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Gearlust: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly   Gearlust Noun 1. To have an intense desire for...

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Gearlust: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Gearlust: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly



1. To have an intense desire for equipment. It is usually used in the audio world.


True story.

We live in a world where the cost of production and DJ equipment is extremely low. One of the first RCA synthesizers cost upwards of $100,000 and the early Moog synths put you out a cool $10,000. Adding inflation to the equation, what the Moog synthesizer cost in 1965 would cost $71,824.73 in 2012. In contrast, anyone with a laptop can now make complete productions for under $1,000. In addition, today’s producer has almost limitless options when it comes to controllers, hardware, and software, and most equipment is being updated and improved on a regular basis. This creates a wide world of opportunity that brings with it some real pitfalls.

The Good

Lets be real, we love new equipment. We even like the way it smells when it comes out of the box.

The low cost threshold of music production equipment has endowed many people with the tools to release their creative potential. This is a time without precedent. Historically, the ability to produce music has, in large part, been constrained by money.

New gear has the tendency to force us to look at our workflows in a different way. We gain insights into creative methods that have gone undiscovered.

It is fun. Playing with and producing music with new gear is a lot of fun! Noodling around on a new synthesizer, banging out beats on new pads, and watching twinkling LED lights is just plain fun.

The Bad

When it comes to actually finishing productions and moving forward with the craft, gearlust has a tendency to get in the way.

Sometimes I find myself daydreaming about how I could be a better musician if I only had the newest soft synth or the most feature-packed controller. It is unfortunate because much of that time spent daydreaming could be used to hone my skills with what I already available.

When something is bought out of gearlust it tends to be an “empty” purchase. Usually, I find that the new gear does not make me the ultimate producer and I get frustrated. This mentality can cause us to fall into what I call the “gearlust death loop of doom”. This happens when we keep thinking that we need new things to be better. So we purchase new things and end up disappointed again, which makes us think that we need more gear… and so the loop goes. This is a killer.

The Ugly

Yes, it can get ugly.

Sometimes the strong desire for newer and better gear can completely stop us from producing the music that is trapped in our heads.

This is the ugly side of gearlust. The equipment is stripped of its original purpose when gearlust stops us in our tracks (pun intended). Most of us want to become better musicians, to produce music, and to be creative. When our gearlust gets in the way of sharing our music it is time to take a step back.

Keeping The Gearlust Beast at Bay

Show him who is boss.

I find that learning new ways to use the equipment that I own is a great way to breathe new life into my productions and keep the gearlust under control. There are many websites that provide extensive tutorials on different software synths and DAWs. These tutorials are a great way to add depth to your technical abilities. (Shameless plug for ADSRsounds.com)

Collaborating is a great way to see how other people use their gear and can inspire us by providing fresh perspectives.

Sometimes one must disconnect themselves from the marketing machine. Currently I am signed up to almost every audio production email list possible and I am always receiving emails about the latest greatest deals and upgrades. I find that if I instantly delete those emails I spend less time perusing the deals and more time making music.

Like I said, we love new gear. But when our desire for gear stops us from reaching our goals it is a good time to put desires in their place and see them for what they are. It would be a tragedy to die with our music still in us.

What are your thoughts on gearlust?


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