“I don’t the right equipment to make professional sounding music. When I can afford it I’ll buy it and then be able to finish music”
So when Beat Foundation ended and me and Andy stopped working together most of the equipment was in fact Andy’s so I had to get my own setup.
And it was this:
A 909, An e6400 sampler, a second hand mac with Cubase already on it, a computer monitor, a midi keyboard, an EMU morpheus synthesizer, an Alesis Midiverb effects unit, a second hand mixing desk, a Drawmer stereo compressor and some leads.
Now, I had to borrow a DAT player from a mate when I wanted to record anything and started out by using some old stereo speakers, so I didn’t even have everything I needed.
And this is what it cost me:
£900 for the 909, £2500 for the sampler, about £500 for the second hand mac with Cubase, about £200 for the computer monitor, 200 for the midi keyboard, £1300 on the morpheus, £150 on the effects unit, £800 on the mixing desk, £250 on the compressor, and about £200 on leads from what I remember.
Now all that comes to £6900. Now back then in dollars this was $10,660. And $10,600 back then had the same buying power as $16,559.76 does today. Bear in mind that this was a tiny setup. My setup had a fraction of the power that even an iPhone does nowadays.
The sampler had 16mb of memory for sounds. That’s megabytes not gigabytes! There wasn’t any other space for sounds. Cubase on the mac was just a sequencer, there wasn’t any audio within a computer so all I had to make sounds with was the 909 drum machine, sampler and the morpheus synthesizer. Plus in each track I could either use one stereo or two mono effects like delay or reverb. I could either compress one thing in stereo or two in mono. That’s it! And it’s what I made my first releases on.
All you need now is a laptop and a DAW and you already have many times the options sounds, effects and compressors than I ever had for $16,500. The fact is that right now there is more music making technology at your fingertips for a fraction of the cost than at any other time in human history.
Now – this is what I mean by not needing a lot to make good music.
All you really need is a laptop and DAW. Maybe even less now with the iOS revolution that’s going on! But there are two things that I’m thankful for here. You see, spending the equivalent of $16,500 before I’d even started was one sure way of making sure I was really serious about doing this. EVery time I made that decision to buy another piece of equipment, it was in effect a decision to invest in my dream.
And this gave me a massive amount of external motivation to actually make something of my investment.
Now, I’m not suggesting you go out and spend $16,500 to get motivated. That is completely ridiculous! But without having to invest like that you don’t have the external motivation I did. You’ll need to find it from somewhere else. You’ll have to find a way to build your own internal motivation.
And please, don’t go buying equipment to build motivation, because the fact that I had limited options in the studio – this in fact made me more creative.
Now you have so many options just in your DAW, it means you need to learn mental skills (like focus) much more than I ever did at first, becssue I could only do a limited amount with what I had.
But while the benefits you have that I didn’t when I was starting out do come with their own drawbacks, please stop telling yourself you don’t have enough equipment or software and use that as an excuse to not finish your music.
Because with what you have right now, you are almost sure to have much more than any other music maker at any other point in human history has had.
Your problem isn’t too few options. It’s too many!