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Getting Started In Digital Music Production

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ESSENTIALS

To get started in making your own instrumentals you’ll need three things a computer, a DAW (digital audio workstation), and a set of studio monitors or headphones. If you really want to get fancy with the finger work, it would be a good idea to invest in a midi keyboard.

When Hip Hop first started beat boxers and MPC players accounted for a large amount of the records that are classics today. Due to the recent technological advances DAW’s have become a go-to for most producers. It’s also become a lot easier to produce classics on the go.

1COMPUTERS

Computers come with dozens of specifications and different things that change the way they perform. It’s important to pick a machine that can handle the pressure that a DAW puts on the CPU/RAM during studio sessions. If not, you’ll get this weird audio overload message which can be pretty annoying. Don’t worry though, 4 GB of RAM and an i5 CPU will get the job done. Laptops carrying these specs run a couple hundred bucks. Anything above those specs would make it possible to add even more layers to a project. I’ve found success making music on both operation systems. Some programs are only compatible with only one operating system, for example, Mac’s use Garageband and Window’s use Fruity Loops.

2DAWS

There are dozens of DAWs on the market. Finding one and becoming familiar with it’s settings is a key to creating great music. Personally I’ve grown accustomed to using Logic, which is a Mac only program. Tons of credible producers use FL Studio. If you’re looking for a free DAW I’d suggest FL Studio for Windows or Garageband for Mac. Two very good cross compatible DAWs are Reason and Ableton Live.

3STUDIO MONITORS/HEADPHONES

There are literally dozens of Studio Monitors/headphones available. When selecting a pair try to find some that produce the clearest frequency. Lows that thump, bump, and make the speakers jump as well as highs that shriek clearly and smoothly when the levels are mixed properly. Price doesn’t mean much when it comes to a good pair of speakers. Some studio monitors cost $300+ and don’t sound as good as ones that cost $40 – $100. Find some that fit your style.

4MIDI KEYBOARDS

Once again, dozens of these on the market. The best one to use depends on the producers preference. If you like to make drum heavy music grab a keyboard with some drum pads on it or an MPC. If you like to make melodic music grab a full midi keyboard with keys. Some come with free trials for DAWs so theirs really not a wrong way to go when it comes to midi keyboards. Even without a midi, the laptop/desktop keyboard can get this job done with enough practice.

5QUICK TIPS

There are tons of resources to use to learn music. Online classes, YouTube, music theory books but the major key is to practice. Once you find a sound you like develop it and keep tweaking it to make it yours.

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EMCEE is an urban lifestyle network focusing on the art and entrepreneur culture. Based in Detroit and Miami, EMCEE uses our broad network to uplift the community and showcase people who influence the culture and tell their stories.

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