Minimalism is a life concept that focuses on the essentials. Does one thing really help me or can I fulfill the function with something else? In this article I want to share how minimalism has changed my studio and my work.
WHAT IS MINIMALISM?
Minimalism as a lifestyle is defined in Wikipedia as:
Simple Life referring to a lifestyle that sees itself as an alternative to consumer-oriented affluent society. Consumer-critical people try to counteract everyday constraints by renouncing consumption and thereby lead a self-determined, more fulfilling life.
The core idea is therefore to get rid of unnecessary consumer goods, which represent status and vanity rather than solving a problem. This technique is applicable in every area of life. Personally, it has helped me in many areas, but especially in the studio.
The documentary " Minimalism " on Netflix offers insight into the matter.
There are various people featured in this documentary that have changed their lives due to minimalism. Especially the two boys Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus who are strictly minimalistic and pass on this lifestyle to many people through performances, lectures and their website theminimalists.com .
Core idea of theminimalists :
Less stress due to fewer things to worry about
More freedom through the independence of material things
Faster decisions due to less choice
More satisfaction through less choice
... and much more
Just take a look for yourself, I can highly recommend this documentary!
MINIMALISM IN THE STUDIO
Over the last few years, it has often happened that I have bought equipment and after a while realized that I did not use it the way I initially intended. It took me a long time to realize that hanging on to things that you don't need only weighs you down and is detrimental in the long run.
The epiphany led me to consistently challenge myself with the following question going forward:
Which devices do I no longer need and which functions can be taken over by existing devices?
The answer to the question has led to the following tangible changes:
THE CHANGES - APPLYING MINIMALISM
In my rack were / are:
DBX 376 - Preamp & Channel Strip
Behringer Edison - Stereo processor
Behringer headphone amplifier
I decided to sell the DBX processor as it has caused some strong distortions when combined with the SPL Goldmikel. I had used the Edison about 4-5 times since the purchase in about 1 year (crazy I know), with a lot of it's functions being replaceable by software.
My Universal Audio Apollo Twin Duo has an excellent preamplifier with digital emulations of analog preamps. The Unison technology sounds very good and will easily replace the SPL Goldmike. However, since I started the album production of one of my artists with the Goldmike, I will not sell it until after the end of the album (consistency is important). But it's a goner as soon as the album is recorded :)
Over the last months and years I've being working in the box (all digital) more often. However, controllers are very important to me for the feel of creation. In the pursuit of minimalism, I will not give it up. That's not what minimalism is about. One should not remove as much as possible, but only keep the important and essential things.
But what I did do is: reduce two controllers with a total of 16 motorized faders to a single motorized fader controller. When working with the controllers, I noticed that I edit one channel after the other, as apposed to moving faders with all ten fingers. So it makes little sense to have 16 faders in front of me if I only need one. I replaced the two controllers with the Frontier Design Alphatrack . A little older device, but the right decision. I had thought about buying the Presonus Faderport because it also has all the necessary features and is also prettier than the alpha track. In the end, however, I was convinced by the features and the display of the Alphatrack.
My next purchase will be the Slate Virtual Microphone System . I was impressed by the workflow, the versatility and the good sound in the test video of Sound on Sound (see below). The selection of preamp and microphone sounds from legendary hardware in seconds is perfect in terms of efficiency for me. Also excluding microphone comparison before the actual recording will save heaps of energy. It saves time and does not distort creativity. In my opinion, such a system is definitely worth the money, especially in terms of the cost of the original microphones!
By streamlining to a few good pieces of equipment, my work has become more efficient . I've gotten to know my equipment better and use it more, or more functions within them. Ultimately, it has the consequence of allowing me to get to my goals quicker, without comprimising quality.
When entertaining the idea of future investments in the studio, I consider exactly what added value is acquired from a minimalist perspective. What problems can I solve that I can not solve my existing equipment?
I hope this insight will help you to rethink big equipment desires and get the full potential out of the equipment you already have.
Have fun producing!