Welcome to issue #42 of Tape Op.
A few months ago I was wrapping up the evening by dropping into a local watering hole with a nice young lady, when a customer who had been sitting at the bar looked at me and said, "You're that Jackpot! guy, aren't you?" I assured him that, yes, I was the owner and engineer of a local studio. He proceeded to tell me his story, of acquiring some really nice gear (Studer/API/Calrec) and how eventually he shelved the idea of setting up a studio because he didn't have what it took to compete with the "big boys" as far as sound quality. I was confused by this story, but hell, one less local studio filled with great gear isn't exactly a bad thing for my business. He then asked what kind of console I owned.
I admitted I use an Allen and Heath Saber, a 56 input console from the '80s full of TL072 op amp chips and cheap capacitors. He sat nursing his beer for a while before telling me "You can't make a great record on a console like that." My companion took up sparring with him, asking him what inspires him to record music anyway. I mostly laid low in the ensuing conversation, besides mentioning that my clients wouldn't be able to afford the rate increase if I was to purchase (and eventually pay for) the kind of console I'd ideally own (API, Neve, etc.), but that I was busy recording music all the time and had many happy customers. The conversation never was resolved, but sides settled down eventually. As we were all leaving the bar, I decided to get my dig in. "Hey, all that stuff you told me about buying your recording gear and not even using it — that's the antithesis of why I started Tape Op magazine." He looked at me a bit bewildered, said his goodbyes and stumbled into the night.
PS: TapeOpCon 2004 in New Orleans was amazing. See page 22 for quotes and pictures from this annual event.