I confess. When I get my new Tape Op the first thing I do is look at all of the gear ads. In some respects, I would love to tell you these products are more about marketing hype and less about sound. But as someone who has heard (or used) many of the items you see in these pages, I can tell you this: These manufacturers make some great stuff, and when reading a new Tape Op I've been known to drool like a St. Bernard in a butcher shop. You may or may not own some of the gear you see advertised in these pages. But if you don't own a particular item, do not let that stop you from recording. Use what you have, and give it hell.
1. Record everything you can.
2. Use what you have at your disposal (literally, anything).
3. Have fun.
4. Learn from your recordings.
5. Rinse, repeat, and share your ideas with others.
Last year I had the chance to spend a day with Roger Nichols. (Yes, Steely Dan — Grammy winner Roger Nichols. And no, I don't have any Steely Dan CDs). One thing Roger said stuck with me. Some of the other guys kept bugging him about which mic or preamp he used on some song in 1974. Roger finally had enough. He replied, "You guys are caught up with gear. The cheapest stuff you can buy today would have been a godsend a few years ago. You're never satisfied. Use what you already have... I'll tell you what, you could pick whatever gear you want and just give me some black- faced ADATS, a Mackie mixer, some SM57s, a cheap condenser, and I'll knock your socks off."
He wasn't saying this to be arrogant. On the contrary, most of his comments were similar to my philosophy. It was really cool to hear this from someone who has access to any gear he wants. Although some of my peers never got this message, the rest of us appreciated this attitude.
It's perfectly normal to want new gear, but don't let a "lack of gear" stop you from recording. Don't sit around waiting to get "just the right amount of stuff" before you hit the red button. You can always make money to buy new gear, but you can never get back the time could have been recording.