Studio Equipment
Digital v. Analogue
The tape recorder
Mixing desks
Basic effects
Windows and DAWs
Magazine Reviews
Myths and Lies

             Studio Equipment              

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Types of Equipment

Prior to writing this chapter, I noticed that by some strange twist of fate, there are two types of every piece of equipment. Don’t ask me why! I did not plan it that way.

But not only are there two types of just about everything, but there are also two subdivisions of each of these types. For example, there are two types of recorder, analogue and digital. On the digital side, there are two types again, tape and hard-disk. There are two types of hard disk, dedicated and computer based. The computer based systems divided themselves up into two types again: Apple and PC. I could go on, but you get the idea!

On another tack, one thing that never ceases to amaze me is the emotion that is sometimes expended when making the choice between the one or the other. I have seen friendships destroyed and people thrown out of studios during sessions because they insist that a certain type of patchbay is better than the one installed (yes, there are even two types of patchbay!)

The funny thing is that some people (nearly always non-professionals) get themselves very excited over which bit of kit to use. The professional is usually fairly ambivalent over the choice of equipment; if it does the job, it’s OK. There are pieces of equipment that the professional must have: good microphones, good pre-amps in the desk, certain types of monitors.

But he is unlikely to worry about who made the cable. But there are people out there who get emotional over who made the power cable.

Indeed, we have no influence over who makes the power cable as most of the cable carrying the current to the consumer is outside the house. In fact, most of the cable inside the house is installed by an electrician, so using special cable for the last meter or two is just an exercise in futility. As long as it is as good as the rest, it will do just fine. As for the idea that there is radio frequency interference coming down the power cable and one needs to have a special lead or device to filter it out, doing just that is one of the tasks of the power supply unit that comes with every piece of equipment you will buy.

But there are unscrupulous companies that sell people the idea that they must have this or that power or speaker cable. And some of those that buy into this hype become almost abusive when it is suggested that it is nothing more than just hype.

When it comes to dedicated professional equipment, the situation is much worse. This is because there really are differences between one brand and another, but not always the way manufacturers would have us believe. The most useful monitors and the most useful microphones are sometimes some of the cheapest - but more of that later!

So don’t get drawn into emotional debates about which microphone or which monitor. There will be some that are just right for the job and some that are just right for you. And some will be both!


The Byre Recording Studio