The price of bad tools

A couple of weeks ago, after years of thinking about it, I finally got a good microphone. I’d ordered it weeks before, when I realised I have both the surplus money and enough uses for it to call it an investment, and was waiting for it to come into stock.

By the time it arrived, I was busy with other things. It sat in its unopened package, and each time I passed it, I felt guilty for buying it and wondered if I should just send it back.

At long last, this weekend, I tested it out a little, and was deeply, viscerally satisfied by the fidelity. I’ve been using shit mics for a long time. I welcomed it into the family.

With some trepidation, I recorded myself singing a song. I was expecting to listen back with a mild cringe as it picked up all the flaws in my unconditioned voice, but instead I listened with a look of consternation.

I sounded good. And it was dawning on me that, if I’d bought this mic years ago, when I’d started thinking about it, I would have spent a lot more of that time singing. Because, if that’s what my neighbours hear, I don’t feel bad about it. Because that voice could do justice to the songs I’ve written. Because the recording sounded like what I hear when I sing, so I’m not delusional.

I have suffered from a supreme lack of confidence in my singing ability, which has hampered me in a multitude of ways since childhood. I finally thought I had reconciled myself by coming to the understanding that I’m an okay singer, and that’s good enough. Turns out, though, I could have had a better story.

I should have called that microphone an investment from the start. But I didn’t know better.

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