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What is the nastiest equipment you have ever had?

The range of great home recording equipment available these days is truly superb. But occasionally we all buy something that just wasn't worth the money. What's your experience?


The range of great home recording equipment available these days is truly superb. But occasionally we all buy something that just wasn't worth the money. What's your experience?

I've used a lot of audio equipment in my time and I think it's fair to say that since around the mid-1980s, the start of the home recording studio boom, we've had a lot to enjoy.

My first encounter with poor quality home recording equipment (I've seen plenty of pro equipment that was less than a pleasure to use, but that's a different story) was a synchronizer that just didn't work. I don't think that model ever did and I have never heard of the company since.

After that I can think of a MIDI sequencer that worked fine as long as you didn't put too many notes into it, like enough for a whole song. It worked well after the software update that came along around a year after I bought it.

But truly the worst buy I ever made was a set of drum mic clamps, of the type that fits onto the rim of the drum.

I had just bought the drum set with the idea of practising hard and becoming a master drummer in my spare time.

What I actually achieved was an understanding of just how hard it is to play the drums. I find the violin much easier. Still, it's enjoyable to thrash them every now and then.

But back to the clamps. Having a set of mics on boom stands around a drum kit in a small space is very messy. These clamps claimed to be able to take a Shure SM57 each, so I bought four of them, one for the snare and one for each of the three toms.

Firstly, they were difficult to fit firmly. Secondly, the first one broke around one month in. All four had gone by the time I had learned a reasonable four on the floor. Getting your money back for a product that doesn't work is fine, but you don't get anything for the time and effort spent.

Another nasty piece of equipment was the Mark II version of a reverb unit of which I already had the Mark I. The Mk I was a great little unit with a really rich and characterful sound. The Mk II was supposedly an improvement. Yes, an improvement in the wrong direction. I imagine that the Mk I was actually too good for its place in the manufacturer's range of products, so from their point of view it needed downgrading.

Over all my years in home recording however, I don't thing my experiences are really all that bad.

But I have the feeling that there are many more interesting tales around.

Please tell us your worst. I didn't identify the manufacturers of my nasty equipment on the grounds that it was all a long time ago, and they know where I live!

But you can be anonymous if you wish. So go on... tell us your horror stories of nasty equipment. Discussion below...

By David Mellor Friday January 22, 2010
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