The #1 Rule Of Studio Gear [Video]

| Mixing, Plugins, Pro Tools, Rant, The #1 Rule of Home Recording, Tips, Video

I’m back with another video in my #1 Rule Of Home Recording series, only this time we’re going to look at how the rule specifically applies to your gear. Things like which computer you should buy, which DAW to use, which interface to record through, and what microphones you need. We’ll even talk about investing in plugins. Oh my!


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24 Responses to “The #1 Rule Of Studio Gear [Video]”

  1. Santo

    I remember how much I struggled some years ago when I was producing my band’s first EP. I didn’t like at all those high gain guitar sounds, I thought it was just a problem of choosing a different EQ plugin, or a better DAW than a “light edition” as I was using at that time. You know what? Some months ago I re-opened my EP mixing sessions and I told myself “you’re stupid”, because it was just a matter of doing different (and better) choices using just what I had (stock EQ!) but I was so unexperienced that I thought the problem was the tool, and NOT my mixing skills. It was exactly during that time that I discovered your blog Graham, can’t even find the right words to tell you how much I improved my skills (and I’m still improving) with your #1 rule! You guys keep learning from Graham as I do, just GREAT advices man!

  2. Lucas

    Thanks again for the great advice Graham. I enjoyed your point about going back and reminding yourself of the basics often. It’s so easy to become a “gear head” and forget all about the rest of the process. I used to be like that.. I’m glad to say I’m now on the road to recovery.

  3. Aleksi

    Excellent points as always, thanks! There is still one area where plugins are really worth it (IMO): Software instruments. I do mostly my composing using software instruments, Korg M1, IK Multimedia Philharmonik, EZDrummer and PianoTeq piano plugin. Yes, I have bought others too and they have not been worth the price (so think before buy) but when you compose most of your songs with a laptop with a MIDI-keyboard (AKAI MPK Mini / Korg Microstation, gotta love those!) then the plugins are way to go. Mostly it is also cheaper to buy a good software synth plugin than an external synth. Still magic does not happen – you still need to learn to use it and also use it. 🙂


      He’s not saying, “don’t use software instruments”; just, if you have 100 different FM Synths in your plugin folder, you might think about choosing one, or two and filing the rest in the round file.

  4. Sylvana White

    Hi Graham ,
    I just want to thank you for creating The Recording Revolution and sharing your expertise and knowledge with the world . I downloaded your e-book and even printed it so I can access it whenever I want and I have to say that because of it (You) I saved a lot of money and time as I was becoming a “GearHead” …Here is why : I had a record deal many years ago (Former lead singer of a Vocal Trio) and since I like to learn, understand etc well I had the opportunity to participate in the whole recording , mixing, and mastering process ! So I have worked with Pro Tools and very expensive gears , right ! When we disbanded i decided to pursue my career as a solo artist . I booked studio time with a musician / engineer friend who had a recording studio with similar expensive gears and all … Here is the thing , like most people I thought that I needed the same thing in order to get the same great mixes and sounds in my home studio …That’s where you came in as I was doing some research on YT , looking for tutorials on home recording studio , I found “The 5 Key Home Studio Components ” and it literally changed my perspective / view on the matter !
    I have since bought only what I needed like : PreSonus Audiobox USB,PreSonus Studio One ,Sennheiser HD201 Headphone ,Behringer Mic B-1 ) As far as DAWS I already had a few ( Audition CS6 , Sony Sound Forge …) but Studio One came with the Audiobox !I also did some acoustic treatment and VOILA !!!( I obviously had all the rest)
    That being said if it wasn’t for you I would of spent a lot of $$$$$ especially on Plug Ins …

    So a BIG THANKS to you !

    • Graham

      Hi Sylvana, what a great story! So glad you found the video and the website. Your studio sounds great!


  5. Danny Moore

    Brilliant stuff Graham,
    I have been home recording since the mid-seventies using feel-to-reel machines, cassette players, cassette four track ‘nasties” etc. For thirty years my main machine was a four track 1/4 inch reel-to-reel. My take on the modern home studio is that we have come light years. We have masses of headroom, no noise, unlimited tracks, multiple compressors, eq’s, reverbs and delays. I used to use one hardware compressor, one guitar delay pedal and a small digital reverb. With a good computer, DAW and the gear you have described we are left with no excuses for not being able to come up with good music.
    We need to ask ourselves whether getting many plugins is simply looking for a way of excusing ourselves for not being able to come up with good music.
    This is “glass half empty” thinking. I say my recordings are so much better than they have ever been I feel like I can create anything musically my heart desires. It is totally up to my inspitration and ability, no limits!! The glass is full to the top and everflowing!!

  6. Matthew

    A really useful reminder, Graham, and one I’m putting into practice.

    After a few fallow music years I’m building a new studio and I’m being really strict with myself. I’m only putting in what I absolutely need and selling the rest of my old gear. And cables! Good grief! I’ve got so many cables that I’ve amassed over the years, mostly for old equipment and most of which I don’t need any more. I don’t even remember what many of them are for. So, if I can’t see me using a cable, it’s out.

    I’ve taken the same attitude to my computer having recently moved from Cubase to Studio One. I’m only installing the third-party plugins that I actually use: drums, a couple of synths and one or two plugins. I’ve not spent hundreds on these third party plugins but the principle remains: if I don’t use them, they’re out.

    Lastly, I’d like to make the point that, even with this streamlining and even accounting for my busier life now (kids…), I’m still nowhere near as productive or inventive as I was when I was just using a 4 track tape portastudio. Limitations breed creativity, options just confusion.

    Love the blog, Graham: thanks for all of your advice.


  7. Jordan

    Grrr, this is exactly the answer I hate to hear, hahah thanks for the kick in the teeth Graham 😛

  8. Eric

    Does anybody have any recommendations for an 8 channel interface? I need to record drums and want to be able to edit each input independently, but record them all at the same time. I’m using Logic Pro X on a Macbook Pro and not looking to spend more than $500. I was looking into the Zoom R16, but can’t seem to find very many good reviews. Any thoughts? Thanks!

    • Graham

      Hi Eric…

      Check out the PreSonus Audiobox VSL 1818 or the Focusrite Saffire Pro 40

  9. Darajavahus777

    Dear Graham, what is your opinion on Propellerhead Balance? I been deside on it becouse it comes with unlimited audio tracks reason, but then a saw the new logic pro x with drummer and smilar to melodyne thing and overall logic seems fit me a lot better, so te balance seems not that good deal anymore. Before balance i was looking at scarlett 2i2 but it has bad opinions on recording high output electric guitars, and i wanna one interferance not one for guitar and other for mic. Now i haveline 6 pod studio gx for guitar, but i was waiting few months for good drivers on mac so i don’t wanna their things anymore. For now I’m just saving money and reading whole internet about home recording, to many devices to chose, any of them is perfect and cheap and I’m lost. Sorry for my poor english.

    • Graham

      Haven’t used the Balance. But Logic Pro X looks awesome from what little I’ve played with it.

  10. Tryggvasson

    If there’s on video you need to take away from this entire site (not that the other ones are to throw away), it’s this one.

  11. Tryggvasson

    If there’s one video you need to take away from this entire site (not that the other ones are to throw away), it’s this one.

  12. Al Pine

    I just want to express my appreciation to you and your educational posts. As a begginer, slowly setting up my studio, I have learned so much from your videos, posts, and especially your ebook which I refer to regularly.

  13. Urs

    Hey Graham

    So true! Get caught up in the buying and trying trap every now and then. Thanks for bringing me back! Really freeing and uplifting!
    Thank U




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