For me, new stuff finds its way to my studio in one of three ways:
- Someone offers it to me for a good prize I can't resist.
- I find something by chance I can't resist and I can afford it.
- I really need it for some reason or another. Now.
My style as a designer is not based on influence from other medias as such, though I do find inspiration (influence=borrowing from, inspiration=fanning your creative flame. Often used together) in, for example, the music of Skinny Puppy and Art Of Noise, the movies of Lynch and Pasolini, or paintings of Dalí or Gieger, I base my works mostly in psychology, technology and nature. In pretty much that order. For me that means I often finds maybe a new overdrive at a fleamarket or perhaps someone gives me a nice new crappy microphone with a special character I haven't seen before. To be hypothetical; This microphone might have a rough character that may sound horrible on voices, but enhances the transients of me cracking a regular stick of celery to the point it sounds like someone ripping open a human skull with it's bare hands. I've never thought about that sound that way before, but now I have a new method I might adopt into more applications, ergo influencing my daily work tremendously. And it was free.
I have lots of stuff I've gotten this way. I am in many ways very impulsive when it comes to my work, and enjoy letting randomness and hap show me new and better ways to do things, as long as it doesn't sink me in any way.
But most things I buy I really need for specific applications. Take for example my first Sennheiser MKH 40. I felt restricted with my 416, so I figured out what I needed and brought it. Same with my Dolby Media Meter plugin, I needed to accurately tell what level to normalize a project in for the Dolby DD-decoder settings, so I got this. Or my K-Tek boom, I sometimes work in pretty hazardous areas, so I had to find a boom that's easy to work with and extremely durable for many reasons... The list can go on forever, but the point is, I always buy stuff for a good reason. Be it a great deal or something lacking, I never reward myself with gear. That's very important to me as I have very high demands on myself, and the stuff I consider acceptable as tools often cost an arm and a leg, and buying expensive stuff without really needing it might very well mean not being able to buy vital equipment to raise the level for the next gig.
My philosophy is to buy the few best pieces of gear I can find, no matter the cost, and make the most of it rather than more and cheaper stuff that sounds "fairly okay", and as much cheap crap with limited but useful uses I possible can put my paws on, only accepting the middle segment if I get it practically for free.