Response to 4 Commonly Misused Pieces of Audio Advice

I woke up today and saw a link to "4 Commonly Misused Pieces of Audio Advice" in my news feed. Always up for learning new studio tricks, I gave it a read.  I disagreed with nearly the entire thing. Here's my point-by-point breakdown as to why.

#1. You SHOULD just use your ears, but you should know what to listen FOR!  The average non-trained person thinks "louder equals better", which is usually incorrect. They don't think about things like EQ curve, stereo panning, gain stages, ear fatigue, etc.  Given that, we also need to find what sounds GOOD and INTERESTING in a mix and that stuff is often done by using non-standard, non-textbook things when making records.  The books/classes won't tell you to plug a wah pedal in backwards, or to throw a cardboard box over the top of the mic or to blend the $6 Radio Shack mic in with the nicer mic, or to run the snare drum thru a distortion pedal but ya know what...all of those things are the RIGHT decision sometimes, and they can sound GOOD.  

#2.  This point is badly written and comes across as filler/click-bait.  "Absolute garbage" and "a mistake that got printed" are vastly different things.  We can often edit/hide/fix a "mistake" or 2 (I've done it hundreds of times on various records).  If the performances are "absolute garbage" that's an entirely different issue; and the best "fix" is to probably go home for the day (or at least to take a break, record a different band member for a while, go get lunch, etc).

#3. There are basically 3 types of gear:

A) really low-end stuff meant for just starting out, amateur use, and things to pad the commission of a Guitar Center sales rep.

B) Pro-sumer gear that's a bit more expensive and is mostly usable most of the time and is very capable of making good records without complely breaking the bank.

C) Really crazy expensive stuff.  

The difference in quality between B and C is pretty small most of the time.  Yes that stuff is expensive for a reason, but the things in "category B" are getting better and better.  Abbey Road is rad, but it IS possible to make great records without needing a half a million dollars in hand-made microphones.  That Alanis Morrisette record that sold a zillion copies was recorded in a home basement studio with 2 mics, 2 preamps and a laptop -- true story. Technology is a wonderful thing.

#4. This one I actually agree with, mostly. Learn how the gear works and what it's supposed to do.  But then learn how to mis-use it to do even more than that. (i.e. plug the wah pedal in backwards.)