The Official Sequential/DSI Forum

Gear Obsession

Re: Gear Obsession
« Reply #20 on: March 05, 2018, 12:17:15 PM »
But nobody's got to do anything. If the pursuit is enjoyable, let it happen. * * *

Your first paragraph, Chysn, - and especially the first two sentences - would require that we address the issue from a religious and philosophical approach - something that cannot be done on a forum such as this

I found this confusing at first, but then I realized that my phrasing left the door open for a categorical interpretation of those two sentences, which was not intentional. I just meant that folks don't need to answer to anyone else with respect to their own musical output or lack thereof.

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. When it comes to your art.

I get your point.  I just felt the need to tidy things up a bit and avoid that potential major complication
« Last Edit: March 05, 2018, 12:21:46 PM by Sacred Synthesis »

chysn

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Re: Gear Obsession
« Reply #21 on: March 05, 2018, 12:34:12 PM »
Maybe there's a bit of confirmation bias here, too. We're all spending time on a manufacturer's forum because we're really interested in what they make, so we're sort of self-selecting an environment where everyone else has the same interests and inclination to geeking out over instruments. What if there's a whole 90% of DSI customers who buy a Prophet 08, use it for hours on end every day, and never say anything about it?
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Arturia MicroBrute
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore2
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

Re: Gear Obsession
« Reply #22 on: March 05, 2018, 12:49:45 PM »
Then that would be great.  But we wouldn't be addressing such persons with this discussion because they presumably wouldn't be reading this forum.  This topic concerns whomever it concerns, and we know who we are.

By the way, I'm enjoying all the different views on this subject.  At least there is a little bit of soul-searching going on, which can help us become deeper individuals.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2018, 12:54:21 PM by Sacred Synthesis »

Re: Gear Obsession
« Reply #23 on: March 05, 2018, 02:16:30 PM »
But with a Youtube demo of any synth equipment,  one might spend only a few hours for the whole production and rack up a lot more viewers.   So for that hobbiest, it might feel they are being heard more with that approach.

That's not only the case for hobbyists, though. YouTube—often in conjunction with Patreon—has become the platform for anything music-related, even for those who try to make a living from making music. In many cases, it even allows them to make a living from making music at all. The rest will only come from playing as many gigs as possible, as there is no dime to earn anymore from trying to sell recorded music. Beyond that, YouTube was of course essential for the whole influencer genre, which plays a huge role in anything gear-related.

Re: Gear Obsession
« Reply #24 on: March 05, 2018, 03:47:27 PM »
But with a Youtube demo of any synth equipment,  one might spend only a few hours for the whole production and rack up a lot more viewers.   So for that hobbiest, it might feel they are being heard more with that approach.

That's not only the case for hobbyists, though. YouTube—often in conjunction with Patreon—has become the platform for anything music-related, even for those who try to make a living from making music. In many cases, it even allows them to make a living from making music at all. The rest will only come from playing as many gigs as possible, as there is no dime to earn anymore from trying to sell recorded music. Beyond that, YouTube was of course essential for the whole influencer genre, which plays a huge role in anything gear-related.

This is true. Three of my compositions have been licensed for podcasts themes, an online game and I'm in talks with a three picture deal with a production company. All from just posting on youtube and getting more and more followers.
Prophet 6, Prophet X, Moog Sub 37, Oberheim SEM-Pro, Tempest Drum Computer, Roland V Piano,Kurzweil K2600XS, Roland FA-08, Baldwin Upright Piano, Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Gibson Chet Atkins SST, Jackson King V, Ibanez Jem, Roger Linn Adrenalinn iii

Re: Gear Obsession
« Reply #25 on: March 06, 2018, 06:39:51 AM »
I do wish more of us posted their music here.   Maybe tying into all of this is not just gear distraction, but also patch distraction.

Two good points.  Considering how remarkably easy it is to post music on any video site, I'm amazed that more people here don't do it.  I mean, if I can do it - as old-fashioned as are my methods - then surely you technological wizards could do it much better.

Secondly, the synthesist in a synthesizer community of any type feels a certain...I won't say anxiety, but rather, expectation from others to produce music with a wide plethora of patches, as if every new piece is supposed to use new sounds as well, or else it just isn't new enough.  It seems directly related to the gear obsession issue. 

At this point, I've completely thrown this expectation to the winds.  I find inspiration in a small well-designed body of patches.  I do regularly venture outside of this body in search of additions to it, but I find myself happily returning to the smaller body when it comes time for recording.  I much prefer the idea of each synthesist having his or her own signature sounds, and, therefore, possessing a recognizable character, rather than having an immense number and variety of sounds that leave them without a personality.  The extraordinarily wide sonic spectrum possible to the synthesizer tends to make this personality less than common, as we all tend to try to get the most out of our synthesizers, for all to see and hear.

It's funny.  In searching for and saving new sounds, the actual musical use of them gives a very different perspective.  Some times I'll create something new that seems impressive.  At other times, I'll just run through my banks of programs and admire many of the sounds.  But when the all-important musical moment arrives, a few ideas are ready to be recorded, and the appropriate sounds must be found, suddenly, so many of those "admirable" sounds seem perfectly unappelaing, and the old faithfuls appear made for the moment.  Music is the greater tester of patches.
 

« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 06:58:30 AM by Sacred Synthesis »

Re: Gear Obsession
« Reply #26 on: March 06, 2018, 06:55:19 AM »
Considering how remarkably easy it is to post music on any video site, I'm amazed that more people here don't do it.  I mean, if I can do it - as old-fashioned as are my methods - then surely you technological wizards could do it much better.

I'm working on a couple of tracks, but those will still take a couple of months. But in the end they're going to feature the Pro 2 and Prophet-6 among other things.  ;)

Secondly, the synthesist in a synthesis community of any type feels a certain...I won't say anxiety, but rather, expectation from others to produce music with an wide plethora of patches.  Some times I get the feeling that, regardless of the quality of a piece of synthesizer music, there must always be new, new, new sounds on display.  It seems directly related to the gear obsession issue.

I see that more related to the nature of synthesizers and the options they provide us with. After all, they allow for a plethora of sounds/instruments. And ever since the second wave of synths (the past few years), the broader goal is no longer to use them for emulative sounds like strings and brasses (albeit that's still done with reference to vintage presets or signature sounds), but for genuinely artificial sounds that can only be produced by synths. In that sense, synthesizers have finally found their own voice or rather: people start to use them more for what they are, not so much for what they can imitate. That of course does not exclude a focus on a collection of particular type of sounds determined by the tastes and needs of the users.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 06:57:27 AM by Paul Dither »

Razmo

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Re: Gear Obsession
« Reply #27 on: March 06, 2018, 06:58:25 AM »
I have not seen this thread until today... and I must say, that I think someone has been reading my gear rant thread closely because it sounds like my last 25-30 years in this "business" :D

But I have nothing to add really... because what you're writing is the truth... but it's like a drug really, and thus it takes extreme amounts of self discipline for some people to restrain from getting that "fix" that getting new stuff really is to them.

I have suffered from GAS for 25-30 years... I've been all around the problem, and lost so much money on it, that I dare not even try to calculate the loss... but I've had a lot of fun in that time, but also a lot of stress from not making anything productive, so again you're right...

I cannot explain why it takes almost 30 years before this gear frenzy suddenly feel like a curse (because it does!)... I'd have wished it dawned on me many years ago, but I'm not one to cry over spilled milk... what has happened has happened, and actually you DO reach a point where you begin to wake up, and understand that it has to stop... mainly because if you do not get anything done while hoarding like it has always been with me, then getting the gear has no point... I could as well have collected stamps or something cheaper if all I would be doing with it was noodling around for a month with it, then selling it again... it's simply pointless.

I see no problem in GAS and hoarding gear, if you can afford it, and you also get something done with it... problem is, that this is rarely the case, and the more gear, the harder it gets to comprehend it all, as you divide all your time to so many more instruments... that is one of the reasons I wanted to use just a KB37 with some eurorack modules that give me a basic system, and then quit buying more... but already as I've made my system, I start thinking about what could "complement it"... that's where the danger comes in.... again... this is why I often call my addiction "OCD"... because that's how it feels... you sit and look at the stuff you still feel you lack, instead of the things you have... I've tried it even today.... I have the KB37 in front of me, and the SV-1 sitting... even though I've toyed around with it, I focus on the modules that are not there... the "hole" in the KB37...

What it has to get down to is realizing you have a problem... it's like with any other addiction... you have to admit that you've got a problem before you can start finding the spirit to fight it... that is where I am currently... and I WILL SUCCEED! ;)

Re: Gear Obsession
« Reply #28 on: March 06, 2018, 07:01:04 AM »
I have not seen this thread until today... and I must say, that I think someone has been reading my gear rant thread closely because it sounds like my last 25-30 years in this "business" :D

Very funny post, Razmo.  We've all been bitten.  :)

Several years ago, there was a certain thirty-minute drive to work I would make in the evening.  For months, I specifically reserved this half-an-hour for trying to decide whether I would buy a Prophet '08 or an Andromeda A6.  It got to the point that I would practically drool in anticipation of the drive!  It became thirty minutes of raw fantasy and pleasure.  So, I know of what I write.  My point, though, is that I think it's prudent to resist the obsession, for all sorts of reasons - some musical, some financial, and some otherwise.

The key to getting over the gear obsession, I believe, is in learning how to quit - or, in simply making yourself quit - before you've reached the satisfaction point.  That satisfaction point is like an adrenalin or dopamine rush that must be resisted.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 07:18:09 AM by Sacred Synthesis »

Re: Gear Obsession
« Reply #29 on: March 06, 2018, 08:26:21 AM »
One approach is to consider that "all things must pass", and that the equipment that you currently use today will someday not be used by you (it works and you given it up willingly | it no longer works and is unrepairable | it was taken from you | you were taken from it).

That "utility lifecycle" varies by manufacturer, user, environment, etc., but it's fair to say that everyone here is looking for something whose lifecycle is long, and for which its usefulness is maximized.

In my own case, I've somehow managed to stay near to parity, by selling off some older (mostly Waldorf) units that were no longer useful, and by purchasing a few items that were presumably unrepairable (but turned out to be workable), which lines up with my technical experience (electronics design and repair). I still have too much "stuff", but I'm fully aware that I can't hold on to it forever–nor would I want to.

And I do hope that case 1 applies to all of the above, rather than the succeeding ones!
Sequential / DSI / Pioneer stuff: Prophet 12 Keyboard, Mono Evolver Keyboard, TORAIZ AS-1, Prophet-600 Gligli, Prophet 2000

Re: Gear Obsession
« Reply #30 on: March 06, 2018, 08:36:40 AM »
But in the end, the last case will prevail over all of us!

My objective is to find the minimal amount of gear that suffices for my needs, and then get out of the search and buy mode, period.  I find the gear obsession to be a miserable thing and certainly a distraction from producing music and living well in general.  Two things I've done so far is give up all forums except this one, as well as drastically cut down on YouTube time.  I'm sure that, if I wasn't a moderator, I wouldn't be here either.  It's almost "spring cleaning" time, and sorting out this issue is a priority. 

Sometimes all this material stuff feels like a 100-pound backpack that never comes off unless you forcefully remove it.  I haven't worn it since I was a teenager playing in bands and all that business, and now I recognize the drag of that old dead weight again. 

I suppose it wouldn't be quite as bad if the music equipment wasn't so bloody expensive.  It has you, not only thinking about the gear itself, but, just as bad, running the numbers through your head constantly.  What can I afford and what can I not afford?  And if I'm going to buy that, then what must I first sell in order to afford it?  Oh, but I don't want to sell that. 

Blah.  It's no way to live day to day.  It makes the mind into a junkyard.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 09:14:14 AM by Sacred Synthesis »

Re: Gear Obsession
« Reply #31 on: March 06, 2018, 11:03:49 AM »
For me it's more a case of an ensemble and what each instrument does on an individual basis and what it adds to an overall composition.

I'm actually glad Prophets, ARPs and Oberheims and Moogs are expensive (twice in some cases to what Americans pay because of the weak Canadian dollar) it allows me to research and determine if such an investment is right for me. I'd rather not get a ton of Volcas, Korg micros, Behringers and stuff. Not because they are poor in quality but more because it would lead to easy accumulation and getting for the sake of getting rather than getting for the sake of approach.

I have a Prophet 6, do I NEED an OB-6 or would it be redundant?
I have a Moog Sub 37, do I NEED a Korg Monologue or Roland SE-02 or would it be redundant?
I have a Tempest, do I NEED a DrumBrute or is it just more of a nice to have?

Prophet 6, Prophet X, Moog Sub 37, Oberheim SEM-Pro, Tempest Drum Computer, Roland V Piano,Kurzweil K2600XS, Roland FA-08, Baldwin Upright Piano, Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Gibson Chet Atkins SST, Jackson King V, Ibanez Jem, Roger Linn Adrenalinn iii

megamarkd

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Re: Gear Obsession
« Reply #32 on: March 06, 2018, 05:28:19 PM »
Anything I've put any passion into has ended in gear obsession.  It's part and parcel of loving something.

Gerry Havinga

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Re: Gear Obsession
« Reply #33 on: March 07, 2018, 02:17:51 AM »
Fascinating discussion, thanks to everybody who is spending time to participate.

My story is somewhat different from what I have read you all shared in this thread. For 30+ years I was too afraid of buying musical equipment, for totally believing I would never be good enough to produce any kind of music ....  :-[ In all those years I owned never more than 1 synthesizer, as something inside of me wanted to play, to produce, to be musically creative, but I did not manage to get away from this lack of believe in myself.

Then about 31/2 years ago something changed. What has stopped me all those years, fell away. All of a sudden the creative floodgates opened. A 17 year old friend of my step son asked me about a year ago: "Who do you write your music for, who is your target audience?". My answer came immediately from my guts: "Well for me of course, who else?". It is something he had great difficulties understanding. The paradox is that I do write my music for myself and I like other people to hear and enjoy it. Internally it does not feel as a conflict, strangely enough. I simply do not find it important anymore what anybody's opinion is about what I produce, except when it is to improve some aspect, to make it sound better (and I agree with the suggestion of course).

I just had to be honest with myself. Since I was about 12 I wanted to make my own synthesizer music. A teenager dream. Now I am at an age the time ahead will be shorter than the time past ..... Get moving Gerry!

In the last 3 years I have written more than 25 tracks. Five of them have made it into my first EP on Spotify/iTunes (no DSI equipment used in those first tracks). My second EP is right now being mixed and mastered by my producer, who has become a good friend in the meantime. Release date sometime in August probably.

Looking back and forward I seem to have applied my project management / agile IT skillset in creating a workflow that moves me forward. I have invented a few major objectives:
  • Create my own LPs/EPs and publish them
  • Give my first live performance in the year I am 60 (only 1 1/2 years left)
  • Write and produce music without a DAW/laptop
  • Keep learning new things related to electronic music (equipment, musical theory, performing, etc)

Number 1 is done - first album on Spotify / iTunes. If you want to hear just search for artist "Gezz", the album is called "First". It was so much fun, such a great feeling, I will just continue publishing my music for as long as I can :)

Now back to the subject. I have noticed I also do suffer from GAS (a few years ago I had to lookup that word). Of course in my own field of computing, I knew the concept. But I tend to use a set of objectives, to restrict myself:
  • Analog style sound, possibly combined with digital variations
  • One representative of the major types of synthesis: analog subtractive, analog/digital hybrid, wavetables, samples and FM (perhaps additive ...)
  • Start with a DAW (Bitwig as it also runs fine on Linux) but move towards DAWless/laptop-less
  • Purchase as much as I can second hand
  • Build a multitrack (minimal 16) Linux based recording setup
My other trick to keep me on track is to discuss every purchase (well almost ...) with my beloved partner. She does not understand my teenage dream at all. Which is very good. She fulfills the role of "department head". I will have to think carefully what I want to buy and justify first to myself. I need to be totally convinced the new purchase fits in with my goals before I communicate what I want to purchase to her. She will always argue against the purchase  :). My question is thus invariable: "Will this next purchase add value to my current setup?". Totally subjective of course, but the additional barrier helps me restraining myself and she has gained more respect for what I do.

A long story, sorry about that. What helps of course in all of this is that I don't need to financially rely on my income coming from the music side. As several of you already pointed out, there is not much money to be gained anymore from publishing music. My dream to give a live concert is not money driven, it will probably cost me hundreds of Euros .... ha ha.

I created a small presentation documenting my current workflow on how I produce my music. Mainly to share this with my son and a few colleagues. Looking back over the three years this workflow seems to have developed, emerged, itself and it works for me at the moment. Of course as soon as I visualized the workflow and documented it, it changed an adapted itself, which is part of the creative process I believe. If anyone is interested I can share it, it is of course entirely personal.

Lots of love from the Netherlands  ;)
DSI Prophet Rev2 and Evolver desktop, Waldorf Blofeld, Roland System-1, Korg Microstation, Nord Rack 2, Akai S5000, Dato DUO, Elektron Digitone, Deepmind12D, Bitwig v1 and v2. Almost daw-less...

https://soundcloud.com/user-252754541
https://open.spotify.com/artist/1QKocb4H6mNRVJ01qyqd4B

chysn

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Re: Gear Obsession
« Reply #34 on: March 07, 2018, 05:51:00 AM »
Inspiring story, Gerry, thanks for sharing it. It seems like you've got the GAS pretty much under control. I think it helps to have a strong influence outside the pursuit, as I do, too.
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Arturia MicroBrute
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore2
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

Re: Gear Obsession
« Reply #35 on: May 05, 2018, 01:24:10 PM »
I think this is a great topic. Thank you Sacred Synthesis for bringing it up. I have so much to say about it, but I'll skip most of it.

I'm very far from being a practicing musician. I don't practice. In fact between my job and my two year old, I hardly have time for music. Therefore I need to sneak in time to play music when I can. I also don't have space for a real studio. I'm mainly interested in recording classical symphonic music and maybe writing my own some day (one can dream).

This all means that my instruments have very specific features: 1) They are self contained or don't take a lot of space. 2) They power up quickly. 3) They allow me to record music easily. Additionally I want the following features: 1) They sound so good that they transport me to another place, 2) They can recreate the grandeur, range, and subtlety of acoustic instruments, and 3) Multitrack recording is really easy. 4) I can carry them anywhere and use it, say, when I'm doing my, ahem, business.

Now there isn't a single device that can do this. iPads come close but they fall short on the performance and easy multitracking. My current go to instrument is the Teenage Engineering OP-1, which comes closest to what I'm looking for, but it lacks the modulation matrix and velocity-sensitive keys to capture the full dynamic range of an acoustic instrument. And two octaves is simply not enough to record the pitch range of any instrument.

Therefore I long to buy something that simply does not exist. And given my lifestyle, I cannot create music without it. So I spend more time trying to figure out how I'm going to build or buy the instrument than I spend creating music.

I'm an engineer, and I want to stick up a little for people with GAS. Some people are more interested in the instrument than the music that's created with it. I speculate that Dave Smith himself is that way. Clearly instrument design is what fills his mind, and our world is so much richer for it. We're not all composers. Some of us play what others have written. And some of us would rather think about instruments than music.

Another thought: I think that GAS is the sign of an artist who once played an instrument and was so deeply moved that he or she seeks to regain that experience but somehow never can.

dsetto

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Re: Gear Obsession
« Reply #36 on: May 10, 2018, 10:10:17 PM »
Nice.

Gerry Havinga

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Re: Gear Obsession
« Reply #37 on: May 12, 2018, 12:53:43 AM »
Major givng in to gas and discipline fail  ;)  ;)  ;)

Friday, just over a week ago, I picked up my (long awaited) Digitone. It just so happened I saw a lonely Deepmind12D sitting in its box on the shop floor .... The rest is history. I gave in and am really enjoying exploring its capabilities, sitting nicely mounted in a rack, next to the Rev2 keyboard.

In the meantime, getting to grips with the wacky sequencer in the Digitone, I am in the middle of creating my first track featuring the 'tone, Evolver Desktop and the Rev2. No computer involved, just playing and programming. I do need to keep notes in a small notebook about which bank/pattern is playing what chord/note(s). Slowly a new workflow is starting to evolve (pun entirely intended).

It is a really nice little setup: Digitone + Evolver. Where the Evolver audio is routed through the Digitone inputs. Sounds great together. I now have a mobile and very light working environment to compose on. I didn't expect that to happen. The Digitone is indeed a real FM heaven, very easy to understand and tweak (speaking from my DX21 experiences years ago).

I think I also have settled on my choice of sequencer. Now I start to understand the Elektron sequencer, the choice has become clear. I will wait for the mail from Colin (Sequentix) when I am high enough in the waiting list to pay for the Cirklon. 

Reading @tumble2k's post I do feel very fortunate that I am able to do this at this stage in my life. All I can say is please enjoy the kids (plural?) as much as you can, they grow up real quick. Before you know it, they will be asking for your car keys .....  ;) and they will be studying someplace far from home.
DSI Prophet Rev2 and Evolver desktop, Waldorf Blofeld, Roland System-1, Korg Microstation, Nord Rack 2, Akai S5000, Dato DUO, Elektron Digitone, Deepmind12D, Bitwig v1 and v2. Almost daw-less...

https://soundcloud.com/user-252754541
https://open.spotify.com/artist/1QKocb4H6mNRVJ01qyqd4B

chysn

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Re: Gear Obsession
« Reply #38 on: May 12, 2018, 08:42:11 AM »
I can't think of anything I want to buy.

For some reason, I keep trying force it without success. I don't think my eurorack synth can be improved. I don't want another synth with a keyboard. I could go for a Volca FM, but I don't have a burning desire for one. I wouldn't mind having a desktop Mopho again, but I'm willing to wait for an absurd deal to come along.

It's a time of quiescence, and I know I should let it happen. These days I spend my time on my Tetrapad technique. I'm like a nine-year-old, practicing scales, arpeggios, and intervals.
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Arturia MicroBrute
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore2
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

Gerry Havinga

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Re: Gear Obsession
« Reply #39 on: May 12, 2018, 10:21:43 AM »
I can't think of anything I want to buy.

For some reason, I keep trying force it without success. I don't think my eurorack synth can be improved. I don't want another synth with a keyboard. I could go for a Volca FM, but I don't have a burning desire for one. I wouldn't mind having a desktop Mopho again, but I'm willing to wait for an absurd deal to come along.

It's a time of quiescence, and I know I should let it happen. These days I spend my time on my Tetrapad technique. I'm like a nine-year-old, practicing scales, arpeggios, and intervals.
Ha nice! Not even the Prophet X? Sounds very saintly ;-)
DSI Prophet Rev2 and Evolver desktop, Waldorf Blofeld, Roland System-1, Korg Microstation, Nord Rack 2, Akai S5000, Dato DUO, Elektron Digitone, Deepmind12D, Bitwig v1 and v2. Almost daw-less...

https://soundcloud.com/user-252754541
https://open.spotify.com/artist/1QKocb4H6mNRVJ01qyqd4B