How Much Gear Do You Need For Music Production?

The Packrat Synth


For this post, I’ll go through the Pros and Cons of how much gear you have and having certain pieces of gear and also some thoughts.

If you have a variety of friends that are musicians you will notice that there are all kinds of musicians seeking what they need for their music production.

The truth is depending on how you are, personality-wise, it will be a reflection on how many instruments and gear you acquire or may even need.

You can see people with collections of instruments or gear that rarely use them. And Vice versa. There are lazy producers and there and productive producers. So many types.

Some require the satisfaction of one synth, then another, then another.

Others have a minimal approach. Some even choose to sell old gear to make way for new gear.

People that are more kinesthetic, I would argue often require a tactical, hands on approach. They try to reduce their approach to editing and composing music on the computer and they prefer getting their hands on some knobs or some faders.

A person with a more theoretical approach, do not need that tactile approach of a synthesizer or mixer for example. It is nice to have around but necessary.

Its amazing to me, how much gear there is out today. So many companies out there. Something new comes out every week or so.

Many companies are even reissuing retro synths. I imagine the make is probably not as tight and the remakes are not as rigid and heavy.

Many people compare gear and software but it’s what ever is right for someone. Comparing digital audio workstations is like comparing computer laptop of another. Ultimately inconsequential if the final result is productive. That is my perspective.

Many say its all about the gear behind the music. It is and it isn’t.

It all depends on what you want to accomplish.

If you want to play live, it is customary to have gear. The actions you take over the gear implies that you are actually doing more than pressing play. Many DJs just press play. Many look clueless.

Personally, I have never DJ’d live but I think it’s a different world, then that of a music producer. A music producer has to mix and be in control of well over 16 tracks. Meanwhile, the DJ has to manage two tracks, but they also have to manage the public in real time.

The more gear you have the more time you need to learn the system and the more time you will spend troubleshooting. The less time you will have to create.

However, it does work both ways, as you may have trouble with software. But the benefit is software has a longer life span. Knobs and smaller pieces break apart especially if they have been trying to model more beefy synths that were designed to be handled with grit.

If you are using a type of modular synth, you will not be able to recall presets as easily you can with software.

Setting up huge modules requires labour, time and energy to setup. You may need someone to help with your rig. Meanwhile, Software is always on your computer/laptop.

I have always taken a minimalist approach, I just have one keyboard and just mouse click. Many producers input their musical values within their computers without even a keyboard today. I figure if you’re going to be editing with the mouse anyway, you might as well stay on the mouse.

Some are not a fan of the piano roll, but it is very effective at editing and precision notation, just as a step sequencer was when those came out for the a physical drum machine.

I find that there two schools of thought when it comes to producing electronic music. I believe it stems from people that are classically studied and coming from a background of music education versus people that have naturally picked up their musical talents. Some have a certain rigidity and aversion to working with technology as if it is the worse than maggots. There is almost a preconditioning of the mind. I will probably expand on this notion I’ve noticed on another post.

There are so many approaches when you are going to be have electronic music production setup.

Interfaces, keyboard, speakers, mixers, software.

I would make a list and determine what is right for you. Otherwise, you are going to end up buying things you don’t need. Or you will purchase things you don’t need yet and will probably have to resell later.

What is your approach to gear? Let me know in the comments.

Be sure to check out my music work on bandcamp:

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Thank you.

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