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

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


Looks like I had a similar journey to you, I first read about it there too. But I’m allergic to USB-based anti-piracy systems, so I went with Waves’ NLS and J37 rather than Slate.

I think the main thing is that transformer style subtle distortion helps things gel together. I kinda felt that anyway but it was rammed home to me a month ago when I was using the Kush transformer plugs on 8 tracks of close vocal harmonies. With the plugs on, it was easier to get a balance where you could hear all 8 voices yet they weren’t taking up tons of space in the mix and also felt like one cohesive whole.


I also notice a mentality that says “I can mix with anything, but I refuse to mix with shit gear”. CLA may favor SSL, but we’ve seen him sit down infront of a Neve and kick ass, and we’ve watched him mix entire sessions in a box. 2 bus and all. Pensado, Puig, Wells, Kramer, Schmidt, Massenberg, Sides…same story with all of them. I’ve tried hard over the last year to adopt the same m.o. Use what’s infront of you, make a quick decisive judgment on two factors: Take a compressor for example. Is it usable or not? It is right for the specific task or not? If no to either, figure something else out. Make a decision and don’t look back. So yes, I agree with you. I wanna be working with the best stuff I can, but no need to get into hot water over which EQ is ‘superior’.

I have a legitimate need for a huge mixer (or I will when the building gets done). And the needs are mainly workflow based. Either way, its not a debate over .01% of sonic superiority. I feel the gaming an cinematic world has outgrown that debate. I find it interesting that you seldom hear post production guys in pissing contests over preamps. And we’re content to use stuff (like avid preamps) that the music world largely considers shit. Its commonly accepted that everything’s digital, end of story.


That’s the difference between people who have jobs and make money doing vs people who tinker. When you do something and it’s your livelihood, you don’t really care what some guy on gearslutz thinks of your gear. Some people have work to do, and they have deadlines, and they aren’t interested in what a hobbyist has to say.

the issue with audio engineers is that nobody wants to feel like a hobbiest. For some reason, that’s an offensive term. You can be really great at recording and mixing and still be a hobbiest. If you aren’t making a living from it, your needs are different. This goes for pretty much anything.


The word “hobbyist” becomes a problem only when fake internet pros use the term as a derogatory attack. I think most of us are happy hobbyists. It’s not anything to be ashamed of. But when an internet scumbag tries to use the term in a dismissive manner, then it can offend people.


Except Curt Schilling… he used to troll his fan boards all the time when he was still playing. :wink:

But you’re spot on Greg-- definitely a happy hobbyist here!


Fair point. It’s kind of misleading though. Curt Schilling is completely broken as a human being in general. Pro or not, he’s a scumbag either way.


Oh my gawd do I agree with you there. I loved his playing style and ability, but damn is that guy a major douchebag.


[quote=“bozmillar, post:23, topic:322”]
When you do something and it’s your livelihood, you don’t really care what some guy on gearslutz thinks of your gear. [/quote]

As far as a value judgement? That’s absolutely right. Pro or not pro is irrelevant to me. Like…Fuck anyone who goes around telling other people they should feel bad because they don’t own a bunch of overpriced plugins. Good god…I mean…keep it to yourself. Really!

Why do you say that? Unless someone is in denial about their skill set? Perhaps no professional wants to feel like a hobbyist, but I can’t see why they would be called a hobbyist anyway? Isn’t it pretty cut and dry? Either they’re making a living at it, or they aren’t. Right?

I play chess for a hobby. I’m pretty good at it. I play in rated tournaments. But I’m under no delusion that I’m going to play against Magnus Carlson anytime soon. The same way with my love of cooking, alcohol, and cigars. All hobbies. I’m not the least big ashamed that I’m not a professional chef. So why is it some kind of big deal when a musician ‘just plays for fun’??? Hmmm. Interesting.

And I also very much agree with you that non-professionals can become extremely proficient in their craft. Ever seen the ‘amateur’ division of the Van Cliburn competition? Those pianists are CRAZY good!!! Like…ridiculous. To the extent that an untrained musician would even have a hard time picking out the professionals from the non-pros.



This is a very common theme. This is a very common theme in any industry that requires “breaking into.” People want to be discovered. And I get it. There are some days where I wish I could work with great bands in a great studio. But the truth is, there’s a lot more to that job than being able to mix a song.

It’s a hard industry to work in if you aren’t part of the in crowd. And that breeds a lot of insecurity.


Amen to that, you overspending hyperbolic idiot. (Just kidding)




Wow. That’s a brilliant summation of the arguments. Now … if you’d taken that attitude when you first started flooding RR with your expensive purchases. But you DIDN’T. You take the moral high ground.
Perhaps THAT was semantics, and I misread them.

But another ineteresting point raises it’s head here, and that’s about the people using the gear. Can THEY hear/spot the difference.

@ColdRoomStudio mentioned the subltey of the effect he hears when using Slate’s VCC which, as I understand it, gives (for him) credence to the high quality of analogue summing.

That suggests that ultimately, and given the cash, someone who CAN hear the differences might splash for analogue summing … certainly more expensive that ITB stuff and therefore (???) falling into high quality gear?

But if Joe Doe can’t HEAR that difference in the Slate emulation, why would he go and splash cash. And might he not see it as a waste of money?

So my point is: MANY MANY MANY people wiull not be able to tell the difference between high end gear than low end gear and to them, the former would be a complete waste of money and time.

I find it inretesting that foplks like algea and Pensado spend MINUTES on their videos saying things like: “You have to listen really carefully to hear the differeence”./

PS. JK: This is NOT a poke at you.


He might well. But is Joe Doe right?

Something I’ve learned is that some things that make the difference between a mix working or not are all but impossible to hear in isolation - just an accumulation of little problems that add up to my own dissatisfaction with how it sounds.

Though I would be the first to admit my experience there has been less about the quality of gear and more about my own skill in wielding the tools at hand. That said, the times I have been confronted with truly great gear - C12 mics, La2as, a Neve 8014 desk, Manley Massive Passive, whatever it happened to be, I have been left in no doubt that these tools in the hands of an expert are going to get the job done faster, better and with less unintended side effects than if I was doing the same task with a Rode NT-1, Samson S-com 4, and a Behringer Eurodesk with the built in EQ.

Even if, and this might sound insane, to disinterested ears the same part recorded through either chain would pretty much sound the same.


He’s “right” for HIM/HER and his wallet/satisfaction.

Whether a mix is “right” is purely subjective once you get beyond fundamentals like not being able to hear the vocalist bumping the mic stand mid verse etc,


Ah ha. That’s my mantra. Most of the public wouldn’t know the difference between something Pensdao mixes and something mixed in a bedsit in Clapham.


No, sorry John - that is an incorrect conclusion.


Wasn’t assuming YOU would. Badly worded.


Exactly, when you realize it’s just a box of parts, from parts catalogs that are available to every manufacturer in the world, some of the worship that people bestow on brands becomes a bit humorous, a bit sad.

Electronics isn’t magic. In the end we are pushing air around…
and now that 99% of music is MP3s played through earbuds, a large portion of the recording minutia that is discussed in essentially pointless.

I recall somebody strenuously arguing about how different compressors made mics perform differently, electrically and sonically. :cyclone:


I took Brandon’s comments on high end gear as food for thought, nothing else.
I agreed with him on clean preamps, but not preamps that added color. Measured electrically, a clean preamp would be considered better because it is not adding distortion to the signal, but in reality the color added by some preamps is considered audibly pleasing to the human ear.

The message I did agree with Brandon on is “don’t think a new expensive piece of gear is magically going to fix all of your problems” as many do and refuse to admit it because they just plonked down two grand on a box and confirmation bias is a powerful factor.

Another thing I have noticed is that you can get a better performance out of some musicians/vocalists if they see that you have high end gear. Not sure why, as I’m not a psychologist, but I think that would make for a excellent topic on this site.


Rap. Rappers are easily swayed by mics and Pro Tools. You want rap business? Figure out what mics they like and use Pro Tools. They will line up at your door not even knowing why. Pro Tools is probably the key ingredient. To them that means legit.