I already mentioned that making your own records is the surest path to DJ fame. While I’m not a producer, I can give you a couple of pointers if that’s the path you’re ready to choose for yourself.
Unless you are a moneybag and can hire a real studio, the easiest way to get into the music production game is by doing it at home with specialized software. What you are looking for are DAW (“Digital Audio Workstation”) packages like Cubase, FL Studio, Logic Pro, Reason or Ableton Live.
A word of caution here: Internet is full of pitches for dubious “beat making” software that will let you record a hit tune overnight just by tweaking a couple of knobs. Don’t waste your money on that stuff.
Apart from the DAW, the other essential for computer music production is a decent audio interface. It normally looks like a box with lots of knobs and buttons that you hook up to your computer. Why do you need one? Well, your laptop’s soundcard is probably fine for watching movies or playing music from Spotify, but not for professional use. There are lots and lots of options to choose from; do your homework first.
A good audio interface is useless if your speakers can’t reproduce all those tiny nuances in music that you’re making. So the third must-have component to your home studio is monitor speakers (also called “studio monitors”), which are specifically geared at music production. One thing that differentiates studio monitors from consumer-grade speakers is their flat frequency response, i.e. minimal emphasis or de-emphasis of particular frequencies.
Prices for a pair of decent monitors start at about $150, but again, do your research.
The DAW, audio interface and studio monitors are just the bare minimum if you want to start producing music. Down the road, you’re looking at things like plug-ins, instruments and effects, grooveboxes and hardware control surfaces. The sky’s the limit, but you have to start somewhere, right?
To your DJing (and producing) success!
Are you producing or still looking to get in the game? What’s your #1 challenge? Share your story in the comments below.
JM has played open-air gigs, shared the stage with the likes of ATB and had mix albums released commercially. He has been teaching DJing since 2008.
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