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Start Producing Music With Only 4 Things

Mike Bello | June 9, 2021

In this video, we’ll be talking about the 4 things you absolutely need to start producing music right now.


Start Producing Music

What’s up guys, welcome back to my channel. Today we are going to talk about exactly what you need to start producing music right now. I’m not going to waste any of your time. I’m going to get straight to the point and tell you the four things you need to start producing music. The first one is a computer. It can be a laptop or a desktop, you just need some kind of computer. The second thing you need is speakers or headphones. Third thing you need is an audio interface to connect the speakers or headphones to your computer. And the fourth thing you need is the software or digital audio workstation to actually produce your music on. So that’s the four things that you need to start producing music right now. Now, if you want to hear my thoughts on exactly what computer you should get, whether you should use a laptop or a desktop, or whether you should use headphones or speakers, stick around and that’s what I’m going to talk about for the rest of this video. If you don’t need to know that, then you’re already done. You can go, just make sure you hit the subscribe button on your way out and have a good day.

The Music Production Computer

So the first thing I want to talk about is the computer. Whether you use a desktop or a laptop will depend on you and what’s convenient for you. The biggest obvious difference between a laptop and a desktop is going to be portability. Obviously with a laptop, you can move around, you can produce music anywhere you want. With a desktop you are pretty confined to one space, so you’re going to want some kind of dedicated area in your home to actually set up your workspace.

The next big difference between desktop and laptop is price. So with the desktop, you’re going to get something much more powerful than what you would get for the same price with a laptop. If you have a space that you can turn into your music studio, (whether it’s just a small space or a large room, whatever you have,) I would recommend getting a desktop just because you can get a little bit more power out of it for the money you have. If budget isn’t an issue for you, then you could probably get a really powerful laptop as well, and you can move around wherever you like. The other thing is, of course, as I mentioned before, portability. if you prefer to be able to move around or you’re constantly on the go or traveling, and you would like to be producing music on the go, then you can use a laptop. You can get some headphones and always be able to produce music wherever you are.

Whichever you decide to go for, I would recommend at least 16 gigabytes of Ram if possible. 8 Gigabytes will be okay, but if you start getting into using bigger projects or, down the track, when you start making more complicated music, you might have problems and you might need to upgrade. 16 Gigabytes of Ram will be more than enough for you to get started with music. If you can get anything more than that, then that’s a bonus. In my computer behind me I have 32 gigabytes of Ram and that’s more than what I ever need. I could probably get by with 16 gigabytes of Ram for most of my projects and I don’t think I would run into any issues.

The Best Operating System for Music Production

The next thing I want to talk about is the big debate. Windows or Mac? Does it really matter? No, it doesn’t. Pick whatever you like, use what you’re comfortable with. And that’s it. The only thing that I will say is that if you choose to go with windows, you could possibly get something a little bit more powerful for the amount of money you’re spending. If you buy a desktop with windows, you can also customize it so you can upgrade it as you go. So you could start with something a little bit less powerful and then work your way up as you need more power. But if you prefer to use Mac and if that’s what you’re used to then go ahead and use Mac. It doesn’t really matter. You can make music on Mac or windows and the operating system isn’t going to make much difference to the music you create. If you already have a computer, as long as it has 8 Gigabytes of Ram, that should be fine to get you started with music production. I would just say to go to the website of whichever software you are going to use and have a look at their recommended specs. Check the Ram and the processor, that’s going to be the most important thing that you need to know.

Speakers or Headphones?

The next thing I’m going to talk about is speakers or headphones. The difference between speakers or headphones is going to really depend on your situation and your budget. Speakers are going to be amazing for getting a really good idea of what the stereo image of your track sounds like. Headphones are really amazing at giving you a very precise idea of the sound at a much lower cost than speakers. The only thing that you have to be concerned about with headphones is the super stereo effect. The super stereo effect is the effect that you get from having your right ear totally isolated to what’s happening in the right speaker, and your left ear totally isolated to the left speaker. When you’re listening to music through speakers, the right speaker is going to be heard first by your right ear, and then a few milliseconds after the sound will also travel past your left ear. Same with the left speaker. It will be heard first by your left ear and then a few million seconds afterwards, your right ear will hear it. Every sound you hear through headphones is going to sound much wider than what it will sound like through speakers. The problem with this is that you might get your mix sounding amazing through headphones, and it might sound incredible, it might sound really spacious, but then when you play it through speakers compared to other professionally produced tracks, all of a sudden your song might just sound like it’s come right into the middle and it has no spaciousness at all.

You can get the stereo image of your track sounding really nice just with headphones, but it is a lot more difficult than with speakers. The differences are going to be a lot more subtle and you need to really spend a lot of time listening to music through your headphones so you can really get used to exactly what every song sounds like through these headphones. If you can get a few reference tracks that you listen to a lot, that’ll give you a good idea of how music is meant to sound through these headphones. The more you listen to music through your headphones, the better you will understand how music should sound. If you are just getting started with music production, I would recommend using headphones because they are low cost. They’re also portable and you don’t need to worry about acoustic treatment. With speakers, if you have speakers in a room that has no acoustic treatment, just bare walls, you’re going to get a lot of echo. This is going to totally distort your idea of the way your song sounds, because you’re going to be hearing more reverb in everything. You’re going to be hearing early reflections from all of the sound, you’re going to have phase issues and all kinds of other problems that are going to come up because of the way the sound through the speakers interacts with the room around you.

So I would totally recommend headphones for beginners just because it’s going to be a much lower cost and a much easier entry point to get into music production. As you move further along and you want to upgrade your studio, then you can get some speakers, and you can get some acoustic treatment for your room. The one thing I would recommend if you’re going to use headphones is to always check your mix on other systems. After you’ve done your mix, listen to it on a TV, in a car, through your mobile phone, through your laptop to compare what your mix sounds like through your headphones, to what it’s going to sound like in other people’s situations.

Why Do You Need An Audio Interface?

Now I know there’s going to be a lot of people thinking, “why do I need an audio interface? Why can’t I just plug my headphones straight into my computer?” The reason for that is because with an audio interface you’re going to get much better audio performance than the built-in sound card in your computer. Using an audio interface will also allow you to connect a microphone or connect other instruments. Or connect a midi keyboard if you want to do recording. If you’re not going to be recording and you’re just listening, it’s still worth getting an audio interface because a dedicated audio interface will be able to handle the audio much better than your built in sound card in your computer. You can actually get some audio interfaces at a very low cost. A lot of people start with the Focusrite Scarlett interfaces. You can also find lots of low cost interfaces from Roland and Steinberg. Just have a look at your local music shop, see what they have. Or you can look online, have a look for reviews about great beginner audio interfaces.

The Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

Now the last thing that you need to produce music is of course, the software. The Digital Audio Workstation or DAW for short. Which DAW you should use just depends on which workflow works best for you. No matter which software you are using, you will be able to produce amazing music. It’s just going to give you a different workflow, and certain types of workflow might work better for some people than other people. You basically want to have a software that’s not going to get in your way. You want something that gives you a workflow that allows you to express your creativity and transfer what’s in your mind, into the computer, as fast as possible with the least amount of barriers. Now this is going to be different for everyone. The best thing I can recommend is to try all of the free trials of different types of software. Have a look at videos online, check out how other producers use their software. If you have any favorite producers, it might be a good idea to use the same software as them. You can learn from their videos and tutorials much easier if you’re using the same software. You’ll be able to pick up all of their tips and tricks and any of their workflow shortcuts that they might show you.

The most popular software packages to use would be FL studio, Ableton Live, logic (If you’re on Mac). As far as I know, those would be the top three most used DAW’s, for electronic music at least. For me personally, I use Cubase and that’s again, because I like the workflow. It allows me to get my ideas into the computer much quicker. If you’re on Mac checkout Ableton live lite, or you could also check out Cubase LE, if you want to try Cubase. If you’re on windows, again you could try Ableton live Lite or Cubase LE, or you could also try cakewalk by Bandlab, which is actually a fully featured DAW that used to be paid software, which was recently bought by Bandlab and they have made it totally free. So if you want something that’s free, that will give you a good entry point into music production and you’re on windows, I would totally recommend checking out cakewalk by Bandlab. It has an incredibly full feature set and in my opinion is probably the best free DAW that you can get at the moment. If you guys want to get a bit of a better idea on the differences between different DAW’s, I’m going to actually do a video in the future where I bring one of my friends into the studio. We’re going to discuss exactly why we use the DAW we use and have a bit of a discussion about the features of the different DAW’s that we use and why they work for us, so you guys can get a bit of a better idea of what would work better for your workflow. So if you guys want to see that, make sure you subscribe and hit the bell icon below so that you can be notified when that video comes out.

Do You Need Third-Party Plugins For Music Production?

One last thing that I want to talk about is plugins. The plugins that come built into your DAW versus third party plugins. Do you need to buy any third-party plugins or are the built-in plugins okay. If you’re getting started with music production, and even if you’ve been producing music for a while now, and you just want a better idea of whether you should go and buy any third party plugins, to be honest, you probably don’t need them. The built-in plugins in most modern DAW’s are incredible. You can make a completely professional track just using built-in plugins, and a lot of professional producers do use the built-in plugins in many situations. The only time that you would need to get third party plugins is if you’re specifically looking for certain features that your DAW doesn’t have with the built-in plugins, or if you’re looking for certain sound characteristics that come from that plugin. If you’re just getting started, though, I think it would be better to stick with the built-in plugins and get to really learn those first.

Okay guys, that’s it for today’s video. I hope this has been helpful for you. I hope you guys learned something today and if you did, please help me out and hit that like and subscribe button down below, along with the bell icon. Smash all of them and help me get to 100 subscribers, that would be amazing. And as you can see, I’ve also got some brand new merch right here, which is not yet available, but it will be available very soon. If you’re following me on Instagram, then you’ll be able to find out exactly when it is available in the next few weeks. Thanks again for joining me in this video and it’s time for me to get back to working on my new track. So have a great week guys and I look forward to seeing you again soon.

Original video link (YouTube) The 4 things you need to start producing music

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Written by Mike Bello