One of the most frequently asked questions among new producers and DJs or veterans just looking to upgrade their gear is “should I get *fill in the blank* and why?” The problem is, it seems like there is always something else to get – a new model of something, a controller promising to deliver all of these features into one great device, new software that boasts about these “oh-so-important” features that you MUST have, and so forth. But is all of this extra equipment just fluff, or does it truly help with music production and live sessions?
Well, that depends. If a high budget is within reach, it could help to own and familiarize numerous variations of equipment. For instance, cross-referencing headphones and speakers is something that is quite common in the production industry, since not everyone has the same one set. While the mix may sound great in one set of speakers, it might be too tinny or boomy on another. Having knowledge with multiple MIDI controllers (for DJing and producing) may be useful as well. Different studios have different equipment, so having an understanding of multiple pieces of hardware can be beneficial if jumping from studio to studio or stage to stage is your thing. While most MIDI equipment functions can be done within the software, they emulate and control certain aspects physically to make the workflow feel seamless and streamlined.
With all of that being said, there is still no true reason to invest in any of this equipment. Using a friend’s equipment or getting used to other workstations can be just as helpful without the financial burdens or stress of having too much in the studio. If packing up and unpacking repeatedly is something that sounds far too familiar, extra equipment is only going to make things worse. If producing music or mixing a set at home is more comforting, having too many controllers and other miscellaneous electronics on the desk could just be stressful to look at. While controllers may speed up the workflow a little bit more, keep in mind that most of it can be done on screen already. Having some of this equipment could be incredibly useful, but too much may just be over cumbersome.
So, is it all really necessary? The short answer is no. From a professional standpoint, more equipment is more knowledge. There is a ton of high end equipment that can be incredibly useful in plenty of situations, but for someone who is just starting out or trying to make their way up the ladder, it may be more productive to find one or two controllers and a good set of speakers or headphones and get to work, rather than sit around pondering what to get next.