Led Zepplin's Mixing Console (Is Stupid)


Recently, the news came down the transom that Led Zepplin’s mixing console was up for sale. You know, it’s the one they recorded “Stairway” on.


Now, don’t get me wrong. I totally get the sway of objects like these. As though somehow it imbibes only that which makes it stronger (like the sword of Gryffindor), and by extension, it could magically imbue your recordings with that Zepplin essence.

Seeing people drooling over this piece of gear got me thinking about my old friend Rob.

He’s an awesome musician, sound guy and entrepreneur. He’s really talented. But - he struggles with finishing songs. He told me the notes app on his phone was full of thousands of half-baked ideas. He’s wants to feel more productive.

Here’s the interesting part - Rob works out of a studio. And not just any studio. An AMAZING studio. We’re talking vintage analog equipment, beautiful sounding microphones, and an incredible vibe. The mixing console in the studio belonged to Lynyrd Skynyrd. It’s a glorious place to make and record music. 

And Rob felt trapped by it.

“I can’t just go in there and record,” he would think to himself, “whatever I make in there has to be THE BEST THING EVAR!!! or else I’m just wasting all that amazing gear.”

I brought Rob over to my studio. It was in a basement with no windows. The basement often flooded and we’d have to lift up our computers off the floor. I had a $100 audio interface and a $50 microphone, and that was pretty much it.


He was like, “Now THIS is conducive to creating!” The lack of gear somehow took the pressure off.

The fact is that you can start writing songs with literally whatever you have, even if you have almost nothing. If you’ve got a voice or can tap your toe, you can make a song. If you’ve got a smart phone, you can record, even if it’s just on the notes app. And, as Rob illustrated for us, sometimes having LESS stuff makes the process easier.

So close that tab that’s open to Musicians Friend. Forget about Led Zepplin’s mixing console. Pick up whatever instrument is near you and just start making something.

This is the third post out of 31 blog posts I’m making for #jamuary. I’ve been writing a song a day for 10 years.

You can pre-order my latest album I Used To Love My Body on Bandcamp.

Jonathan Mann1 Comment