Avoiding G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)

The home recording hobby can get very expensive really quickly if you're not careful. Hardware and software manufacturers have done a great job of marketing their wares, promising you the best sound at the push of a button. I try to avoid getting G.A.S. or Gear Acquisition Syndrome by reminding myself the following:

  • This is a hobby, not a profession. I'm doing it to satisfy my desire to create my own brand of music, for the rest of the world to hear and enjoy... or not.

  • It's not a business, there is no motivation to buy expensive gear to attract clients. I surely won't be able to recoup my investment as a normal business would try to do.

  • I'm not even familiar with every piece of gear and software that I already have. How can I tell if they're crap or not? I've bought stuff from five years ago that I'm just discovering now. Like my Korg AX10G. It has so many features and effects that give me a lot of options I don't even know where to start.

  • My expectations are to put out decent sounding recordings. If I get close to that big studio sound, that would be great. If not, I won't pull my hair out. I'll just keep working on it using my meager setup and maybe with some new free software or really dirt cheap equipment that I come across or get as a gift.

  • Having less means I have to get more creative. It forces me to commit and actually get closer to finishing a project faster. Plugins easily throw me off because of the thousands of possible effects that can be applied non-destructively and as a consequence what should be a fun and easy undertaking becomes tideous labor. Having many options is great but it could also suck out the creative energy.

I've decided to go on a quest to learn every nook and cranny of every piece of gear and software I have at my disposal. Here are a few to start with:

  • Line 6 POD Farm (version 1)
  • Korg AX10G
  • Ableton Live
  • Various VST plugins
Once I've learned how to use all of them properly and effectively it is only then that I can decide whether I need to find alternatives or upgrade.