Maybe I’m just getting old and cranky, but I joined a few FB groups a while back, thinking that maybe I can share some of my knowledge with young aspiring producers/engineers. Unfortunately, it seems that a large number of questions asked by “newbies” is “What’s the best _____?”.

Here are some actual questions posted:

Yo people so what’s the best plugin for making snares?

Hey guys, quick question: Anyone have recommendations on the best orchestral plug-ins?

best premium quality recording audio interfaces for solo artists?

Best soundcard for routing DAW through external effects?

Which DAW?

The list goes on and on, those are just a few recent ones I saw with a quick look. But, you get the idea. People love to post vague questions about “what’s the best” something or other, and usually don’t go into ANY specifics about what they are recording, what their budget is, what type of environment, skill level, preferred work flow, etc.

The short answer to ALL of these question is: There is no “Best” of anything!

If there was a “best” something, that was truly best for everyone and every possible scenario, then wouldn’t all the others have gone out of business by now?

There is a good reason why there are so many different choices for music gear and software, because there simply isn’t one combination of gear, or even one piece of gear in a certain category, that is the “best” for every possible situation.

I think it’s mostly that “these young kids” are generally lazy and possibly have some entitlement issues. They don’t want to do the work themselves to figure out what is going to work “best” for them. They don’t want to use their ears and decide for themselves. They just want someone else to tell them what is best. Then, they get mad when they get a bunch of sarcastic answers. Often someone else jumps in to tell us old cranky guys that we aren’t being helpful when we try to tell them (sometimes very sarcastically) that what’s “best” is a matter of opinion and highly dependent on the specific situation.

In my own studio, I don’t have just one of everything, because none of the gear or software that I own is “best” for every situation. If I was ONLY working on my own music, and recording the same things, and always wanting the same sound for everything, then I could certainly narrow down my selection of gear considerably. But, I need to work with a wide variety of musicians/artists in a wide variety of styles, with all different types of instruments and voices. So, I own a LOT of microphones, quite a few different pre-amps and compressors, and a HUGE amount of software and plugins (probably way too much, but I am a geek and love my toys).

Also, even if there was a “best” of something, maybe you don’t always want the “best”? Sometimes you want something that adds some color or character, or even has some grit or distortion. There are plenty of times when I go for something based on the character it adds, rather than what’s going to technically give me the “best” reproduction.

So, the proper types of questions should be worded more like “What is your favorite ___?” or “What are some recommendations for ___?” followed by a good amount of detail about your budget, location, style of music, instruments you’ll be recording, preferred workflow, etc. Even then, you still need to do the research and try things out for yourself to figure out which one works best, or is at least good enough, for your particular situation.

But, hey, if you want to know what the best DAW is, it’s Cubase Pro!
(for me, maybe not for you)