CHECKLIST: How to choose your next music making hardware or software.

I know from personal experience that one of the hardest thing is choosing the right piece of gear of software to add to my studio. The concept is simple but the process is complex.

I my case, when I say “add to my studio” I really mean “add to my creative process” or “ help me get inspired and easily capture my ideas”, “make it fun” and “as cheap as possible”.

So here is my checklist when I am looking to add to my studio.

First, the ease of use and usefulness :

  • How fast can I learn to use it and get it to work?
  • Does it actually add something new, different and unique to my process?
  • Does it replace something I already have?

Second, the built and design :

  • Is it the size I need (small, portable, heavy, solid)?
  • How is the layout of the knobs, fader or any of the controllers on it?
  • How is it built (light, solid) ? Will it survive the use I expect to make of it?

Third, the specs :

  • How can it be interconnected to the rest of my studio? (USB, audio, MIDI, Sample rate, Sync)
  • How many audio OUTS, INS, MIDI and ….
  • Compatible formats 44.1K 48K 96K

Fourth, the cost :

  • What piece gear am I not using and can get rid of?
  • What is my budget for this buy?
  • Can I get it used?
  • Can I test it before buying? ( does friend has it, can I test it at the store, what is the return policy )

And you,  what is your checklist when you choose your next piece of gear / software?