, atleast.

A top end mic pointed at a ****ty instrument will just sound more accuratly ****.
Old 20th August 2007
  #30
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
One way of looking at the recording studio is that it is an emotion filter. The more emotions in the input the more emotions left in the output. So if great instruments are enhancing the quality of the musical expressions and because they are musical expressions all by themselves, then instruments become very important.
I think actual emotions are highly over-rated. I think the desired goal of most music making activities is to provoke an emotion response - I would never argue against that.

But the state of emotion of the players, or in fact the totally emotionless input of machines, has little to do with the end result.

A fired up emotional player can still lay down crappy tracks that might only provoke hysterical laughter or disgust. An angry or apathetic player might still lay down some tracks that are perfect for the song and provoke completely different emotions to whatever they were feeling at the time.

Synths can make noises that bring tears of joy to your eyes - or they can make noises that are so deeply disturbing they freak the hell out of you.

The emotional filter is yourself - forget the studio. It's your creation, your mix, your artistic vision that shapes the end product, and hence the emotional response it will provoke.
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