It takes time, experience, and self-awareness to begin to develop an understanding of who we are as artists. More than you would think at face value. Today, I was thinking back on one of the first threads to ever appear on this site “Did Brandon get it right when rebelling against high end gear” and how my opinions on this have changed in the last few months. Then it hit me right between the eyes…that all the questions about what is or isn’t necessary to record music, to produce records, to mix film audio etc… all comes down to how we first define ourselves and our goals as artists.
Continued from the thread: What it feels like to be an amateur looking at professional gear.
The major change in mindset came when Eric taught me to better evaluate the context before making truth claims about gear.
In the preamp thread, he used the analogy of building blocks and insisted that the blocks in isolation have no real meaning. Meaning requires 2 things…and architect and a structure to give the blocks context. Imagine playing with Legos, even a rare, expensive, specialized block is only as valuable as the architect deems it to be (talking value to the project not monetary fair-market price). What he was saying about judging gear in ‘context’ is if its not YOUR lego structure being assembled, then the value of any given brick in that structure is not your call to make. And you can’t conclusively evaluate that until you’ve have tested that block out in your own lego building.
Some people can not afford that special lego block(s) and MUST make do without it (which is completely understandable). Some CAN afford it but deem it unworthy/unncessary/unpractical to their creation, which is also reasonable. As for you (Paul), your lego buildings heavily utilize special blocks on a regular basis (referring to your outboard gear). My buildings don’t, so I rent high-dollar special (analog) lego blocks as I need them for my lego castles on a project by project basis.
Because in the past I’ve failed to properly consider context. Where I erred in my reasoning was insisting MY blocks are better and anyone who disagrees has obviously never tried them. Dick-headeness of that statement aside, even if I’d phrased it more considerately, the logic still would have been incorrect.
“it” matters insofar as you decide ‘it’ does. I decided I prefer to record drums in high dollar rooms and hire grammy winning tracking engineers (much better than myself) to maximize the results. So ‘it’ (as in high end rooms/high end mics/$100k+ consoles) matters to me for the whole 4 hours out of the month that I occasionally need to rent them. Yet ‘it’ matters to me ~only if~ I have an engineer I really trust doing all the heavy lifting. The two go hand in hand. Take away his multi-million dollar rig, downgrade that engineer to a home studio, and I may as well do the damn thing myself. I don’t need a grammy winning engineer to assist me in plugging 12 Shure drum mics into a Presonus Firestudio. My point is that is whether ‘it’ matters IS NOT a cut-and-dry question. You must always preface that question with 'what is IT?’, and 'to whom does it matter?’ and 'in what specific context?’.
I say don’t sweat it. If you have no compelling financial need to migrate ITB, maintain your hybrid workflow until your market begins to indicate you should do otherwise, then adapt accordingly.