Gear Elitism and Reactionary Guilt.

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soundguy
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Gear Elitism and Reactionary Guilt.

Post by soundguy » Thu Oct 02, 2003 2:16 pm

Id say on any given day of them week, I tend to back my opinions with an elitist attitude, but Im convicted about some stuff and you know, its not for everyone, whatever. There is one thing that seems to come up here often and ultimately, I just sort of dont get it. Instead of totally hijacking the DL thread, I'll put it here.

Why is it that when you make mention of the N word there is always some dude with a chip on his shoulder (or not) that has to make some comment about gear snobbery and elitism? When you break it down I think Neve made a fair share of perfectly shitty sounding gear but when you reference Neve, or worse, advertise your studio with Neve, it almost doesnt matter, its just assumed that it is good.

The dividing attitude that often comes up here is really confusing to me and ultimately, so far as I can tell, nothing but counterproductive. It doesnt appear that there are too many folks around here that are out to tell you that if you use X gear, your shit will automatically suck no matter what. But there is a camp that always reacts with, if you are using this elitist stuff, you are a snob. This coming from a backbone of interest on how to make the best possible recording, it really is incredibly confusing to me.

considering that everything about recording is an amplifier of some sort, every step of the way, logic would dictate that you'd want to plug your shit into some box that has some amplifier design in there worth a damn. Some companies made gear that was designed to just sound the way the designer wanted it to sound at whatever cost and other companies made gear that was designed to meet a price point no matter what the sound. Both of these items have a %100 solid platform in this world each with a specific merit and application.

I see peoples reactions to this as just really shallow and reactionary. What would you say to the dude, sitting with a stratocaster bashing all the les paul players and trashing les pauls, but then banging his head in the process trying to lay down a strat track that sounded like a les paul? I dont see this too different from the dude who is going to ask for advice on how to get the best sound, get given some advice, charge that the advice is bound in snobbery and then attempt to get his cost designed gear to sound like pristine audio designed gear. It just makes no sense to me.

Yes, the shit costs money. And to do it "right" or for this argument, "the snob way" it takes ALL KINDS of cash but you know, just because someone designed something beautiful and all you can afford is a piece of shit why do people have to then have this punk rock guilt about being attracted to the really great sounding stuff that costs a fortune?

I started out on a mackie and graduated to a ghost and cant wait to get rid of this thing and get something better. Neither of these boards are unusable, people make records on them every day of the week, but in the end it is impossible to deny that consoles like this are not designed to sound good, they are designed to allow people like us to make records. It's almost silly to argue that point. But what I find really damaging is the indolent attitude towards gear that is clearly designed to sound good, it seems logical to me that anyone that is serious about recording would naturally gravitate towards the best signal path that there can be and Im totally at a loss to understand how gear snobbery fits into this equation at all. I know for a fact that my bottom end will ALWAYS be compromised by the soundcraft ghost I mix on for no other reason than that is the way that it is DESIGNED. If I mixed through a better sounding console, Im quite confident Id have a better sounding mix. Its all about the components you put your sound through.

I think regardless of our tastes in music or our musical goals, we are all likely striving for the same core elements when we make a recording. You can achieve this end on any variety of gear. With snob gear, its pretty easy, you plug it in and it usually tends to sound very good or at least requires LESS finger fucking to get it to sound the way you want. On affordable gear it seems like you have to work 100 times as hard to get similar results from the snob scenario. With as hard as it is to get the ideas in the brain to come out of the speakers, that finger fucking knob turning interface should be as fluid and painless and FAST as possible, but when you gravitate towards that direction you are looked at from some people as lazy or riddled with snobbery. This just doesnt seem to me to be a productive attitude in the quest to making the coolest shit ever. But you know, what do I know. I just know what I like. Bummer for me everything I think sounds good usually costs a fortune and weighs a ton.

When did it get uncool to try to do things the best that you can?

ah. venting. already. bummer.

dave

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Re: Gear Elitism and Reactionary Guilt.

Post by joeysimms » Thu Oct 02, 2003 2:23 pm

???

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Re: Gear Elitism and Reactionary Guilt.

Post by Meriphew » Thu Oct 02, 2003 2:47 pm

If I have the option to cut a record on a Neve 8068 with all top of the line mics and outboard, I'll choose that any day of the week over a Mackie 24/8 Bus and a couple of Shure mics. However - If I wasn't able to get my paws on top of the line equip, I would still make the record using the Mackie/Shure stuff, and if they were great songs and great performances recorded by a great engineer, the record would still sound great. Obviously the same great songs/great performances/great engineer combo would sound phenomenal if done with top of the line equipment.

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Re: Gear Elitism and Reactionary Guilt.

Post by Al » Thu Oct 02, 2003 3:16 pm

I use what i like, cause i like what i use!

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Re: Gear Elitism and Reactionary Guilt.

Post by I'm Painting Again » Thu Oct 02, 2003 4:34 pm

I usually stay out of those/these threads for the same reasons..the fact that today you can make quality, often times extraordinary recording on affordable gear is wonderful. It opens up the artform to more people and im shure some of them, a small percentage perhaps, have the potential to change the way we experince music. So there is an immense value from this POV to the affordable gear.

I also think that its possible to get stuck in the trap of spending on a bunch of cheaper gear rather than a more minimal setup of higher quality gear. I think people underestimate what you can do with say two nice mics and pres and a 1/2" 4trk or 1"8trk, or quality digital, etc.

I am from the quality over quantity planet with a gravitation to beautiful hand soldered components and simple high quality design.

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Re: Gear Elitism and Reactionary Guilt.

Post by tommy » Thu Oct 02, 2003 4:36 pm

Ya know Dave, A few folks here were worried about you what with the disapearing act and all. Good to read ya!

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Re: Gear Elitism and Reactionary Guilt.

Post by ottokbre » Thu Oct 02, 2003 4:38 pm

thats where i am headed Sky, really tho, and thats the scoop i need. and Dave does me the oh-so-very kind favor of snobbishly telling me what that is everytime i ask. oh how snobby can you get Dave?! to ACTUALLY answer my questions! tsk tsk (thank you for being here!)
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Re: Gear Elitism and Reactionary Guilt.

Post by w_ » Thu Oct 02, 2003 4:40 pm

I can completely understand Dave's sentiment. Some people on this board want to hate on the people who can afford the quality gear. On the other hand, there are certain people here who recommend a $2000 pre when the original poster simply wanted a $400 one. In the first place, I think it's a given that 95% of the people here know that, in general, if you actually know what you are doing and how to use the gear you buy, more $$$ should equate to higher quality.
On the one side, some people have to realize and face the facts that all factors considered, a Avalon 747 is going to blow away an ART, and it needs to be said (sometimes...)
On the other hand, you have to take into account what the poster is asking. If he's using an MBox with a Presonus preamp there is no need to recommend something that is far far out of his price range.

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Re: Gear Elitism and Reactionary Guilt.

Post by tommy » Thu Oct 02, 2003 4:51 pm

Often times the snobbery stems from questions like- Hey, how do I make my piano sound like Ben Folds? I have an ensoniq, Protools free and an ART tubepac. Should I get a better preamp? I have 200.00 to spend.
I swear I got this question once. By no means was I a snob about it but I did have to bite my tonge a little.

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Re: Gear Elitism and Reactionary Guilt.

Post by concubine » Thu Oct 02, 2003 4:57 pm

there are certain people here who recommend a $2000 pre when the original poster simply wanted a $400 one
occasionally, i see this happen. some beginner with $400 to spend asks advice about cheap mic pres or something, and then someone will recommend some incredibly nice piece of gear that is way beyond the spending limit. and i've seen it done in such a way where the "gear snob" takes on a subtly condescending tone, like "anything less is a waste of money." that's kinda snobby, i think. but that's about the only instance i can think of when i see this happen - where the "gear snob" accusations might be kind of warranted. it's not about the gear, just the unhelpfulness of the response that's snobby.

jeff

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Re: Gear Elitism and Reactionary Guilt.

Post by soundguy » Thu Oct 02, 2003 5:27 pm

Anything less is a waste of money is often a sentiment that I agree with when it comes to "budget" pres. Yes, there are exceptions of course, but how often do you get a "budget" external pre that is significantly different than the cheap console pre that you are trying to improve upon in the first place. Talk about chasing your tail. It took me buying a mountain of shit and then selling it all to buy ONE good thing to realize what foley it is to cheap out on some stuff.

If you have a console with some shitty pre's in it, I dont really feel its a worth while upgrade to spend $300 on some more pre's unless they are REALLY good. Often, for $300 what you'll wind up with is a console with shitty pres and a box with two shitty pres in it. Did you get different color? Perhaps, if so, mission accomplished. Ultimately, for that little money on an external box I think you are buying the cool factor of another box with knobs rather than somebodys kick ass design on an amplifier circuit. This of course is the rule to which there MUST be exceptions, but its the rule I follow.

If you need a portable box of external pre's, thats one thing, but often I feel its people trying to follow the trend of a cool rack of amps next to a console. It may be hard to justify paying as much or MORE for two preamps than what you paid for your entire console and tape deck, but Im sure we can line up all the people on this board who have done exactly that who wouldnt hesitate in stating its the greatest thing they did to improve their input.

I dont know, we all come from different places, but its just seems counterproductive to get an attitude on physics and technology.

dave

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Re: Gear Elitism and Reactionary Guilt.

Post by cURVe sPACe » Thu Oct 02, 2003 6:10 pm

soundguy wrote:I dont know, we all come from different places, but its just seems counterproductive to get an attitude on physics and technology.

dave
I think the above statement hits it right on the head. Tapeop caters to both the portastudio peeps, the big, pro studio peeps and all the peeps in between.The high-end guys who work on really nice, good sounding, expensive gear all day might truly feel that all the less expensive gear sounds shitty, and they would never recommend it. On the other hand, if you are used to, and have been successful with the cheap stuff, then the mid-grade stuff could sound killer to you.

Anyway, I think it's just the wide range of people and with wide ranges of income that causes the differences.

The "anything less is a waste of $$" thing does come up, and if people would explain why they feel that way, as you did in reference to budget mic-pres, there would be alot less resentment or whatever. But, when people aren't taken seriously because they don't have the "best sounding" shit, or they use a friggin behringer, that sucks and goes 100% against what TapeOp is about. There's a lot of cool stuff with lots o' character and charm recorded on crappy gear, and thats all a lot of people around here can afford. But, I'm sure they'd love to work with the good stuff if they could.

-mark
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Re: Gear Elitism and Reactionary Guilt.

Post by AstroDan » Thu Oct 02, 2003 6:49 pm

Forgive me if this has been said in this thread, Fred.

A snob would be saying that great music can't be made without something expensive. I don't think it's snobbery to acknowledge a beautiful sounding piece of gear.

I could walk blindfolded into a record store and grab a shitty record that was recorded with a Neve console, but that wouldn't deter me from wanting to get behind that very desk and try my hand at making a demo of my band instead of on the Mackie 1202 that I still own and use.
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Re: Gear Elitism and Reactionary Guilt.

Post by wing » Thu Oct 02, 2003 7:37 pm

hey, i'm just glad to have you and your knowledge and insight back around here!

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Re: Gear Elitism and Reactionary Guilt.

Post by cURVe sPACe » Thu Oct 02, 2003 7:44 pm

bluepxl wrote:hey, i'm just glad to have you and your knowledge and insight back around here!
ditto!
I'm goin' to the store, anybody need anything?

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