5 Essential Equipment Every Beginner Music Producer Needs To Have
If you want to be a music producer, then it’s often the little things that matter.
After you have learned the basics, you need to get quality gear and equipments that will make your work stand out from your competition.
They type of equipment that you have will determine how successful you can be.
This is why most people looking to become music producers are constantly searching for the next best music equipment to acquire.
One of the best things you can do starting out is to invest in the best equipment you can buy.
And you know how awesome it can be when you get good gear that will save you time and stress.
I am a big fan of getting the best equipments and building a solid foundation from there.
This is the sole reason why I have written this article. In this article, we will be looking at the top 8 things you need to get to become a better music producer and where you can get them from.
1. A workstation computer
This is probably the first and most important thing you need to get while building your home studio.
Think of your workstation as the backbone of your entire setup.
This is what powers your setup and what connects other gear to each other.
A workstation is much different from a personal computer.
A music workstation is a special kind of computer that is designed with the production of music in mind.
Here are some key things you need to be aware of before buying a music workstation.
- It must have MIDI compatibility. This is very important because you want to be able to create, analyze and alter digital music. And the only way to get that done is by using MIDI technology.
- It must have a good number of keys. This is simply because you want to have a wide range of variety. The minimum you should be looking at is 64 keys as this will make your job easier and also give you freedom to work without stress.
- It should have good quality built in speakers for the sake of both convenience and salability. When you have the right speakers, then you can skip the stress of moving around with an amplifier all the time.
- It should have just the right amount of touch sensitivity. A good keyboard workstation will have the right keyboard pressure as this will greatly enhance the way the keys sound. Basically you want something that has light touch sensitivity.
Yamaha MOXF6 Music Production Workstation
2. A Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
Aside from a workstation keyboard or computer, the next thing you need is a DAW.
A DAW is simply a program or software that enables you to record, arrange and create music in conjunction with your workstation.
Think of the workstation computer as the “King’ while the DAW is the queen.
Both of them work and go together to make your job much easier.
Choosing a DAW can be quite confusing as there are a wide range of configurations.
It might be as simple as a single software on a laptop to an integrated standalone unit all the way to a complex configuration of complex components controlled by a central computer.
For a full list of modern DAWs that you can pick from, check out this article here.
What about free DAWs?
One thing you should know is that there are some free and open source DAWs out there.
Are they worth your time?
In my opinion, No.
Simply because, most of these free programs do not have the right functionality and features that you might need.
Also some of them might not have been updated in a long while making them obsolete to handle the requirements of modern day audio recording.
Here is my pick for the top 5 DAWs
3. Studio Monitors
Next on the list is a good pair of studio monitors.
A studio monitor is simply a loudspeaker that is designed for professional audio production and recording.
As a music producer, you definitely want something that gives you accurate representation of what you are producing.
This is why it is necessary to get a studio monitor with a flat frequency response.
A studio monitor is what brings your songs to life.
Unlike the speakers you have at home, professional studio monitors are meant to deliver accurate sounds without any alteration.
This is why good quality studio monitors like this one here on Amazon.com, are best needed during the mixing stage.
For a quick recommendation, I will advise that you go with Near Field and Active monitors for your home studio.
Far Field vs Near Field Monitors
As you go looking for studio monitors, you are going to keep hearing far field and near field studio monitors.
Here is a simple explanation of what they mean.
Far field studio monitors are meant to be at least 6 feet away from you the listener.
This is very useful and is only used in rooms that are have good acoustic treatments.
So if you know that you your home studio is not well treated then you want to avoid buying a far field studio monitor.
Near field monitors on the other hand are designed to be placed close to you the listener ( less than 6 feet away)
This is what you should focus on as it gives you the best sound since it is close to you and not affected by the acoustics of the room.
This is good news for you as a home studio owner because of the fact that it costs a fortune to properly treat a room and using near field monitors will ensure that you do not lose the quality of your audio.
Passive or Active Monitors
Another topic of debate will be whether you should get passive or active monitors.
Here is my opinion on the matter
Passive monitors usually require an external amplifier to power them.
This can be a huge problem because you need to hook up and carry an external amplifier about.
Also, it has been known to occur of studio monitors getting burnt or blowing up because the power level on the amp was the wrong type.
Active studio monitors on the other hand have their own internal amplification source.
This means that they have all the components pre-matched and ready for you.
No hassle and stress of carrying around and setting up an external amplifier.
Mackie CR3 CR Series 3" Creative Reference Multimedia Monitors
4. An Audio Interface
An audio interface is an absolute must if you want to get crisp and clear sounds when recording.
Think of it like this
An audio interface is a piece of equipment which your audio and vocals pass through before it get recorded in your DAW.
This means that it takes all the audio inputs and then converts them into digital audio data
When I started building my own home studio, this was the most confusing part for me.
I saw no reason while I should get an audio interface when I already had a sound card with my workstation.
But when I made the switch, I was glad I did.
The major difference between your sound card and an audio interface is that audio interfaces usually have onboard mic preamps, they have phantom power which is essential for condenser mics and they have easy access inputs and outputs for external media devices.
Here are some things you need to consider before getting an audio interface.
- It should have analog to digital converters. This is because you want something that can take your analog electrical signal and turn it into digital signal that your computer understands. A 24 bits bit depth and a sampling rate of 44.1KHz is an ideal figure.
- How many microphone preamps does it have? You want to take this into consideration before getting an audio interface. This is because you want an interface that can record as many instruments as you want easily.
- The number of inputs and output. This also has to do with the number of external instruments and media devices that you are considering hooking up to your interface. You do not want to be limited when it comes to recording multiple sources.
- What is the interface type? This has to do with choosing whether it is a firewire or USB input. Here is an article that explains all you need to know.
- MIDI compatibility. You also want an audio interface that has MIDI compatibility. This is because MIDI is actually the rage right now and a lot of people find it so much easier to use while producing. So it is advisable that you buy one that has this function.
For a quick recommendation, here is the best audio interface that has all the required features to give your audio that required clarity.
Focusrite Scarlett Solo USB Audio Interface
5. Sample libraries and plugins.
Finally you need a good collection of sound samples and plugins.
Initially you can start off with the sounds that come with your DAWs and audio workstation.
But as time goes by, you find yourself looking for an upgrade.
This is where you need a good collection of sound libraries
One thing you should be aware of is that you want to avoid the generic sounds that are all over the internet and go for something that is unique.
This will make your works standout and give you an edge over the competition.
Here are some examples that you can easily get on Amazon.com
- Native Instruments Komplete Elements
- STRINGs, SYNTHs, PADs, ORGANs Collection
- ROLAND D-50/550 Huge Original Sound Library & Editors on CD
Native Instruments Komplete 11 Software Suite
As a music producer, you definitely want the right equipment and gear to kick off your production career.
In this article, we have listed out the basic ones that you need.
It might seem like we omitted some stuff. This is true because there is no need to buy everything initially.
Start with these ones and then get the others as you proceed.
The ones listed here are essential the basics that you need.
Are there any ones I left or forgot to add? Please leave them in the comment box below