The case for expensive equipment.....

new forum, new approach, he he.

Well after some years of strong debate on the merits or lack thereof of very expensive audio equipment I have adapted to the new arena/environment I work within and have decided in order to continue to offer the best possible service to my clients and create the right perception for perspective clients I have decided to invest in some new equipment.

I am to receive tommorrow a Summit DCL200 valve compressor and am awaiting a new mastering equalizer built to my own specs to be delivered in the month or so to follow (built from scratch). I have listened to a fair few expensive EQ’s and many failed to improve on the analogue EQ I already own, other than the stepped switching for easy mastering recall. Most excelled in one band alone and that is not really good value from my perspective.

Ultimately I felt the need for the new boxes arose out of stiff competition/progression/client draw rather than lacking anything previous with existing analogue hardware and the DSP I have at my disposal. I appreciate it will take some time to work off the cost of the units but I have made decent decisions so far and feel this is the right move for this year. I am not anticipating a jump in the already high standard of work I am doing because I have a couple of expensive boxes as 99pct of what I do is on my decisions, directions from client, having a great room and monitor arrangement, having chosen the right tools, previous audio experience, commitment and quality control (clicks/defects etc. etc.) and being organized and paying attention to detail. This is like some icing on the cake :stuck_out_tongue:

I hope everyone using and supporting Nuendo is going to have a really good 2011, personally it is still the best DAW and something I enjoy using daily, it feels right and comfortable and that is important.

Well, that’s a decision for you, and I trust it works well for you and your business plan.

You’re being honest that the expensive new equipment will probably contribute an extra 1% to what you offer without it, but if that expense brings in new clients and makes clients happier, then probably it will justified.

Aren’t you just left with a nagging doubt that this all adds to the great audio mythology which insists that great recordings can only be made with expensive recording kit?

Everyone loves this myth - Studio owners can impress with equipment lists …engineers can get the gig if they “bring some great mics”… musicians love to plug into expensive mic preamps… hardware manufacturers would be out of business if the myth went away… magazines love to have something expensive to review…

I have some expensive kit in my studio. I admit I point to it when clients ask what I’m using. I like using the kit. Could I do everything more or less as well without it?

You bet. It’s a myth.

Just my 2p (or my £2k if it’s got valves/tubes in it)

I hear you David and I have cut my teeth engineering on lesser gear in general, however when you have
realized your life evolves around audio it almost seems to be part of your engineering evolution that you
will ultimately try tools that will cost quite a lot of money at some point.

As suggested client perception is an element and whilst some of my competition may not be able to
compete on experience they can buy expensive boxes which has an element of exclusivity. So armed with this I make a decision.It’s also about perception of value for a client and that is important. I want people who come to me to feel they get value at every level. I’m in for the long run.

I do believe high end equipment prices are somewhat overinflated but thats the world we live in and it cannot be changed.

Ultimately I sell my work on the quality of my mastering previews and people hardly even ask what I have used,
little will have changed except even better value for the client and some forthcoming nice pictures on the website. :slight_smile:

Cool decision on the DCL-200. I’m thinking of buying one to or swap my Fatso for a DCL. Also looking for a Stereo Pulteq styled EQ. I already have a mono Pulteq that I love. It does wonderful things on the minrange. It’s very musical and organic. Suits my style of music… Love running stuff through it… Low bumping the low end on vocals etc.

Hi Evil, well I may well be able to put you in touch with someone who is building stereo stepped switched
Pultec style EQ’s that have more frequencies than the original (especially in the bass). They come in at around £1,600.00 new. at last quote a few months back.

The EQ I have on order has 24 frequencies per band (x 5) and 22 way +/- gain and 6 way Q settings.
I was seriously considering a Gyraf G14 but it was somewhat over budget.

This is getting a lot of love too…

I am loving Pultec flavour for mids too and roll offs on the top end.Step by step I will see how the rest of the year goes before any further decisions, my wallet is already significantly less heavy for 2011 ! I have 1 emulation of a Pultec which is almost too good to be true so I do not feel I am missing out too much. And I have a nicely coloured EQ which I modded considerably and put NEVE transformers on the outputs. The only problem is no ganged controls so I have to line it up with pink noise phase reverse one channel and make it cancel as close as possible with the right channel. Still, just a run through this box adds something nice now it has Telefunken valves and NEVE transformers up it’s backside.

The DCL-200 can be snappy or smooth and has a great range of tones (almost like EQ) courtesy of the slope control.

Here is a picture of it in the rack :

cool you bought the Summit! I’m glad for you man - good choice… I’m drunk tonight so I won’t go too deep in my thoughts tonight… I can’t afford gear right now. I would love to try that EQ but it’s too expensive for me. I’m worrying about having enough money for food and rent… It sucks! Glad you’re enjoying life with cool gear…

Well in business you are never safe. (let that be the moral of the story)

I work 9-12 hours a day, nearly every day (also weekends often) and I am not suggesting I am mastering
audio all this time. There is so much to be done. The competition in mastering from some
who are excellent and some who are accurately described as “incompetent chancers” is significant. I want to earn a living yet price myself at a rate where I can live ok and yet attract business through sheer value.

There is more to be done and I never rest on my laurels, gotta keep pushing the envelope if you want to
manage. You are no stranger to nice equipment, I remember your posts from the old forum
with some nice boxes ! Rich, I will almost certainly never be, happy… probably, making a lot of peoples audio sound a little better… you bet your bottom dollar I am.


Hey evil, a guy called David Peach builds fantastic stereo Pultec style EQs here in Australia. I had one in my mix room on loan for a year and I miss it terribly. Just fantastic on electric guitars and bass! I do thnk they were quite expensive though as they are totally hand built on a small production line from what I understand…He makes gorgeous pre’s too - you would like his stuff!

Sam - yeah, the peach stuff is the bomb, but the price is as well!



I am going for some nice jewelled (retro style) panel lamps, should look snazzy.

I am literally foaming at the mouth now to get this new EQ, should be ready in
about a week so I am told !