Show 65 – Outboard Gear vs. Plugins and Why Your Studio Sucks

In this week’s show, Ryan talks about using outboard gear vs. plugins and Jon gives you 10 reasons why your studio sucks.

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15 thoughts on “Show 65 – Outboard Gear vs. Plugins and Why Your Studio Sucks

    • I was just looking at those on eBay about 10 minutes ago! Even with all of this cool inexpensive gear it gets really expensive when you add it all up! I need to get rich to support this habit I have.

  1. I use so many old pieces of gear that most people blow off. Outboard – Alesis XT reverb, SPX-90, Couple of Digitech DSPs, A DBX 166 and 263x… MIDI – a Roland MT-32, an FB-01, a kawai K1rII, an Alesis d4 and an Akai X-7000. Love ’em all, and they all have their place.

    Great episode – thanks!

    • You have to love the gear that had been there for you all these years. There may be something “better” out there now, but there is always a place and use for classics!

  2. Here’s a segment I’d love to hear you guys cover for home recording: Building a vocal booth on 3 different budgets- Podcaster, Indie Band, and Pro Studio

    I’ve got some plywood and some time, but I’m not sure what to do with it. I’d love to hear how a professional booth is made, how a full-time musician like me can approximate that, and also how a hobbyist like a podcaster could do something without selling their car.


    • That is a great idea. There are some great options out there. I will make sure to either bring it up on the show or do a segment about it. Thanks for listening to our show.

  3. I love those old reverb outboard gear !

    i own a cheap roland dep5 it’s incredible, the room is great for 808/909 kick drum and the plate is nice too.

    it sound really dirty and “plastic”

    i knew that my homestudio sucks, now i know why 😉

  4. I just finished listening to the show.

    You guys almost made me cry revealing some truth’s i didnt want to face about my setup. Yet I am very happy with it, knowing all the limitations. still, the sounds I am able to produce in my mixes tells me i know I dont suck.

    Maybe I would feel better if we had a 3rd category.

    Maybe it could go like this,

    (I find myself in the “project studio” category by the way)

    (home studio)- no physical timbers were erected. Possibly in a bedroom or basement or garage with no pro sound treatment.

    (project studio)- an existing facility not made for the soul purpose of recording music. However, physical timbers and partitions put in place with the soul purpose of building a studio. Sound treatment and or sound proofing has been implemented, new electrical wiring, room for musicians or bands to record in seperate rooms or together all at once to capture whatever performance is required. Power treatment and or power conditioning with backup power. locked facility with security in place and so level mics and preamps, stock instruments, amps, mics, pro level daw or tape reel in pro working condition. In general, pro level gear that is above consumer quality.

    and then is:

    (Pro studio)- a purpose built facility to record music. it lives up to its name in everyway, these are the highest charging studio’s on average of the three.

  5. Excellent podcast guys! I agree with Matthew’s comment about doing an episode on a vocal booth and acoustic treatment in general. I’ve been planning to build some semi-portable bass traps for a while and would definitely love your takes on acoustic treatment given that you all seem to have different home/project studios. BTW your last episode inspired me to dig my entry-level Lexicon MPX100 out of storage and fire it up! Not the greatest but as Mark says it has it’s place. Also out of pure greed, I’d like the podcasts to be one hour long : )


    I had a studio cleanout of old crappy gear i had in bands since i was like 15, and called a bunch of people to come and just take gear away that i didnt need,this unit was given away.

    it turns out after i really started purchasing plugins this issue kept coming up. outboard gear, i wish I would have kept it, i wont go and buy it though.

    what i don’t like about entry level outboard gear is the “hiss factor” that some of the old effects units, it reminds me of the early days of home recording on a 4 track…….

    completely different from recoding from a minimog with noise in it…
    I really notice it in recordings especially where the dynamic range is at a low point on say a ballad. i guess sometimes u can get lucky with a well conditioned unit that sounds clean.

  7. Hey Joe,

    Don’t worry about the noise the gear adds. I think in this age of fairly precise digital recording, we can’t stand to hear any sort of circuitry noise. Sometimes noise in a recording can be good, especially if the song is good it won’t matter. Some of that noise ads character that is lacking in a lot of modern recordings.

    What I’m getting at is embrace the noise, it’s not always a bad thing. But don’t take my advice, I’m going to start using a wax cylinder to record to. I’m taking it really old school! Plus it will narrow down my mic choice to just the horn.

  8. Thanks Jesse. good advice, perspective is good.

    Beck’s new album “modern guilt” would be a good example of using noise to an advantage.

    a few tracks off that 2009 album are pretty good.

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