Can and should

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I can stay with what I have and be happy though I think I should upgrade and get better.

Can and should, two of my favorite words: I should avoid the calories but I can sneak this one butter tart if I promise myself not to do it again.

Deciding between the two can be maddening.

In designing equipment to a price point the cans and the shoulds are sometimes heartbreaking. I can include this feature yet if I do I’ll break the budget so I shouldn’t.

Where does one draw the line?

For me, it comes down to two other interesting words, risk and reward. If I am faced with a can or should moment I weigh the risk against the reward. Recently I was faced with just such a dilemma. While building our new recording studio, Octave Records, we’re constantly faced with cans and shoulds decisions. I can spend thousands on highly rated DIs (Direct Injects which connect electric instruments into the recording console without a microphone) or go a little more conservative and put those scarce funds into microphone preamps instead.

Which of those choices will make the biggest difference? What are we risking? Is it better to have a slightly better sounding electric guitar or acoustically captured guitar? And, how will we judge?

In the end, we went for the microphone preamplifiers but it was a real toss-up.

Can we do better with what we have or should we take the leap and put the pedal to the metal?

What are you asking yourself these days?