Updated: Dec 15, 2021
In today's post, I’m going to share some basics, on how to set up a home production facility. This is for beginners, venturing in starting to make their own beats and music. But hey - this can work great for professionals too - although for the better part, we are going to cover the bare essentials, one would need to get started properly!
#1 - A Laptop
First off, the obvious – you are going to need a ( decent ) laptop. Preferably a good one, or to put it differently, a “strong” one. Processing power is very important for strenuous software such as music production programs. Setting yourself up with a powerful laptop, trust me, will make your life a lot easier. Make sure to check for components such as the built-in hard drive ( opt for SSD ), and also massively important – the memory power. I would advise to shoot directly for 16GB of RAM, as today it is pretty accessible to find. If you can, go even higher. But not to discourage you, you can still produce tracks with 8GB RAM, it just requires working smarter and with extra patience.
Of course, the reason why you are going to need your laptop, is because you will be working on your project with what is widely known as a "DAW" software. DAW stands for "digital audio workstation". Logic, Ableton, Reason, are but a few of many you can choose from. Getting savvy with a DAW requires dedication and has a learning curve, but it will be your Alpha and Omega when it comes to producing music. There, you will arrange, design, mix and program all your sounds, melodies, and beats. In essence, a DAW is a digital studio! Taking a course in learning a specific DAW and sticking to one you like, is of essence for this step! So take a look at what's available online, or sign up at your local audio school.
#2 - Headphones
In the scenario that you can’t own a pair of studio monitors, the best alternative of course, would be a pair of headphones. You can find something decent in pretty affordable prices, but better look for something that is not too bass-boosted, or used for commercial purposes only. Great brands include SURE, SENHEISER, amongst many others.
#3 - A Keyboard Controller
If you have at least some basic knowledge of piano or keyboard playing, a keyboard controller is a must. It will save you so much time, as you can perform your midi recordings in real time, instead of having to dial in and program each single note into your session.
But even if you are not a keyboardist, it’s still going to be a very useful tool for you. First off, it will drive you to learn some chords and melodies, plus you can also strum your drumbeats on it, as I assume you have some groove going on inside you ; )
Alternatively, you could opt for a pad controller, where you can store samples, and still record your midi performances without needing the piano keys!
#4 - An Audio Interface
An Audio interface will for sure be of use for you, when you actually want to do some recording, or if you have a pair of external monitors to connect to your laptop. In both instances, it is a pivotal device for your studio arsenal. The better the interface, the better the conversion of sound you’ll get – meaning more resolution, both in what you record, and what you hear back on playback. You can find decent audio interfaces in pretty friendly prices, so look it up – plenty of options there. (Extra tip - some interfaces come with their own set of processing plug-ins, so that can be of extra benefit, even if you are working on headphones only. Plus, usually they will take off some of the processing load from your computer!)
#5 - Studio Monitors
I will never forget, the shier joy I felt, when I got my first professional studio monitors. You just enter a new chapter in listening, and producing music. The frequency range and the dynamic response you can get from them, will take your production game onto that next level. Pick the size of your speakers depending on the room you are setting up in – no need to buy a monstrous pair for a small room, and so on. Also, choose the ones that “do something” for you - meaning, a pair you can enjoy listening to and working with. Lastly, pricier does not necessarily mean better. So make sure you read a lot of reviews, and ideally book a test audition at your local audio store before making a purchase.
For beginners, look up KRK and Yamaha, although there is such a great range of other options out there.
#6 - Cables
Last but not least, cables. Make sure you do some homework on what cables are appropriate for your gear. They should be compatible with the rest of your equipment, and better opt for new ones, rather than digging up some old, warn out cables you had stored from years ago. Having a good chain of quality cables CAN make a difference in your production setup, so speculate on the compatibilities and choose smart.
So that was a wrap guys! Hope this article gave you a basic ballpark in terms of where and what to look for as you decide to start your music production ventures! Now go make those great tunes you have stored in your mind, and stay tuned for more insights in our forthcoming blogs! : )
- Two Islands Music -