This is a very easy trap to get caught up in. Especially in Pop music where the goal is to “please” your audience. And it’s a very nuanced thing. You “think” the goal is to make, create or mix music that your audience wants to hear. And that’s certainly NOT wrong. If they don’t like it, they’re not going to want to be a part of your audience. You will lose them.
There’s a growing trend in “gear talk” these days that it doesn’t matter what gear you buy. It all pretty much sounds the same. That spending thousands on mic preamps or A/D converters is a waste of money. That any $100 interface will be “good enough” and that everyone selling you anything “better” is snake oil or advertising B.S.
I bring this topic up because there’s a few people I know that seem to thrive on “debate” when it comes to pro audio. And I will admit, just like most of them, I enjoy the debate very much. I love discussing things that I am passionate about and I am certainly passionate about music and how to work with and manipulate it.
Most of us, by nature, don’t like to be uncomfortable. We don’t want to try new things. It makes perfect sense but at the same time is also totally or mostly useless for our growth as people and as music professionals.
Your gear, whether it be hardware mic preamps, compressors or EQs or software plugins or even your DAW of your choice, doesn’t define you or your career. It just doesn’t.