There's nothing new here, really.
For the same amount of money 1 could have made demo home recordings back in the late 80's.
Even then, upgrading 2 DECENT home recordings would have required expensive mics, pre-amps, summing buss, cables, monitors, acoustically treated rooms, and so on - Expenses that ppl 2day pour in2 their puny project studios by the pound.
Ppl didn't do it back then because they were smart enough 2 understand that the studio is just a tool, and TALENT is the major component. THE GEAR IS JUST GEAR, and it's not in their best interest 2 try and handle it ALL. They left it 4 the EXPERTS - studios, engineers, producers, musicians etc.
Even artists that were capable of playing every instrument on their (usually) debut album have realized later that they're better off hiring fellow musicians 4 that.
Most producers, myself included, prefer 2 hire an engineer when producing, regardless of their engineering skills.
The difference nowadays is EGO. Ppl have bitten in2 the sales bubble, believing that their TALENT is so humongous, that it's only the gear that they need, as whispered softly by the sales weasel, supported by shiny brochures and quasi-scientific data sheets.
And supposing their talent is THAT big (quite rare) - How long do U think it would take 2 become a professional in 1 field? and in 2? Now how about 6?
I can tell U that most of the time these fields CONFLICT - sound may have 2 b sacrified 4 performance, arrangement 4 sound etc.
The vocal is not loud enough 4 the singer, the bass is 2 thin 4 the bass player, the guitar solo is not long enough 4 the guitarist and the drummer wants pizza.
That's y it takes a PRODUCER 2 supervise, even if every member in the crew is an expert in his own field.
THE GEAR may b enough 4 TECH oriented jobs, such as cleaning the Gilaad Sharon tapes - it's different with MUSIC.
@ the end of the day they sit in their MAMAD, operating the gear w/o even having read the manuals, pour ridiculous amounts of money, time and energy in2 ANYTHING but the song, trying 2 get a standard usually achieved by 6 experts with 10 years of experience each, or 60 in all in between them.
Then they rush 2 the internet 2 ask geezers like me what's the best mic 4 ANY vocal. (This question by ITSELF is ridiculous).
When they're told the gear is LAST on the preferences list they dismiss it as an OLD FASHIONED answer, & then hop over back 2 the shop 4 more of the sales weasel's EGO boost, and not surprisingly leave it carrying yet another vintage OLD FASHIONED piece of gear.
Don't get me wrong here - U wanna b an engineer (or musician / composer / artist etc.)? FOCUS on the subject, become an EXPERT. It won't happen if U're alone in a tiny room, serving also as ur owner, manager, composer, artist, producer, musician, receptionist, assistant, hooker and drug dealer.
If I wanted 2 compete in the Formula 1 races, I would learn or join a crew. A stupid option I could choose would b 2 buy an F1 car, and operate it alone, serving as my own sponsor, manager, engineer and support crew.
Since it's unlikely 4 me 2 cough up the cash, I'd b left with the MOST stupid option - upgrade my Subaru Justy with a spoiler in the front and "a tiger that says yes" in the back.
I could buy a decent mini-DV camera, I may edit @ home, I may even come up with a decent news item or a short documentary that may b aired by channel 1 @ 3:00AM in order 2 wake up Emanuel, sleeping @ the desk.
I'd b real DUMB 2 seriously plan 2 shoot the next Spielberg movie that way, or even a Hallmark production, 4 that matter.