Was Brandon correct when he rebelled against spending money on recording gear?

Was Brandon correct when he rebelled against spending money on recording gear?


Wanted to add my 2 cents.
I’ve kind of gone the opposite direction, getting rid of lots of low to mid-end gear in favour of a few items of high end gear (some might debate im still buying ‘mid end’).

I think there are basically two things to consider:

  • Good music recorded on low end gear is always better than bad music on high end gear. The music is everything.
  • I think there is a price point above which you are no longer really paying for improvement in sound (with regards to noise, distortion, imaging etc). You are paying for different ‘flavours’ or more/innovative functionality.
    With that in mind, IMO, there is a big difference in quality between e.g a RODE NT1A mic and a TLM103, but less so between a TLM103 and U87 (note I am talking about quality of sound not whether they just sound different). You can probably swap the TLM103 for a slightly cheaper mic aswell, that was just the first that came to mind.


Same here. Though I do keep cheap stuff around (like a $13 talkback mic or a humble little Focusrite Scarlet) if the functionality and convenience trumps the necessity an upgrade.


imo…this question hinges on the meaning of “correct”…
correct as in making money by hyping up expensive stuff and getting more site advertisements?
correct as in being honest?
correct as in feeling ripped off?
correct as in factual?

I would say NO, YES, YES, YES

A sales guy once told me a joke…
Q "why dont the sales guys invite the engineers to the customer meetings?"
A: the engineers will tell the truth.

damn I miss Brandon spending all that money and comparing to cheap stuff and soundclips we could listen to and oscope pics and feeling ripped off…he was a hilarious writer too, great sense of humor imo. Ruprect left the show and that sucked…

Disappointment Series was a life changer for me as in shopping for the dream. Brando used his money and I benefited. The Rane Preamp vs the Martech was classic. SOS had the same blindfold results with the ART MPAII winning over high dollar gear. I was always convinced my gear was the reason so spending and trading was the obsession. Brando was so honest and funny.

Sweetwater has done the massive microphone clip compairson project that convinced me the $8000 mic is a waste of money. …but then Im not a “collector” requiring brand name museum pieces to impress others.


I don’t know if anyone noticed… He started re-loading his Recording Review youtube channel a few months ago.


thanks. july 2017 posted?

dang thats a huge huge amount of work!!! its great…the format is awesome and the Rants are my favorites but the info is there. When did he do all that?

insane amount of video’s. I went to the recordingreview twitter account. …it just has a million videos.

great stuff and no bullshit info


I was wondering why he put them up there. But if I’d put all that work into those videos, I would probably want to preserve it somewhere as well. I’m glad he did.


Haha!!! Bump lol


I liked Brandons anger and wording as if he was comparing gear and the elation and let downs that the gear didnt make magic happen…ahahaa but there was a lot of great stuff and his 1000 plus recordings gave him credibility and his product was great.

He said once maybe a degree would make him legit…but I always thought if he had a breakout band, it would mean more. Once the engineers and mixing dudes have that Big Name Band to associate to and ride that wave forever…like Pensdao and Clearmountain and the big names who recorded the big names.

I was looking up a GS “pro” who was always a fav of mine on gear suggestions but looking at his seminars these days hes not really had a billboard hit since the 1990’s or earlier. So the seminars and stuff probably fill in the income decrease in work…

what did Glyn Johns say “if the bands album goes # 1 its the band, if the album fails they get a new producer”

Brandon and the Behringer X32 was replacing stuff for ttracking and ITB was probably the way its heading an keeping a channel or two for mics is about all the rack gear a person needs if that. I never liked the Behringer stuff much in the Roland one button does three things and programming gear is fun…not to me.

Im more amazed how the Beatles sounded good with a mic and a small console and went to tape…using 10,000 plugins on a track seems to me the tracking sucks or something.

Jonathan…dang you dumped a bunch of cash on gear whats your rebel vote?
Is it all marketing hype? Is ITB and a Behringer X32 all thats really needed?

As a repair guy and costs needed for upkeep, hardware seems a mess of cash compared to ITB. with free plugins… do you use that Star Trek console a lot? all the channels?

Brendan …I wonder how his college is going, probably a couple years knocked out by now.


I’m gonna contradict myself from about 20 posts back because I’ve changed my mind on this one.

Yeah. Brandon had a valid reason to rebel against it. Namely for him, the stuff didn’t make a difference. The reason I now believe his opinion is valid (at least as far as his API and Martec preamps were concerned) is that he DID ‘battle test’ them. If you look back at what Eric said…this means that he used them in his own environment, on a project for which he had a vested interest and was in the drivers seat of that projects creative vision.

My take on this is that for HIM to say that X32 was the best way to go for HIM, bravo. I have more appreciation for a person that makes the decision to roll with low end gear than I ever have in the past.

I know. Crazy! Isn’t it?? :slight_smile:

There’s a lot to keep up with even when you’re ITB. Updates, upgrades, crashes, bugs, hardware driver problems, A/V synchronization errors, connectivity incompatibility (USB 3…firewire…thunderbolt), digital patchbay drama, hard drive backups, external word clock issues, operating system problems… the list goes ON! Remember that a small hybrid rig is still much simpler than a full blow digital rig.

I use that mixer often, but not as regularly as some of my colleagues. lol…I have yet to work a project where I need all 700 channels haha.


LOL – bump! Brandon’s product was Killer Home Recording. That sets the context.

Think back to the old days – their gear was gate, EQ, Compression, Limiter and Reverb. Done with tubes, discrete transistors and literal metal plates. Old single-coil strat guitars, all running to magnetic tape. Ribbon mics so delicate that if you breathed on them too hard they were toast.

Yet that sort of gear was sufficient to record hit after hit after hit. It started with excellent performances from talented performers in what passed (in the 50’s and 60’s) for rooms with good acoustics. All the rest was just application of skill. Listen to Joplin’s Crimson and Clover … OMFG.

I think that given the improvement in electronics design and manufacturing processes – that the boards, interfaces, compressors, headphones, speakers, amps and mics we have today at modest cost are every bit as good as the best that were available to record Buddy Holly or Elvis Presley. Or Black Sabbath.

Obviously, today’s high-end gear is light years ahead of what they had back then too, and no doubt better than the modest priced gear I have. And no doubt it makes a difference in the hands of an expert.

But when someone is cranking a CD in their car travelling at 65 mph passing by a big rig, or have reduced the quality anyway by converting to mp3 so they can listen while lifting weights … I’m not sure the listener would know the difference assuming a high degree of skill was applied.

I’m remembering dropping by a Guitar Center to pick up an amp, and hearing this absolutely amazing guitar. Some kid was playing the hell out of that thing and it sounded like heaven. It was one of those $200 chinese strats. Probably wasn’t even properly setup. But the kid was a damned master of his art. HE sounded better on a $200 guitar than I would on a guitar of infinite price.

I’m reminded of karate sparring competitions. Even at a black belt level, I rarely employ anything I learned after green belt. But those green belt techniques that I use are applied with a much higher degree of expertise than I had when I first learned them at green belt – there is a lot of nuance and body mechanics that just come from practice.

And that’s where I think Brandon was coming from. In a home recording context, by making excellent performances followed by mastering the basics, playing with it, getting experience, trying over and over again, discarding what doesn’t work and trying again – you can build the skill to use today’s modestly priced gear to make really great home recordings that are good enough for most listening contexts that only a truly knowledgeable audiophile can tell the difference.


Hey man. Great thoughts! Everyone has a different take-away from those days :slight_smile:

Great analogy… similarly, I use very little music theory beyond what I learned in my first year. Concert level pianists play a lot of the same repertoire undergrads play. The proficiency level is just much higher. Its not about learning ‘advanced’ piano technique in college (though you do to a certain extent). Its about becoming very very good at standard repertoire. I never studied Karate but I did study Judo and Akido as a kid. They taught me all the throws and joint locks in my first 2 years. The belts weren’t about knowing more throws. They were much more a mark of experience.