Keeping Up with the Jones

The equipment arms race will never be over–and that is a good thing.
Music has always been driven by technological change (amongst many other factors).
Valves were added to brass in the early 19th century,
for instance. Electric guitar appears in the mid 20th century and synthesizer,
samplers and digital technology followed. There are always new interfaces,
new toys, new software, speakers and microphones. Access to good teck
stuff is a positive—sometimes just a new sound library can
kick start a composer out of a period of bad mojo.

The other side of the race is the addiction and pressurized environment
that can can darken it. Keeping up with the latest, greatest is not
always all it is made out to be. One way to confirm
this is to go back and listen to great records made 10 years
ago, or 25, or 40 or even 60 years
ago. Rubber Soul still sounds perfectly fine to me
–done on a 4 track analogue machine.

We all learn with and from our gear. If you know how to get great
results from a set up, it is not always a positive or necessary thing
to “switch up.” If something works well for you, keep using it.
Adding to a system gradually is usually pretty safe. Wholesale
leaps can be scary and demanding. I can honestly say I regret
dumping my old Roland 760 sampler and the 8 bit Roland drum samples.
They were just dirty enough and sent out through an analogue board
and a dbx 163x, the kick and sn popped like nothing I have heard since.
You can hear them on my heavy metal and are rock sounding
cues for Biker Build Off. And hey, a 57 on a guitar amp is still the THING.

Old is not a derogatory word in music technology—old guitars are priceless.
We spend lots of money
on emulations of old gear not because the old stuff was terrible.

Before stressing to keep up with the Jones equipment-wise,
slow down, pick a couple of things
that are tantalizing and be additive…
or….. just buy that old Telecaster you’ve been dreaming of.