Philosophy: Good gear doesn't make a good artist?
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Old 18-06-2017, 01:19 PM   #1
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Philosophy: Good gear doesn't make a good artist?

Philosophy: Good gear doesn't make a good artist?

So this question spring to my mind as I've acquired a slight "gear lust" again. As well as, because I'm always cynical to artists who ruthlessly use e.g. the products of other artists (mainly super high-quality sample libraries that have almost "finished track/theme" built into them) to fuel their own artistry.

Eventhough I consider myself versed in understanding differences between gear (what it does, what it doesn't do, what's more suitable than some other), one can always speculate, whether one's trying to replace "having to do some effort" using existing tools with newer gear.

Of course it's not a bad thing if some new gear allows one to get more easily, what one's looking for. But occasionally some people might find that they have not really even explored their existing tools properly. E.g. many people that think that effects that are built in DAWs are unsatisficatory and they must purchase high-quality 3rd party plug-ins right away. That they're replacing their incompetence or laziness with new gear.

Can good gear create e.g. good mixers or does skill supercede gear to some extent? I.e. that with the right skills, one can produce marvellous results, even with very modest gear.

I believe that yes, one can be skillful with modest gear and produce marvellous results. In the same way, someone not that skilled might be able to come up with good results, if the gear is designed to "produce good results without much effort".

But I also believe that excellent quality gear is most beneficial to those that have already mastered the fundamentals (even if using lower end gear). A not that skilled mixer cannot use even the best gear to bring out the best of the material, if he/she doesn't know how to best apply it.

Last edited by soundmodel; 18-06-2017 at 01:25 PM..

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Old 18-06-2017, 01:32 PM   #2
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Re: Philosophy: Good gear doesn't make a good artist?

Also, I believe that there's a thing of overestimating the effect that some particular gear has. I believe what means to the results more than what gear is used, is that one has dialed the correct things. Even a high-fidelity EQ will not sound good, if one dials wrong equalization with it. Whereas one could get better results with any basic DAW channel EQ, if just the adjustments are correct ones.

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Old 18-06-2017, 02:05 PM   #3
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Re: Philosophy: Good gear doesn't make a good artist?

You should read the hardware thread.
Some people have all the gear and no idea.
Others have all the inspiration and no money.
I like the music I like whatever it's made with, but it can be impressive to hear music done with very little equipment and it can be nice to drool over mega studios with every piece of gear you can imagine.
You have to carve out your own approach, and don't worry if that approach changes and evolves over time too.
Just don't go down the route of thinking that some people "deserve" the stuff they have and others don't because that's usually bs.
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Old 18-06-2017, 02:12 PM   #4
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Re: Philosophy: Good gear doesn't make a good artist?

What piece of hardware produces good results with little effort? Sign me up for the beta

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Old 18-06-2017, 03:03 PM   #5
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Re: Philosophy: Good gear doesn't make a good artist?

Listen to the demo tracks for this sequencer for the Sony PSP

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Old 18-06-2017, 04:39 PM   #6
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Re: Philosophy: Good gear doesn't make a good artist?

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Originally Posted by soundmodel View Post
But I also believe that excellent quality gear is most beneficial to those that have already mastered the fundamentals (even if using lower end gear)
This. Some people places look like NASA control center and yet when you listen to their music it's like, da fuk is dis boy
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Old 18-06-2017, 05:02 PM   #7
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Re: Philosophy: Good gear doesn't make a good artist?


So that's why your music sounds so cheap!



I'M JOKING





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Old 18-06-2017, 05:04 PM   #8
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Re: Philosophy: Good gear doesn't make a good artist?

I'm probably guilty as charged by lolirl. I like to play with gear, it's part of the appeal to me. It's not making me any better, but I sure as hell have fun with it. Skill and talent are important, but I always get the sense that it may at times be overemphasized.

To play a violin well takes a tremendous amount of practice. While I've not tried it myself, friends in college did, and even after years of practice it sounded rough.

Electronic music has lowered the barrier for entry, I think. It's more about tinkering, guided by some basic understanding of music theory. 90% of what I listen to really isn't all that involved. It's more about this or that sound. That doesn't mean it won't take a certain amount of skill. There is also the feel for the music. To recognize what works.

These days you have samplers that play any scale you want, any chord you need. They measure BPM, and there's tools that determine scales. It sounds a lot like such gear makes things easier.

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Old 18-06-2017, 05:06 PM   #9
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Re: Philosophy: Good gear doesn't make a good artist?

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So that's why your music sounds so cheap!
Hahahahaha.
If I was finlandian..finlander, finish, i would have money and my control room. Since I live in balkan, I have to convince myself this is all I need.

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Old 18-06-2017, 05:09 PM   #10
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Re: Philosophy: Good gear doesn't make a good artist?

Yes. I specifically want to know what gear produces good results with minimal effort? Besides those "song in a can" sample packs you can buy, I can't think of a single thing. Its obviously all about skill. If you hand a complete newb a drool-worthy mega studio or just a laptop with a DAW and some free vsts they won't make anything very good with either set of tools. Hand either to a "master" and they are very likely to come up with something great with both.

As for myself, I do own a few pretty nice pieces of gear, but I'm certainly no expert and my efforts are probably only mediocre overall. The gear isn't making my music better. But its my hobby and I've figured out how to afford a few nice items. Its how I prefer to work.

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Old 18-06-2017, 05:20 PM   #11
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Re: Philosophy: Good gear doesn't make a good artist?

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Yes. I specifically want to know what gear produces good results with minimal effort? Besides those "song in a can" sample packs you can buy, I can't think of a single thing. Its obviously all about skill. If you hand a complete newb a drool-worthy mega studio or just a laptop with a DAW and some free vsts they won't make anything very good with either set of tools. Hand either to a "master" and they are very likely to come up with something great with both.

As for myself, I do own a few pretty nice pieces of gear, but I'm certainly no expert and my efforts are probably only mediocre overall. The gear isn't making my music better. But its my hobby and I've figured out how to afford a few nice items. Its how I prefer to work.
Tbh, I don't really see the point of this thread..it's kinda obvious that the gear you have doesn't translate into giving you any sort of advantage in real terms when it comes to producing music. It's not about the gear..it's about what you can do with the setup you have..and knowing how to work with the level of limitations the setup in question imposes on you.

It's like driving..it doesn't matter if you own a Rolls or a Mini..YOU are the driver and you drive them both to the best of your ability. The optional leather trim might look nice, but it won't stop you from making mistakes if you don't know what you're doing.

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Old 18-06-2017, 05:24 PM   #12
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Re: Philosophy: Good gear doesn't make a good artist?

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Originally Posted by Mario D View Post
..I have to convince myself this is all I need.

..and it is..though I totally get it's really nice to be able to own all the high end gear out there..what you have is more than enough to do the job..and what a fine job you're doing with it, too. Kudos

Last edited by A.M; 18-06-2017 at 05:31 PM..

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Old 18-06-2017, 05:49 PM   #13
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Re: Philosophy: Good gear doesn't make a good artist?

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Tbh, I don't really see the point of this thread..it's kinda obvious that the gear you have doesn't translate into giving you any sort of advantage in real terms when it comes to producing music. It's not about the gear..it's about what you can do with the setup you have..and knowing how to work with the level of limitations the setup in question imposes on you.

It's like driving..it doesn't matter if you own a Rolls or a Mini..YOU are the driver and you drive them both to the best of your ability. The optional leather trim might look nice, but it won't stop you from making mistakes if you don't know what you're doing.
The main point of this thread is to get a few folk's blood boiling and to then gently fan the flames

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Old 18-06-2017, 05:57 PM   #14
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Re: Philosophy: Good gear doesn't make a good artist?

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The main point of this thread is to get a few folk's blood boiling and to then gently fan the flames
Isn't it always. :problemofficer:

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Old 19-06-2017, 10:01 PM   #15
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Re: Philosophy: Good gear doesn't make a good artist?

Knowing how to use the gear you have and beng able to get unique sounds is key

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Old 19-06-2017, 10:04 PM   #16
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Re: Philosophy: Good gear doesn't make a good artist?

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Knowing how to use the gear you have and beng able to get unique sounds is key
Use uncommon/unpopular gear and obscure third party presets. Run through a few good FX on their presets, tweak a few knobs, good to go.

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Old 19-06-2017, 10:27 PM   #17
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Re: Philosophy: Good gear doesn't make a good artist?

Here are some analogies..

Does having a word processor make you write a better story?

Does having more crayon colors make you a better illustrator?

Does having a bigger vocabulary make you a better storyteller.


A person's artistic vision will expand to fill its container. If a person doesn't have a vision, expect drivel.

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Old 20-06-2017, 05:37 AM   #18
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Re: Philosophy: Good gear doesn't make a good artist?

It may or may not.

Tools are nothing without time spent in one's craft.

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Old 20-06-2017, 06:49 AM   #19
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Re: Philosophy: Good gear doesn't make a good artist?

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Originally Posted by Vault O))) View Post
What piece of hardware produces good results with little effort? Sign me up for the beta
Not just hardware, software as well.

A lot of the sample libraries or virtual instruments that are used by e.g. media composers are pretty trivial and give million dollar sounds. E.g. Spectrasonics products.

Surely I cannot think of mixing tools that would allow such ease of use, but in fact, if the material is already mixed (like it's in some samplers), then there's necessarily really not much to adjust either. That is, someone has already done that for you.

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Old 20-06-2017, 07:35 AM   #20
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Re: Philosophy: Good gear doesn't make a good artist?

I think with digital creative media there is a certain level of quality that you just need. For example, high bitrate / dynamic range I/O for audio, RAW image formats for photography, etc. But these are so mature now that you don't need to go out and buy a bunch of fancy shit to have tools capable of working with these formats.

But as far as substance. Hell no! I can think of a thousand artists who have made brilliant productions on shit gear. I can think of two thousand who have made brilliant music with shit production. Does it matter? Not really.

What matters is that you make something with what you've got...

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