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Recording, Honing Your Craft, gear

Jul 20, 2016 08:00 AM

Scott Parsons

How To Buy Used Gear Without Getting Ripped Off

Image via Flickr / CC BY 2.0

A version of this article originally appeared on Landr.


It’s buyer beware. So buyer take care.

Nothing beats the feeling of finding that piece of gear you’ve wanted forever. I’ll never forget buying my first synth. I rode the train three hours round trip and carried it all the way home on my lap.

The person I bought it from was very helpful. He showed me how it worked, some of the presets, and how to operate it. He even printed off the manual for me. The price was negotiable and he gave me a great deal as long as I “promised to make music with it.” I was more than happy to oblige.

Even though there’s a million awesome free VST plugins out there, nothing compares to getting your hands on a real piece of gear once in a while. But buying used gear can be a nightmare if you’re not prepared – something I found out very quickly.

The 6 Best Analog Synthesizers on the Market

Image via Flickr / CC by 2.0

The baby above may make it look easy, but choosing a synthesizer comes with its share of difficulties. While digital synthesizers seem to be all the rage these days, don't forget their older, analog brothers.

Digital technology has certainly come a long way, and the gap between analog and digital quality is getting smaller. That being said, there's still something unique about an analog synthesizer that's yet to be replicated. For those looking to get a smooth waveform that's warmer and more natural to your ears, an analog synthesizer is the way to go.

Deciding to go analog is the easy part, however. Now, you have to choose which one to get. There are thousands of analog synths out there on the market, all ranging in quality and price. Thankfully, we've compiled a list of the best.

We Tested 3 Amazing Guitar Combo Amps Under $1,000 So You Don't Have To

The warm, orange glow of power tubes. The thunderclap of a jolted spring reverb. The soreness in your hand from carrying an 80-pound brick by the leather handle.

I’m talking about guitar amps. Specifically, the reasonably priced combo amps that become the basis of your guitar sound, and the main thing that separates you from someone singing Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” around a campfire.

The right amp should suit your sound, allow you to make artful noise without a row of stompboxes in between, and leave enough money in your bank account to get some pizza after rehearsal. I visited Downtown Sounds in Northampton, MA, to investigate the best guitar amps under $1,000. All the amps I tested featured single 12-inch speakers, so they were roughly comparable.

5 Pieces of Music Gear That Are Totally Worth Splurging On

Photo by Jim Fischer via Flickr / CC BY 2.0

What do elementary school teachers and rock musicians have in common? You’ll never hear either of them say they have all the money they need. It seems like everybody is slashing budgets, being frugal, and finding ways to re-use items from empty propane tanks to dryer sheets.

But when you’re running a band, you have to spend money somewhere. Musicians need gear, and sometimes buying new makes sense. Plus, there’s nothing like the feeling of cranking up a new amplifier for the first time. It’s better than a new pair of shoes. Here are items worth opening your wallet for.

The 10 Most Widely Influential Synths Ever

Image via flypaper.soundfly.com

This article originally appeared on Soundfly.


What is it that makes a synth special? Well, the answer is complex: many people have fallen in love with the arpeggiators on Junos; others, the sound of several stacked analog signal paths. Obviously, any article written about the synthesizer is going to be subjective; there’s no way around the fact that certain sounds sound better or worse to different ears. So caveat emptor: this list is subjective!

That being said, there are some synths that have shimmered through the noise, so to speak, and have distinguished themselves as true, influential classics. In this piece, I’ll take you through some of those, and explain just what’s so special about each of them.