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How do you finance your gear ?
Old 3rd July 2005
  #1
Lives for gear
 
gainreduction's Avatar
 

How do you finance your gear ?

Hand on the heart and two fingers on the bible everyone... how do you finance your neverending gear purchases, studio building etc ?

I've taken the long road, buying gear when I can afford it (read: drooling at all the stuff i want and swearing when I don't have the cash to get it) but now half a lifetime later I have a quite nice studio with all the essential stuff to make nice productions, recordings and mixes. And I have zero debt. I'm happy about that since I can make a decent living in this crazy business and I can sleep well at night. And I can have periods of no income since now I'm "6-12 months ahead" financially. And I can take my son on vacation

But on the other hand... I'm sooo tempted to just go get what I feel I'm missing and turn my nice studio into a kick-ass studio. But that would involve some credit/lease/whatever external financing, and that scares me tutt So, honestly, how do you do it ????? I notice that a lot of you guys have gear worth ****loads of money so not out of envy but out of curiousity I'll just pop that question.

Oh, and there's a difference of course. I don't run a commercial studio, my place is my private space for my one-man-business of songwriting and production. So anyway.., should I pay the bank a visit or should I give it another 10 years ??

My money-saving tips so far :

- I don't spend a lot of cash on anything computer/software-based since it's worth nothing in a year. Even a car is a good investment compared to software. I get a DAW that's solid and stay there for as long as possible BUT I'll spend more on good converters instead, they make a bigger difference than having 15 more plug-ins to choose from.

- I browse the net a lot for 2nd hand bargains and I've found a lot of them. Idiots who don't know what they're selling are a goldmine Sometimes it's stuff I need and use, sometimes it's something I know I can trade in for what I really want. This way I actually paid about $200 for a $2000 compressor..

- I spend the most cash on pres, eq's, mics and compressors that will hold their value well.

Please share your tips & thoughts.
Old 3rd July 2005
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Ziggy!!'s Avatar
 

I'm in a very similar situation like you are and i also only buy gear when i have the money upfront. It just makes me much more comfortable to know whats in my studio is mine, regardless. I hate having debt hanging over me like a dark storm cloud.


That being said, if i found a peice of gear that would great aid the efficiency or sound of my work i might think about getting a small loan... maybe. I haven't found that peice of gear yet.
Old 3rd July 2005
  #3
Lives for gear
 
AlphaDingo's Avatar
 

Quote:
've taken the long road, buying gear when I can afford it (read: drooling at all the stuff i want and swearing when I don't have the cash to get it) but now half a lifetime later I have a quite nice studio with all the essential stuff to make nice productions, recordings and mixes. And I have zero debt. I'm happy about that since I can make a decent living in this crazy business and I can sleep well at night. And I can have periods of no income since now I'm "6-12 months ahead" financially. And I can take my son on vacation
Your self control has put you in the enviable position you are in now. If your computer explodes and you have a session that pays tomorow, OK I can see that. But if you have a savings account for situations like that then you don't have to worry about it. DON'T GO INTO DEBT FOR RECORDING GEAR!!! keep doing what you're doing. It's working. My 2 cents.
Old 3rd July 2005
  #4
Lives for gear
 
atticus's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaDingo
Your self control has put you in the enviable position you are in now. If your computer explodes and you have a session that pays tomorow, OK I can see that. But if you have a savings account for situations like that then you don't have to worry about it. DON'T GO INTO DEBT FOR RECORDING GEAR!!! keep doing what you're doing. It's working. My 2 cents.
Great post!
Old 3rd July 2005
  #5
Lives for gear
 

Stay out of debt is good advice. Buy used or display models. Buy and sell gear as needed...don't be afraid to sell unused gear, even at a discount.

Stay out of restaurants and bars, and movie theaters and save your money, learn how to cook your own meals, keep your other living expenses down...work overtime if you can, a second job or gig...every penny adds up. Buy one thing at a time, and eventially your inventory of gear will build up. Research your gear BEFORE you buy it, as best you can. Download manuals, try the gear out if you can.

Buy used gear on E-Bay from reputable sellers, shop the local stores for bargains, pay a fair price and you usually will get a fair deal. Buy quality and you'll have quality, buy junk and you'll have junk.......don't be afraid to buy new if you can afford it...manufacturer's warantees are nice......

I try to get one new piece of gear every other month or so, and over time, I upgrade my equipment by buying and selling. This keeps my setup current.

Once you get your equipment, take good care of it. Don't bang it around.
Old 3rd July 2005
  #6
I dont care much if recording gear has scratches, dings, looks worn or is without it's origional box - I just care if it works..
Old 3rd July 2005
  #7
Lives for gear
 
max cooper's Avatar
 

Only cash ever. If you're one of the few who should buy gear on credit, you already know who you are. I won't even bust out a credit card to drop $200 on something. Then it's mine.

I sell odd, useless stuff around the house on Ebay; anything worth $50 is worth messing with. I let the Paypal account build up and I use those funds to finance some gear. It gets up to $1000 before I know it.
Old 3rd July 2005
  #8
Lives for gear
 
gainreduction's Avatar
 

Thanx for your replies, seems like I'm not the only one trying to stay out of debt. The thing is.. the situation right now is kind of weird for songwriter/producers like myself. The songwriting part is cool, that can be done with no gear at all and when it comes to demoing songs my studio is already overkill. The part that confuses me are the productions and mixes for commercial release.

I've written songs and produced them for major label artists with international success and I'm known for always delivering high quality stuff. basically that's what gets me the gigs since I'm completely worthless at marketing myself and sucking up to A&R guys. So the quality needs to be up there. With the seriously reduced recording budgets of today there simply is not a chance to use big rooms for everything. Sometimes even not for mixing... It's like the producers are left to do everything in house AND take most of the financial risk. Then in the end it might pay off with high royalties instead. This leads to some consideration. I think that in order to survive until the budgets are high again you need to be able to make a powerful, world-class product from scratch to finish at your own place. That would include mixing aswell. So the situation is... I need to retain the big-room sound that I'm used to but doin it all in my project studio. For recording I have what I need and we have a network of a couple of professional musicians and producers so we can borrow stuff and services from eachother aswell to keep costs down. For mixing with the results I'd like to have I need to upgrade my DDA console to something that's up there soundwise, a big ticket console if you don't mind the expression. Everything else i have and can borrow extra gear if needed. So the question is whether to keep spending a LOT of the recording budget on mixing in a big room (or spend more than the budget if the mix is not approved and redoing it...) or get a console and be happy at my own place ? And have the luxury of time and recall ? This might sound weird but to me it's the reality of the business right now. Make great sounds at your own place or disappear. And of course I can't squeeze out the cash for an SSL just like that... Anybody feeling the same way ?
Old 3rd July 2005
  #9
Lives for gear
 
s0nguy's Avatar
 

Cash?

Wow.... sounds like im in the minority...or at least the minority of people who care to respond.

I found myself in an interesting position. I purchased a piece of real estate for almost 30k. I have seen it increase in value over 500% in the past two years. In fact, it continues to appreciate at such an alarming rate that I borrowed against the equity to purchase my ProTools HD rig and everything I need to run a nice studio in Nashville TN.

I live in the property I bought, it is on Music Row and I turned half of it into my studio. I had been recording people for a few years prior running various platforms (PARIS, LE, Cubase, Logic). My moment of realization came when I tracked a project in LE segments at a time .....and could'nt mix it at home. I realized I was at an impass and that I am actually doing well at this recording/writing thing. I took the plunge to HD because I believe in "do it once...do it right".

I have not regretted it since. I did my homework and got SMOKIN deals (HD1 and 6.4 for $3500.00, etc...)

Sure, I have "debt"...but it is more of a business "investment". If I HAD too, I could sell all of the gear and be free and clear. But the payment every month is manageable and I consider it a cost of doing business. I get more biz because I have HD... no doubt about that.

-s0nguy
Old 3rd July 2005
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Kestral's Avatar
 

gainreducation - keep doing what you're doing. I do the exact same thing. I have a very modest setup, but how many "home studios" have a Neve 1073 and vintage 1176? thumbsup

Buy quality, be patient for good deals and continue to Live Below Your Means (that's what you're doing is called). There's a great financial board on The Motley Fool (www.fool.com) for folks who are Living Below Your Means. I think the board is free to read but may require membership to post. I found the membership worthwhile.

s0nguy - ok, I need to know, how the heck did you find an HD1 for $3500? thumbsup
Old 3rd July 2005
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by gainreduction
Thanx for your replies, seems like I'm not the only one trying to stay out of debt. The thing is.. the situation right now is kind of weird for songwriter/producers like myself. The songwriting part is cool, that can be done with no gear at all and when it comes to demoing songs my studio is already overkill. The part that confuses me are the productions and mixes for commercial release.

I've written songs and produced them for major label artists with international success and I'm known for always delivering high quality stuff. basically that's what gets me the gigs since I'm completely worthless at marketing myself and sucking up to A&R guys. So the quality needs to be up there. With the seriously reduced recording budgets of today there simply is not a chance to use big rooms for everything. Sometimes even not for mixing... It's like the producers are left to do everything in house AND take most of the financial risk. Then in the end it might pay off with high royalties instead. This leads to some consideration. I think that in order to survive until the budgets are high again you need to be able to make a powerful, world-class product from scratch to finish at your own place. That would include mixing aswell. So the situation is... I need to retain the big-room sound that I'm used to but doin it all in my project studio. For recording I have what I need and we have a network of a couple of professional musicians and producers so we can borrow stuff and services from eachother aswell to keep costs down. For mixing with the results I'd like to have I need to upgrade my DDA console to something that's up there soundwise, a big ticket console if you don't mind the expression. Everything else i have and can borrow extra gear if needed. So the question is whether to keep spending a LOT of the recording budget on mixing in a big room (or spend more than the budget if the mix is not approved and redoing it...) or get a console and be happy at my own place ? And have the luxury of time and recall ? This might sound weird but to me it's the reality of the business right now. Make great sounds at your own place or disappear. And of course I can't squeeze out the cash for an SSL just like that... Anybody feeling the same way ?
Why not just hire someone to mix it at your place or at theirs?

Or you can do a correspondence mixdown over the internet.

I know people do it with mastering and doing mixes like this is the next step.

With the increase of home studios i know of alot of mixng engineers who do on call mixing or have their own setups(i know i do).

Here in NYC its a competitive field.

Every other so called mixer type has somekind of PT HD system.

The only problem is that they are driving the prices for doing mixdowns pretty low.
Old 3rd July 2005
  #12
Lek
Lives for gear
 
Lek's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by s0nguy
.... I did my homework and got SMOKIN deals (HD1 and 6.4 for $3500.00, etc...)

Sure, I have "debt"...but it is more of a business "investment". If I HAD too, I could sell all of the gear and be free and clear. But the payment every month is manageable and I consider it a cost of doing business. I get more biz because I have HD... no doubt about that.

-s0nguy
Same exact situation here. I'm in a serious amount of debt, but if I sold it all I'd be back over zero. I think of it as a business investment. But this is for my own music, and I want to get it out now, I'm already getting too old! If I saved up for what I own, I'd never have it... But my day job's salary (teaching) is increasing every year and I'll be able to pay it off (or no way I would do this). I may start a side job as well.
Old 3rd July 2005
  #13
Lives for gear
 
PlugHead's Avatar
 

FWIW,

I don't think I'm the only one, but with running a business, you also have a debtload: whether or not it's manageable is up to you. I feel that sometimes you have to make some seemingly unwise decisions to get you to the next level, and surely if your assets far outweigh your debt, then you're in a fine position, so long as YOU HAVE WORK. i would not be able to have a studio at all if I didn't go into debt over gear at one point - I think it's par for the course. Better if you have 'loans' or a line of credit than with a CC - rates are way lower, and you can finance your purchases much easier. That said, money that isn't actually yours is VERY EASY TO SPEND, so beware. I was over 10 large in debt about 18 months ago, and had to stop any purchasing till I got that completely paid off, but it took a year.

IME, I wouldn't have a studio if I didn't go into debt at one point - I think a bit more conservatively nowadays, and am thankful I don't hold much debt at all, but - unless you are catering only to "your own needs", and don't have to have critical items for 'clients', or the appropriate space, you have to expect some give and take with borrowing/debtload. How do you finance your home? Did you pay in cash? Unless you're extremely rich, or waited till you had the bucketload of cash, most others finance, which is what many do with their 'business' as well. Just make sure your debtload is serviceable, and you don't go too far into areas which will see slow, to no returns...

My .02 cents (with interest @ prime +2% is .0202 cents)
Old 3rd July 2005
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Henchman's Avatar
I'm lucky, in a sense. I do post for a living, and rarely use that income for my music stuff.

I use the money I make on the music stuff I do, to buy new gear. This year that has allowed me to buy my laptop, new audio-interface, 4 UAD-1 cards, a Magma chassis and Nuendo 3.
I'm goign to be savign my money now for a new dual-core laptop, for when they are released.
I have been able to do album quality work that I, and my clients, have been very happy with.
Old 4th July 2005
  #15
Lives for gear
 
robmix's Avatar
I'm the worst example of what to do . My first gig in music came when I was an intern at an ad agency. One day they asked if I could write a jingle - I said YES and ran to Sam Ash after work, and maxed out the student credit card on gear I needed to deliver the spot. Delivered the jingle, got paid, and paid off the card. I still do it. Get a good gig that requires gear I don't have - buy it and pay it off as the royalties come in. Keeps the clients happy, and it keeps me in gear. Granted if I wasn't doing this professionally I wouldn't buy any of this ****. I don't believe in expensive hobbies. I'm also thinking about a large format console and it seems like there's 2 choices - one of the few music equipment finance places or the home equity thing. We're remodeling now, if there's money left it may go towards my console.
Old 4th July 2005
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
Dragonfly's Avatar
 

I went and got a job at a music retail store to mainly get the employee discount and start paying off another purchase i had made, but i soon learned that i could call the reps for many companies and request an employee accomidation price for the purchase of their products. I paid about $1,300 for new software which would have cost me over $6,000 had I not gone direct. I also kept up good relations with the rep, so although I may not be working at the retailer any longer, he still gives me those prices. That's definitely one way I was able to combat my gear acquisition syndrome.

Dante
Old 4th July 2005
  #17
Lives for gear
 
maskedman72's Avatar
 

work a ****load of overtime and eat cheap ****.
Old 4th July 2005
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Let the studio earn its keep. Most people just want to know if what you do sounds good, they dont care if you have a 30k compressor or a 2k comp. If its good its good. Debt is the work of the devil.
Old 4th July 2005
  #19
Gear Head
 

Gainreduction raised some interesting questions. He is also right by stating that industry requires top class results from the start - sharing risk with writers/producers (and avoiding expensive usual route). As a result, it puts succesfull writers/producers into quite powerful position.

In today's hectic music business environment with lowered budgets, hits are only stuff that counts. One needs to be involved in hitmaking, be it as a studio owner with granted royalty share or as part of hitwriting team. Sooner or later those teams will seize A&R's role in this business. Ringtones, download markets, majors, they all need finished/packed/polished/delivered hits. Everything else is longer-term financially doubtful.

Re. equipment, quality is so high those days that it isn't an issue anymore. I didn't mean to sound harsh, but good talented team can achieve top commerical results from carefully chosen equipment that isn't expensive at all. Good pre/comp/mic, good DAW, a couple of outboards with unique character (for example Lexicon, Eventide) and rest from quality cards/software. Nothing more.

Hits are all that counts.
Old 29th April 2010
  #20
Gear Head
 

well, I suppose I do the work of the devil then. I've always been poor, always been in debt, always spent money frivolously. What can I say, I like drinking latte's and having my stuff sound nicer than I can afford.

For some people it's easier to get gear and pay it off than it is to save for gear that you may never get. Having the bank looming over my head for a loan payment is a nice motivational way of "retroactively saving".

There seem to be allot of people that frown on the idea of doing business this way; meh, late at night I sit back and cut into my mixes with some SSL gear and smile.

Edit: haha, didn't look at the dates.
Old 29th April 2010
  #21
How do these threads from five years ago get revived? Isn't there some kind of statute of limitations???
Old 29th April 2010
  #22
Lives for gear
 
gussyg2007's Avatar
Took a loan out 15 years ago with the intention of paying it back real soon, it took allot longer than i thought but it's paid off many moons ago and all of the analog gear i bought then has gone too .
But on the other hand it put me in the game and now i earn enough money to get what i want and pay my mortgage , i own all my equipment
But here in the UK they arts council are running a scheme called "take it away"
in which you can take an interest free loan out with the arts council and the government pay the interest ' you can walk into participating music shops get what you want put a deposit down and walk out with your gear No brainer really ,got myself a roland e kit last year just got myself a music man stingray 5 !!!! nice thumbsup
Old 29th April 2010
  #23
Registered User
 

learn to diy that way the expense doesn't come all at once and you have newer gear sooner not to mention having the worlds best gear at a fraction of the cost doesn't hurt either example say you want new preamps you could fork over $3,140.75 for 4 api pres or through the magic of diy kits you could have 8 for 2,952.00 in kit form! the upfront cost of an api pre in lunch box form that would give you the option for 8 at a later date would be 800 for a 10 slot rack and 760 for 1 channel so 1,560 for 1 preamp or you could pay just 650.00 for 1 channel if you diy and 329
for each aditional preamp thats a huge price diffrence for an evning with a soldering iron my friend. heh
Old 29th April 2010
  #24
Gear Addict
 

Anyway I can, it usually involves going more into debt!
VP
Old 29th April 2010
  #25
Gear Guru
 
Jeezo's Avatar
Cash here , i jsut wait until i'm straight and buy it , sell what i don't need no more ....same advise , wait and buy godd gear , i take my time ....i don't drink , don't smoke , don't go to clubs and all , i'm just addicted to music and gear
Old 29th April 2010
  #26
Lives for gear
 
dabigfrog's Avatar
 

rob banks, kidnap pets, smuggle drugs, cook speed, insurance scams....... lots o ways to get money for gear!

just kidding. buy used. buy what you need, not what you want. wait for the hype to die on new gear and get it bumped and ugly if the hype was real... if the hype was hype that gear should be slightly used all over the place, but why would you want it if no one else is buying into its worth.

everything in our studio we bought used.

save your dough and pay cash.

I hang out at busy intersections at 5pm with a cardboard sign that says "will work for gear, hungry for german mics, God Bless"
Old 29th April 2010
  #27
Here for the gear
 
miket156's Avatar
 

Stay debt free...the banks can't manage money any better than the Fed Govt.

I use to borrow money to buy gear back in the dark ages. I still have some of that gear. What I have still works great and I take care of what I have.

When I was working a full time job I paid off my house early, I run my vehicle until it rusts out and can't be inspected before I buy another one. I NEVER buy new vehicles. I do my research and shop around for a decent used vehicle that had one or two owners only, and look for a vehicle that the owner(s) kept service records. If not, that makes me very suspicious if it was taken care of properly. I put money aside and buy with cash in hand. Money talks and BS walks. If you find a vehicle you want, negotiate with the owner with money sitting in your wallet. People that want to sell a car want the money, so if you offer them less than what they want they are more willing to bargain if you're ready to buy now.

As I have gotten older, I have had difficulty getting a real good paying job, so I live cheaply, only buy what I need, cook my own meals (I eat out once in a while as a treat) and hardly drink anymore. No drugs.

Having cash in hand works when buying gear as well as when buying a car. I research anything I'm interested to death; listen to demos, read posts on forums, gets lots of opinions. Once I decide I shop around for the best deal from a reputable dealer. If you call or walk into a store that has what you want, they will negotiate with someone that is ready to buy now too. Never buy a model when it first comes out. Wait until it matures. Then the bugs are worked out and the price will be lower than when it is first released. If you're poor, you will not throw money away.

Cheers,


Mike T.
Old 29th April 2010
  #28
Deleted User
Guest
cash....buy/sell/trade.
Old 29th April 2010
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Turdadactyl's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlugHead View Post
My .02 cents (with interest @ prime +2% is .0202 cents)
Umm, wouldn't that be .0204?

Enough financial advice out of you!
Old 30th April 2010
  #30
Gear Addict
 
drummerboy1533's Avatar
 

Method#1:don't get married.If you're married,then refer to method#2.(do I EVEN have to describe it?!?
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