When you get new gear there’s always a bit of a learning curve. Procedures that come naturally and effortlessly become a “how do I do that” and “why is that happening”? That’s where I’ve been for the last few days, and the saddest part is that I created the whole mess by not following one of my own rules.
Rule #14 – Learn one piece of equipment at a time, become proficient with it, and then and only then, buy another new piece of equipment.
Well I decided to 100% update my rig! Starting with a Sound Devices 664 – replacing my 442 and Zoom recorder. Adding a Shure UR 1&5 wireless system – replacing a Sennheiser G2. Powering the system with a new external battery/charging system, and toping it off by leaving my Neumann KM150 in the studio and packing Shure’s VP89S and VP89M shotguns.
Now why would I change everything that’s worked so incredibly well for me for way over a decade? To be honest, I’m not sure. Maybe all the new shiny equipment I saw at NAB peaked my interest. Maybe the hype “new and improved” has me thinking I can better my recording and streamline my operating procedures, or maybe I’m bored of the same old same old – change would spice things up, right?
Well it’s been one hell of a challenge the last week and as I write this I’m longing for same old same old.
It’s been a long time since I questioned whether my tracks were less then perfect. I’ve always carried myself with confidence and instilled confidence in my employer.
I’m easy going (so I’m told) and a lot of fun to work with – but not these past few days! I’ve been so engrossed and stressed with figuring out my gear that I’ve been less then pleasant to be around – broken Rule #6! And questioning looks from the producer is reminding me of my early days in the field.
As someone who passes on what I’ve learned to anyone who’s interested. I find myself being a bit of a hypocrite for writing an article a couple of months back that slams unsocial coworkers, because that’s been me lately. What to learn from this? Know every nuance of your equipment before you play for real. (Past slamming article)
No matter how much experience you have, it’s surprising how something like the monitoring set-up, or file system, even subtle changes in the sound of a recording that you expect to sound a certain way creates uncertainty. Uncertainty turns into stress, and stress manifests itself into questioning your abilities and small screw-ups.
None of us want to be the worker everyone is avoiding because they’re stressed out, and none of us want to come across as unsocial. Know your equipment and play nice, a successful career depends on it.