My music gear
When you are starting with music, you don't need any expensive instruments. And sometimes you will be OK with cheap and mid-range ones even later. Especially when your music arsenal grows quite a bit since you started recording.
In this article I will introduce you to my music gear, and you can compare also prices and consider if you really need to buy let’s say a guitar for €3000 to play well…
Have a look guitars, bass, effect units, amplifier, percussion, microphones, keyboard, laptop, software and headphones I use to record music.
My second very own electric guitar. (Actually probably the first real one as before I had bought some kind of Russian guitar (or whatever it was) for €17.) I bought this sunburst Fat Strat-like on Christmas 2002 after my third salary for around €170 as far as I remember.
I like it very much, mainly because it was my trusty companion during countless hours of exercising. The cheap price shows off these days, though, as electronics are a bit rusty already, doesn’t sound good, but that can be caused by not playing it for 3 years since I’m in Ireland.
Ibanez Artcore AK95
I’ve always dreamed of jazz guitar in style of Gibson hollow body ones. The prices were too high for me before Ibanez released Artcore series. And because I was working as translator of manuals for musical instruments, I got even a discount when buying it for €400 in 2005.
Pickups on this beauty are not as good as I would wish for, they sound quite muddy, but how the guitar feels in hands is incredible. I love to play AK95 very much and miss it here.
Squier Vintage Modified Telecaster Custom
Squier’s vintage Fender Telecaster Custom 1972 copy is flawless to me. My first music gear I’ve bought from on-line store for just €215, but haven’t regretted for a sec.
This blackie stays with me in rainy green Ireland and I’m using it for most of my recordings. It both feels and sounds very good.
Cort Earth (don’t remember exact model)
Cheap first steel string acoustic I bought again with discount in 2006 for €150.
I liked the sound although left hand is pretty crippled moving on table-leg neck… Still have this guitar, but considering selling it away.
Bought in one music shop in Cork for 150 and am so satisfied with it, I can’t even tell. Beautiful Martin-like shape, great playability and very good sound.
Well, this guitar was voted for the best acoustic guitar under £1000 by Guitar Magazine. When you’re buying a new budget acoustic, definitely give this piece a try.
Harley Benton Hot Rod Bass
The newest member of my guitar family. Surely, bought from Thomann.de internet store for €109 (incredible, isn’t it?). My first bass so I need to practice more (although I left it at home…).
Sounds pretty good, looks pretty good and definitely the right choice for beginner.
Hm, pretty robust multi-effects pedal for the beginner. At the time I bought Zoom GFX-8, it cost me 4 month savings to pay €540 for it. Madness at the time, I have to say.
Nevertheless it helped me to understand a lot from mysterious guitar effects world and I was able to produce a few of my best sounds. But as time goes by, the usable sounds reduced really just to a few and I’d say in today’s market it is almost priceless piece of 2000′s electronics. I’ve got it since 2003 and didn’t take it to my current living place as it is not that portable…
When I needed something more portable I had to look around again. Electric guitar is nothing when you have no amp. You need at least some effect pedal to produce the sound, and in Ireland when buying my Squier Tele, I invested also to this small effects box. Again Zoom, again sounds are not astonishingly good, but this one is actually better than GFX-8 (at least in terms of sound quality).
Well, it’s new generation, so it has to be. Big advantage is USB connection to a computer. I used it for many of my earlier recordings as external audio interface. But be aware that original ASIO drivers are pretty shit, I had much better results using free ASIO4ALL driver.
Line6 Studio UX2
Love this unit although it caused me some headaches too. Versatile USB audio interface, first from Studio line with phantom power for condenser mics. Ships with Line6 POD Farm modeling plug-in which is great (except you can’t use multiple effects from one category, so no 2 delay units in single effects chain for example).
My issues were caused by multiple crackles, but finally it was most likely problem of my laptop and after tweaking whole system, it works fine for me now (although previous Zoom haven’t had that problems…). Price €185 in February 2009.
Behringer Vintager AC112
For me this was beautiful hybrid (solid-state power amp with one tube in pre-amp) with built in multi-effects processor costing me €370. Still is my only combo. Half-open back with 12″ Jensen speaker, 60W. I was happy when I bought it, but as you can expect, doesn’t sound pretty right to me now.
Well, unless you don’t play something else, or better, some real classic for at least couple of days, you can’t tell good from bad… These days I’m using Line6 POD Farm plug-in which sounds way much better, but, I have to turn the computer on for it. Surely I left Vintager back home.
Tambourine, bongas and shaker
Need to say anything about? Maybe prices: tenner for tambourine, 19 for bongas and caster filled with rice as shaker.
The T.Bone SC450 USB
My first mic. I thought it would be great to have condenser one and especially with USB connection. That way I didn’t have to buy audio interface with phantom power and throw away more money. Mistake.
This mic is good for spoken word, podcasting and similar considering USB connection. Otherwise if you buy normal version you did well. In price of €99 you will be surprised with sound. I’ve recorded a song for my girlfriend with it, used on acoustic guitars and vocals and recordings sounds pretty good. But if you want better quality, you need to pay more, and I needed to pay also for new audio card.
SE Electronics SE2200A
Far more than great replacement for T.Bone and, of course, higher investment too. They say this mic is a new classic. I bought it for very good price of €179 and am completely satisfied.
It’s quite heavy so you need sturdy stand for it and not really good for traveling due to a big case. But sound is brilliant! Actually you can hear it on my videos (although I’m not recording the speaking word the same way I record vocals so noise level and therefor overall quality is very different). All in all, go and buy one! The best condenser microphone for the money. But I still need dynamic one and considering Sure Beta 58.
M-Audio O2 (KeyRig 25)
I wanted small portable keyboard and with M-Audio KeyRig 25 I got O2 25-key keyboard and KeyRig software. I haven’t tried it before buying but would recommend doing so. It really is small, but still a bit wider than M-Audio Oxygen 8 and that fact make it difficult to fit into my special backpack. Also modulation and pitch bend buttons are mistake. The wheels are simply the best for this functionality.
Low action keyboard needs some time to get used to but still I am not able to control dynamics the way as on standard size keys. I would buy something else these days although the price of this package is superb in €88.
Dell Studio 1737
It would be long story about this Dell laptop… It looks incredibly good though but it is not worth of the name. Completely not suitable for recording purposes. The only good thing about it besides the design is ability to install second harddrive, which I’ve surely used. I’m trying to tweak it somehow and constantly make it better, but it I haven’t bought it for this reason originally.
Considering rising the speed to maximum with buying a SSD drive although still this laptop will be hell loud as fan is spinning constantly under Windows Vista. Price was €500 in April 2009 but by now it costs me around 150 – 200 more… Rather have a look at something else for recording.
For Windows platform it is definitely the most complete and the most powerful Digital Audio Workstation software that you can get.
In comparison to competition, even price is not that catastrophic – from €270. My choice number one for how recording software should look like!
Big mistake, and I think these headphones have something to do with my ear problem now. Always try headphones before buying them. If not due to sound (as I found these Behringer phones sounding pretty good) then definitely due to comfort of listening!
Ear covers doesn’t have movable hanged so you would have to have very narrow head for HPS5000 to cover your whole ears. In my case these headphones pushes quite hard on top of my ear while there is a space at the bottom… Never again! Even for the price of €35.
I almost have no space to store all those things, but am sure some new stuff will be added…