These days, I’m starting to thing that the more plug-ins I get for Logic, the worse off I am when it comes down to actually trying to make music. I find that I wind up playing more with the plug-ins, trying to find the “perfect” sound out of it, only to find that there is no perfect sound. There’s nothing magical that is going to become my inspiration for a song. I wind up with these plug-ins with interfaces that seems to resemble the console of a Boeing 747, and I find that I can’t do anything with them. Perhaps, you can call me old fashioned, having come from a hardware background, but I like a synthesizer plug-in to look like a synthesizer. Perhaps, that’s why I can use Propellerhead’s Reason very well. Everything looks familiar, right down to the hooking up cables in the back. I don’t need to think… I just make music with it.
Then there’s guitar… I can’t believe how I let myself get ruined by technology when it came to playing my guitar. All of these software amplifier plug-ins with hundreds of amps, cabinets, microphones, and stomp boxes. Heck, at first I thought i was in wonderland. I was playing for days with all of that virtual equipment. Was I making music with it? No! Heck, I was too busy trying to find the perfect amplifier setup. Well, I never found that perfect setup, because I was looking for that imperfect sound. The software amps sounded too perfect. What it was missing was the feeling that went with the sound. Sure, no one can tell the difference when your listening to it in a recording (and I made a couple of them). However, the challenge for me was getting it down into that recording stage. There was just something missing when I was playing my guitar through it. In fact, there were many things missing. There were things like tonality changes as you play, as well as feedback from the speakers.
Nonetheless, I gave up on software amplifiers and have gone back to hardware when recording guitar. Sure, it’s through a POD HD, and a tube-pre. You can argue with me that it is not an amplifier. However, it gives me both the tonality changes with my playing and it gives me feedback. To me, that’s what an amp does and when I record with it, I can now feel it. I know that recording it through my POD HD is final when it hits the computer, but who cares. I can never think of a time when I recorded my guitar through software that I needed to change my amplifier. If anything, it helps me to commit to a sound, as well as a song. The past few songs have been done this way, and I haven’t regretted it. I have less types of amplifier tones, but I find that I use very few tones as it is.
If anything, I want to play music, rather than feel like I have to be a programmer to make music. Freeing myself from this techno-yoke has allowed me to do just that, and I feel much better for it. I find that I am writing music these days. I’m willing to go as far as to believe that half of my stagnation was because i was ruined by technology. That’s a place I don’t want to go back to. Playing music makes me feel good. Having my computer play most of it doesn’t make me feel good.