The upside of gear fatigue

Fellow nauts,

While being on a gear journey for years, what was once a quest fuelled by curiosity and desire to learn, eventually become somewhat fatiguing. Partly because of the restless nature of never settling for instruments that you kind of actually enjoyed but still decided to part with, and partly because the more stuff I tried, the less curious I became. Maybe that goes without saying, if you’ve tried no synths, they’re all cool. If you tried many, the next one is less likely to offer something interesting.

Some time ago, I decided to just stop with this.

I won’t fool myself into thinking that I won’t be attracted to new instruments as they appear from time to time, but what I’ve learned is that certain brands also tend to tick my boxes more than others. So I’ve created a little strategy for myself that simply raises the bar for new stuff to catch my attention. Unless they’re part of a specific brand, I’m not likely to bother anymore.

For synths, Sequential is my go to. Since their stuff is expensive, most of the time I can’t afford their synths anyway and if I can, I have to sell the one I have. Pretty sustainable :slight_smile: currently, I’m on a Prophet 12 module and have been for some time. I’ve played them all and some I know fairly well and others, really well. So the Prophet 12 is my choice after years of playing and experience with all of them except the Pro2 and Pro3.

For fx boxes, I’m with Chase Bliss. Again, silly expensive stuff. So I can keep one or two at a time, tops. Currently, it’s the Tonal Recall Red Knob Edition and Blooper. I’d like to return to the Mood, and I’d love a Generation Loss. But that’s not happening right now. I’ve been experimenting with Strymon and Meris stuff before that, but the Chase Bliss character is something else.

As far as samplers go, I’m done. No brand is specifically interesting to me right now. I’m on the Toraiz for the moment and seeing how well it gels with me, I’m pretty sure I’m sticking with it for some time. Elektron was my favourite for a long time, though, and I was on the Blackbox for a productive year.

Drum machines, the same. Not interested. The Toraiz has me covered.

Modular, I’m never going there. So I’m done before I even started.

Mixing and recording, well, hmm. I have an SSL SiX that records into a Zoom H1n but I’m starting to eye the Tascam Model 12. The Toraiz sounds so good out of the box, I’m not sure the SSL SiX is worth what it brings to the table, compared to the very modern take on multi-tracking that the Tascam brings.

Mastering, I won’t even bother. I can get away with my mixing skills, though barely, by there’s no way I can bring anything to the mastering table that not even someone with just about average skills can do a hundred times better. If I end up in a context where that kind of mastering makes a real difference, I know where to go.

Can you guys relate to this? You ended up with a brand that essentially became your choice, and everything else had to fight to get your attention because of it? Not only because you liked it, but because a focus like that, tends to filter out most of the gear buzz around you.

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Yep.

Over 30 years of making music, buying, selling gear, giving up, buying & selling more, giving up many more times, i’m happy & relieved to say that feel extremely settled & excited at the prospect of using just my Mpc (Currently the Mpc ONE but i’ll probably upgrade to Live II or X) & a DAW.

If i can’t do it this time, with this modest setup, then i’m out for good.

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I can definitely relate to this. My relatively small setup based around the dark analog trio gets me very far. I complement this by samples I load into the AR. Haven’t been as productive as I’ve been the last couple of years for a very long time. And I learn something new every time I do something with the boxes.

I’m also slowly staring to get to the place where what I want to do is in my muscle memory. I’ve been missing that feeling ever since I bought my second synth :slight_smile:

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I sold it all cause I can make more sound on my phone than I could ever even hope to hear or use. Feel like a race dog that’s realised it’s not a real rabbit. Still make beats on my iPad and DAW. Gear is fun to chase but they’ll let you chase it till you die. Don’t let marketing ruin your fun.

If you want something to really stick you have to use it to a point where using anything else seems like a chore, your brain is wired to take the easiest path to save energy. You can’t really use something that much till something new comes out. Skip a couple of releases then see if you’re still interested. But that could easily be 5 years of not buying shit

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On my second year of not buying any sound producing devices (synths, drum machines, samplers etc). All my recent purchases has been around perfecting the workflow with the gear I already have, e.g. new desk, monitor controller, headphones that I can wear for longer periods of time - i.e. just boring stuff :slight_smile:

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Yeah I think we all kind of get there eventually, I think it can be nice to have enough devices to take a little break from one and come back with a fresh set of eyes. But yeah really giving new gear a proper chance can be exaughsting at times, still fun, but it can be a massive time sink… probably most synths I’ve bounced off of I didn’t give a totally fair shake.

For me DSI, Elektron and Erica Synths are like the trinity of gear I know I will enjoy. That said I am pretty sunk in on the work flow of the Pro2 and Digitakt.

Maybe someday I will get into making my own custom eurorack setups but I do think there is also something to working within the boundaries of a preset system, it certainly alleviates gas if you learn to love limitations and expensive gear :sweat_smile:

Honestly right now I’m more interested in spending money on custom woodworking to make a beautiful folding case for my gear. That and whatever this new Dsi synth will be.

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Yeah, I can totally see that if one gels with the One, you wouldn’t be needing much else.

When you’re in that place where you just play whatever instrument you got without thinking, and in fact thinking disrupts the playing cause it’s so autonomous, you’re right where you should be. I was there with the OT and hoping to get there with the Toraiz. Shouldn’t be that hard, considering it can do maybe a tenth of what the OT can :slight_smile:

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Whatever Sequential is up to, I’m always interested. Can’t think of any brand that I feel that way about. I used to be like that on Elektron, but not anymore. They’re doing great stuff and probably for all the right reasons, but they just don’t talk to me anymore.

Totally , had a good 3 or 4 years buying all sorts, lots second hand, old rack samplers, Mpc’s , midi controllers and stuff

Then settled into my DJS as main machine , with lots of creative sampling sessions aided by ableton as a sound designer, stem creator and “tape machine”

Really fighting gas on a pedal trip, fancy a xone 96 and feel the need for a fancy synth every few weeks. I can rationalise the gas and get it back, just. Maybe just a few pedals… lol

Oh and forgot to add a AR2 and a OT1 is a bucket list must get too

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It’s that itch, you know? And it’s not all in our heads. Every new experience with an instrument brings something, so it’s rarely a waste. It’s when it comes down to if it’s worth it in relation to the cost in time and money, you gotta make choices.

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Great thread! Though I wonder if it’s a vicious circle, at least for me. Right now I’m content with my acoustic, DN, MPC.

But, is that just the summer me? The flip flops, carefree dude. Come those long boring cold days after the excitement of holidays is over I’ve noticed my gas ignites. Feeling a new device will fill that void. Keep me busy from all the researching, YT, purchase, learning, and selling.

Pondering on this I spent $ more on recording hardware like preamps. This way when summer me is back I can sound better. Or, shall I say sound worse with better quality.

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I’m some what in that curiousity stage but I think I’m at the edge of tunnel.

I’ve tried modular to some extent and it made me realize that I hate patching. Exploring is fun but the lack of saving and unplugging everything.

So I will sell my stuff and go with one monster synth to rule them all, which one it will be I don’t know, but I will take my time deciding on it and settling with my OT, OP-Z Norns Shield (which I haven’t received yet) and QY70.

Maybe I will keep a small 48hp case with pamelas and Rainmaker and use that as a send effect for OT… maybe

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I can definitely relate to this. 30 years of buying and selling gear, fleeting ‘aha’ moments, deciding on a rack sampler, switching to soft-samplers, filling in the gaps in Eurorack cases (or ‘oh no, it doesn’t fit, what should I replace?’, or new module releases, to time wasted on ModularGrid, taking photos with cable spaghetti), waiting for updates (MPC5k/Tempest…), waiting for MnM MK3, ‘does it do polymeters/tempo-synced LFOs?’…

Akai and Elektron, an iPad and laptop, iCA4+.

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This really sums up the last few months for me, friend. I made more gear moves in the early part of this year than I anticipated, but I’ve finally landed on a setup (two, really) that is sticking. There’s the more techno / sequencer based stuff (Octatrack, Digitone, model: cycles) and the out-there (mostly) analog stuff for free-form jamming (Benjolin, Cocoquantus, Lorre Mill Double Knot). A few FX/accent pieces and run them into the SSL SiX. I don’t think I’m quite done with gear-swapping, but I’ve decided to stick with the stuff I have for a while to really give them the proper shakedown. There are days when I think the only moves left are to slim down the gear list even more, but there’s always something new and shiny to investigate. Like you said, though, it has gotten easier now to make a quick assessment, especially when I weigh how much time would be comitted to learning to use anything new. That’s where the recent analog additions have the edge, because they are way shallower to dip into than any elektron box. Power on, twist knobs, enjoy, hit record, go to bed. I hope to hear more about how you get along with the Toraiz, especially given your affinity for the OT.

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I think I’ve hit the wall. And that’s it.
No talent…not getting better despite all the practice.

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Gosh. Till 3 years ago I was using the same two synths since the last century, and the one I got in 2010ish.

I wouldn’t fault anyone these days who falls victim to GAS and gear fatigue. The amount to choose from is more numerous than ever, the crossover is broad, and the quality is excellent.

Now days the virtual analog has improved amazingly, FM is finally embracing itself, and wacky bespoke analog is everywhere.
It’s not as easy now as it once was to say, “Sequential” or “Moog is my sound”. A Nord Lead can do them both convincingly, and look at the new UDO 6!!! WTF is it? Gotta find out. Give us a break, synth builders, and take a break.

@circuitghost Just don’t get the Prophet~6, since Sequential is your thing. Settle for an AS-1 and save your $$$ for the other lovelies in the range.

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Hello, my name is Wolf-Rami and I’m a gear hoarder.

In the last 20 or so years I’ve gone through maybe three or four brief periods of contentment and non gas. All the other time I’ve spent chasing the unattainable ”perfect setup”. At the moment I’m somewhat happy with the gear I have. It’s a well balanced setup of different kinds of sound sources and effects and something to record them on. I still crave for some small bits and bobs (like all the missing Meris -pedals and a rack version of V-Synth), but I’m mostly clean.

What has made me happy with my setup has been getting a great guitar and starting to read music theory from the very basics. My three last music related purchases have been a complete cleansing and service for my guitar from a friend of mine and two books on learning to play guitar. As the summer slowly comes to an end I have a new hobby, learning to play a guitar. It’s a lot better than my older hobby, gassing for new gear.

I learned guitar as a kid/teen from Metallica and Anthrax musical notation books but never went any deeper than that. It’s fascinating to learn a basically totally new instrument from scratch.

I’m afraid though that when I’ve learned a bit I’ll start gassing harder than ever for all kinds of guitar pedals. I’ll do my best not to.

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Not specifically to a brand or brands but definitely a function:
Drums, AR mk1
Samples, MPC 2500 & OT
Acid, Avalon
FM, Volca
Analog synths, mono = BS2, poly = Tetra
Digital synths, Virus Ti
FX must give me a sound nothing else does.
Eurorack is more of a playground for esoteric things, since I have my bases well covered above.

When Loopop starts with the words ‘Hi…this is …’ You know your in trouble.

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