Notes on gear lust/stripped back studio

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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duluxdog
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Notes on gear lust/stripped back studio

Post by duluxdog » Tue Sep 02, 2008 4:45 pm

Thought some of you might find this interesting:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jun04/a ... ?print=yes

'Avoiding The Traps

Born in Venezuela, Miguel Depedro was raised in San Diego, California. By his teenage years, he'd developed a keen interest in recording and sound synthesis, and so he enrolled himself in studio courses at a local community college. "I had an awesome professor who played me stuff like Steve Reich and really influenced me and was a great guy," Depedro recalls. "Studio-wise, it was just an analogue quarter-inch eight-track, a Mackie board and eventually an ADAT, with some MIDI sequencing off to Mac Classics running Digital Performer. I had better stuff at my house, but the whole process of being in a studio and miking stuff and getting strange samples was really cool and influential. I quickly became an intern and would spend the night doing lots of crazy feedback and tape-loop experiments."
kid606.s

Like so many others from his generation, by the time Depedro was 18, he'd seized upon the mouse and keyboard as his primary instruments. "It wasn't till I got a computer that things really started to come together for me musically and I could catalogue and collate ideas and sounds and basically 'design' music like a designer would create something, rather then simply capture and record it," he says. "I learned tons about digital editing within the first couple of years of having a computer, which is what allows me to do things quickly now."

With an impressive back catalogue and a new full-length album (Kill Sound Before Sound Kills You) to promote, it's obvious that Depedro isn't at a loss for material these days. He wasn't always this prolific, though, a failing he puts down to a fascination with equipment for its own sake. "I was a serious f**king gear whore as a kid," he admits. "I lived off of buying and trading gear for years, searching pawn shops, thrift stores, newspaper ads, you name it. And then I'd just play around for the fun of it and never finish much."

Because he was more impatient and far less technically inclined than Depedro, Kidwell never fell into that trap, but he's seen others falter creatively because of gear lust, or — more accurately — because of the fear of failure that gear lust handily conceals. "There wasn't an electronic music scene in Baltimore, but pretty much everyone I knew who made music was stuck in this thing of like 'Aw, next week I'm getting this, and then I'm gonna make these tracks that'll blow your mind!' and the next week you'd see this person again and they'd be like 'Hey, do you wanna buy this thing I bought, cause I gotta get this other thing,' and they'd never make a f**king track," he laughs.

"So immediately, from the outset, once I got into software I said: I am not gonna be one of those techie gear nerd dudes. I write songs. I didn't get into electronic music because I wanted to innovate some new crazy s**t that no-one had ever heard before, but because I wanted to be the whole band myself. I didn't want to deal with some idiot with a bass guitar in his hand going 'Why am I playing this part like this?'"

It's a problem, he contends, that has been exacerbated by the wild proliferation of cracked software floating around on the Internet. Kidwell remembers touring with Depedro for the first time: "We were running into guys all over the place who wanted to talk about crazy software, and the software talk was even worse than the gear. At least the gear dudes had to work a job and physically buy something and physically have room for it. A software addiction, though — you could just get that shit pirated and then you've gotta spend six weeks learning it and then you get something else and you gotta spend six weeks learning that. Those people are in even more of a weird limbo purgatory of never producing anything listenable."'

The whole article is pretty good and worth reading.

abletoff
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Post by abletoff » Tue Sep 02, 2008 5:08 pm

Good read indeed
Live 9 Suite, audio trackles (several audio tracks that crackle)
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Hidden Driveways
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Post by Hidden Driveways » Tue Sep 02, 2008 5:38 pm

Interesting stuff, but not the best advice for the whole planet. I own a lot of gear. My studio is not stripped down. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger. In fact, I'm tempted to invest my life savings in vintage gear because it appreciates a lot faster than certificates of deposit.

If I had my way my studio would be much larger with a lot more gear. How many tracks have I finished recently? Well, not many. Okay none. I still feel like I'm learning. When I mess around and come up with some sounds - I get into it, but I'm not there yet. Each thing I learn gets incorporated into what I do. I'm growing.

I didn't get into this so I could build a prolific catalog. I got into this to make the kind of music I want to hear. Whatever the quantity winds up being in the end is irrelevant.

sweetjesus
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Post by sweetjesus » Tue Sep 02, 2008 5:46 pm

im all for the cut down approach

i use 1 or 2 softsynths for just about everything i do nowdays..

cool article but what got me confused was this part:

"606 is really into Reaktor. It's been a year and a half since I tried to mess with it, and I really didn't know what I was doing at all. It didn't seem intuitive, although it probably is — I mean, I'm a blockhead. Maybe if I looked at it now, I'd get it more"

that doesn't sound like 'really into reaktor' to me..

jgerry
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Post by jgerry » Tue Sep 02, 2008 5:50 pm

Tools are just tools. What the article is saying is that you can spend so much time learning about the tools that you don't have time to make music. I spent plenty of wasted time learning about Cubase, then Logic, now Ableton Live. I'm sticking with Live, because even with its limitations, it's easy for me to work in.

My favorite things said about gear is from some interviews done with Pink Floyd, in their Live at Pompeii movie. If you've never seen it, it's great. From 1972! They had these problems even then. Anyway:
David Gilmour: "I don't think equipment could take over. We do rely on it alot. I mean... We couldn't do what we do as we do it without it. We could still do a good entertaining musical show I supposed without it but always things are down to how you control them and whether you are controling them and not the other way around."

Roger Waters: "Its just a question of using the tools that are available when they're available. And more and more now theres all kinds of electronic goodies which are available for people like us to use....If we can be bothered... and we can be bothered.

David Gilmour: "It's all extensions of what's coming out of our heads. And you've got to remember that you've got to have it inside of your head to get it out at all anyway. And the equipment isn't actually thinking of what to do any of the time. It couldn't control itself.

roach808
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Post by roach808 » Tue Sep 02, 2008 6:19 pm

Ah yes sweet sweet gear lust. Its something I had an issue with for many years back in the early 00's. Hell I had more random synths then I could shake a stick at. Eventually tho, I hit some $$$$ problems and had to sell alot of it, but i think in the end my productivity, creativity, and sound quality increased 10 fold. The simple fact was that I got so wrapped up in making my own patches for each synth, experimenting with layering sounds, blah, blah, blah I never really got around to completing any decent songs. Now I use a pretty striped down rig, with a few outboard pieces of gear and I couldn't be happier. I know what each one of my studio tools does, and I can turn a decent song out in a week no problem. Anyho, there is my 2cents on gear lust. Rather good read also, btw.
Last edited by roach808 on Tue Sep 02, 2008 6:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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MBP, Live Suite, and lots of nice analogue gear.

roach808
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Post by roach808 » Tue Sep 02, 2008 6:19 pm

*double post action*

opps, my bad beer up for me.
roach- the other white meat
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SMonk
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Post by SMonk » Tue Sep 02, 2008 6:28 pm

sweetjesus wrote:im all for the cut down approach

i use 1 or 2 softsynths for just about everything i do nowdays..

cool article but what got me confused was this part:

"606 is really into Reaktor. It's been a year and a half since I tried to mess with it, and I really didn't know what I was doing at all. It didn't seem intuitive, although it probably is — I mean, I'm a blockhead. Maybe if I looked at it now, I'd get it more"

that doesn't sound like 'really into reaktor' to me..
Read it again, paying attention to the quotation marks, and all shall be clear.

Machinesworking
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Post by Machinesworking » Tue Sep 02, 2008 7:15 pm

Honestly I'm going the opposite way completely. I've used 90% soft synths for about 7 years now, and recently purchased three synths, Wretch S-1000, Sequential Circuits Split-8 and an Oberheim Xpander. I realize a lot of people buy gear as a way to hide their insecurity about their writing/song completion, etc. but that's not me.
I just realized that I really really like analog, and tubes, that's all. Always have, probably always will. It shows in my sound, and I regret more upgrading my computers and purchasing tons of software than I do my hardware purchases. At his point CPU is not even close to a problem, and the more hardware I get the less of a problem. 8)
The main question I think you should always ask yourself is do you really think it (purchase) is worth incorporating into your sound? Will it work on more than 4 songs etc. ??

roach808
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Post by roach808 » Tue Sep 02, 2008 8:11 pm

Machinesworking wrote: I really really like analog, and tubes, that's all. Always have, probably always will.
My thoughts exactly.
roach- the other white meat
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http://www.themenacetosobriety.com/blog/
MBP, Live Suite, and lots of nice analogue gear.

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