The past couple of weeks I was hit hard with really missing going out to see live music. There is just nothing else like it. I have been listening to all of my favourite albums and watching livestreams when I can at home, but it lacks the energy and the connection of a live show. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that again soon. Anyways, instead of wallowing in self pity I decided to channel my angst into setting up my home recording studio and creating music again. I thought I’d write a review of my favourite piece of gear, and also share a cool discount code that I found.
Voucher Codes for Laithwaite’s Wine Delivery
I like to sip on a glass of a nice red in between songs while I’m playing. These days going to the shops is an anxiety-inducing excursion so I tend to just get the basics and get in and out as fast as possible. Then a co-worker put me onto something I had never considered before: wine delivery from Laithwaite’s. I expected it to be very expensive, but it wasn’t at all and they occasionally have a voucher code that brings the price down even more. I recommend purchasing one of their sampler packs to get the best price, usually it works out to around £8 a bottle for 12 of them. They have pre-set packs, which I liked because I tried a bunch of different wines I wouldn’t have otherwise and got some new favourites out of it. You can also build your own case of 12 wines, you just have to order everything in pairs so you can choose 6 different wines.
Wine is not integral to having a great home set-up for recording, but I spent a nice evening enjoying a glass while I was getting set up. Nice evenings have been hard to come by lately, so I thought I’d pass it along. It’s the little things that keep you going right now.
Still the champ: the Apogee Mini Me
I can’t believe I’m still talking about the Apogee Mini Me in 2021, but here we are. This pre-amp came out 15 years ago and still provides and incredible sound quality on par (maybe even better) than any of the newer models on the market. I have tried newer models and ended up selling them because they just didn’t sound as good although I could connect them directly to the computer.
That’s something I’ll go over in the next section, the one drawback to your Apogee Mini Me is that it’s A/D only and does not have any digital inputs so you’ll need a ‘middle-man’ so to speak to connect it to the computer. I’m going to get a little ‘old man yelling at kids from the porch’ here, but in my opinion most pre-amps that do digital only just don’t sound as good unless you’re making purely digital music. If you’re recording actual instruments (I’m not dissing electronic artists, it’s the just the way is) then something like the Apogee Mini Me gets a much better sound quality because it was designed to work with them.
Now, the Apogee Mini Me is not the cheapest unit on the market because of the exceptional quality. If you’re on a budget you have a couple of options. Watch the retailers closely, sign up for their mailing lists and they may put it on special for Black Friday or something, or have a site-wide discount code that would get you 10% off or something. You can also carefully watch buy-sell sites like Ebay, or used gear groups on Facebook. The Mini Me does not come up for sale on used sites a lot because most people want to hang onto theirs, but you never know.
Cheers, we’ll get through this
I know we’ll be able to see live shows again soon, whether at packed stadiums or your local pub. What this experience has taught me is how much I value the connections music gives me, and not just my good friends who I see all the time. I miss the sound guy at the local venue, who always spared a minute to chat about gear with me. I miss the bartender who knew my drink. I miss being surrounded by strangers but feeling like they were kindred souls because we all showed up to see a band live because we love music. I will never take these things for granted again, and I will be the first in line to see shows once we can have them again. Take care of yourselves, we’ll see each other again soon.