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Author Topic: Dumbest/smartest purchase you've ever made?  (Read 12164 times)

Offline Consul

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Dumbest/smartest purchase you've ever made?
« on: February 26, 2005, 05:29:07 pm »
Please forgive my newbieness. I'm not an industry guy, but just a musician who has done some dumb stuff in his life.

What was the dumbest purchase you've ever made? How about things you wish you hadn't sold or traded off?

For me, it had to be when I decided to go from hardware synths to sofware synths. A softsynth called Reality had just been released by Seer Systems, and I had convinced myself that it was the wave of the future. I sold off a Kawaii K4 and an Alesis QS6 in order to jump on this softsynth bandwagon.

It got me absolutely nowhere. I paid a lot of money for software I never used. I still have the CD somewhere.

I traded up to perfectly good and usable hardware synths for useless software.

On the flip side, what was the smartest thing you ever bought or traded up for? Sadly, I don't have a story for this one. Sad I choose to move on, though. Wink

Thanks for letting me indulge.
Darren Landrum

"Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic." - Dave Barry

Offline RMoore

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Re: Dumbest/smartest purchase you've ever made?
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2005, 06:01:34 pm »
The dumbest I guess would be a Russian SYnth I once bought & had FEDEXED from Russia..bad value transaction all around, especially since FEDEX gave me the wrong shipping quote and it was WAY MORE EXPENSIVE.

WOrst $ hit was the brutal devaluation on some ADATS and a SV3800 DAT I bought new (all now worthless) - Although they did get put to work making a bunch of records that sold for some $ so, c'est la vie...

Compared to some I guess I didn't do too bad...

Fairlight? Dash? 24 track 2 inch (new)?

For the rest I was very lucky to encounter some excellent 'old' gear and Fender basses over the years before prices went through the roof ..

Although that was a double edged sword due to maintenance issues, racking etc etc.

I have never regretted buying good micpreamps and mics!!

Hope that helps ease the pain,

FWIW - I used to gig with a guy in the early 80's who had classic analog synths galore plus a CP70 grand that he hauled around to gigs in his van..
a keyboard stack on both sides with him standing in the middle - very 70's!
When the DX-7 came along he ditched ALL the gear & the van and bought a DX-7 and a small hatchback..I wonder if he regretted that later..
People's Republic of Ryan

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Offline Consul

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Re: Dumbest/smartest purchase you've ever made?
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2005, 06:08:41 pm »
You know, I like the DX7, but it isn't THAT good. I wonder if he still regrets that decision to this day. I can, however, understand wanting a more portable setup. Lugging all of those instruments around could not have been fun.

I did manage to get the Kawai K4 back in the form of the K4r, the rackmount version. This is such a quirky little synth, and I like it a lot.

My little story with the softsynth happened a good five or six years ago. I don't feel bad about it anymore.
Darren Landrum

"Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic." - Dave Barry

Offline Barry Hufker

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Re: Dumbest/smartest purchase you've ever made?
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2005, 08:26:12 pm »
My dumbest purchase (that I am oddly still proud of) was buying a NeXT computer.  You don't know NeXT?  It was the company founded by Steve Jobs after he was pushed out of Apple in a power struggle.

The computer was beautiful.  It was a black cube made out of solid magnesium.  It had a really nice black monitor and an all black keyboard.  I bought it in 1990.  It was then what a Macintosh is now.  It wasn't as powerful as the Mac is now, but it had a Unix kernel, optical drive and large hard drives.  The operating software looked and acted exactly as OSX does now.  It was a beauty.  I *loved* that computer.

I used it for music editing, so in addition to the $10,300 I paid for the machine, I also bought several 1 gigabyte hard drives at a cost of $3k each!!  I also increased the memory over time and bought a new motherboard when they switched processors.  In all, I put more than $20,000 into this system.

I edited several CDs on it but it was like owning a Ferrari that no one made gas for.  I could get audio in, I could get audio out, but the editing software was poor.  There were no crossfades and I spent several eternities hunting down pops and ticks in each edit.

NeXT produced a few more models after mine but they couldn't get any real marketshare.  Things changed at Apple and Steve Jobs was able to go back to Apple.  That's when he announced NeXT was folding.  I now had a Ferrari with no support or gas.  I was devastated.

By 1995, computer gear for the audio industry had changed so much that it was foolish to keep the NeXT, so I donated it and all the software/hardware to a local school.  It was the right thing to do as the computer teacher there was thrilled.  The machine wasn't even worth $1k by the time I let it go.  It really tugged on my heart to see it go.  I will always feel a little proud that with that computer purchase I went down a different road and a little stupid that it led to a short cliff with a steep drop.

The smartest purchase I ever made: Definitely my Brauner microphones.  I happened to be searching the internet one day when I ran across Dirk Brauner's site.  I read about this new microphone and wrote him.  We got to know each other a bit and I ended up purchasing one of his first VM1s.  Even tho' at that time Dirk hadn't sold 100 VM1s, he honored me by numbering mine 100.  He and I talked a little further about the mike and I told him I wanted it to have more bass.  So I returned the microphone and he made me #200.  I have enjoyed that mike ever since and have always felt honored to own it.

Similarly, when I learned about the VM1KHEs I bought a pair as soon as I had the money.  They have been great mikes and would be my "desert island" pair if all I could take would be two mikes.

Barry


Offline robskane

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Re: Dumbest/smartest purchase you've ever made?
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2005, 10:08:40 pm »
Smartest: Daking Mic Pre/EQ, Purple Audio MC-77, ProTools.

Dumbest: ADATS - I took a bath when I sold 'em.
Line 6 POD - What was I thinking?! What a piece of crap!

Offline J.J. Blair

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Re: Dumbest/smartest purchase you've ever made?
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2005, 01:45:25 am »
Smartest: 1963 Gibson Reverse Firebird VII for $1,200.  (They made 301 of them.)  1958 Hofner violin bass for $400.  Trading my TASCAM 388 for a 12 string Rickenbacker.  (I thought I was getting the shit end of that deal at the time!)  Never buying an ADAT!

Dumbest: Paying advances for 2 albums worth of publishing for a band that was on Hollywood Records at the time ... with my own money.
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They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

Offline Greg Dixon

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Re: Dumbest/smartest purchase you've ever made?
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2005, 02:11:29 am »
It's interesting and not surprising to see that the good purchases are all instruments and microphones.

My smartest purchases would be a 1964 Bassman, a '54 Deluxe and an AC30, all bought in the mid to late '80s when most guitarists were interested in rack gear.

I often say that my mic cupboard, guitars/amps and piano, are my superannuation. I just hope it's true.....

I have 3 XT20 Adats. 2 have been in getting repaired for over two years. My wife kept suggesting that we use them as stairs to our back door, but I figure that there were a lot of recordings done on Adats and that in a few years, I'll be the only person with ones that still work. Laughing

Offline Andi Gisler

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Re: Dumbest/smartest purchase you've ever made?
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2005, 02:24:17 am »
Yamaha AW 4416 or whatever it was called, computer-phobic person that I was 4 years ago, i thought this would be a smart purchase. A HUGE nightmare, actually the harddisk was installed UPSIDE DOWN! I don't know what drugs were involved in the design of this piece-O-crap!  A nerve-wrecking showdown with some 'prosumer' audio store in Germay finally ended in me getting ProTools and being reasonably happy ever since.
Smartest purchase: NTP 179-170 for $ 120 from a radio station.

Andi

Offline J.J. Blair

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Re: Dumbest/smartest purchase you've ever made?
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2005, 02:59:51 am »
Oooh!  I forgot to mention the EMT 251 that I got from David Kulka as being among my favorite purchases!   I love that thing.  Thank you, David!
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They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

Offline Level

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Re: Dumbest/smartest purchase you've ever made?
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2005, 04:59:40 am »
Smartest Purchase?

My Internet connection. (1996)

Dumbest purchase?

Same as above.

It took a couple of years to use my online time wisely. I still slip up and surf when I'd rather be outside enjoying myself.
http://balancedmastering.com

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---Since 1975---

Offline Barry Hufker

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Re: Dumbest/smartest purchase you've ever made?
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2005, 08:54:32 am »
I too consider finely crafted microphones, preamps and instruments to be the best long-term investments.  The Telefunken Ela M251 was cited in one of the business listings as being one of the best investments of the 20th century.

I consider my collection of gear to be my economic salvation.  When I retire, I will slowly sell off my gear so I will be able to eat name-brand cat food instead of generic.

Barry

Offline robk

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Re: Dumbest/smartest purchase you've ever made?
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2005, 10:25:33 am »
Consul wrote on Sat, 26 February 2005 22:29

...I decided to go from hardware synths to sofware synths. A softsynth called Reality had just been released by Seer Systems, and I had convinced myself that it was the wave of the future. I sold off a Kawaii K4 and an Alesis QS6 in order to jump on this softsynth bandwagon.


Smiled when I read this!

Back in 1984/85 I sold off a nice little tape based home studio (Tascam/Allen Heath) and bought a Yamaha CX5M music computer - because I was convinced that computers were the 'wave of the future' for composing music.

...8 tracks of monophonic step-time anyone?

Instead of enabling me to compose new stuff, it stopped me dead in my tracks (pun intended) - and it was several years before I was able to recover momentum.

Several years on I traded it in towards a Roland W30 which I still have today.  I do now use computers to record/compose - but mainly as audio recorders rather than midi data.

Best purchase: Red-label Yamaha FG-180 acoustic guitar bought second-hand in 1973 for 35 UK pounds  ...still have that, beautiful guitar and I couldn't bear to part with it.

Rob Kirkwood
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Offline McAllister

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Re: Dumbest/smartest purchase you've ever made?
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2005, 11:54:29 am »
Dumbest: selling a '52 all original Tele bass (ser# 0220) in '87 for about a grand. It later showed up in the Fender museum - it was that good.

Smartest: using the grand I made [see above] to buy a '65 Jazz bass that is still the best bass I've ever played. It's a real dreamboat.

M
Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.

Offline Bill Mueller

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Re: Dumbest/smartest purchase you've ever made?
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2005, 02:43:30 pm »
One of the smartest audio purchases I have ever made was a Yamaha DM2000, however, how I went about getting it bordered on one of the dumbest stunts I have ever survived.

I knew I wanted  the DM2k when it was first advertised, however getting one proved to be extremely difficult in the first year. It seemed that only a handful of dealers had them and were selling them ABOVE retail by almost three thousand dollars. So one day, you can imagine my surprise and glee to see one for sale on Ebay!

I outbid everyone ($14,000.00) but did not make the minimum. So, I sent an email to the seller asking to know how much he wanted for the console. He said he would take $14,500.00 and I said, deal. I had experienced a few small issues on Ebay before that and wanted to make sure that I was not getting ripped off by this person. I had him send me two phone numbers, his mailing address (no post box) and a copy of his driver's license. After getting enough info on the guy to feel safe, I cut him a check for $14,500.00.

Then the fun began.

Everything went hunky dory until the day that the console was supposed to arrive via UPS. No console. I called Jason (his real name) and asked what had happened. He said we had a problem, in that the console was slightly damaged by UPS and they were holding it temporarily to file an insurance claim. Oh boy. I told him to send me the UPS documents for the claim and he did. I waited patiently for a couple of weeks, calling him every couple of days to stay in touch.

Things then started to get hairy. Another shipment did not arrive and he started getting harder to get in touch with. I told him to send me a check for $14,500.00,  I would hold it until the console arrived and then I would send it back to him. He sent me a check. But another couple of weeks went by and no console.

I started getting very suspicious. I called the bank the check was made out from and they never heard of him or his company. Shit. I scanned his documents into Photoshop and blew them up. They were forges. Every time something like this happened, he had some kind of semi plausible story about why this thing or another was delayed or didn't work. At one point, I received an email from his wife saying he had been in a car accident and would be in the hospital for a few days. I called and a female confirmed that story. Finally he told me that he had been paid by UPS for the console but that they had kept it. He said he was going to buy another one from Sweetwater and mail it to me the next day.

I was about ready to take things into my own hands and had called the Indiana State Police to report a potential Internet fraud case. I filed the info and waited for a return call from a detective. I filed a case with the FBI for interstate fraud. I also called Sweetwater and talked to a manager. They don't sell DM2000's at Sweetwater. Damn.

I was going out of my mind and my poor staff was taking the brunt of the damage. Something had to be done.

Jason kept swearing that he had bought the console privately from a Sweetwater salesman, and it was in route to me via UPS. I checked the tracking number and sure enough, there it was, in Indianapolis on it's way to Maryland. Ok, now were getting somewhere. The next day it was in Pennsylvania on it's way to Hunt Valley and everything seemed to be fine.

On the Wednesday that it was to arrive, I kept the UPS tracking page open on my computer throughout the day, checking on it every half an hour or so. While I waited for it to arrive, I got a call back from the Indiana State police detective. He told me that while I might think that $14k was a lot of money, in reality it wasn't! If it was fraud, it would probably never get pursued. In any case my money was gone if so.

Meanwhile, the package arrived in Hunt Valley and was on the truck to be delivered to my door. Yes!

Then, all of a sudden, the tracking software said, RETURNED, Wrong Address! Damn!!! I jumped in my MR2 and flew to Hunt Valley. I stormed into the UPS office told them they were holding evidence in a FBI fraud case and I needed it and all information regarding it immediately. They looked at me like I was nuts, but there was a room full of people who now all wanted to know what was going on. A manager came out with a puny little box and handed it to me along with printouts of all their data relating to that shipment. My heart sank. I truly was being ripped off. There were two little computer speakers in the box.

I called my wife, who was in Philadelphia for the week and told her I was going to Indiana and would call her in a day or so. I then went home and packed. I did a Yahoo map to the guys house and it was 14 hours. I would drive through the night, sleep one hour between 2:00 AM and 3:00 AM and arrive at dawn. I would catch him in his jammies and scare the living crap out of him. I would either get my money or deliver him to the local police.

I took no weapons. I don't like jail.

When I got to his house, there was a nice Infinity QX4 sitting in the driveway with Michigan plates. I knew I was in the right place because Jason's drivers license was from Michigan. I blocked the SUV in with my car and cleaned out the road trash from the passengers side. I then took out my video camera and made a movie of the front and back of his place. I looked for escape routes and when I was ready, I knocked on the door.

When the guy finally came down, in his jammies and rubbing his eyes, I told him "Jason, you know who I am, get out here". He was about 25 years old and about thirty pounds heavier than I but I knew I could take him if I had to. He came outside and I explained a few things to him. I won't go too far into the details but he knew that I was not talking shit. He had two choices, my money or jail. He went back inside to get dressed so we could go and get the money. I waited outside, walking back and forth from his front door to his back door in case he tried to bolt.

When he came out he was holding a stack of papers and looking white as a sheet.He said he did not have the money, but would I please take his car?!!! He had used mine and someone else's money to but it with cash and was trying to sell it to pay me back. More stories. I told him no, but he eventually convinced me that we could take it to a dealership and sell it to get my money back. He had paid $21,000.00 for it.

Se we went to a dealership. It turned out that all the buyers from all the local dealerships were in Chicago buying cars at auctions. My next option was to try to drive it back. Jason offered to drive the Infinity if I would get him a plane ticket back to Indiana. That was cheaper than trailering. So I went to a hotel and slept for one hour. I met Jason and we left for Maryland. We stopped for one hour in Ohio and otherwise drove on though. When we got to my office, one of my staff, not knowing that Jason was sitting around the corner, made a comment about what he would like to do to Jason's face. Jason waited outside.

I then put him on a plane. Between Wednesday morning and Friday evening, I had three hours sleep in three, one hour increments. My mental stability was in question.

My wife loves that car.

I then bought the DM2000 for $17,500.00 from Manny's in New York... like a good boy. I love that console.

Best Regards,

Bill
"Don't take it personally. But this shit is a science." J.J.Blair

“The Internet is only a means of communication,” he wrote. “It is not an amorphous extraterrestrial body with an entitlement to norms that run counter to the fundamental principles of human rights. There is nothing in the criminal or civil law which legalizes that which is otherwise illegal simply because the transaction takes place over the Internet.” Irish judge, Peter Charleton

Offline J.J. Blair

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Re: Dumbest/smartest purchase you've ever made?
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2005, 03:47:42 pm »
Jesus, Bill.  Wow.  

A guy ripped me off for $800 for a computer and I had him put in jail.  Apparently he had done this to a bunch of people and I wound up testifying against him in court.  He thought he had been really smart because he got money orders from everyone, so how could they prove that he cashed them, etc.  I told the defense attorney who was cross examnining me that I know it was in fact him, because I wired him the money and I brought a copy of the wire transfer with his account number, and proof that his bank received it.  D'oh!  He took a plea.

Anybody who wants big money for something that is above the amount that Paypal will insure (because I will only do Paypal after that incident), if they don't have a good deal of feedback and at least a 99% rating, they'd better fucking do escrow.  You really have to sort the chicken shit fom the chicken salad on eBay, but that's another thread ...
studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham