Using garbage gear with great gear is sooo fun

I am blessed to have a pretty amazing set up. I have fantastic sounding rooms and plenty of toys. One thing I’ve been noticing is that I have really had a ton of fun using less expensive gear that is supposed to sound bad.

For example. I have 3 studio drum sets that are awesome to record. I had an R&B session and ended up using a very cheap kit tuned really dead. It made the sound of the tracks just sit really well.

The other day while tracking a country guitar player he had a great tone happening with a G&L guitar. When we went to do another rhythm guitar we tried using another expensive guitar that sounded great on its own. We tried a bunch and ended up with a really cheap guitar that sounded bad on its own but was so different from the G&L it was prefect for the song.

Another example. I have a few cheap (and I do mean cheap) ribbon mics that likely have stretched ribbon elements etc. I usually use them on room mic’s but I’ve been close micing a ton of sources with them lately to just add some bottom end to the tone. It is crazy cool sounding and far better then any eq. I’ve also found that some of the vintage bullet mic’s I have are really cool for mid rangy things. They would typically be thought of as crap mics from a fidelity standpoint.


Almost makes you want to hit the yard sale circuit, eh?

Seriously, I love those kinds of surprises. To me it’s more rewarding than buying the expensive stuff

This is a fantastic part of recording! Those little idiosyncrasies are what we chase as engineers, I’d say.

that is fun to read. It is something i hope to be able to try some day. For now I go with well the only thing i have, cheap stuff.

I’ll say it again.

You @Paul999 amaze me. How come cheap = garbage?

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I think, at least for guitars, there is one instrument for every situation…my 200 bucks classic guitar sounds awesome for country finger picking and add something different to the riff that my, normally better, 1500 bucks Takamine doesn’t seem to deliver.

It seems to be less true for electric guitars…then the cheap amp is the way go. Having ten small cheap amps seems to be more versatile than one big stack when recording.

I assume it will be the case for any kind of accoustic instrument…

Well, My cheap and your cheap are going to be different things, same as your garbage is different then my garbage, and someones’ expensive is going to be different from the next guy’s expensive. I think you are overreacting. @Coquet-Shack

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[quote=“cptfiasco, post:8, topic:803”]
I think you are overreacting. @Coquet-Shack
@cptfiasco NO! I asked a question. Paul’s post implies that my gear is all garbage and in so doing, he is rudely dismissive of those folks who have NO CHOICE but to rely on what he sees as “Cheap” gear.

If Paul is allowed to put that viewpoint, SURELY an open discussion allows me to challenge that description.


Calling cheap gear “garbage” is certainly hyperbole, but It sounds to me like he is saying:

  • It really isn’t garbage since it is useful

  • He has plenty of cheap gear himself.


I see how you can draw that conclusion. I do not mean to say any one that has less expensive gear is using garbage. My actual message is that there is a place for everything.

I will use another analogy. I do most of my own renovating. I have drastically different needs then a commercial contractor. Some of the tools they use and love don’t make financial sense to me because I am not doing the scale of work that they are. A lot of the tools I use they would consider garbage because they wouldn’t last 6 months on the job with them. For me it is a lifetime purchase because I will do the 6 months worth of work they will do over my lifetime. It is sometimes great a financial move to buy a less expensive product.

My other point that was not expressed very well is that some of the gear I described actually sounds like garbage to me on its own. In a good mix there is a place for that sometimes. It adds something that “expensive gear” doesn’t. Also there are many times that expensive gear sounds like garbage.


Quite right. I absolutely LOVE my hardware behringer 4 channels compressors. They are considered “garbage” and from an optical perspective I hate having them in my racks. From a sound perspective the only thing that works better on electric guitar buss that I’ve tried is my manley vari-mu. Since I don’t have 6 Manley vari-mu’s I use the behringers. In fact these behringers would be in my top 5 “don’t want to mix without” compressors.