I’ve come to a major decision in my life and my music – I’m selling almost all of my hardware instruments.
Those that have known me for a long time will realize how strange this sounds. Some of you will think I’ve gone mad or that I am suffering some sort of depressive episode. Neither of those are true. In fact, I think this is the cure for my maddness.
You see, hardware has become an increasingly large pain in my ass. Be it the physical space it takes up, the costs of buying or the ancillary costs in infrastructure and power; having it means having a lot of other stuff and having to deal with a lot of stuff you just *don’t* with software.
But “hardware is rock solid stable!” you’ll say. “It just works”.
That was the past, when instruments were simple and there was no such thing as a software update. Now, products are raced to market with half baked operating systems lacking even the features that were promised in original ad copy that made you pre-order it. Then you wait for updates while dealing with bugs and, if you’re lucky, the company actually follows through. Almost every company does this now a days with their hardware (elektron, i’m looking at you) and the beta-culture is one I am just done with.
And if you think about it, there is no incentive for the company to do long term support aside from reputation building (and it seems no one cares about that anymore). Without a financial incentive, they have to move on to new products on a rapid cycle.
Oddly, software doesn’t have this problem as much, since the upgrades are paid. This creates an incentive to create new and exciting things in each release. So, yes, I am upgrading XYZ soft every year, BUT…I’m getting value for that. Bug fixes are often free patches. It’s at least not as bad as the hardware these days (and, no, I can’t believe that I’m typing that sentence.
The other big factor in this decision is my very limited time. When I do get time to sit in my studio, I don’t want to be futzing with shit to make it work. Since moving to my Mac and Reason, I spend a LOT less time futzing. With hardware, any time you get a new instrument, there is figuring out where to put it, connecting it, setting MIDI channels, etc. There is a lot of engineering that goes into just *having* a studio of hardware instruments. Installing drivers….etc. And all of that gets completely fucked up by one..bad…MIDI cable.
Here is an example. A few weeks ago I got a Korg Radias as part of a trade. The radias sat in the box for 3 days before I could get to it. When I did, I had to find desk space to put it on, since I wanted its controlls available. After I find a place, I had to find MIDI cables that could reach it. Great, did that. Now I need audio cables. FUCK! audio cables don’t reach to where I want to put it. So I can go out and buy new cables, or find a different place to put it…you get the point. For this priviledge, I paid $700 abouts.
Last night, I bought a reason instrument that was on sale for $20 and I already have half a song written with it. Right there, hardware is done.
With all of that said, I’m not going to get rid of all of my hardware, but rather focus on a few pieces that I do actually feel are worth the struggle. Those items are my Korg Kronos, Akai MPC Live, and of course my Eurorack Modular. I’ll be selling Access Virus TI2 Darkstar, Korg Radias, Dave Smith Instruments Poly Evolver, Elektron Octatrack and Elektron Analog Keys. By getting rid of that stuff, I’ll be able to shed my Yamaha 01v96v2 mixer, a pair of smaller mackie sub mixers, my iConnectivity MIO10, a TON of stands, cases and racks, and I’ll be able to recycle a metric fuck ton of cables. METRIC FUCK TON.
When I think back to my Dust album, it was written when I had, due to financial contraints, retracted my studio down to the Korg M3, my Korg EMX1 and my Eurorack Modular. Maybe that had something to do with my happiness and creativity in that time? Who knows. Anyway…here goes…