Less gear - better focus?

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Dilibob
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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by Dilibob » Fri Dec 04, 2020 11:20 pm

There's a point where it does get excessive, like i have two morphogenes that i dont use and it will take me an irritating amount of time to get my muscle memory back (and that euro rack takes important space next to my workstation). I also have a cello i dont use, some instruments you almost have to play daily to maintain that muscle memory. Also i like to have everything primed and ready to record, so i only have one weighted keyboard and one mpe keyboard right next to my computer. I use to have a ton of keyboards. My amp collection just got out of control, i got rid of all my amps and just listen through my 5.1 system. I got rid of all my pedals, and just have a sy-1000, i have my guiter always primed and ready to record both midi and analog - makes me so much more productive.

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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by Voltcontrol » Sat Dec 05, 2020 1:07 am

Gringo Starr wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 9:00 pm
I don’t get what’s distracting to be honest. If I’m focused on my modular system I’m not gonna be distracted because I’m not playing the synths on the rack on the other side of the room or my guitars. That’s just me though.

To me what’s much more distracting is always looking at and reading about gear I don’t have.
+A million. A very enjoyable distraction though.
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svks
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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by svks » Sat Dec 05, 2020 4:58 am

Less gear just means less options and it's best to learn from own experience what works better. I can see how less gear can boost productivity or even creativity for some people, on the other hand I'm sure this approach is not for everyone, because others may prefer variety – hence the need for more options. It does not necessarily related to hardware based studios, there are producers who use only one DAW and its native plugins, while others work with lots of third party software each one for very specific task. In the end what comes out of the speakers matters more, the rest is a personal preference. Pardon my grammar if anything.

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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by strettara » Sat Dec 05, 2020 5:38 am

I'm coming at it from a rather different angle perhaps. I have so little gear (one synth, one midi keyboard and a KSP) that for me it's about really thinking hard about the value of anything I might be tempted to add. I want to be really sure that if I add something it's going to be of value to my music. And one way to do that is to make it expensive. So I'd love to use Mellotron sounds - and I could get the Arturia Mellotron-V for 200 euro. But then I'd have to get a knobby controller to control the effects and blend/mix the instruments and so on. More accumulation. And I've found that with the exception of Pianoteq, my plug-ins, of which I have three or four, just sit unused on my computer after an initial period of enthusiasm. So I'd rather set a high bar and save up for the Memotron desktop unit or even the M4000D because if I've made that commitment to acquiring the gear, then it means I really have a reason to get it, and I'm not just scratching an itch.

Meanwhile I'm writing music for piano and I know I could explore that avenue for the rest of my life and probably be a far better musician as a result.

All the above is just me of course.
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lisa
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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by lisa » Sat Dec 05, 2020 6:04 am

naturligfunktion wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 5:04 am
Do you think that excessive gear can clutter your focus, hamper your creativity and create a general feeling of dread and despair?
Yes, if you lack self-control or if you are more focused on gear than you are on making music.

Having tons of gear can only be a problem if you make it a problem and it's all in your mind. It has nothing to do with the gear.

All gear has a learning curve, though. So acquiring gear at a high pace can easily distract from music making but again, it's in your head. You can choose to focus on a limited number of tools and you can choose not to buy and sell stuff all the time.

That's my take, anyway.
You go too high too early, man. The beat sounds like the a slow mudslide and the melodies that go on and on. :zen:


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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by slumberjack » Sat Dec 05, 2020 6:22 am

lisa wrote:
Sat Dec 05, 2020 6:04 am
It has nothing to do with the gear.
You will be haunted by the gost in the machine if you detach emotions of unfulfilled desire for love aka superstardom too much from the gear.
;)
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naturligfunktion
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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by naturligfunktion » Sat Dec 05, 2020 12:40 pm

Gringo Starr wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 9:00 pm
I don’t get what’s distracting to be honest. If I’m focused on my modular system I’m not gonna be distracted because I’m not playing the synths on the rack on the other side of the room or my guitars. That’s just me though.

To me what’s much more distracting is always looking at and reading about gear I don’t have.
I do agree that it is more distracting always looking at what one doesn't have. I feel though that to many options sometimes can be a burden, at least for me.

However, I would always prefer that than having to choose only one thing for the rest of my life. That is the reason, after all, that I have multiple instruments. It is very fun to have an electric bass guitar, for example :)

In response to many others who have taken the time to read and write:
Subjecting yourself to limitations can be a really funny exercise to get the creativity flowing or just start to seeing thing differently. I really thought that I would go into a creative rut moving out, but it has been the opposite. In hindsight, I probably shouldn't frame the discussion as gear vs no gear, but I didn't knew that at the time. Anyways, it is really fun to read what you all think about this and forgive me for not answering everybody directly. :party:
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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by Quiet Wilds » Sat Dec 05, 2020 10:06 pm

You have to separate "getting more gear in hopes it will make you a better artist" from "having the tools to realize your vision." You need to master individual pieces of gear, that gives you a tool. Another piece of gear you don't really understand is just another piece of gear you don't really understand and not a tool to expand the scope of your art.

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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by Technologear? » Wed Dec 09, 2020 2:44 am

When I buy gear, I own it. It doesn't own me. It can't stress me out, only I can do that through my perception of the gear. Gear that I learn but don't like it's sound or workflow, I move on. But I keep most, as I can find a small role for most things.
I don't believe in needing to deeply understand every piece. Each piece just needs a role that's worthwhile in my creation process. I don't care that I underutilize much of my gear - I do what I want with it in my process.
It's just gear. Own it, or don't. But don't let it own you.

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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by KSS » Wed Dec 09, 2020 6:46 am

:agree:
Well said, Technologear?

Edit: I prefer deeply and fully understanding my gear, but I completly agree that it's not always necessary for using it well in some given role.

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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by carbonhazard » Fri Dec 11, 2020 12:10 pm

I like to have less but better gear, and it helps when you have finite space. If I'm not using something, I'll sell it and stash the cash for when I need to upgrade something in the future. Thankfully you can have a lot of effects in your DAW so that I don't need to buy multiple delay pedals or reverbs (I do have two reverbs, but that's it). I find that it's easier to actually concentrate on making music when you have less gear and thus you have to spend less time thinking what gear you want to use and rearrange your setup.

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naturligfunktion
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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by naturligfunktion » Sat Dec 12, 2020 4:56 am

carbonhazard wrote:
Fri Dec 11, 2020 12:10 pm
I like to have less but better gear, and it helps when you have finite space. If I'm not using something, I'll sell it and stash the cash for when I need to upgrade something in the future. Thankfully you can have a lot of effects in your DAW so that I don't need to buy multiple delay pedals or reverbs (I do have two reverbs, but that's it). I find that it's easier to actually concentrate on making music when you have less gear and thus you have to spend less time thinking what gear you want to use and rearrange your setup.
I have a very similar mind setup as you mate. It is ease of mind for me to have few things that I use in many different ways, rather than the other way around.

Makes me think of Bruce Lee: I do not fear the man that know 10 000 kicks, I fear the man that have practiced 1 kick 10 000 times :lol:
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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by Transistor » Sun Dec 13, 2020 5:09 am

I can relate to the OP, I also had to relocate for a month far away from home recently and decided to bring my Analog Rytm with me, which I’ve owned for many years now. Using it on its own outside the studio has really made me much better acquainted, without the distraction of other toys during the creative process. Finished a few complete tracks with it and listening back I can hear that restricting myself to just its workflow- and discovering some of the further tricks up its sleeve- had taken me to slightly different places than I normally venture off to. Realized I need to start making more music on the couch with just one or two devices.

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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by JeshuaW » Sun Dec 13, 2020 5:21 am

I like to only purchase new gear when I have a project that demands a new approach or I feel creatively in a rut with my current setup. I don't get rid of my old stuff usually, but I do think less can be more in some circumstances. If we are talking about pure artistic output, I am much more impressed by the early albums of Burial that were produced in a sample editor (not a DAW) vs a major artist that has everything at their disposal.

With that said, if you do sound design or music composition for a living, you need to be able to dial in a certain sound on a whims notice. I keep mics or synths around for months without turning them on but if I need to do "x" then it's there waiting for me. :)

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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by naturligfunktion » Mon Dec 14, 2020 5:34 am

Transistor wrote:
Sun Dec 13, 2020 5:09 am
I can relate to the OP, I also had to relocate for a month far away from home recently and decided to bring my Analog Rytm with me [snipped].

Realized I need to start making more music on the couch with just one or two devices.
It is a nice creative exercise if nothing else, to see what can be done with less.

But I dont think you need to do anything. If you like your workflow and you make music: all is good :)
JeshuaW wrote:
Sun Dec 13, 2020 5:21 am
With that said, if you do sound design or music composition for a living, you need to be able to dial in a certain sound on a whims notice. I keep mics or synths around for months without turning them on but if I need to do "x" then it's there waiting for me. :)
Same here. As pointed out earlier in the thread: virtue lies in the middle
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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by Transistor » Mon Dec 14, 2020 6:15 am

naturligfunktion wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 5:34 am
Transistor wrote:
Sun Dec 13, 2020 5:09 am
I can relate to the OP, I also had to relocate for a month far away from home recently and decided to bring my Analog Rytm with me [snipped].

Realized I need to start making more music on the couch with just one or two devices.
It is a nice creative exercise if nothing else, to see what can be done with less.

But I dont think you need to do anything. If you like your workflow and you make music: all is good :)
JeshuaW wrote:
Sun Dec 13, 2020 5:21 am
With that said, if you do sound design or music composition for a living, you need to be able to dial in a certain sound on a whims notice. I keep mics or synths around for months without turning them on but if I need to do "x" then it's there waiting for me. :)
Same here. As pointed out earlier in the thread: virtue lies in the middle
Loving my workflow for sure! Just hit me that my box of tools I am sitting on is so much richer than I thought it was and continuously learning / improving is a lot of fun.. even more so without having to buy even more toys 🤟🏻

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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by naturligfunktion » Mon Dec 14, 2020 6:23 am

Transistor wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 6:15 am
Loving my workflow for sure! Just hit me that my box of tools I am sitting on is so much richer than I thought it was and continuously learning / improving is a lot of fun.. even more so without having to buy even more toys 🤟🏻
That is one of those things when you cannot get something new: you find out another layer in what you already have 8-)
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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by Quiet Wilds » Mon Dec 14, 2020 2:29 pm

It’s always a balance. Things I learn about each module both allow me to do something new, but also make me think of yet another thing I could do with X,Y or Z new module

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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by kinkujin » Mon Dec 14, 2020 2:49 pm

I am always searching for new gear, new sounds, new experiences. I'm sure this can be for distraction but is also be fun. This is done during the boredom/down time. But when it comes down to actually working on music, the door to the studio is shut and there is no internet (unless updating a driver or firmware) and it is down to making music.

Two different hobbies for me. My trick is thorough research so by the time I do get that new piece of gear I'm at least pretty certain that it will be useful. I've gotten very few duds. Great topic!

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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by cinnatoastg » Mon Dec 14, 2020 2:50 pm

naturligfunktion wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 5:04 am
Do you think that excessive gear can clutter your focus, hamper your creativity and create a general feeling of dread and despair?...

...Little more than two weeks ago, I temporarily moved to another apartment. As I couldn't bring my entire studio, I only brought a guitar and an amplifier. Contrary to my initial belief, the last two weeks have been filled with music, inspiration and song writing.

...Yet time is limited. Each day I choose to play the synth, or the bass, or to do some production, maybe record vocals, or make a dj-mix, or to play the guitar! During the course of a week, I might have only played the guitar one, two times. Naturally, these times where just me doodling around, not really practicing. So when I went to bed, I had this feeling of “man, I really should play more…”...
I think it depends on the person. But for me, absolutely, the two points I quoted I really resonate with. When I focus specifically on my modular for an extended period of time, no other distractions, I feel as though I'm infinitely more focused and get much more done. I have the gear I have and there isn't a massive amount to choose from, while still having *enough* choices (compared to a load of VSTs or a synth museum). Whenever I try to incorporate a DAW or a standalone synthesizer I find myself getting out of the headspace that would have been working so well prior to pivoting. But the same holds true with a standalone synthesizer/DAW/guitar/SAXOPHONE! If I sit down at a keyboard focused on creating a piece of music with just that instrument, it tends to turn out better.

Then there is the time aspect that you talk about and I concur. Though depending on how long you've played a certain instrument "doodling around" (or playing run-on sentences as I like to say) may be all you need to keep sharp. I try and think about it in terms of having an attention economy, I only have so much to spend so I guess I better budget wisely.
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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by KSS » Mon Dec 14, 2020 2:59 pm

cinnatoastg wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 2:50 pm
I try and think about it in terms of having an attention economy, I only have so much to spend so I guess I better budget wisely.
I like this take on it. :tu:

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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by naturligfunktion » Wed Dec 16, 2020 5:08 am

KSS wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 2:59 pm
cinnatoastg wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 2:50 pm
I try and think about it in terms of having an attention economy, I only have so much to spend so I guess I better budget wisely.
I like this take on it. :tu:
That is very well put indeed!
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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by spacenoodle » Wed Dec 16, 2020 11:40 am

I've simplified my setup immensely, and also my approach. There are several things that keep me out of creative stagnation.

1. I have a ton of modules that I've accumulated over the years and I keep them lined up in another room for a personal shopping experience. Instead of spending dollars I'm just counting the limited HP I have to spare.

2. If gear feels unintuitive it has no place in my setup. Some gear I have is feature laden and complex but if it has a feature I like I'll just use it for that.

3. I generally keep my gear patched up in a certain way and don't deviate from that too much. I've built an expressive instrument and I work within the confines of a particular style.

4. Ergonomics and lighting - everything is within arms reach and perfectly lit. Gear is all facing me and angled appropriately. Feels like a cockpit.

5. Recording multichannel audio on my iPhone with AUM (and ES8 + ADAT interface) is more compact, simpler, faster and works better than any other option I've tried.

6. This is potentially an expensive one but keeping a huge assortment of extra cables and adapters. This takes away the frustration of connecting things. If I was to compare the weight and mass of my gear vs cables, I think it'd be about even!

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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by naturligfunktion » Thu Dec 17, 2020 5:15 am

spacenoodle wrote:
Wed Dec 16, 2020 11:40 am
5. Recording multichannel audio on my iPhone with AUM (and ES8 + ADAT interface) is more compact, simpler, faster and works better than any other option I've tried.
I thought your entire post was great, but this point was the most striking one for me. I think ease of recording is essential. I have a very nice audio interface in my home, and I love to walk the extra mile to making it sounding nice. It is not always that intuitive however.

Since my studio has been closed, I have recorded a lot on my phone. Very simple, sounds like crap, but it works. One riff was so nice though that I sent it to a friend. He made a beat out of it. Asked him: don't you want me to record it better? He said: no I like the dirt.

By far the fastest song I've done :lol:
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Re: Less gear - better focus?

Post by Mad_Rasputin » Thu Dec 17, 2020 5:30 am

Gringo Starr wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 9:00 pm
I don’t get what’s distracting to be honest. If I’m focused on my modular system I’m not gonna be distracted because I’m not playing the synths on the rack on the other side of the room or my guitars. That’s just me though.

To me what’s much more distracting is always looking at and reading about gear I don’t have.
yeah that's a big problem for me too
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