The other day, I was going through my show file for our upcoming Christmas production. It’s a massive show and we’re doing all kinds of tricks with the SD8. And I got to thinking how blessed we are at Coast Hills to have these great tools at our disposal. We have an amazing facility, the SD8, a deep mic locker (though I still want a few more…), a decent lighting rig and some super-bright projectors
I realized not all of you have this arsenal at your disposal, and that this could create a little bit of “gear envy.” But the truth of the matter is I was making great mixes back when I had nothing but an SR32 and a single outboard effects unit. That’s not because I’m so great, it’s because it’s what we do.
Really good tech people can make a great experience happen regardless of the equipment at their disposal. Sure, it’s a lot more fun to mix (and put together a huge show) on an SD8 than it would be on an SR32, but I’ve done plenty of big shows on a small mixer (usually supplemented by other small mixers).
As recently as a few years ago, I myself had gear envy. In taking with some of my friends who were mixing on Profiles and Venues, I felt I could do more if I had one of those as compared to the little 01V we were saddled with. When I came here and started mixing on the PM5D, I realized not much really changed. Even when we got the SD8, my mixing style hasn’t changed that much. The mixes sound a little better because I have a few more tools at my disposal, but overall, I still approach the basics of mixing the same way I did before.
If anything, my mixes are sounding better this year than last not because of the equipment I have, but because I’m constantly studying, learning, trying new things and growing as an engineer. When I find myself in our student room with a little MG32, I can still pull together a good mix.
My point in all this is that we all have a certain set of tools at our disposal, be that a large and expensive set, or a small and inexpensive one. But it doesn’t matter. It’s often said that a great engineer can put together a better mix on a Mackie than a poor engineer on a Midas. Personally, I’d rather strive to be the great engineer as opposed to relying on the best gear. How about you?