Does Equipment Matter?

Many years ago i wrote a complete track on Cakewalk. Very long time ago.1986 or so. It was a John Carpenter homage. It was pretty good or so i was told. Loads of synths and great drums. It took me about 2 weeks to write. Basic software. Great sound . I used a cheap toy Casio to write the melody and nothing else. I had to create something with very very basic tools. I know this ground has been covered before. Its not the equipment. Bobeats did a video on YT saying similar things. If this is the case why do we need anything that hasnt already been made in the last 40 years.? Just a thought.

Because everybody is different and there is will be gear/software that has something special, may it be the character, the sound, the handling, the time that it saves…lot of things. :slight_smile:


Last night, at about 2am, I uploaded samples to my 3 year old OT. Before that I had run my entire set up through it. Then after a year or so I didn’t like something about the sound even though I didn’t sample anything. I’ve been using it as my midi sequencer and I’ve been stacking up gear ever since.
I’ve never wanted to use samples as I feel it is too final. I want to keep things raw and live.

Tonight, I plugged my OT and began to play with my samples. Not only has it elevated the initial pressure I put on the box to deliver what I originally wanted it to, it has also become more. I now know almost everything my gear can do and with the OT sample ability it has brought my character and musical personality to the front. The reason I am now ok with samples is because the samples are my samples that are personal to me.

Personally, I am very excited about the potential that is in front of me. In the last 5 years I have learnt about almost every piece of gear, bought a ton of it, and experimented A lot. I am at the point where I am happy with my productions but I know they need more of my personality. I know they need something else. For me, the OT is beaming at me.

I took a HNC in Music Production in 2006. I don’t think my energy levels would be stimulated if I was still in the box. Utilizing the OT to my live set up will bring me unscrupulous fun that will stimulate my creativity and imagination far beyond any Christmas ever has… and I always feel like Peter Pan at Christmas.


This isn’t a shameless plug but there is no way I could have this much fun on software…

Nice question at the end by the way.
I think the gear has a huge part to play no matter what Bobeats or anyone has to say. I’ve experimented and researched a lot since moving out to Japan. The used goods market is as big as David Bowie’s fringe in The Labrynth out here. Through research and experimentation I am beginning to be sonically happy.

Gear helps to carve and distinguish character.

Sorry to end this in a boring way but with no gear… hardware or software wise… NOBODY WOULD BE ABLE TO MAKE ANY MUSIC WITHOUT ANY GEAR FULL STOP!!!


if equipment did not matter, who would need digital synths? polyphonic synths? synths? electric instruments? the list goes on…

you can live on bread and water - does that mean that a lavish meal and fine wine is pointless?
how much you spend on ‘non-essential’ food, will depend on your budget/availability , your tastes, your preferences, all sorts of factors… and some things you love, I may dislike.
similarly, some are happy to eat the same thing everyday, others enjoy experimenting, trying new things all the time…

same with music equipment - you can get a guitar thats costs very little, and make great music…
but that doesn’t invalidate anyone else decisions… they have different desires/needs…

mmm, now im hungry, I need lunch :slight_smile:


I know you need equipment. But what was made 40 years ago is still able to get the ‘magic’. Do we really need this ‘treadmill’?

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You need at least some equipment. It has to be moderately sized to perform. But apart from that, it’s not the equipment that matters but how you use it.

Now, to talk about audio gear, I personally use hardware synths because I get too easily distracted by funny videos of cats when I’m using a computer and I prefer spending thousand of bucks than to address my concentration issues.

Feels good being honest.


A lot of equipment from 40 years ago is a bit expensive to get now, so yes, we probably do need new things!


or, I spose you can buy 30 year old toys and make music with those too…


Guitars, Pianos, Flutes , percussion has been around for hundreds of years , why do you need something from 40 years ago?

as for magic, well I’ve heard many classical piano recitals/concerts that contain more magic than most if us can dream to make - it’s not the tools :wink:

But continual improvement/change is natural - Some want something that sounds a bit different or operates a bit different,
Companies believe they can and are improving on the past.

No one is on a treadmill, no more that your forced to go to the gym and jump on one there :wink:


I think, there might be partly an answer to this …

Let’s be more radical and ask, why did we not stay with technology, which has been developed 30.000 years ago? Archeologists found a bone, dated about 30K years back in the past, which definitly showed the typical drillings, which we have on modern flutes. Why did mankind develop the concert flutes of today in the first place? Because there was much improvement possible, as always. And if done right, it’s at least for the benefit of the artists :wink:

Who would have thought a hundred years ago that people would make multi-timbral music, sitting in front of a “moving image”, typing on a board with letters on it, moving a piece of chunk around with their one hand and always klick a button, no orchestra to be seen but two black boxes with a tissue and generating a sound, which could be compared with an orchestra or the trumpets of hell?

Where will we be in 100 years from now? Playing cyber quantum instruments, directly from our brains, imagine music and listen to the sound without having touched anything?

But there is a strong truth in what you indicate … not the tool makes the art, but the artist.


This is not true in all cases … I have heard people singing … :wink:


sometimes it works backwards — i’m happily byuing 20 years old boxes, because they are cheaper than modern.

I learned one thing that keeps coming back to from when i studied music production in stockholm. In one class we were going through the general ideas of what it takes to succeed in making a living in music. And I think this applies to whenever you sit down/strap a guitar or whatever to make music. We were supposed to guess but noone got it exactly right until the teacher told us that the one thing you do need to do it well is focus. The rest are things like the cliché triple T’s in swedish (Tur, Talang, Timing translated to Luck, Talent and Timing).

I could easily write great music on just my guitar, but I don’t WANT to. If I HAD to, sure. I’ve heard many great songs with poor production value. And that’s what it was, great songs with poor sound! There is no magic answer that will make it easier on anyone, if you need that special sound that someone struggled to make, then sure, it will cost you! Time and/or money. But this is digressing I guess. Gear matters, yes. but does a piece of equipment make the difference between your happiness or sorrow? Only you can decide, but the Gear Companies sure do hope that’s the case.

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It depends why you make music- what you’re hoping to get out of it.

There’s something special in making the most out of limited tools. Just as there’s something special in making stuff that is made in such a way that is complementary to your preferred workflow.


Yeh its weird…i am oldish enough to have seen things cycle…we are fed the same patameters in different formats that go round and round…i watched it go like this…modular/ analogue mono / digital fm poly / rack mount romplers and samplers / pc vst and virtual analogue / back to analogue an modular…? All offering similar parameters but the format changed. All had oscs all had envelopes and amp mod and filters (well not the digital fms but thats another story)…

The real question is “is music better?” I dont mean production, (that has progressed exponentially). But has all the new technology made music that better activates us? Music that reaches us and communicates with us on a deeper level?

I mean if aphex twin could knock out a tune on a tx81z in the 90s that still blows minds 30 years latter, do we need more toys than that?

Yes…is the answer…the brain spots patterns and gets board…we need stimulation and activation…like monkeys in a cage someone needs to move our “tyre on a rope” occassionally so we dont get depressed.

Thats what im enjoying about Elektron atm…it makes me think different because the format is unlike anything. It was the same when i first discovered fm synths. You have to reprogram your brain to think through different modes and you stop going round in circles. It excites and activates and that flows through to the music.

I doubt richard d james still menue dives a tx81z…just sayin…but…

It doesnt matter if its a moog one or a volca keys as long as it stimulates you enough to make music…thats how equiptment matters.


equipment vs vibe?

vibe wins everytime: fatality


I like how eloquently you reduced my 20 minute rant into 1/2 a sentence…


Sure it matters but about 10,000 times less than good ideas and hard work.


Not about the tools? Exept for the million dollar grand piano;)