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

sweetbeats

Reel deep thoughts...
I'm getting better at not grabbing at something just because its a good deal.

I used to be more that way, and then I lost that way...now I'm getting it back. I had gotten really good at convincing myself that I needed the thing that was a good deal...lightning fast. Now I see a good deal for what it is...a project, and something that will inevitably delay finishing other projects, or at worst placing me in an isolating gear "coma".
 

ofajen

Daddy-O Daddy-O Baby
Great thread, folks!

Here are a few things over the years that have helped me stay (or get back) on track, at least most of the time:

1) Playing live a lot early on and always wanting to be able to play stuff myself, straight through.

2) Noticing that my favorite recordings of my music were made with real instruments and my old analog synths, not a lot of big MIDI boxes.

3) Realizing that I need to keep the gear small and sparse so I have enough room for players and instruments.

4) Finding out that recording as simply and directly as possible usually sounds about as good as anything.

5) Learning that tape is the easy way to get a decent recording without a lot of fuss.

6) Realizing that my real goals are improving musical craft and having fun, and recording is just something that should help do those things.

7) Tightly limiting the additional money I put into gear (at least for the last decade or so, since I started a family).

Cheers,

Otto
 

Cosmic

Active member
To keep this one going, just an example of how even writing out "the disease" in an on-line post doesn't help cure it (well, maybe a bit, in this case.)

I saw an ad for a "compact" 35mm film projector...now, those who read my earlier message know that I already am in gear hell with equipment, and 35mm is the Big Mother of commercial cinema. Why, why would I contemplate an even bigger and more ridiculous format in my tiny place?

Because it seemed "like a good deal"......$7000, Italian hand-built machine in beautiful shape, low hours, parts still available...AND all on my plastic (the debt on which I by now have manfully whittled down to about $400)
An additional $7000 of stone-cold debt is a "good deal"? :eek: :spank:

Because it would "look great"...sure, no arguing that a 1000W Xenon lamp at a throw of some 22 feet would just about melt the screen fabric.

The Coolness Factor....off the scale, of course.

But wait....what about the films? A full 35mm print costs a lot, weighs some 60 pounds, on 8-12 big, wide reels or so...store a few features here, and I truly would be sleeping on the balcony.

And yet, for a couple of days I actually 'rationally' thought of doing it....the essence of "the illness" :)

(Sigh)
C.
 

Audiophallic

New member
Dude I would be tempted myself, but $7000.....to much...

I almost bought a Revox PR-99 for $500 about a month ago...still kind of regretting passing on it, but I really don't have that kind of money to spend...
 

SteveM

New member
To keep this one going, just an example of how even writing out "the disease" in an on-line post doesn't help cure it (well, maybe a bit, in this case.)

I saw an ad for a "compact" 35mm film projector...now, those who read my earlier message know that I already am in gear hell with equipment, and 35mm is the Big Mother of commercial cinema. Why, why would I contemplate an even bigger and more ridiculous format in my tiny place?

Because it seemed "like a good deal"......$7000, Italian hand-built machine in beautiful shape, low hours, parts still available...AND all on my plastic (the debt on which I by now have manfully whittled down to about $400)
An additional $7000 of stone-cold debt is a "good deal"? :eek: :spank:

Because it would "look great"...sure, no arguing that a 1000W Xenon lamp at a throw of some 22 feet would just about melt the screen fabric.

The Coolness Factor....off the scale, of course.

But wait....what about the films? A full 35mm print costs a lot, weighs some 60 pounds, on 8-12 big, wide reels or so...store a few features here, and I truly would be sleeping on the balcony.

And yet, for a couple of days I actually 'rationally' thought of doing it....the essence of "the illness" :)

(Sigh)
C.

Do you want to buy a Rollei enlarger? The thing is taking up space in my storage!

Never mind, you can HAVE it. Come get it out of here! :D;)
 

sweetbeats

Reel deep thoughts...
I almost just bought a Tascam impedance adaptor...to go with my 234. I already HAVE an impedance adaptor. It was $2.95 BIN + $5.95 S&H. It would be cool to have with the "collection" since I have the 234 and a full set of OEM docs and an RC-71...$9 or so shipped for an impedance adaptor is not bad since they typically go for about $15...new...this isn't...new...I already have an impedance adaptor...I don't need another one. I passed. That may seem petty but the $9 purchase leads to a $45 purchase and pretty soon its a $200 purchase and even though that is a sum of money that's only half the battle because, knowing me, I'd be bringing home a trunkload of something-or-other for that $200.

I realized a long time ago that I DO enjoy and have fun fixing this stuff up. Its just plain fun and the fix-it-up fun leads to musical fun when it can be used later. Its just...fun. But I'm impatient and when something doesn't get done fast enough then I tend to get something else that needs fixing up...I fool myself into thinking it won't take long to fix the new thing up. Consistently bamboozle myself there. So it just needs to stop and if I force myself to re-engage in an old project then the "fun" gets rekindled and then I look around at all the "fun" I already have...and its...too much fun. So getting rid of stuff is even more fun because then we can buy stuff we REALLY need and I can focus more on the really fun stuff. It helps here recently that I'm out of my gourd-over-the-top busy with our remodel project on top of the usual madness. I just need to be busy with my hands and brain. But there is a deeper happiness when I busy my hands and brain on something that is really meaningful to my wife and kids.

Otto I want to underscore the sentiment you expressed in that nothing really highlights the gear I have that is TOTALLY superfluous like USING IT. If I stay busy just fixing stuff then I'm caught in the spiral of getting impatient and getting something else that "I surely can fix up quicker." Its a LIE. If I just stop and USE something (like awhile ago when I fired up the MM-1000 and ran it through its paces...it was so fun to "drive" and sounded incredible), then I realize it all boils down to a very select array of gear. Everything becomes more clear. So I completely echo your comments about playing and recording and using what you have...the past foolishness rises to the top and the urge to pare down becomes acute.

Cosmic...man...you freak me out. Not literally but at the risk of offending I just gotta say you can't take ANY of that stuff with you, and what you leave behind that is material will mean little to NOTHING to anybody...the only significance a "thing" has to one who is "left behind" is to a memory of the one that is gone. If the memory bank hasn't been filled with anything or anything good then the "thing" means "no-thing". I believe we get one ride on this bus, and the ride is longer for some and shorter for others but the accumulation of opportunities to "get it" is huge...even if all we get is a day.

I don't know you, I don't know your station in life and the path you've traveled, but it feels heavy...what you are saying. You're not saying it "heavily", but it just feels...heavy. That's my emotional response to it because I am the proverbial pot calling the kettle black...I can truly appreciate what drives you interest in the stuff in which you are interested...I just know I got a second chance and when I remember that (which isn't infrequent BTW) I just want to drop to my knees and say "thanks.

Whatever you do, whatever you choose, I do genuinely hope it brings the most meaningful flavor of life to you, and in turn affords that to others from you. Everybody has something unique and special to offer. EVERYBODY makes a difference somehow and the opportunity is always at our feet for that difference to be "good".

Just sayin'.

Thanks again, so much, to all for chipping in here. Its all good stuff.
 

purerad

New member
great thoughts Mr. Sweetbeats!

besides counceling..........i just wanted to point out a new technique i've devloped to stop getting so much stuff............
Watch the show hoarders.........if your not aghast and aren't sickened and you say that's not me.........u have a problem! lol
i also have a new sign in large letters i've handprinted above my desk

I AM A HOARDER!

anytime i look to buy something online...........there it is!
 

cjacek

Analogue Enthusiast
I'm glad someone backed me up on the show HOARDERS. That and INTERVENTION are, IMO, great viewing. There's two things that we all have in common and that is:

Rationalization: a defense mechanism in which irrational or unacceptable behavior, motives or feelings are logically justified.

Denial: a defense mechanism characterized by refusal to acknowledge painful realities, thoughts or feelings.

Sound familiar?:D

BTW, great post Cory. :)
 

Cosmic

Active member
First off:

Sweetbeats, thank you for a fine and well-worded post, and it was all taken exactly as intended. Posting here on this thread, and reading the responses, it is interesting to see how one's outlook can be viewed and how you see yourself in turn. And that is from the bottom of my heart. It is educational in the true sense, and your honesty is appreciated.

I know that if I decided to go 'in a big way' and to write a will that dictated conditions that reflected my hobbies, I would have the most rocking Mausoleum on the planet :p
My Xenon film projection, 5.1 surround sound and excellent walk-in music at 15ips would maybe guarantee that the gravediggers would stick around after work, but getting a regular audience, let alone selling popcorn in that setting, might be a bit of a PR chore...:drunk: :D

Ok, how about this:

I started breaking down the things, in terms of "honest" and "dishonest" enjoyment. This is just me, something I am exploring to get closer to the core of what we are all saying.

"Dishonest" doesn't mean deliberately bad; it means things I acquired along the way, with pure intent, but with on other, deeper feelings showing up along the way to point to why I bought it.

"Honest" can mean that you/I got it at a time when "all the elements were right"; that is my definition of it. It may mean a golden moment when a certain piece became available, or when you decided to "jump" and simply get it. But you have to be able to think back on it with harmony, even today.

The most honest electronic thing I own is my turntable. It is a Luxman 131. Having gone through a couple of arms, now with a Sumiko, and with its current pick-up a Grado Signature, it was paid for by my father.

It turned out he and I both wound up in the same line of business, without me knowing he had been in it until years later. His alimony checks funded my turntable back in 77 when I was 17 years old.
I had ordered the table after a lot of lobbying for the money, and when it showed up, it turned out to have the more expensive arm/preamp combo with it.
My local dealer, a real gentleman, said: "This is what you ordered; they screwed up. So be it; enjoy."
I love the Lux dearly, for all those reasons, and for all the musical memories.

My Studer is dishonest, as I mentioned. After loving all the good reel-to-reels of the 70es and never having one, and after getting a Tascam 2488 multitrack in a box that does plenty for me as a home musician, the 'tape thing' kept nagging at me.

I went with a Tascam 1000X initially, and after paying $700 for it, I scrambled its memory board by walking around in rubber-soled shoes and then touching its frame. Zap. Static. Now it is a beauty that won't run. It sits in my storage, a mute victim, everything working, except its brain.
I felt (and this is the retribution part) like I wasn't destined to own a good reel-to-reel after all these years....you know where this is heading.

So, one night, all the frustration came up at the same time as a six-pack of beer and a "buy it now" button. Studer 807, killer condition, about $3300 including shipping from Canada. Done. Including all the anger that the past 30 years had brought, imagined or otherwise, regarding being "left out" of recording on tape.
Getting Even With The World Through Equipment.
I not only had a reel-to-reel; I had a reel-to-reel to die for. 7.5/15/30 IPS....hello :eek:

One curious fact remained: I wasn't using it.

It sat there, in its glorious, aluminum-faced Swiss perfection, while I was busy gettting a set of $200 "Genuine ReVox" aluminum hubs (even though I had 2 sets of the regular Teac hockey pucks) and hoarding some boxes of bulk tape in the last days of Quantegy. The latter, I think we all did in some form.

It took until about a year ago that I finally started treasuring the Studer as a working piece of gear and not a gleaming exhibit to my own desires and insecurities.
I was worried about the heads....they are so new you could shave by their reflection, and they are some of the hardest-surface ones you can get, and here I was already nervous about wearing them out before I even started using the machine.....state of mind is everything.

I now roll it regularly, with fine transfers of 180-gram LPs reminding me of the luxury of being able to still have an all-analog recording chain to listen to. Sometimes I plug a mic in and strum my guitar, and that too is sweet.

So...rambling again, but I feel the posts that make up this thread are truly valuable. So often we are "shooting up" on our memories to make us high, and god knows it can hurt the wallet and many other things in our lives. But when it hits right, it sure feels good, like any addiction :D

C.
 
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ofajen

Daddy-O Daddy-O Baby
Funny the effect these discussions can have. Last night I decided to start cleaning up the studio. I started with all the little cups, cans and boxes of spare hardware, cable, connectors and other components plus little circuit cards, etc.

About three hours of work got the mikes and associated gizmos organized, hardware sorted and relocated, with the bolts, nuts and much other hardware going to appropriate spots in the garage, and pretty much all the spare/incomplete cables sorted and organized and put away more efficiently.

Still remaining is all the components (knobs, pots, caps, etc). Then I figure I'll better organize the old cassette mixdown tape collection, which is a bit of a shambles. Definitely long overdue!

Cheers,

Otto
 

sweetbeats

Reel deep thoughts...
Very nice!

Can't wait...I have audio stuff in many places in the shop and tucked away in the bedroom...once the new studio space is ready for move-in then the keeper stuff can move in there properly setup on the furniture I have for said purpose (for which there has never been a proper space to have said furniture setup...). Then with the shop partially emptied it will be easier to organize and store the necessary spares and then group the stuff to sell off. I love cleaning up. It just doesn't look like it. :o
 

SteveM

New member
Great thread Cory and everyone else in here.

A tricky thing here is not to look too much on craigslist. :D Even though I'm good where I am if I see too good a deal....
 

ofajen

Daddy-O Daddy-O Baby
Very nice!

Not so pretty right now! Studio floor is littered with small piles of knobs, pots, jacks, connectors, LEDs, resistors, fuses, switches, bits of cable, unused power supplies, batteries, etc. It will be better once things get put up and away.

Cheers,

Otto
 

sweetbeats

Reel deep thoughts...
Right...I get that, but what I was meaning was in reference to the process of getting organized. With a multi-faceted setup it is really easy for stuff to get cluttered, especially if there are repairs going on...it is necessary to make a clean sweep every now and then and it is just nice to go through that process IMO.

A tricky thing here is not to look too much on craigslist. Even though I'm good where I am if I see too good a deal...

Yeah...that's a tough thing though...CL is where most of the really good deals come through, and if you are looking local, well then its local. Even the distant ones can work out...like 20 pancakes of NOS 1/4" x 2500' GP9 for $30 shipped...that was across the country...or locally the MM-1000 with all the spares and the 440C and additional gear for $300...or the 32 x 8 Soundtracs MX desk for $300...Saw an M-308B in Seattle recently for...free. All CL deals...OH! The BR-20T WITH rack and remote for $350...not crazy freaky deals for the most part but really good deals.

craiglook.com was a scary thing for awhile there but it has been nipped a bit by craigslist.

I guess if you need it you need it (subjectively speaking) but if you're just trolling to troll and something comes along in temptation...well, that's different. I troll, but I've been able to resist. Doesn't make it any less idiotic to troll though. Its hard. I've got a problem, but I'm also an enthusiast and I'd LIKE to think that is, in part, coming from a genuine and benign place. So, being an enthusiast, it is just fun to see what's out there.
 

Cosmic

Active member
I don't know if anyone from this thread is still on the forum, but why not give it a shot. I just re-joined HR after years of absence, but this thread was the first that showed up when I logged in (and a hell of a reminder it is.)

On page 7, in 2010, I detailed my own obsessions about gear, and the whole thread is (very possibly still) quite valid in its content in 2021.
Then, I was in a smaller apartment, thought I was getting divorced (we didn't, and we're still together) and collecting all manner of things for all manner of reasons.

I decided to update my own situation and maybe others (from then or now) feel like adding...

I am not going to lie and say I "saw the light" and ditched everything technical that I ever owned. Rather, my perspective got a much-needed tweak at least in some areas, and this has helped, even if there's still more stuff than there should be, given where we live.

Firstly, my outlook has improved a lot. I quit drinking 8 years ago, and learned to take better care of myself and my wife. Now, what did this do to my gear lust?

Here are the pieces of gear I mentioned in my main post:

The Tascam 2488 studio-in-a-box:
I still have it, and it sits on top of a small self-contained wooden rolling rack holding a 4-pre-amp unit, a stereo tube compressor, a stereo tube EQ, headphone distro, an XLR patch bay and power strips.
I decided to finish it off to have a complete unit ready to record (wired and all) and I haven't bought anything else for the rack since.
That was my way of "completing" it, not having a cable mess, and more importantly, nothing to justify any more purchases.

The Studer 807, MK2:
Still in action, and doing well. It is hooked up with line in/outs for transfers, to my stereo, and it has a pair of short XLRs in the mic inputs, coiled out of sight, ready to plug in for any 2-track work I want to do. Load a tape and go, no wiring needed, no excuses for more gear.

The Neumann SM69 Stereo Mic:
Sold to a pro engineer, where it really belongs. It stung when I sold it, but it was also a relief.

I decided to buy "the mics I need" and be done (laughter from the gallery...):
Two AKG 414 XLS, two Neumann 184...great sound, haven't bought any since. Been tempted, but no buying. My standard line to myself these days is: "If you can't do it with them, you just can't do it." (Shame helps...)

I now have them, a pair of Fathead ribbons, a Shure 57 and 58, and two AT 875 short shotguns which I use with my Tascam DR-70 portable recorder for ambient and sound effects. Apart from the usual goofy box of bakelite and other little vintage mics, that's the arsenal. Hope to keep it that way.

I wrote this as much for my own sanity in following up on the old thread, but I would love for anyone from then, and now, to chime in. The subject of "stuff" is surely timeless...

C.
 
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wkrbee

Member
We moved 1200 miles last year. Four dumpsters, uncounted trips to the recycler- some which I regret. Sold my Howard combo organ,Fender Rhodes, Farfisa combo organ, lots of rack mount stuff. Still have a garage crammed with stuff. I finally broke down yesterday and bought a 10 X 16 shed to put it in. Lots of Tascam parts. I'm on Ebay under wkrbee. Maybe I have something you can't live without. :)
 
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