It’s the age-old question that often fuels the reader, writers, and backers of Electronic Musician, as well as the larger industry of musical and audio equipment: Does gear matter?
Of course, to some extent, gear has to matter. You need certain basic equipment to produce and record music. To some extent, it doesn’t matter. Justice made its classic Cross album largely in GarageBand and The Beatles & George Martin made its music using 8 tracks or less.
It’s the infinite middle ground between those two opposing viewpoints upon which Grammy-winning producer/engineer Jack Joseph Puig trods in his video series for Mix with the Masters.
In his 40-year career working with some of the biggest rock and pop acts of this era (The Rolling Stones , Green Day, Lady Gaga, U2, No Doubt, etc.), Puig has been both guy who de-stressed the importance of gear and the guy who got eye-rolls because he insisted on trotting in specific expensive gear to sessions. He has a Signature Series plug-in bundle produced by Waves, but also has a “vault” of boutique, rare, and classic hardware.
In this first Workshop video series by Mix with the Masters, Puig shares his insight on the importance of gear and tries to get to the bottom of question about whether you can get the best results using just an SM57 mic and stock plug-ins or if you need certain prize pieces of equipment.
He also demonstrates some creative uses of compression in this brief but jam-packed 1-hour series.
Teaser video about whether equipment matters: