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Making responsible gear acquisitions on a limited budget
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear  
Author Making responsible gear acquisitions on a limited budget
mykelmoss
What do I mean by "responsible acquisition?" .... I want the decision made when purchasing a piece of gear to pay off in the long run.

In the quest to translate mental information into something we can listen to, different tools are found-- some hat accomplish the range of tasks asked of them to satisfy the different needs of different musicians.

This can be a thread for: recommendations, personal approaches to getting gear with what $ you can allocate, and whatever else.....

---------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------

I am in a position where I have

(1 x Moog Mother 32)
(a guitar)
(bass)
(an alto saxophone)
(melodica)

and no software, interface, or midi keyboard/controller-- and looking to start getting recordings made in some way that is economical and foregoes the use of a DAW.

Right now I'm looking at

An Elektron Digitakt to cover the need for a drum machine and sampler with a sequencer to get immediate sketches done /// that can also be played via midi keyboard to "play" a sample///

A midi keyboard to cover the need for either a proper poly or mono synth: with the Korg Monologue and Minilogue, Roland JX-8P, or Blofeld (keys) to get both keys and more sound production.

A way to record into the computer or get a digital file (interface)

Anyone can chime in-- its appreciated
estin
There isn't really an "economical" way to produce music and forego the DAW at the same time. Using hardware costs a premium and you just have to decide if its worth it to you. A good way to figure out if buying something is worth the cost to you is ask yourself "would I rather have this piece of gear or the money?" You also have to figure out what your definition of "paying off in the long run" is. For me its "I really enjoy using this and having access to it" other who might run a studio might ask "did this earn enough extra income in rental time to at least pay for itself?

you just gotta do you whatever that is.


Just remember its never been more affordable to produce music wether thats with hardware or all software. Guys used to get loans for more than a nice car in the 70's just to swing an Oberheim and a drum machine.
Howie_Doodat
People complain about the price of Apple computers, and if you're a broke college student that just writes papers and putzes around online and skypes and whatnot, then yeah, but if you are a professional- producing music, photography, videography/editing or graphic design/marketing, that shit pays for itself pretty quick.
Quota Earl
Hey. I too am trying to build a dawless setup. I use a guitar, bass, a keyboard synth that can load samples and double as a midi controller and a handsonic for finger percussion playing. Right now those things get recorded into an mpc live, but I should be getting a 6 track looper (ehx 95000) some time early March. 6 hrs per track! And you can import files into it and use it as a mixer! Anyway, I am not sure how you work but it sounds like you need a way to record some audio. Zoom makes a 16 trk digital recorder that is under 300 bucks I believe. You can transfer files to and from. It can be chained to another Zoom R16 if you should need more tracks later on. As far as going completely dawless, it doesn't seem 100 per cent possible right now for me. I still feel compelled to load everything into a daw at the end. But I do not need a premium top of the line daw. I can get by with the free full version of tracktion 6, which is two versions out of date but has all the necessary features for me. Good luck.
mykelmoss
I'm not necessarily opposed to ableton or logic (specifically) and doing what I can with that-- even if its just getting final arrangements and finishing touches.

The appeal of the digitakt workflow appeals to me in that I don't see it as the end-all-be-all solution to a DAW-less setup.....just another instrument capable of handling MIDI sequencing up to 8 channels capable of 4-voice polyphonic (which would complement the Moog Mother 32 and future additions) and handling polyrhythmic drum duties and sample handling in light of the new 1.05 OS update.

Also looking at the micro granny 2-- which samples at 8 bit......the digitakt's mono 16 bit sample rate seems rather nice, in comparison. I've noticed that sample clicking can be an issue though......and while some say the MPC doesn't have this issue as much, I'm not sure that I find the workflow very inspiring; despite the wealth of documentation.
sutekina bipu-on
Hard to say because my approach with a limited budget is to buy whatever i want that i can afford and not be afraid to sell or trade stuff I'm not fully in love with. so, when i want some new gear i find out what i dont mind selling to get it. Sampling helps a lot with the gear that only has afew sounds i like.
milkshake
Dawless Jammin'
mmp
A few things that I have realized over time:

Never buy something mostly because it’s cheap.

Value retention is part of the buying equation, always be aware of the resale value and buy used gear when you can.

If you are extremely responsible, use the zero percent financing offers at music stores to stretch your purchasing power...they count on you screwing up to take a huge interest cut, so don’t ever screw up.

Prioritize purchases by need unless a bargain on your list falls into your lap out of order.
grillo
Personally it's very difficult to budget realistically for music gear. I like a lot of the stuff I own now, but I don't need it need it, and in a pinch could do most of the stuff in a similar way with my laptop and software.

I would prioritize monitor speakers / headphones / room treatment. And of course a way / chain to record the instruments you already own, interface / microphones / preamps.
Ockeghem
Two thoughts on a different approach:
A) Find a friend who can record your tracks, or
B) book a recording studio
You might find you spend less than you would have on DIY recording approaches, with possibly better results too.
xthrasherx
There are several decent interfaces that can be had for fairly low $ new. The drawback is they have limited routing (ins and outs), but the plus side is you can start multi-tracking into a DAW. These can also be cheap to pick up on the used market (scarlett 2i2 for example). I eventually went with a Behringer XR18 since it is flexible enough for my use personally / will still work for me should I expand to tracking live bands.

If you don't already have a DAW, look into Reaper (works for both Mac + PC). It is free to try (all features / not limited) and cheap to buy. Reaper is also fully customizable, so it can behave how YOU want it to. Next I'd argue for Logic X if you are on mac. Ableton is great, but a bit more expensive. You really only need 1 of these.

Someone else mentioned monitors, but headphones can work in a pinch.


Ultimately patience will go a long way. If you know you want a digitakt for example, try to set money aside each month and scour the for sale sections of this forum, the elektron forum, reverb, ebay, etc. Most of what I have acquired has been 2nd hand "too good to pass on" type of deals. Don't be afraid to swap gear either. My first synth was a Moog Sub 37 that I never fully gelled with which turned into an Analog Rytm later on (don't get me started on the amount of guitar equipment that has come and gone Dead Banana ).
Koekepan
Consider a Portastudio.

The new ones have a surprising amount of power, and the line has a good reputation for solidity and support.

But in general, look for solid gear that has (for synthesis) plenty of voicing possibilities. A good example would be the Blofeld. Affordable, quite powerful, and fairly rugged.
glennfin
Regarding the keyboard, I highly recommend the Yamaha MX49. I consider this a best kept secret. It's very inexpensive, has a massive amount of usable sounds, there's a free software editor available, it's small, light, does USB AND standard DIN MIDI and the action is pretty decent (IMHO). Of course it's multi-timbral. cool
DiscoDevil
Wait until you are old, your kids are grown and you have more disposable income. hihi
anselmi
man, you are in the wrong place for this topic hihi
mtts
Responsibly entails a DAW. Sure, it may not be fun and the built in effects are not great, but they work - unlike, say, portastudios, which break - and taken as a whole they really ought to stave off your intermittent bouts of GAS.

Hardware is a luxury for middle aged (disposable income) amateurs (professionals are ITB unless their hardware is their USP)

That out of the way hihi

Elektron stuff is versatile and sounds good. No nagging suspicions it's the quality of the gear that is making you sound bad there (which brings on GAS in less wealthy musicians who have to make do with flea core equipment).

Get one of the current cheapish monos. They all have modulation options aplenty.

For polys, as nice as hardware is (there we go again, sorry) they take up so little space in your mix their being analog doesn't really matter. So just get a Blofeld (or a Deepmind, I guess, if it *must* be analog).

Eurorack is out. Unless you have a very specific reason to want specific modules - in which case you wouldn't be asking this question in the first place, I should think.

But, yeah, TLDR: hardware is not responsible.

(disclaimer: I myself have quite a bit of hardware and even some Eurorack, but then I'm a middle aged amateur)
Steam Shield
I used something similar to this to record songs when I was broke. Does the job and makes you focus on playing the instrument well since detailed edits are pretty much not happening.
electricanada
mykelmoss wrote:
What do I mean by "responsible acquisition?" .... I want the decision made when purchasing a piece of gear to pay off in the long run.

In the quest to translate mental information into something we can listen to, different tools are found-- some hat accomplish the range of tasks asked of them to satisfy the different needs of different musicians.

This can be a thread for: recommendations, personal approaches to getting gear with what $ you can allocate, and whatever else.....

---------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------

I am in a position where I have

(1 x Moog Mother 32)
(a guitar)
(bass)
(an alto saxophone)
(melodica)

and no software, interface, or midi keyboard/controller-- and looking to start getting recordings made in some way that is economical and foregoes the use of a DAW.

Right now I'm looking at

An Elektron Digitakt to cover the need for a drum machine and sampler with a sequencer to get immediate sketches done /// that can also be played via midi keyboard to "play" a sample///

A midi keyboard to cover the need for either a proper poly or mono synth: with the Korg Monologue and Minilogue, Roland JX-8P, or Blofeld (keys) to get both keys and more sound production.

A way to record into the computer or get a digital file (interface)

Anyone can chime in-- its appreciated


If you have an iphone, a few inexpensive apps will replace all that hardware you're considering.
Blairio
A few years back I had a tascam 564 mini-disk based portastudio. The work flow was nice and clean, and the sound quality was pretty good. You could do a lot worse than track one of these down. It had enough editing power to fix takes that were fine but for the odd bum note. The eq was acceptable, and even before 'bouncing down', you had 8 tracks.
dgilbey
+1 from me for the portastudio. I use a Tascam DP24 that I bought second hand. Lots of tracks, adequate effects, (including guitar amp simulator) dead easy to use and it has MIDI sync. File transfer to a computer is just drag and drop from the SD card.

Hardware based doesn't have to mean super expensive.
calaveras
personally, I've always bought a little bit above my weight. I hold on to stuff for a very long time and just beat the hell out of it. I want to get every last penny back from what I purchased.
The thing about buying gear, never buy anything because of hype or buzz on internet forums. Or because some band you saw once used the same thing.
Gear are just tools to accomplish tasks. There is not a lot of reasons to own more than one sampler, more than one bass guitar etc. Unless you are a gear hoarding fanatic.

I like to evaluate gear purchases as "does this extend my current capabilities, or is it just gear lust".
I've certainly gone down the gear lust path before. Ending up with half a dozen monosynths and about 3 dozen guitar pedals.
Panason
Quote:
An Elektron Digitakt to cover the need for a drum machine and sampler with a sequencer to get immediate sketches done /// that can also be played via midi keyboard to "play" a sample///


The Digitakt is still at least a little buggy and lacks some expected/promised features. Also, it cannot do stereo samples... and Elektron's gear is not known to be all that great for playing with a keyboard.

My personal rules are:

-Never pre-order
-Wait at least 3 months after the gear has been released and check user reports for bugs, defects and functionality issues.
-If the unit I'm looking at has updateable firmware, I'll need to be doubly careful. Most manufatcurers these days seem to rely on the fact that people have basically become conditioned to accept the "it will be fixed in upcoming firmware" excuse for unfinished products and will buy the shit anyway. I'm not going to pay to be a beta tester.
-Make sure I actually need this for what I want to do. Can I get that effect or sound from what I already got, and if yes, can the new box at least provide the result in a more fun & intuitive way?
-1 in, 1 out. What am I going to sell to get the new box?
SouvlakiPlaystation
mmp wrote:


Value retention is part of the buying equation, always be aware of the resale value and buy used gear when you can.



This is big. I tend to think of my gear as being liquid assets. I would obviously prefer it not come down to it, but if I'm hard up for cash at any given time I know that I can sell my hardware for the same price I bought it for (most of the time). This of course isn't as applicable if you buy things new. Craigslist is your friend.
thevegasnerve
Get the Zoom, problem solved. And an iPad with a midi controller. With what you have already, sky is the limit for recording ideas.
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