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Get to Know Your Own Equipment Better - EMusician

Editor's Note: Know Your Gear

Though it is always exciting to attend the NAMM show and get time with all the latest products, I am often reminded of the gear I already have that, frankly, needs more of my attention.

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It’s one thing to explore the presets of a new softsynth and then learn to save our own. And it’s useful to actually read the manual and learn how a product works at a deeper level, so we can bend it to our own needs. But these are just the beginning stages in the process of gaining mastery over our tools. And I can’t help but wonder if our industry’s continual race to release something new has kept us from gaining the level of mastery we achieved when gear was more expensive and harder to get.

If we’re not careful, we’ll find ourselves in a continual state of exploration—or worse, debugging—rather than honing our skills by actually creating music. It takes a lot of time to truly understand the expressive capabilities of a well-designed synth, or to utilize the features in a Eurorack module beyond the obvious functionality. How often do we put that kind of time in without getting distracted by something new?

Certainly, the heaviest criticism I get as the editor of this magazine is that it seems as if our main goal is to get readers to buy the next big thing. Although our advertisers may like you to, our editorial mission is different: It’s about education.

The reason we run master classes and tech articles in the pages of EM is to inspire readers to grow and to help them get to the next level in their craft. Likewise, the new-product info we share each month is intended to educate you so that, when you do feel it’s time to shop, you have a better understanding of the latest options.

This is not to say that we shouldn’t have fun with every new app or module we can get our hands on. Just remember to put some time aside, without distraction, to truly focus on your art.