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Thoughts On Tools

The best tools are the ones you know how to use already, even if you’ve never used it before. You don’t have to read a manual to use a spade. Watch someone spear it into the ground, and you’re good to go. 

 

The best audio equipment in the world follows this principle. An 1176 compressor is drop dead simple to use while being incredibly complicated. So is a piano- hit a note, and it makes a sound. 

 

Most modern music manufacturers completely ignore this principle. In the rush to add features, they cram everything they can into the smallest possible piece of gear. Every feature you’d ever need is there, but you can’t access it because it’s buried in sub menus or under clumsy interface designs.

 

When great manufacturers keep their products simple but powerful, something magical happens: we stop thinking about the product and start thinking about what we’re making instead.

We build muscle memory, instinctively adjusting knobs, faders, and buttons while never thinking about the controls themselves. We develop the skill to play the instrument, even if that instrument is a compressor. 

 

The next time you consider a new piece of equipment, I encourage you to consider how quickly you can accomplish amazing things with it, and not just see who has the longest list of features on the specs page.

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