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What is the best investment you've ever made in audio?


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Hardware: Everything by Nord. So inspiring.

Software: Logic. Loved it since 1998.

Samples: BBCSO. Finally real orchestra under my fingers.


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Has gear really been the best investment for you all regarding your paths in music? Better than education? Or did I misunderstand the question and it asks about gear only?


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Has gear really been the best investment for you all regarding your paths in music? Better than education? Or did I misunderstand the question and it asks about gear only?
Good point.

Yeah, I was thinking about gear (including software). But skills definitely have a much higher ROI.
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I‘ve been racking my brain on this. I’ve bought, sold, rebought, and sold again so much great high end gear throughout the years. But I think I’ve arrived at my “never sell” list.

Like @Vin, I’d say my Auratone 5c‘s (he said Avantone... they are made by two different companies. Both are great tho. Auratones are my preference between the two and are the original “mix cubes” that Avantone only began manufacturing a similar model when Auratone stopped. Now Auratone has recently started making the 5C again... available at Sweetwater.)

Also an SM57.

Software wise, Melodyne.
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A small Fostex 4track cassete recorder, ages ago. That thing made multi tracking affordable for me to begin composing,arranging and recording at home. Those were the days..


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Best value are the Exponential Audio reverbs for $10-$30 each (R4, R2, Nimbus, Phoenix). Damage 2 for $199 exceeded my expectations. The Spitfire Audio Everything Collection is a phenomenal grand set of libraries, though not inexpensive. VSL Synchron and BBO series are terrific. All 4 Orchestral Tools Metropolis Arks for $1,000 was a great deal.
Back in the '90s:
The Tascam DA-88s and then Pro Tools, Genelec speakers, MOTU's Mosaic, MTPs, VTP and Digital Performer, and the Mackie 8-bus & Expander consoles all let composers do their thing!


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I’d have to say Hauptwerk... as an organist, being able to play music on the type of organ it was written for is amazing. As a composer for the instrument, being able to test registration at my desk instead of dragging myself to a venue is huge, too.

A big shout-out to GPO, as it got me started on writing more for orchestra and non-organ.. (and likely started my sample GAS - it was really a “gateway drug”) :shocked:

Finally getting HQ microphones to replace the mid-level ones I had. My Earthworks QTC-1 are simply amazing...

Lastly, Dorico... it’s sped up my scoring speed way past anything I ever was able to do in Finale (and I’ve used that since 1994!)


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Definitely my Zoom H4 portable recorder that I've got ages ago. Being able to record all kinds of sounds and instruments anywhere and everywhere really paved the way for my music to have a more personal sound. I started to become less dependent of sample libraries and more free to accomplish my ideas. I still use it to this day.

Rob Elliott

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The space I spend 12 hrs +/day in. Design, Treatments, Art (just because). I want to have that 'yea glad to have another day's opportunities IN HERE' feeling every morning. I can't imagine how I would feel if the space wasn't right. You know, not so much 'wand' things but rather making the 'witch' happy.

(wait, just I just call myself a witch? Could have at least said warlock)


  • The jump from one piece of hardware to the next evolution of it - controllers or headphones, for example - have been welcome, but not as dramatic of a change as moving to SSDs.
  • I stopped playing piano (for more than sketching) for nearly 20 years, but getting my Kawai ES8 last year was a big jump from the synth action keyboards I'd mostly used in the years between. Its sound isn't the best in the world, but I very much enjoy its feel.

  • VEPro - I'm running a secondary server PC now and, quite simply, some players behave better inside VEPro (I'm looking at you, SINE+Cubase).


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For me I think it was the VSL Special Edition back when I was starting out at 14 years old. That and Cubase LE 4 that came with a crappy unstable TASCAM Interface was how it started.

I could have gone with a few other options, recorded in seating position or something with good ensemble patches. It would have been more instantly gratifying, I'd have gotten the feeling I was chasing much more quickly - but I wouldn't have learned nearly as much.
I'm pretty sure that a lot of what I can do today are largely due to starting out with a library that was completely unforgiving.


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M-Audio AP2496 - I still have 2 running in 2 systems. While some PCI devices will have issues in modern boards with a PCI slot the M-Audios don't. I paid $149 for these around the turn of the century.
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