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11 rules to buy the right audio gear

Smart advice to buy the right tools for your passion.


With the right gear, half of the job is already done.

So, we’ve collected some good advice to give you a good mindset for choosing the right tools to realize your ideas.

  • Hou much do you love music?

    Are you going to try to make it for a living? Or it’s just a free time passion?

    • In the first case, you must choose your tools very wisely, and don’t be concerned to spend a lot. Preferably after consulting a reliable audio professional or building yourself a flawless knowledge about this job (which means both practical aspect and market analysis): if you make the right choices, you’ll have your money back from your happy customers.
    • In the second one: don’t bother too much. You don’t have any market to being fit within: just enjoy the trip.
  • Are you going to have customers?

    Because, if you’re going to, you must create something that will sound good even on other rooms, on other sound systems and that will satisfy even other people. Many times, other people who have listened to a lot of good music in very nice sound systems, and that they won’t care if you’re just a beginner.

    In other terms: you must respect professional production standards, both artistic and technical.

  • Have you the right place for what you’re going to buy?

    Drums and guitar amplifiers are loud, audio monitors needs acoustically treated rooms, real pianos are bulky…

    Keep always extreme attention to where are you going to use your gear: the wrong place can nullify the right gear.
    If you have an awesome pair of 8″ audio monitors in a 2x3mt room, they will be completely useless because of acoustic reasons.
    Same thing for a cheap microphone who can sound good in studio, but it will crack like hell in a live environment with a lot of humidity.

    Don’t be egocentric or short sighted, or you won’t enjoy your new gear.

  • Don’t think first about how to do it: think first about what you want to do.

    You’re buying an instrument: you’re buying something that will only be a way to obtain a goal.
    It’s within its meaning: “instrument”. Not “purpose”.

    Don’t focus too much on the instrument.
    In fact, it’s better to don’t even think about your instrument: focus only on what you must realize.

    Think about your instrument only if you’re absolutely sure that your skills are completely covering any field that you’re dealing with, and you still don’t have success.

  • They‘re only instruments: they won’t play for you.

    Don’t buy anything with the mindset “it will do the job”: -you- are going to do the job, with the aid of an instrument.

    If you don’t have a clear idea of how to get done something, you don’t need a new instrument: you need to be more skilled.

  • And, even if they somehow can, it won’t have any sense.

    Art is expression.
    What makes it so special and beautiful is the variety in it. The fact that we put our soul in our art.

    What’s the point in just clicking a button? You’re not making art: you’re playing a button, and listening to something done by others. You’re not being yourself: you’re being a surrogate of someone else.

    Are you sure that you want to spend your time being a surrogate of someone else?

  • Don’t use only your ears: use even your brain. (A little introduction to psychoacoustics)

    We don’t have spectrometers and hard disks: we have ears and a soul.
    We’re not machines that memorizes data: we are humans that remember emotions.

    We don’t memorize data: we memorize feelings. Not “110db, 80Hz”: “a loud low tone”.
    Which is the reason because we can make art: we have feelings.

    And even because we can say that we’re alive.

    …and even because we are not incline to memorize precise data, like acoustic characteristics or frequency responses.

    For example, in your early years of mixing, it will be quite common to being extremely happy for your last mix only to find out, on the next day, that it sucked really hard.
    It’s absolutely normal.
    You will get rid of this with years of good practice and study.
    It’s the difference between being a pro or not.

  • DON‘T LISTEN TO TESTIMONIALS (...unless you’re long term friends)

    They have plenty of production money: they can afford to buy something only for its aesthetic purpose (what do you think the purpose of a Marshall amplifiers wall is?), and they have plenty of audio professionals ready to correct any sort of trouble due to this “choreographic” modus operandi.

    And, more important: they don’t care about you. They’re paid to advertise. They won’t go broke if you can’t make the music that you wanted to.
    And you won’t know what tools they are effectively using until the day that you will work together with them.

  • DON‘T LISTEN TO FRIENDS/PARENTS (...unless they’re well established audio professionals)

    The fact that you spent a lot of nice days together doesn’t mean that they’re trained audio professionals.

    There’s nothing wrong about it: music isn’t a joke. It’s serious business.
    Your passion is a serious business. And it must be dealt only by skilled professionals.

  • Don‘t listen to anyone that doesn’t give you strong theoretical facts.

    The faster way to understand if it’s a good advice it’s pretty simple: ask why.
    If you’re doing this because you want it to be your job, don’t accept anything pre cooked: always ask “why”. And don’t accept “because it’s good”: ask for a plausible scientific explanation.

    Because, with tools, we aren’t talking about magic: there is always a strong scientific background for any audio tool.
    A frequency response plot and a polar pattern for a microphone, for example: is this microphone as good as they said? Well: let’s see the charts. Show me.

  • But never forget that you‘re not doing math: you’re doing art.

    Scientific knowledge about your instruments is only a way to find a clearer path to know how to realize your ideas. It’s not a “bigger number competition”.

    A perfect instrument for situation A could be the worst choice for the situation B: it’s art. It’s all about the context.
    It’s all about what do you want to create.
    Never forget it.

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