GAS - gear acquisition syndrome & related discussion

Not a mixer. Faderfox LV3

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Not Eurorack related per se but my most successful approach to keeping GAS in check has been watching videos of gear I already own instead of videos of new gear. Whenever I think there’s a limitation with my setup I find myself watching one of the purely MS-20 channels and realise that, in comparison, I barely know mine at all! It makes me incredibly keen to start playing around with mine immediately and although I might start off copying a patch that I see on a video it soon morphs into something else entirely


Yeah for me its this…the concept, then the ‘research’. It causes the cycle to start again everytime. This is very well said. I don’t want to have walls of gear either. I think its overindulgent and I find it not inspiring.

With all of this said… I’ve overcome a little hump with my setup in the last few days since I posted. I think my long post above was coming out of period of idleness, where I had no performances or anything to work towards so I was just spinning my wheels. I’m playing a show tonight and another in the next few weeks and I’m happy and excited with my setup again. It forced me to make choices. I ended up going to back to a DIY case I had made a year or so ago, where the top two rows of modules are more upright like a 2600 or a Synthi and I arranged the bottom to have all of the control modules, and it really feels like a playable instrument.


Used to think it’s a “good problem to have”. Now I’m not so sure.

Guess I should preface with this…I DO read manuals. Even still…

I’ve felt pretty overwhelmed for the last year or so with the amount of new gear I have acquired over the last 3 years or so. I won’t go into specifics of what pieces because I’m not sure that is the issue, and it runs the gamut: modular, synths, sequencers, samplers, multiple new DAWs…You get the idea.

Like everyone in this time, I’ve buckled down and put some time in. But I have to say I still feel like I am getting nowhere.

I’m guessing I am guilty of moving from one thing to the next too much? By the time I get back to revisiting one thing, I’ve forgotten what I learned the last time.

It’s gotten to the point where I’ve just spent most of the last quarantine month learning Scarlatti sonatas on piano. I don’t really play piano. So it kicks my butt…but at least I can finally hear progress. Yet when it comes to learning new gear…it seems hopeless.

I’m wondering if anyone else here has struggled with this and found a good method for working your way through some daunting gear with steep learning curves? How did you go about it?



Ok, this might sound quaint but hear me out: have you tried meditation? Sometimes the struggle is in our head; aiming for something nebulous, trying too hard, thinking of too many things.

Meditation helps me clear the negativity that resides in my head, and allows me to once again approach the machines with the same goal that I had when I bought them: to have fun, enjoy myself, make sounds, make music, explore.

I’ve studied a lot in my few years on this planet, and I can say this much, you learn better when you’re having fun, you learn easiest when you have a specific goal you’re aiming for. Emphasis on “specific”. I read ALL the manuals, trust me, I do, but things settle when I’m trying to solve a specific problem, not an assumed one that I made up. When I’m tackling a problem, I read the manual, and keep on working. I’m not trying to master all of the things, all of the time.

Set specific goals, set aside specific devices, maybe sell some stuff (it feels better than you might think), and don’t bemoan yourself for owning all this stuff.


i spent a while finding this thread to send you the link, by the time I did the mods (in their wisdom) moved you here lol. i’ll just add that goals and intentionality can help a lot. a changing financial situation stopped any gear acquisition for me quite soon after it started, but it was figuring out what kind of music i wanted to be making that made me learn to better utilize what i had. for me, limitations can be the most fruitful—forcing limitations on yourself could be one approach. i told myself—no new modules, not even trades, until you make a tape. i did that, and the process helped solidify my relationship with (in my case, my modular) gear. theres still some things I’d change when i have the chance, because its modular thats the nature of the beast, but it helps me to know what direction im going in and what might be able to help me go that way. I know you’re not strictly talking about GAS, but these methods can apply to that general feeling of being overwhelmed i think. The sonatas are a perfect example of something that is a clear goal and so it challenges you and is fulfilling to accomplish or attempt to accomplish. There’s no reason that can’t be applied to other gear.

Edit: another thread, linked here above but esp relevant to your question


Thanks for that!

One thing I have been doing (actually almost THE only thing I’ve been doing) is trying to replicate demos on YouTube. This is about the closest thing I can think of to “eurosonatas”. I do find this as close a way as how I learned to play more traditional instruments: by replication and rote.

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something i’ve found helps me a lot is taking notes on manuals. you end up spending more time ingesting the concepts which helps them stick, and putting things in your own words keeps you from glossing over something that maybe you read but didn’t fully take in.

i also only take notes on things that don’t work the way i naturally assume them to. if playing the thing by intuition got me there already then i already “knew” it before going through the manual. this keeps the notes useful and quick if i need to refer back to them.

doing it with pen and paper is also great because you can easily give things different emphases by the size of your writing or by circling things or creating different layouts, you can draw the icons/buttons/whatever you’re making notes on, and it’s slower than typing which goes back to my first point.

and something i got from learning traditional instruments - doing a little bit every day over a few weeks will cement things more than doing longer sessions that are spaced out by even a few days. of course, you can’t top daily long sessions. :smile:


Putting in half and hour each day is something I learned from Hainbach. It’s such a good practice. Consistency and being that person that says “I have 30 minutes, I’m going to patch something” instead of being the person that says “Meh, 30 minutes, I’d rather do nothing”. Huge difference for me.

Even sitting down and doing one Teletype exercise, or reading one thing in a manual, or solving one small problem. It all adds up.


That’s funny. I just started a regimen of taking notes to start to really learn my Octatrack.

Big difference!

And it’s even still hard to follow!

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Lately I’ve been struggling with how many modules to keep. I have a set of modules that I like that’s just shy of a 520hp-case-worth (some acquired, some to be re/acquired). That said, I’m very fond of the the 9u 84hp case format, which works out to roughly half the hp. I think it’s just something to live with, and maybe the answer is discovering how to more satisfyingly live with such a scenario rather than fret over what is too much or too little?

It’s so funny to watch the synthfluencer video barrage that comes with high profile launches now.


My feed today:


The Hainbach video was entirely charming.


synthfluencer barrage meme aside, they are all very very good at what they do :slightly_smiling_face:


It’s pretty easy to rag on Make Noise for having a very specific kind of sound that their demos tend to cover (though it is also worth noting their more recent material has been more diverse), so I appreciate having people whose work I am familiar with readily provinding insight into something new. Each of them does very different stuff, so seeing each of them work with it definitely helps make sense of whether and how it might fit in a given workflow.


All of this marketing, including the week-long build up, at a time when too many are struggling and to a community known for GAS felt kinda icky to me.

I didn’t wanna wet blanket people’s fun while trying to solve it, but I’m more comfortable saying it now.

Maybe I’m looking too hard for an issue (I am fortunate enough not to be one of those struggling financially) - if so, I’m fine being told so.


Yeah, it occured to me some time ago that basically my youtube feed was almost constant stream of new gear videos/hardware focused with single videos about making music sprinkled here and there (and I got into hardware to make more music - oh the irony) I decided to unfollow almost every channel. It sucks because some of youtubers seem like genuinely nice people (like for example Hainbach and Andrew Huang) but I decided that it was probably better for my problem with GAS to visit synth related channels manually and leave my subscriptions to music releases/music making theory etc. I still follow some of these channels on Instagram but I visit it much less often (like once in a week) so it is no as problematic as with youtube for me.


There’s an app I like called Kawara which I’ve been using recently to deal with this. You can input a link and tell it how often you want to see it (e.g. you don’t need Hainbach’s videos on your feed but maybe you want to check in a few times a year; an instagram channel you want to see once a week etc). iOS only. There’s a website I came across that does something similar. It’s an interesting approach to dealing with not only GAS/marketing related internet sites, but interacting with the internet/social media in general.


I know that feeling very well. I stopped watching TV and listening to the radio completely a few years ago because I desperately wanted out of the onslaught of ads and constant money-grubbing, only to realize that I’m now actively exposing myself to an army of Youtube channels and personae instead that get paid for trying to sell me stuff too. Maybe I’ve been ignoring it before, but I still feel like all of that marketing stuff is a recent development for many of these channels and just slowly and subtly crept into my feed. Look at Hainbach. His videos used to be these charming explorations of tape recording techniques and other quirky niche-stuff, but nowadays most of them feel like amorphous, 30-minute blobs of name-dropping and product placement. The actual content and all of what used to attract me to his channel and others is lost along the way. Maybe unfollowing them all is the healthiest alternative.