17 May How to Get Into Music Production: The Top 7 Things You Need
So, you have arrived, ready and raring to get stuck into your music production journey. But recording music at home for beginners can often be overwhelming, as it can be hard to know how to get into music production, where to start, what to buy and how much to spend.
In this blog, we would like to break down for you how to get into music production and provide guidance on the essentials along with some product recommendations from myself and some of our teachers. This is perfect for beginners wanting to record music at home and everyone else who just wants a clearer understanding of what you need.
Before we start listing everything you need for music production, it is worth considering your budget. It can be very tempting to buy the shiniest and most expensive gear out there (if you can afford it), but I would not necessarily recommend it.
As a beginner, try to keep it cost-effective, as you can always upgrade later. Focus on refining your skills and get to grips with the basics first. From experience, starting with a complicated bit of gear only hinders productivity and that creative flow.
So, what equipment do you need as a beginner for recording music at home?
You won’t necessarily need everything listed below, especially if you don’t plan to record vocals or any other live instrumentation, but we will look at everything to get you fully set up if required.
Here’s everything you need for music production:
- Interface & MIDI Keyboard
- DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)
With that in mind, let’s get started!
Most modern computers are reliable enough for music production, but it is worth making sure you have the following for optimized performance.
- 500 GB internal storage (HDD or SSD)
- 4 GHz CPU
- 8GB RAM (for small projects you could just get away with 4GB)
Large-diaphragm condenser microphones are the go-to for most bedroom and studio producers due to their versatility in what they can be used for. For example, if you are a singer-songwriter looking at recording both acoustic guitar and vocals, then this is a great option.
I have listed some recommendations below from our teachers.
Teacher Abbey @lefaymusic – ‘I use the Aston spirit, which I love. I travel a lot and like to sometimes take my equipment with me in case creativity sparks. The Aston works perfectly for this as it is very durable against wear and tear due to its spring cage which can be knocked back into place if there is a bump. I would also recommend the Aston origin for a more budget-friendly option.’
For a more detailed description of the differences between the two Astons, head to astonmics.com
I do want to take a minute for the classic dynamic sm58 mic which is budget-friendly and can be bought brand new for less than £100 (£89 on Amazon).
Although mostly used in a live performance context, they are also regularly used in a studio environment and are in some cases preferable. It is also a great option if you are recording at home and struggling with unwanted background noise.
Teacher Marie @marianaguiar– ‘I would say my favourite low-budget mic is the t.bone SC 420 USB desktop mic. Even though I need to cut a lot in lows and do extra for the vocals, it is cheap and resistant. It is also good for recording vocals that are going to be sampled afterwards. I recommend it also for beginners that don’t have an interface yet as you can plug it directly into your laptop.’
Teacher Bong @omgbong – ‘I recommend the Lewitt LCT240 – Lewitt makes really high-quality products at every price point for a wide variety of applications. To me, they feel modern, bold, and energetic.’
4. Interface & MIDI Keyboard
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is where I started. Considering how affordable, it is hard to find much, if anything, to complain about. It is intuitive to use which means less time fussing over switches and knobs and more time creating. Perfect!
Focusrite has a great reputation for its preamps, and the 2i2 does not let you down in this regard. Another feature which I personally enjoy is the bright light rings around the level knobs which signal from green to red if the level is peaking.
For those feeling a little overwhelmed by gear options, Focusrite also offers a fantastic beginner bundle package which includes interface, mic and headphones at a very reasonable cost. Something to note is its lack of midi input/output, but as most midi keyboards come with a USB cable to go directly into your laptop, this should not be a huge deal breaker.
Next up is the Audient iD4 which does have a superior quality preamp to the Focusrite 2i2. It is limited on inputs but for a slightly bigger budget, you can upgrade to the iD14 if required.
My absolute favourite feature of the iD is its scroll control. Using the main knob after hitting the iD switch you can adjust plugin parameters, amongst other things. For example, if you are wanting to automate the volume or filter cut-off, you can scroll this in with the knob rather than drawing it in, which feels a lot more hands-on and creative.
If you have the budget, it can be tempting to go out and buy the biggest monitors, especially if you are inclined to pump the bass (who is not?!!!). However, it is worth considering the room size that you will be working from and if it has acoustic treatment or not.
Check out ledgernote.com for their recommendations on home studio monitors and a detailed guide on how to set them up.
Some Alpha recommendations are as follows.
– KRK Rokit RP5 G4 –
We agree with ledgernote.com on this one. Having used them myself, they are undoubtedly a great all-rounder at a very reasonable price.
– M-Audio BX5 -D3 –
There is not really much to fault on the M-Audio. Great price, clarity and user-friendly for beginners.
– Yamaha HS5 –
This is another great monitor and is the perfect choice for mixing and mastering.
– Adam A5X
If you have the budget or are looking to go deep into your mixing, then these are my personal favourites, and I have previously owned a pair.
If you are a complete beginner and have made the choice to work with quality headphones alone and not invest in a pair of monitors soundproofing is more straightforward. For example, if you are recording vocals and acoustic guitar then you will at least need to consider creating a soundproof environment around the microphone. If you have the budget, there are a variety of portable reflective booths available.
Check out Universal Acoustics’ vocal screen here.
If this is not affordable right now, then setting up a mic under a propped-up duvet or inside a wardrobe is actually a very good option. I know plenty of pros that still do this.
If you are working with monitors this is when things get a little more interesting. It is advisable to investigate acoustic treatment for the room you will be working from.
There are some great companies out there that offer a room kit calculator where you simply type in the dimensions of the space you will be working in, whether it be your bedroom, living room etc, and it will recommend you the suitable materials required.
Check out the Universal Acoustics calculator here.
To gain a deeper understanding of acoustic treatment check out the Sound on Sounds article ‘A beginners guide to acoustic treatment.’
7. DAW of choice (Digital Audio Workstation)
In my opinion, no DAW is better than the other; however, there are things to consider when choosing the right one for you.
For example, if you are producing electronic music that you want to perform live, then Ableton may be favourable.
Logic Pro’s advantage is its abundance of key command options, which can be assigned to various editing tools which are great for optimizing workflow.
Both DAWs offer a 90-day free trial, and it just so happens that both our Beginner Ableton Course and Logic Pro course are 6 weeks in length.
If you want to learn more, you can sign up for our free webinar on the ………… where we will cover an overview of both DAWS to help you decide which one you would like to work with.
Begin Your Music Journey Today!
Now, once you’ve got these items, you should have everything you need for music production. If you have any further questions about how to get into music production, feel free to book a free online chat via calendly.com to speak with someone from our team. We would be more than happy to help.
Or to sign up to receive updates on our courses, events and free handout tips and tricks, then you can join our mailing list.
Have a great day!