GAS - gear acquisition syndrome & related discussion

Had relegated my space echo to fewer tasks over the last year, and I wanted to thank y’all for reminding me how much better life is when she’s always plugged in and ready. Mmmmmmm


(This turned into a bigger post that I expected, and any reference to forums/gear manufacturers is not referring to Lines/Monome who I think are one of the ‘good guys’)

Speaking personally, I think when I buy gear, I am often buying ‘time’. buying a new pedal/module is my way of forcing myself to make time to make music. With two small children, a full time job and 10+ hours commute every week, time is the one thing I don’t have, and buying new gear is a surrogate for spending time with what I already have.

“with this new XXXXX, I’ll really knuckle down and it’ll transform my workflows and I’ll be happier and more artistic” is the lie I tell myself all too often.

“You have everything you need to be happy and artistic, you just need to stop chasing a short cut to competency, and put the hours in with what you have” is the truth I try to avoid.

right now here are my problems that i’l tell myself need GAS based solutions.

  1. working on crappy desktop PC speakers. (buy new monitors)
  2. no individual outs on Volca beats, so hard to EQ each drum properly (buy new drum machine)
  3. only have a basic MIDI-CV converter. (buy full expert sleepers set up)
  4. no hardware mixer makes mixing sources live difficult. (buy hardware mixer)
  5. would like to incorporate more samples into music. (buy Octatrack)

and here are the real solutions.

  1. simple mix on speakers then get Grado headphones from downstairs and use those to do final mix.
  2. Multitrack Volca.
  3. you’re MIDI-CV options are way better than someone working 10 years ago. just see how far you can push it. (use buffered mults etc. to split existing CV more ways)
  4. use that Faderfox mixer you have in your cupboard and mix in the DAW. you dont have the deskspace for a hardware mixer anyway (thats why you bought the faderfox 3 years ago)
  5. you have Ableton Live and Max7, both have great sample workflows. use them and only once you get good, buy a cheap controller to trigger the samples.

as you can see, most of the ‘problems’ can be fixed with spending more time with what you have and not chasing the impossible ideal.

but I don’t get down on myself, I am not immune to the influences of a very clever and effective music technology retail industry.

Most music technology websites are dependent on ‘news’ which is mainly product launches which are dependent on a product fixing a existing problem, which is dependent on finding new problems to fix. So there is a culture of forum posts and blog posts offering solutions which often implicitly say ‘buy the newest/most expensive on the market’*.

then everyone wins:

  • the manufacturers who make the products.
  • the media companies that rely on page hits to generate ad revenue.
  • the shops who need new products to get people into the stores/ onto the websites.
  • the customers who pay for the premium product (as advised on forums) and need to reassure themselves that it was an investment, and want to protect any resale value and market on the product.

GAS is an unavoidable symptom of the Music Technology complex where the industry reinvents itself every few years as technology changes, and suddenly they need a reason to sell you a new music making paradigm as being the ‘right one’.

  • experiment: go onto G******Z electronic music forum and post that you are a beginner musician and are interested in a) a sequencer b) a reverb pedal. and see how many posts before someone mentions a) Cirklon b) Strymon. both top range and entirely unnecessary for a beginner. but as they are the most expensive, they have the greatest ‘cultural’ value on music technology forums.

it all sort of boils down to this, doesn’t it?

My favourites are, to the question “what’s a decent mixer for home recording?”, the inevitable pointer to the Speck Lilo, or the Eventide H8000FW to “any recommendations for multi-fx?” Um, of course, but…

There’s a great word taken from Japanese, tsundoku, which describes someone who owns many unread books, in piles, but continues to buy them. There is an entertainment value to acquisition. It’s fleeting, shallow, but entertaining nonetheless.

I think there’s a social aspect to it too, there is a participatory quality to having access to the latest/newest/best and joyfully discussing it with the like-minded. That can be especially potent to people who make solo recorded music, which tends to be a fairly isolated activity.


so there’s a word for this mess…thanks for sharing


Having almost one (or four) of almost every analog and digital synth I’ve now gone to an almost all software set up (with a couple of exceptions). I’ve been creating more too as a result.


I’ve managed my B.A.S. (book aquisition syndrome) by getting good at ordering anything I want from the local Library consortium. But it ends up that I prioritise library books and leave the ones I have been given as gifts on the shelf.

If only there were synth libraries…


Thinking of moving to Ann Arbor?


Post here when you succumb. No need to confess, no sordid details. just raise your hand silently.

I bought something.



Has anyone put the Universal Audio Apollo version of the Space Echo next to the real thing? Might be something to be said for the physical interface, but I wonder if having the soft version is close enough to the real thing sonically?

twenty characters of raised hand :raised_hand:

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I have and the UA version is spot on. I A/B’d them over the course of a few weeks. My RE-201 had a few issues that gave it a more interesting sound sometimes (sometimes the opposite). But I sold mine after using the UA version for a few weeks. Having the knobs in front of me was definitely more fun, but with Push I have knobs (although not the same) for the software. I highly recommend it.


I’ve minimized to 2 hardware synths (Voyager & A4) and a mostly all software setup and my songwriting has exponentially increased as a result. I’m also in the process of moving from a large 2 bedroom to a small 1 bedroom place (moving from a lame city to a cool city) which means my studio will now be in our living room, hence the minimization.


I have both and it is remarkably close. I still have the hardware plugged in all the time and use the plug in for extra instances and for live performances. my gas says GET BOTH

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Ok, still on lines. Thought I wandered over to gearslutz without noticing. :wink:

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i’m gassing for MI Rings as a gong/kick

this is ridiculous because I just bought and racked WR 3sis for essentially the same purpose BUT HAVEN’T EVEN PLAYED IT YET and am already cheating

obviously i talked myself out of the idea
but thought i’d confess anyway


:slight_smile: Thankfully I’m halfway there already. I haven’t loaded up the plugin in a while, and this is inspiring me to do that. Now if only the dang UA Console would accept MIDI control :frowning:


:briefcase: Due to the fact that I spend most time on the road, GAS was never a question/problem. I have to keep my setup as small and compact and lightweight as possible. The only thing I am missing is an Arc4 but since there will be a new edition… :slight_smile:
In case that I settle down in the future I am definitely going to spend all my money and time in acquiring new gear, billions of modules and synths and and and… I am ready to sell my soul for this!


I honestly barely even use the UA console. I don’t like the fact that I can’t use Ableton plug ins while recording. I have a hybrid setup, but mostly use software and it doesn’t fit in my workflow. I feel like I need to dive deeper into console, but I spend too much time writing right now.

On another note, the UA plug ins + Push 2 = amazing. Load one on a channel and you have all the controls laid out in front of you with full visual feedback. If only I had a quad instead of a duo so I could run more plug ins. Probably shouldn’t have sold my quad satellite.


yea, the downside is that you want so many more instances of those plug ins. man, the emt’s sound so good it’s stupid. just stupid.

i have only found a use for console for monitoring. i can smash the vocals and have almost 0 latency and not track it. yum!