Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Let The Music Dictate, Not The Gear

I was at a gig recently and I met a guy that was a studio owner and he obviously has access to a lot of resources. He went on and on about how he was building his second studio and how he had the best pro tools HD this and that and how by having this top of the line equipment he was going to have better mixes and make better records simply because he had this gear. It really served to remind me that the best and most valuable piece of equipment that we have is our ear and that we have to let the music dictate and not the gear. I don't care what kind of gear you have, if don't know how to make a record or better yet if you don't know how to write a good song then you are wasting your time. It's about capturing a feel and energy that exists in a particular moment. It seems that in the modern recording industry we are more concerned about the gear than we are what we record with the gear. There have been tons of hit records recorded on the simplest recording set ups. This top of the line gear in the right hands can yield very positive results but most of us don't have half a million to a million dollars to spend on a studio. The truth is that these days you can have a quality computer based recording set up for less than $3500.00. Which will include your software, interface, outboard compressor/pre amp, mic and some descent plug ins. It is important that we keep our focus on what's really important and that is writing great songs. The gear is only a means to an end to help us get the music recorded. Trust me, if you write a great song and you get a great mix, no one is going to say they don't like it because you didn't record it at 96k using the latest HD software and the wavs gold bundle (LOL). I have had records played on the radio and even on movie soundtracks that I recorded on sixteen track ADAT or on pro tools 32 track LE. You have to use what you have to get what you want. If you don't have a million dollar set up, just start from where you are. As a matter of fact, I think it's better to learn recording basics on a simple system where you can focus on good tracking, micing, leveling, understanding EQ and compression. When you get a basic grip of these things, it doesn't matter what system you use, these things will always apply. Remember Berry Gordy and Motown made records in the basement of a house with a very basic recoding set up and those records still sound as good today as anything being made now. That's because they focused on the song first and then getting the best performance out of the musicians and the artist. The gear was merely a vehicle to help achieve those goals. You want to have a quality set up just don't get to caught up in the latest this and that. You have to know what things YOU need to better help you reach your goals. You may not need 100 reverb or compressor plug ins. Just figure what you need and grow from there by letting the music dictate, not the gear. Continue to enjoy this beautiful process of making music.

The Truth

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