Music Production: Some Tools To Help You Out

by John Davis September 04, 2018 0 Comments

Music Production: Some Tools To Help You Out

You may have once needed to rent out a fancy studio and enlist the services of a production crew to start a career in the music industry, but technology has made the business more affordable than ever before. With just a few smart investments, you can transform a space as small as a bedroom into a semi-professional recording studio. Here's what you need to consider.

A New Computer

Image courtesy of Simply Mac

While your current laptop might suit you well for surfing the web and accomplishing your regular everyday tasks, the computer you use in your home studio is going to serve as the heart of your production efforts, so it's well worth it upgrading to a nice laptop that's both portable and powerful. The sort of software you'll need to properly record your music is going to require some serious horsepower, so it's worth making this the largest purchase for your home studio and investing as much as you can afford on it. 

In 5 years, I'm sure we'll look back and make fun of this next statement, but we're going for it.  If you're going the laptop path then MacBook pros and decent windows laptops will run you between $1,000-$2,000.  Our list of important upgrades starts with memory - minimum of 8GB, but 16GB is preferable.  Solid State Drives are speedy and can be worth the cost, especially if paired with a cheap external drive for extra storage.  Processors are important, but mid-tier will work fine unless you've got some money to burn.  If you're going with a tower, then upgrade to your heart's delight.  Good upper mid-tier processers and plenty of RAM don't break the bank nor do fancy NVMe and solid state drives.  We split pc and Mac users at the store and much of it is a preference, but make sure whatever software package you want is compatible before buying something new.  Lastly, don't forget plenty of monitor space.  Having a single large monitor is great, you can pick up a couple decent sized monitors for a few hundred bucks now too.

Digital Audio Workstation

DAW is a catch-all term for the type of software suite that music producers use to record, edit, and polish their music. Their design typically resembles the sort of mixing boards that served as the bread and butter of music design before the advent of software-based solutions. There are dozens of options available, and the right one for you is going to depend on your budget and demands, so be sure to conduct your research carefully. There are a few free options around as well. While they're unlikely to meet the needs of anyone interested in recording professionally, it can't hurt to give them a try.

Microphones

Image Courtesy of Soundfly

The technology behind microphones has mostly stayed unchanged over the past few decades, but they still remain one of the most essential components of any studio. You're going to want a mic known for its quality and stable performance, and don't forget to invest in a stand. As you develop your studio, you may want to invest in more specialized microphones that can produce different results, but a single basic and reliable mic should serve you just fine while starting off.

Audio Interface and Associated Components

The audio interface allows you to convert the music coming out of the mic into something you can interpret through your DAW, essentially serving as a translator of sorts. Depending on how much you're willing to invest, audio interfaces can offer a range of other functions as well. These can include everything from serving as preamps for your mic to monitoring your monitors, and the right features for you will come down to your specific needs.

These four components fill the most critical aspects of a home recording studio, but they don't cover everything. Cables and wires will be necessary to connect everything, as will headphones to let you concentrate on mixing and studio monitors to create a consistent sound in your space.

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John Davis
John Davis

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