Music Production 101: The Essential Gear You Need to Get Started
In this blog post, we'll go over the basic equipment you'll need to start making music.
Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
The first piece of equipment you'll need is a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). A DAW is software that allows you to record, edit, and produce music on your computer. There are many different DAWs available, such as Ableton Live, Logic Pro X, and Pro Tools, each with their own unique features and capabilities. Some DAWs are free, while others require a purchase or subscription. Be sure to research and compare different DAWs to find one that suits your needs and budget.
Here are some popular DAWs to consider:
- Pro Tools - https://www.avid.com/pro-tools. Currently, there are 4 versions: Pro Tools Intro, Artist, Studio, and Ultimate. Read more at the link above.
- Ableton Live 10 Standard - https://www.ableton.com/en/live/standard/
- Logic Pro X - https://www.apple.com/logic-pro/
An audio interface is a piece of hardware that connects your microphone, instruments, and other audio equipment to your computer. It allows you to record high-quality audio and can also provide inputs for instruments such as guitar and bass. Some audio interfaces also come with built-in preamps, which are used to boost the level of a microphone or instrument before it is recorded.
Here are some popular audio interfaces to consider:
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 - https://us.focusrite.com/usb-audio-interfaces/scarlett-2i2
- PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 - https://www.presonus.com/products/AudioBox-USB-96
- Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2 - https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/audio-interfaces/komplete-audio-2/
A microphone is an essential piece of equipment for recording vocals, instruments, and other sounds. There are many different types of microphones available, such as condenser, dynamic, and ribbon, each with their own unique characteristics. Some popular options for beginners include the Audio-Technica AT2020, the Blue Yeti, and the Shure SM58.
Here are some popular microphones to consider:
- Audio-Technica AT2020 - https://www.audio-technica.com/en/microphones/studio-microphones/AT2020
- Blue Yeti - https://www.bluedesigns.com/products/yeti
- Shure SM58 - https://www.shure.com/en-US/products/microphones/sm58
Headphones are another important piece of equipment for music production. They allow you to hear your music clearly and accurately, which is essential for mixing and mastering. It is also important to have a good quality set of headphones to monitor your mix as you work on it.
Here are some popular headphones to consider:
- Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro - https://north-america.beyerdynamic.com/dt-990-pro.html
- Sennheiser HD 660 S - https://en-us.sennheiser.com/hd-660-s
- AKG K702 - https://www.akg.com/Headphones/Professional%20Headphones/K702.html
While headphones are great for monitoring, you will also need a set of speakers to get a sense of how your music will sound on different systems. Studio monitors are designed specifically for music production and are a good choice, but you can also use other types of speakers such as bookshelf or floor-standing speakers.
Here are some popular speakers to consider:
- JBL Professional 305P MkII - https://www.jblpro.com/www/products/studio-monitor-series/305p-mkII
- Mackie CR-X Series - https://www.mackie.com/products/cr-x-series
- PreSonus Eris E3.5 - https://www.presonus.com/products/Eris-E3.5
Of course, you'll also need instruments to make music. You can use a MIDI keyboard or controller to input MIDI data into your DAW, or you can use a guitar, bass, or other instrument to record live audio.
Here are some popular instruments to consider:
- Akai Professional MPK Mini MK3 - https://www.akaipro.com/mpk-mini-mk3
- Fender Player Stratocaster Electric Guitar - https://shop.fender.com/en-US/electric-guitars/stratocaster/player-stratocaster/0144132758.html
- Yamaha P-125 Digital Piano - https://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical_instruments/pianos/digitalpianos/p-series/p-125/
While this list covers the basics, remember that there are many other pieces of equipment and tools available to help you take your music production to the next level. As you become more experienced, you may want to consider investing in additional gear such as effects processors, synthesizers, and drum machines. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!