Music Production for beginners

Producing music isnt easy!


Many music producers underestimate the universe of music production. Sure, there are a lot of tools out there which make your life easier than ever before. Nevertheless, you have a long way to go if you want to be a professional musician (who earns his money with his own music). Its not just about writing good melodies, its about arranging professional track on which the people will remind, its about mixing your song for different sound systems, its about mastering and making your track stand out from the competition, its about self merketing, struggeling with your self confidence, getting depressed because nobody will hear your tunes. But thats the "normal" way of getting better and better.But enough from that! I dont want to demotivate you, but I want to say clearly how it is in most cases. So you`re about to make the first and really important step to your music carrer:  Getting information about how this business works! Than your right here!



Choosing the right DAW


A DAW or Digital Audio Workstation is the software program you use to create your music. If you’re confused, don’t worry. DAW is just a technical term for recording software. If you dont want to directly buy them, most DAWs have a free trial period in which you can try them out. So my advice for you is: First try out the following three DAW's and check which one is compatibel to you the most. At first it dont seem that important to you, but later on it will save you much time if you work in a DAW where you have the best workflow in. So these are my three advices:


Fruity Loops (Windows & Mac)


"FL Studio is available in four versions. Fruity ($99) is entirely for in-the-box music production, and lacks the ability to record or manipulate audio clips. It does include a good selection of synths and effect plug-ins, though, as well as automation support, the step sequencer, the piano roll, and the event editor. Producer ($199) adds the ability to record with microphones and edit or pitch audio clips, as well as the Sytrus synth. Signature ($299), the version I tested, adds the NewTone pitch correction and time editor, the full version of the DirectWave sampler, the slick Harmless additive and subtractive synth, a video player, and a few additional guitar and drum plug-ins. The All Plugins Bundle ($899) brings in a number of typically extra-cost Image-Line synths, like Poizone, Ogun, Morphine, and the physical modeling-based Sakura for unique string-instrument sounds. Regardless of which version you purchase, you get free lifetime updates from Image-Line—and that includes full number revisions as well as point updates. That's an amazing benefit; not only do other manufacturers expect you to pony up upgrade fees at least every couple of years, but several have moved to subscription and/or membership-type plans that siphon money out of your account every single month for continued support. Considering Image-Line has been around for 20 years, chances are good it won't go out of business tomorrow, either."


(Review of PC Mag, Online: https://uk.pcmag.com/recording/91345/image-line-fl-studio)




Ableton Live (Windows & Mac)


Abelton Live is an amazing DAW. "Why? Three reasons: workflow, simplicity, and a resizable interface. Ableton Live is by far the simplest DAW to navigate and record with—once you know what you’re doing. It’s not necessarily intuitive to those coming from other DAWs, which is why it took me so long to get with the program. However, the program’s methods make so much sense once I find them, I never have to struggle to remember where something is or how to use it. When I say simplicity, I’m not saying Ableton Live lacks power or sophistication—it has those in spades. But, despite the myriad of feature requests you find in the Ableton forums, they’ve kept things simple, and relegated what might be niche features to Max for Live. Max is a framework/interface to the inner workings of Live that allows the development of third-party plug-ins and utilities."


(Review of PCMag, Online: https://www.pcworld.com/article/3040158/ableton-live-review-this-digital-audio-workstation-does-it-all.html)



Logic Pro X (Mac)


Today, for post-production, film and video game composers, and home-studio musicians alike, Logic Pro X continues to set the bar for pro-level audio editing at a bargain price. The latest version 10.4 contains an unusually large number of useful upgrades, and the update is once again free to existing Pro X owners. The package puts tremendous pressure on its well-established digital audio workstation, or DAW, competitors, some of which have moved to subscription-based pricing that make them more expensive to buy and maintain over the long term. Unless you need Avid Pro Tools for compatibility with other studios, or simply because you're more familiar with it, Logic Pro remains our favorite mainstream DAW earning a rare 5-star rating and an Editors' Choice award."


(Review of PCMag, Online: https://uk.pcmag.com/recording/4645/apple-logic-pro-x-for-mac)




Which Equipment is really needed?


Thats an really important question, too! I spent around 5000 Euro for my music equipment, and I could have saved at least 1000 of it if I had done some research before buying! The post below is an older instagram post from me, but still actual. These are my recommendations for a beginner!



Computer


As you already may assume you need a computer. Even cheap desktop and laptop computers will be able to handle a recording project from recording to mix and mastering. However, CPU, RAM and the hard drive capacity will determine how efficient your computer will handle your workload. For that reason, I recoomend you the following:

  • Good CPU (Intel I7)

  • Enough RAM (at least 8GB, better 16)

  • A big internal SSD Drive and external hard drive



Audio Interface (ext. Soundcard)


You definitly should have an external soundcard. The reason is that your computers own soundcard is to slow to process all the audio and MIDI at one time. Apart from that, you may have latency problems when you actually recording live. You will notice that when you hit a key on your MIDI keyboard for playing a synth: The actual synth sound will appear a few (milli)seconds later about your monitors than you actually hit it on your keyboard. Trust me, thats the most annoying thing at music production, you wont get through this!



MIDI Keyboard


MIDI stand for Musical Instrument Digital Interface and allows you to play notes on your keyboard which actually get recorded in your software. The amazing advantage of this is, that you have the possibillity to edit those recorded notes later, not like if you recorded an audio file!



Microphone (and needed Equipment)


At least you need something to record vocals with. If you are sure that you only want to record instruments via cable or just record MIDI, than this is optional for you! For all others I recommend a medium condensator microphone first. The brand "t.bone" offers some good mics for around 100-200 Euros. Apart from that you need a XLR Cable and a mic stand. Definitly make sure if your soundcard supports +48V phantom power, cause the microphone also needs power to work!



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