I visit my local music store every so often. Sometimes I'll go long droughts between visits though for a couple reasons:
1/ techno lust isn't all that productive when it comes to writing music
2/ obstaining from buying new gear makes me think of using what I have creatively and to the best of its possibilities.
When I do go, there's one salesman that's always asking "what sound card do you use", "what software do you use" like these are the lynchpins of my music credibility. The last time I was in, and I mentioned using a M-Audio 24/96, he said "ever thought of using something more professional?". Maybe I was just impatient or was tired of talking tech. but I responded by saying that it works just fine with what I need it for. A friend, an acoustic guitar player, has an Echo Layla. He needs all those ins and outs, but I don't.
Sometimes, I have had great dialogues with fellow musicians in music stores about...omigod MUSIC. Like talking about voicings that Pat Metheny uses as opposed to Alan Holdsworth, or modernist orchestral techniques of Ligeti's or Xenakis', or the economic arranging of Henry Mancini's. But far too often it's the standard "what gear" "what samples" "what software" do you use.
Even when I post a piece on a board (not singling this one out per se) invariably I get the "sounds realistic" or "great sound, what samples did you use". To me this is only half the story. What about my choice of chord voicings or thematic immitation between the violins and celli? Maybe my music isn't that interesting to many.
I go through periods where I'll just turn on Finale, play it through some crappy GM sounds, and concentrate on the musical content not caring how accurate the playback sounds. And while all these libraries by EWQLSO, Garritan, Sonic Implants, Project SAM, and VSL are great (I'm certainly not ungrateful for the times that I live in where one can have a symphony orchestra on their computer) sometimes I personally find them distracting of the compositional process of figuring out overall structure, melody and harmony. For example, I'll work soooo hard to get that crecendo just perfect that I forget about the piece itself because once you're dealing with almost perfect recreations of a symphony orchestra, you become obsessed with making it as real as possible technically. And this is why I take a break sometimes and go back to the piano and manuscript, or else, the aforementioned Finale/GM sounds.
Anyone else have those days/weeks?