As a music producer hobbyist, I can safely say that I see more and more young people trying to get into music production. Unfortunately, I think many of them are getting into it for the wrong reason. Many aspiring producers seem to think that they can just jump right in and instantly start making killer tracks. Another popular thing with beginning producers is that you have to have every single piece of equipment known to mankind. When you are first getting into music creation, more specifically electronic music, you really just need some of the basics.
Do you need all the latest and greatest equipment to make some great music? Absolutely not. Having a good computer that will be able to run some fairly CPU intensive software is going to be important. There is the whole Mac and PC argument and personally, for music, I prefer mixing and running my software on a Mac. While you can definitely achieve the same result on a PC, I find it easier to run on a Mac. For my DAW, I run Ableton Live 8 and quite a few VST’s as well. All of my equipment I have accumulated over a long time of producing. When I first started making music, I was just using Cubase and a few VST instruments.
When you’re first starting out, one of your investments should be in good audio equipment. It’s important to have good studio monitors and know how they work. Every set of studio monitors is a little different. If you don’t have the money for a pair of good studio monitors, definitely invest in some good headphones. I’m personally not a fan of the Beat’s by Dr. Dre. They are overpriced and really don’t offer the sound that you can get out of another pair of headphones for a similar price.
Once you’ve got some good sound, you will need a DAW or digital audio workstation to create your music. There are quite a few different ones such as: Cubase, Ableton, Reason, FL Studio, and Pro Tools to name a few. Ultimately it doesn’t really matter which one you’re using as long as you feel comfortable working in the program. They’re all trying to accomplish the same thing. I started out in Cubase, but recently I’ve been getting in to producing in Ableton. I suggest downloading a demo of each program and just experimenting around with each one before you decide to purchase.
VST instruments or Virtual Studio Technology is great to have because it allows you to run a synth without actually having physical hardware. Native Instruments is probably the most popular company for VST plug -ins. One final piece of equipment that I would recommend for starting out is a midi keyboard. It doesn’t have to be a very large keyboard, unless you play the piano and want a fairly large keyboard. I use a 49 key which is just right for me.
In conclusion, you really don’t need a whole lot when you are first starting out. I have literally seen people make tracks on a 10 year old laptop and earbuds, so it’s definitely possible, but not really ideal.