"What am I gonna do with all this crap?" -- Tales of a Recovering Gear-A-Holic

Cosmic

Active member
This is a thought-provoking thread and not just for the recording end of things. Allow me to throw the psychological angle in a bit more:

Being 50 now, I can't help but analyze a bit what brought me to the gear-overload I am in now.
"Self-deceiving mind" and all, fact remains I have too many hobbies that are financial sump pumps, space-hogs, labor-intensive, and posessed of all the things that make outdated hobbies hell: maintenance and spare parts.

Please keep the following in mind: I live in a 550-square-foot apartment, and I have an average-paying job:

Let's review:
Old Hi-Fi nut from the 70es. Surround receiver, 5.1 Dolby/DTS, SACD playback, 500+ LPs, tons of cassettes, 78s, reel-to-reel pre-records.
Home recordist and player.
Super-8/16mm film buff (collector and shooter.)
Hard-core film nut (Blu-Ray/58-inch Panasonic Plasma.)

Let's break it down:
I am on the eternal Bataan death march that only someone who grew up in Hi-Fi's golden age can be on: better amps, better speakers, better....everything. It will not stop until they write "Now it Sounds Right" on my tombstone.

I have a Yamaha P-80 piano, my old Casio 6000, three guitars, a bass and the amps to go with them (and all the crap associated therewith.)
I have a Tascam 2488 studio-in-a-box.
I have a Studer 807 reel-to-reel.

The film thing....
I used to shoot Super-8 in the late 70es/early 80es and I never stopped loving it. Also (to get rid of the rest of the money) I collected feature prints and condensations on Super-8.

Now, in 2010, I am shooting Super-8, collecting Super-8 prints of films and also collecting 16mm films. Those hobbies are as bad as expensive recording gear. Top prints fetch crazy money.
I have 6 16mm projectors (one a Xenon), 2 Standard-8 machines and 2 Super-8 machines.

I can run a 16mm copy of a Hollywood feature giving an 8.9 foot Cinemascope presentation if needed, and without interruption up to 2hrs, 50mins as I have a long-play unit that takes 6000-foot 16mm reels.
Did I mention I am still in the same 550 Square Feet?
Did I mention I am divorcing?
Shooting: Try buying 8 rolls of Super-8 stock today (very fine professional Kodak film, admittedly, and about 19 minutes, 20 secs shooting time) and having it processed and transferred to digital format. $500, if you want it right.

Then, in case, once the bills are paid, there are always the Criterion Blu-Ray releases of great films in fabulous transfers; the obscure DVDs one 'must' have, and the new re-invasion of 180-gram LPs (Brian Wilson's two latest just came in.)

Nostalgia is a terribly powerful thing, and so is anger. Some things I know have come out of some ill-defined spite.

The Studer represents my failed attempts to have, first, a Tascam 4-tracker, then, any other reel-to-reel or multi-track cassette I came across during my youth. I finally just went straight to the top and got the 807 2-track Dolby HX 7.5/15/30 model.
I love it, but I don't love the path by which I decided on it. It smacks too much of 'the finger.' I adore the machine for the same reasons I loved the Revoxes then, but something got in between, if that makes sense.

It's the same thing that made me drop a lot of money on a Neumann SM-69 stereo mic about 4 years ago. I saw it as a teen in a catalogue and for some reason that particular "niche" mic stayed with me. I wanted one.
It is incredible, hyper-sensitive, and the last place it was made to be in is my apartment. It has that "larger than life" vibe when I pull it out and contemplate it. And so I use it, imperfectly, loving its presence in my home as much as its incompatability with this environment.

The best scratch demos I have made in a long time have been on my Zoom H4 plunked down on my coffee table, with its built-in mics.

Oh, did I mention I cook? I also just got a new KitchenAid burr grinder and a Mochamaster coffeemaker. I really could use some Wusthof knives....and maybe a Le Corneau stove if the lottery hits right....

One day, I hope to relax enough to pare it all down....including the CB radio and the two chrome carbon mics.

Until then, I have good coffee, excellent tape sound, great LPs and beautiful films...and most likely someone would look in here and run away screaming :eek::drunk::laughings:

C.
 
Last edited:

sweetbeats

Reel deep thoughts...
Cosmic...thanks for sharing...really. That was real.

If it means anything it made my heart pound and not in a good way you know?
 

cjacek

Analogue Enthusiast
I agree with sweetbeats. That was too real for comfort. Very eye opening. Thanks for sharing Cosmic.
 
B

Beck

Guest
Until then, I have good coffee, excellent tape sound, great LPs and beautiful films...and most likely someone would look in here and run away screaming :eek::drunk::laughings:

C.

Actually my first reaction was thinking, hey what's your CB handle? Maybe we can DX when the skip conditions are right. :) :cool:
 

thunderstation

New member
I started in 1973 with an acoustic guitar and a radio shack recorder (with 2 mic inputs)
My wife would like to know why people do not fit in our spare bedroom anymore. She also wants to know why i get so upset in the store when I can't find hi-bias cassette tapes. she also want's to know why my equipment in worth more than our house. also why I keep playing the same song with the same lousy vocalist (me) over & over & over again...I don't know "why"...it just "is"
 

Audiophallic

New member
Sweetbeats, I wish I had as much junk as you do! :D

But seriously now....

My dad's side of the family are all huge packrats, so I know what you're going through. I have the same trouble myself, but damn do i envy you the deals you've gotten! I would love to score some stuff like an MM-1000 for $300.00. I can't even imagine.

The majority of my junk is back in Ohio at my dad's house at the moment. I kind of started my life over by moving to Colorado, so now I have the chance to acquire all-new stuff. It's taken a year, but I already have two cassette decks, a stereo receiver, a quadraphonic amp, a non-working HAM radio, and a Teac 3340 with a bent reel motor (or something...I don't know what to do with it), a POS Tandberg reel to reel, a complete stereo package, a portable turntable, and a bass preamp, all of which I never touch or use. I'd feel bad if I hadn't gotten such a good deal on all that stuff (I think you said something to that effect yourself). Some of it looks pretty stacked up on horizontal surfaces, but a lot of it is just lining the walls (or in the middle of the floor). I'm on the lookout for anything that's a good deal.

Hell, it's not as if I'm actually recording anything. I should be on the lookout for a few good vocal and instrumental mics. But what's the point when I don't even have a tape deck that does simul-snyc yet? All my stuff is just collecting dust at this point. I hope that I will get a working studio together someday, sooner rather than later...

Now, I met a guy through a craigslist ad that's in his mid-50's (about the same age as my parents) who recently got divorced, lives in an apartment, and spends the majority of his freetime picking up '70's stereo equipment at thrift stores. We've become pretty good friends. :D The thing is, how in the world am I going to stop myself from becoming him? My parents are divorced...not something I want to happen to me. But forget that for a second...how am I even going to find a woman who will put up with my strange vintage electronics-buying habits? Will this be seen as merely a quirk, or will this send them running for the hills? Do I even want someone that would disapprove my hobbies? And what then are the chances of me avoiding becoming the musical equivalent of Ernest Hemingway meets Ebenezer Scrooge?

I have no answers yet...

BTW, Cosmic: I think you and I share a lot of the same interests. I've been looking into getting a super 8 camera. If there is any input you can give me in picking one, please PM me!
 

cjacek

Analogue Enthusiast
Now, I met a guy through a craigslist ad that's in his mid-50's (about the same age as my parents) who recently got divorced, lives in an apartment, and spends the majority of his free time picking up '70's stereo equipment at thrift stores.

No disrespect to anyone but this is one of my greatest fears. I too don't want to become that guy.
 

jjones1700

Learning, always learning
I guess now that I have a minute to breathe, I'll post up my .02

I've always been a recording "enthusiast" as a kid growing up. My parents had a cool quad stereo with the turntable to match, so I got to listen to some cool recordings and always great music.

As I got a little older and received my own "boom" box, I began to record virtually everything. I look back on those cassettes and think WTF?? I received an Akai reel to reel as payment for helping a guy move while I was in high school. I got plenty of use out of it and over the past few years realized how "green" I really was when it came to that machine and the way I recorded things.

I don't know what started the madness about 5 years ago, but suddenly I got the bug for a reel to reel (I think I had "found" my old Akai and wanted 10.5" reel capability) and found a Pioneer RT-909 on CL for a stupid cheap price. I got it, replaced the belt and pinch rollers, and have since enjoyed many hours of music to and from it.

About the same time, I had the bug to learn how to play guitar. Did I mention I had a kid on the way? I bought a cheap Epiphone acoustic guitar and wanted something (other than a computer) to record on. I found a 424mkII for a decent price and got it. I had that thing running all the time, for one thing or another.

Later that year, my buddy and I started a podcast and used the 424mkII to record everything to. Sounded awesome. I then bought a second 424 to keep at his house so I didn't have to tote mine all the time. All the while we were doing the podcast, I had an itch to put together some sort of recording studio on the side. M-2516 on CL for $160? I snapped it up. 122b deck for $25 (just needed a new belt)? DONE! TSR-8 for $300 with a couple of reels? I was all over it and excited to actually get my hands on 1/2" tape for the first time in my life. In between I bought a couple of effects pieces for the rack, cables, etc. Then I find a 38 and Studiomaster 16x8x2 with mics for $175. I drove 3.5 hours to meet up and buy the thing. Did I need it? Hell no, but I "just couldn't pass up a great deal!". I bought a pair of DX-4D;) for it. New pinch rollers and belts all the way around for the 1/2" machines. Somewhere in there I bought a DP-02CF and a DP-004. Oh yeah, and a SM7b mic, which isn't exactly cheap (for me). Have I mentioned that I didn't have a damned thing to really record with all of this stuff??:confused: There is also a MD801R-mkII, DA88 (which needs calibration and hasn't been used since I bought it a year ago), a Nak MR-2 that a buddy gave me for free, and a CD-X1500 dual well CD player. Most of this stuff is sitting in the opposite corner of my closet from my photography equipment.

The latest addition is a 388 which I just "had to have". It's got some minor issues, but for the most part is damn near in mint shape.

There was also a Fender Strat somewhere towards the end, along with a new laptop, a new truck, a new house, et. al.

The kicker is that I have a corner of the master closet filled with what is left of my old photography gear when I shot professionally for about 15 years. Now it lies mostly dormant in their respective bags/cases. I was a computer geek/technician for about a decade so there is all kinds of hardware and software scattered throughout as well. I'm a fan of 70's era Pioneer stereos, along with still hanging on to my stereo my parents bought me for graduation .

My "unicorn" that I was hard and heavy on the hunt for was a M-520 console. I was drooling everytime somebody posted pics of one on the board (Cory, you bastage!:D).

This is where things get interesting. I had a "guardian angel" of sorts step in and ask me some blunt questions and told me the story of how he and the person who helped him had made a harrowing realization of being a "gear slut". I wasn't quite on the over the edge yet, but wasn't far from it. It's difficult to curb a habit when it seems so innocent to proclaim one little statement: "I just need on more piece and I'll be done." That one piece turns into a dozen or more before you even realize it.

There was also a post in this forum of an estate sale that took everyone by surprise and opened the eyes of alot of us to what the end result could be of having a gear obsession.

Since that time, I've been paring down what I have and actually starting to use the gear that I keep. I've also been doing some documentation for the wife and son if I should meet an early demise. Everything they need to know about the equipment (along with online references, such as this site;)) will all be neatly and plainly organized on one little CD. If they need to sell off the items, they have all of the descriptions, history, photos, and manuals at their disposal. A little bit overkill you say? Yeah, I'm kinda like that.:p

As a funny side note to all of this, I bought a US-1641 interface for the laptop and was going to record my guitar instructor's band yesterday. All was set to go since I had wiped out linux on a partition of my laptop to make room for the audio tracks. Or so I thought... Long story short on the laptop: I made a doorstop out of it (for the day) and couldn't use it. I decide "what the hell" and pull out the meager little DP-004 and set it on mixer (all of the band and recording stuff is in the same room, hoping that will change within a couple of weeks). It saved my butt. They weren't looking for a full out recording, but they were impressed with that over when they were trying to record to a VCR. I fired up the mixer and the TSR-8 for the rest of the rehearsal and still haven't pulled that off into the laptop yet (yes I have it fixed and am posting from it now.). What was the point? Sometimes simple is good.;)

Is there still a lot of gear I would love to get my hands on? Absolutely! Am I "just dying" to get my hands on it? Not so much. If I feel I really need it vs. just wanting it, then I'll see about it. Other than that, I'm pretty damned happy with the stuff I've currently got. Eventually I'd like to move to more tracks on tape, but I know I'd better be making some decent money off the recording in order to justify that kind of expense.

I'm sure I'm forgetting a thing or two, but this post is long enough already.:o
 

jjones1700

Learning, always learning
Now, I met a guy through a craigslist ad that's in his mid-50's (about the same age as my parents) who recently got divorced, lives in an apartment, and spends the majority of his freetime picking up '70's stereo equipment at thrift stores.

No disrespect to anyone but this is one of my greatest fears. I too don't want to become that guy.

The sad part is I've actually contemplated trying to do that and turning around and selling the stuff for the "current market" price. I realized that it would a huge waste of my time and money, not to mention the already limited square footage in the house.:eek:
 

NorCalAudio

New member
Getting "back" into amateur home recording

Hello, New member here... Have been reading and lurking for a while. Long story short, I picked up a Teac 3440s last week in anticipation of getting back into home recording. It has been 15 - 20 years since I last owned a reel to reel.

So far I have the Teac 3440s in good shape, It had been gone through and given a clean bill of health a year ago. It seems to run well. I also bought the service, user and parts manuals. I have it wired into my system at the moment splitting the 1-2 to the right channel and 3-4 to left channel for both in and out. I have decent analog gear to record from, Nottingham TT, Whest Phono-pre, AudioNote Linestage and Ketch 300B monoblocks. Currently I don't plan on recording live music.

I would like to understand more about the DBX options such as RX-9 and DX-4D. I have recorded several tracks and noticed a noisy hiss I remember from the tape days as DBX NR hiss.

How would I best wire this into my system and what options such as RX-9, DX-4D for Noise Reduction should I look into. I also see that BottleHead has a Tape Head preamp and a repro amp. Has anyone used any of these. I have a roll around cart that the 3440 will be mounted in and I would like to get any other related components in the rack.

Any other pointers or recomnmendations relative to the 3440 or DBX is more than welcome.

Thanks in advance,

Whoops, this was supposed to be a New post, not a reply to someone else's' post. Moved to a New post.
Pat
 

Blue Jinn

Rider of the ARPocalypse
I guess now that I have a minute to breathe, I'll post up my .02

{Snip}

I'm sure I'm forgetting a thing or two, but this post is long enough already.:o

Wow, there have been a lot of posts that have really put this in perspective. There seem to be a few common themes, for me, yeah grew up in the 70s early 80s, and now that I have a "real" job buying the stuff I wished I could afford in 1984. Then realizing that I too, don't have a whole lot of material to record, and I have all this gear a lot of which I really don't know how to use properly, and should I spend that 15 minutes I have reading that manual or playing the keys? (like what the heck is SMPTE time code anyway...., and how do I use the individual outs on that TX802...let alone programming the damn thing...) and do I *even* need to sync....

For me at least the hobbies all sort of line up, I've always liked electronics, computers and music, so a lot of things overlap, and I have the confidence to open up a box and put a soldering iron in there, instead of paying someone to do it. But then again, with that hour or two what else could I be doing? And then there would be another quest for gear, I don't have a 'scope, I don't have a signal generator...


But then along comes a family. "To either cut down on beer or the kid's new gear, it's a big decision in a town called malice..."
 
Last edited:

grimtraveller

If only for a moment.....
I saw an interview with Eric Clapton once, in which he said he owned 6000 suits. Not 600. 6000. Either Ringo or John of the Beatles had a telly in every room of their Surrey mansion in the 60s and used to have each telly on, even in rooms they weren't in or hardly used. There are hundreds of these kinds of celebrity excess stories {Imelda Marcos and her 10,000 shoes} and when we hear of them we tut tut and chortle at the apparent waste. But it's a human problem, alot closer to home than we sometimes realize......
 

sweetbeats

Reel deep thoughts...
But it's a human problem, alot closer to home than we sometimes realize......

Yes...and I would argue that in a coarse sense it is a "Western" problem more acutely so than just a human problem...I believe it is an outcome of human nature, but the issue seems to be more catalyzed in "Western" societies.

Thanks everybody for the sharing. Really great stuff...I fully expected this thread to quickly float down on the thread list but this is cool!
 

SteveM

New member
Who knows what I would collect if I had the space to keep it. But I'm also one for simplicity and if somethings been sitting too long and don't forsee any use for it in the near future there's a good chance that I will get rid of it to get money for something I will use.

I've gotten rid of alot of nice things this way just by the mere fact that they've been sitting. Some things I wish I hadn't.

Sometimes it seems like existing is maintaining just for the sake of maintenance. :D
 

zorf

New member
I used to see something cheap and just grab it knowing I could probably get my money back later If I didn't end up using it.

Some things I might sell at a small profit or small loss but I figured it all averaged out.

But more and more it's become a huge chore to get rid of stuff.

Even if I list it for free on craigslist folks' want me to deliver, or it can't have a scratch on it.

Times are tough.
 
Top