Gear snob is a peculiar kind of asshole in the audio world. If you ever wanted to be one, here’s a couple of guidelines.
Old, expensive and name gear – always better
You need to learn to whine about the old days like you mean it. It doesn’t matter if you’re young and weren’t even around when the high-end gear you keep mentioning was new. You have to be able to diss believably. Anything that’s not at least 30 years old worth at least a remark along the lines of “that sucks” or “useless”. Also, if it’s not priced above $1000, it’s not even worth mentioning. Virtually unknown, limited custom products and exotic prototype gear only count if they have a cult following. Otherwise, you are only supposed to praise the well known, boring big names everyone’s aware of.
Blow up miniscule differences and details
Well, dissing is certainly required in most cases. But it’s also very important in the gear snob’s life to develop the right approach towards nitpicking. Even if there are two virtually identical sounding piece of gear, make sure that you point out every single difference, and bash the cheaper one to the ground.
The other day I’ve come across an interesting thread on a forum. The reigning gear snob virtually destroyed the 1176 compressor in favor of the LA2A. He said no serious engineer would ever use the former one on vocals, except maybe edgy heavy metal ones. While to the trained ear these two compressors don’t actually sound all that similar, in the greater scheme of things, they are still just that: compressors. It’s already fairly hard to tell for the layman whether a compressor is on or off. Then you take these well thought out studio designs, and things get even more transparent, so to say. They are just tools, and any true audio engineer should be able to reduce the dynamic range and bring out sonic details in vocals with most of these units.
Tube, tape, transformer – the three Ts
This one is easy. Gear without tubes and/or transformers suck. Also, if you don’t record onto tape, you’re kidding yourself – go home hack, you’re drunk. Are you a digital n00b, or someone without a mentionable amount of outboard gear? You suck. And if you don’t record and mix on a fully analog console, you shouldn’t be allowed to even show up in front of people.
It’s all about bragging
Now does it matter if you actually own any of the gear you’re worshiping 24/7? Of course it doesn’t. You just keep doing it, lecturing people about it constantly. Because if you were anything you only dream to be, you would be busy actually doing all that stuff, instead of bragging about it.