… or do I really need any more?
So my arsenal for music production comprises
- NI Komplete 6 (Reaktor, Kontakt, FM8, Massive, Guitar Rig, Absynth, Battery)
- Ableton Live Suite (Sampler, Tension, Operator, Electric, Collision, Analog)
- Older NI synths (Pro-53, B4)
- UAD-1 plugins
- Xils (VCS3 emulation)
- Xoxos drum synth suite
- TRackS mastering plugs
- Most of the AudioDamage plugins
- AAS Ultra Analog
- Image-Line Harmless
- A few other free or cheap things
- Ableton Live 8 Suite Built-in effects
I’m not rich — a lot of these pieces of software were Not For Resale review copies, or Audiomidi ‘No Brainer’ Deals, or (in the case of the UAD-1) insane blow-out deals. Others are incremental purchases, like the Audiodamage stuff.
I actually have licenses software I don’t actually have loaded on my computer right now. When I got to add a compressor to a track I don’t even know how many choices I have — I have 4 I use regularly — UAD-1 1176LN-SE, UAD-1 LA2A, AudioDamage Rough Rider, and the built in Ableton compressor. If I want an analog synth sound I have 8 or 10 choices, and that’s before I go to my outboard real analog synths.
I follow the usual suspects (KVR et al) for news on new virtual synths and effects, and only rarely do I ever see anything I’m moved to investigate — even if it’s free! And I haven’t even begun to mention sample sets, and doing my own sampling, live guitar playing, location recording, and screwing around in Sound Forge doing sound design.
Which raises a couple of questions: Given the glut of different software synths & effects available, does anyone really need to make more? When was the last time someone came up with something that pegged the ‘Oh Wow’ meter? Honestly, there seems to be a lack of imagination amongst the people writing audio software. There just haven’t been very many things introduced in the last 20 years that are great leaps forward. We’re still living in a world based around analog and analog-esque synths, digital FM, samplers, delays, flangers, compressors, reverbs, and distortion devices. And most of the people involved in electronic music production barely make good use of those. In fact, most of them use all those tools, and all the computing power that was unimaginable 20 years ago, to make complete shit.
And a lot of electronic producers spend big bucks essentially recreating Herbie Hancock’s studio circa 1975, only with a computer instead of multitrack analog tape.
Which leads me to an inescapable conclusion — I can’t keep up, and it’s a distraction to even try. I have enough stuff at my disposal to make it ridiculous to ever want more, and to the extent I am an actual musician/producer, every second I waste dinking around on the tools as opposed to actually making tracks is a waste of time. Basta!
Not that I’ll actually follow that advice. I’m already excited to see what happens next week at Winter NAMM!!!