If you’re like me, your poor family never knows what to get you for Christmas.

I like things like microphones and guitars. So most Christmases I get cash…in a very festive envelope.

Now, we all know what it’s like to have a nice wad of cash to spend on a new toy, but if you’re not careful, you will absolutely WASTE your money.

If you treat yourself to something for your studio this Christmas, here are a few ways to make it really worthwhile.

1. Don’t buy replacements.

Unless a critical piece of gear you own is broken, don’t buy a replacement for it.

My iMac is getting old and starting to act up. I COULD get all jazzed up about buying a new computer. But that would be replacing something I have…something that works fine.

2. If it doesn’t excite you, don’t buy it.

Don’t buy some silly software plugin just because you think you “should” have it. If you’re not excited about it now, you won’t use it later.

3. Err on the side of buying CREATION TOOLS.

What are creation tools? They’re things that help you create music.

A new guitar (unlike any others you own) is a creation tool. A guitar pedal is a creation tool.

You know what’s not a creation tool? EQ plugins. Mastering software. Yes, they’re helpful for once you’ve created something, but if you really want to make better music, you’ve gotta CREATE better music.

For me, as much as I’d love something boring like a new plugin bundle, I’d much rather get a new guitar amp or pedal, or maybe a nice keyboard (got my eye on the Nord Electro). These things would encourage me to CREATE.

I could go on, but you get the point. Before you place that online order or head for the checkout line, ask yourself, “Will this X help me create something in my studio I can’t already create now?”

You wanna know my completely biased opinion about probably the absolute best (and most enjoyable) way to spend a little bit of money and get incredible-sounding mixes?

Join Dueling Mixes.

Seriously. If you put forth the effort, you can’t help but get better. And we have a lot of fun songs for you to mix over the next few months. Heck, this month’s song is probably my favorite one we’ve done so far.

Check it out for yourself here:


Joe Gilder
Home Studio Corner

P.S. If you haven’t already entered the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway, you can see the list of winners and get yourself signed up here:


  • Mike

    oops I did it again! I could not resist a UAD Christmas offer. Got a plugin. uad 1176 collection. Reduced price 99 instead of 299 plus Christmas coupon 25 bucks less means 74 dollars means I saved 225 dollars. But the joke is, I already have the legacy versions of the same compressor. Ok the sound is slightly different, I make myself believe that it tends to be a bit better. lol. I cannot really tell if it is audible in a full mix at all. hehehe.

    Lucky me, this years christmas budget is a bit higher than normal and allows me for another wish come true: A traveler guitar. Something I do not have, yet. Very light, very weird looking, very small, very light, fits in a suitcase and I am very excited to try it out for the first time.

    It´s hard but I have to wait till christmas, since my good ol mom decided to let me wait like it was in my childhood. lol

    So here I am, spending the pre christmas season with only a set of new plugins that I already had.

    Thx, man, another great christmas advice. Maybe next time I will try to follow it. If they don´t catch me again with another irresistable christmas offer. :-))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

    • Mike


      Comfort to those who did the same:

      Andy Johns, Ed Cherny and Joe Chicarelly praised it to be better than any other emulation.

      Comfort to me: Maybe starting from now my mixes will sound like Andy Johns, Ed Cherny or Joe Chicarelly mixed them.

      Maybe…………………………………… lol

    • 🙂