Could You Be Getting Better Gear With Less Money?

The newest and fanciest equipment is always, oh-so desirable!

Isn’t it?

All those glossy print ads you see in the magazines or the demos on Youtube. It seems like they’re designed to make your mouth water sometimes.

But do you really need that new gear the moment it’s released? Couldn’t you use that money for something else?

Does the new update or version of your favorite interface or DAW automatically make your current one extinct?

I don’t think so.

Companies constantly update their software or gear. Their advertisements are designed to get you to spend more money. Usually on gear you already have.

If you’re already making decent sounding recordings with the gear you already have, why upgrade?

There are so many other ways you can upgrade your gear without buying the newest versions at full price. 

  1. Craigslist – Be on the lookout for locals in musical instrument section selling off their equipment. You can get some of the best deals on Craigslist.
  2. Ebay – Similarly, Ebay has second-hand gear that’s just as good as the newest thing on the market.

Usually, new products are just updated products. Unless it’s absolutely unique and innovative, with a patent that can’t be replicated for 17 years, then you don’t need it out of the box. However tempting it might be.

Cheaper and just-as-good-sounding gear is way more desirable to me than something new and shiny out of a box that does exactly the same.

Cost/Benefit Analysis

I’m an Economics major so I like thinking of purchases in terms of utility. Basically, how much “stuff” can I get out of a limited amount of resources, in this case, money.

I like thinking that more gear = better. Obviously, there are flaws in this argument. 5 cheap tube pre-amps are not better than one great one.

But on the whole, if I can get cheaper, but similar sounding gear with less money, I have more money to spend on other stuff.

And that’s where the punchline lies. If you buy the first generation interface that costs 50% less than the brand-new one that sounds almost the same, then you have 50% more money to spend on other stuff.

Instead of buying the newest microphone or pre-amp to make your recordings better, think about investing in your room instead. Think about the intangibles of your recordings. Think about how much better you can make your room sound with all that extra money.

Save your money from those second-hand purchases and invest them in yourself. Learn to make your room sound better.

Any gear will sound amazing in the hands of a skilled engineer working in a treated room.

If you’re struggling to understand acoustic treatment and how to get rid of that “home” sound from your home recordings, check out www.UnderstandingYourRoom.com.

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  • Andrew Bauserman

    The single most important thing I learned between my 2 Economics courses is the notion of “Opportunity Cost” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opportunity_cost
    Balances out my GAS (gear acquisition syndrome)…

    • http://audio-issues.com Björgvin Benediktsson

      opportunity cost is the reason I outsource everything I can’t do myself. It’s not worth it to me to learn when I can hire someone to do a better job while focusing on things I’m good at.

      Thanks for the comment!

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