When it’s time to upgrade your musical equipment, are you the person that wait’s until your ability warrants the purchasing of an upgrade or do you go out and buy something high end in the hope that your music ability will grow into your purchase and make it a worthwhile investment?
Speaking from experience as a non-financially equipped musician, this can often be a tough question to answer, as money tends to dictate when and how much one can spend.
Though I have been a song writer/musician for the past 25+ years, the one area that gets neglected in my music life is upgrading my equipment. For various reasons, this part of my life has “so to speak” been left behind, [way behind]. At this stage, I am still using a very old pre XP P.C. [year 2000 with a ME O.P system on it], to record with. It was a throw away P.C, so I grabbed it and I find it records with virtually no noise compared to more recent P.C’S I have recorded on. [Good for now].
The amps I have used as well have been practice amps costing from $40 upto a lofty $100. Sound-wise, they are crappy. Again the purchasing of a quality amp wasn’t justifiable compared to what I was doing musically, so I continually resisted the temptation to buy a quality amp.
So, the question that I continually had to ask myself is “when is it time to update these tired old pieces of equipment”? My normal response to this is if it’s not broken and it’s doing the job you require it to do, then leave it for now and save the money for something else, that is more urgent. [Boring, I know, but having electricity on at home was kind’ve important]
Lately, I have been looking at buying for the first time, a mixing desk. I have looked at the bottom end of the scale up to $1000+ for this piece of equipment. I eventually settled on a 6 input Ashton mxl 6 mixer that cost me $35.
Not having much experience with this type equipment before, I felt more comfortable buying at the lower end of the price market and working my way up as I learn and understand how to use it.
The good thing about this decision was the seller also had an electric drum kit he was selling. It was a mid range Yamaha kit. Original selling price was $2000+. Admittingly it was approximately 8/9 years old, but he did throw in two extra kick pedals, one being a double kick and an amp and speakers to run it through. I bought that for $385, which included the mixer.
At this stage with our band “Mould” starting to make some movement in the live [homeshow] performance area, this I feel is the right time to make a few upgrades in my equipment department. The last thing you want to do when you perform live is to be under equipped for your show. In the last six weeks I have added to my equipment collection, an electric drum kit $350, a 6-channel mixer $35, an Ashton 80 watt guitar amp $140 and two days ago I also added a Roland 80 watt cube guitar amp $250, which goes along with two other amps $215 for the two I bought 3 months ago, with one cracking up the other week. [I am currently still using my very old P.C. for our home recordings].
Collectively I have spent about $1000 in the last 3 months on upgrading my music equipment [be-it on second hand equipment], but hopefully, there will be still plenty of life left in these instruments.
For myself these days, I’m not the type of person that will go and buy something brand new, even for my music. I still prefer to look for what I want and wait for that bargain to come along. It doesn’t hurt as much if what you buy isn’t quite what you expect it to be and you have only paid a fraction of the price. But that’s what works for me and that’s the best advice I can give, “do it your own way with what makes upgrading your equipment comfortable for you”.
If you like brand new, out of the box stuff and can afford it, then by all means go and get it and use it to it’s fullest capacity, otherwise, sit on what you have and when the time is right and a good opportunity comes along, then grab and use it also, to it’s fullest capacity.
Cheers and happy upgrading