One of the neat things about audio is the amount of equipment that comes with it. Since technology is now more accessible than ever, the world of audio has endured the same fate. With the enhancement of Bluetooth in cellphones and vehicles, companies now make wireless headphones and speakers. Apple comes out with a new version of the Mac laptops every year and companies that support them are in strong contention with each other. With all these advancements and advertisements shoved in our faces 24/7, people always yearn for the latest and greatest product.

While it is more niche compared to consumer products, aspiring engineers or producers often struggle with the same ideals. Since I’ve first started djing, I have now acquired six controllers/mixers in the span of ten years; at one point I was getting a new one each year. The same can be said for my music production hobby. I now have gone over three audio editing softwares in four years. Simply put, I’ve had G.A.S (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) sometimes take over my life.

While I don’t want to pull out the innocence card, I do believe it has played a major role in past purchases. Coming from WV, not many people study music around here and there aren’t any stores that sell this sort of equipment. Therefore, much of what I’ve bought or what was bought for me was solely based on online research. There are some trustworthy articles and videos out there, but the best way to shop is to try it yourself. What’s even worse, is every product I’ve mentioned all do the exact same thing, just a unique look. Save yourself the trouble and money, learn from my mistakes, and follow these guidelines…

1. Is it worth buying?

It’s no secret that we always strive for the next big thing. Many of the advertisements I see on my computer are based solely on my current interests; I can’t think of a day where I haven’t seen at least five audio training or dj promotions. There are also websites out there (like Equipboard.com) that tell you what gear your favorite musician is using. Due to my lack of research, I’d take anything I’d see on there as gospel. For instance, I’m a fan of Electronic artist Zedd and saw that he uses the audio editing software Cubase. At the time, I thought in order to sound like him, I had to get what he uses. THIS IS NOT THE CASE and I’d advise you to turn away if you’re using this worthless excuse. Equipment itself doesn’t make a better musician, it’s just how you use it that matters.

2. Practice delay gratification

Delay gratification is the process of holding out for something better. For example, you could buy that shirt you desperately want now for full price or wait a bit until it goes on sale. The same can be said for any music gear. As horrifying as it may be, a product is already outdated as soon as it hits the market. Therefore, if you know what you’re looking at essentially does the same thing as what you currently use, wait out for something that has more features or can be more beneficial in the long run. It’s been proven that using this method leads to a happier lifestyle. Make do with what you have, the rest takes care of itself.

3. Do your research

As I said previously, try to see if you can view what you’re wanting in person before buying it. Personally, I’d think it’d be silly to purchase a car without test driving and getting a feel for it. The same can be said for audio equipment. Most music stores allow you to try things, and pieces of software typically offer free trials before purchase. Take advantage of the opportunity when it’s given to you. 

These are just a few of the guidelines I’ve learned to follow throughout my musical endeavors. I look back at it now and see these times as bittersweet. On one end, I wish I was more consciences of asking for things. Seeing my parents’ hard earned money and sacrifices taking up stock in the basement isn’t the best feeling. I regret these things a lot, as the majority of my equipment was paid by them or some other family member. You can even put this on the bigger scale. College is far from cheap and I really wish I could do more to help compensate for my education. I suppose one way to ease the burden is to keep practicing and learning, as this is a critical point in my life. Despite all this, I wouldn’t have learned such valuable lessons if it weren’t for my past actions. I’m understanding to view every loss as a learning experience, proving that I never lost in the first place.

This is a response I received four years ago regarding updating my equipment. Digital Dj Tips is a helpful website in terms of gear research, but this is what I really needed to hear and what inspired this post.

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