Can you become a music producer on a limited budget?

Are you interested in getting into music production, but worried about potential expenses? In practice, you do not need a lot of expensive equipment to get started.

What you need to get started

Do you have a recent computer, made in the last five years? If so, you will most likely be able to run the necessary software to start producing electronic music. Unless your songs get extremely complicated, with hundreds of different instruments and tracks, even a laptop will be good enough.

All you need on your computer is a Digital Audio Workstation, such as FL Studio or Ableton, and you will be ready to start. Both FL Studio and Ableton offer a free demo to try out the software. This way, you will be able to see for yourself which DAW is best for you without spending a dime.

I am sure you know that you can spend thousand of dollars in VSTi, or Virtual Instruments, and other software. Yet, I promise you the basic plugins included with your DAW of choice are more than enough to create your first, complete song.

One more piece of equipment that is important, and that you most likely already own, is a pair of headphones. Otherwise, a pair of speakers is also great to use for music production.

Producing your first track

To produce your first track, you do not need the highest quality or the most expensive equipment. After all, you’re just starting out. You will have time to buy better equipment once you realise that you want to invest more money into this hobby, or even make it a career.

When I got interested into music production, I did have any equipment at all. Just an old computer my parents gifted me, and a 10$ pair of headphones. Admittedly, the quality of tracks I produced with that setup was terrible. However, that old PC gave me the opportunity to experiment and to get used to the software. After a while, I figured out that music production was something I was really interested into. Only then I started investing more money into equipment and software to improve the quality of my songs.

Buying additional equipment

With regard to hardware equipment, something that helped me a lot was buying a MIDI controller. This way, I was not restricted to FL Studio’s piano roll when composing. Rather than that, I could just practice playing and finding out what notes went well together. Even if you do not know how to play a piano (I didn’t, at the time), that should not stop you from buying a MIDI controller. For me, even after many years, it is a wonderful feeling to find two chords that sound great together.

It is true that music production can become an extremely expensive hobby; however, this should not scare you off from trying it out: a number of famous artists, such as Billie Eilish, Skrillex and even the Foo Fighters produced many of their hits on a laptop with limited equipment.

To recap, these are some of the hardware and software tools that can help you start producing songs.


  • A computer
  • A Digital Audio Workstation (FL Studio, Ableton, Logic…)
  • A pair of headphones (or speakers, or both)

Good to have:

  • An audio interface
  • A MIDI controller
  • Microphones (if you plan to record someone singing)
  • Acoustic treatment

How to use MIDI files? Learn music production the easy way.

If you think that MIDI files are an outdated technology, I would suggest you reconsider your opinion. MIDI files do not exactly sound great, unless you have relative expensive equipment. MP3 files, while larger, sound much better! Even so, MIDI files still have many uses if you are interested in music production.

If you stumbled upon this post, chances are that you are interesting in one of the following categories, where MIDI files are still very popular:

Music Production

MIDI files are an incredible resource when it comes to creating music. They allow you to easily import and export notes across a variety of devices on different operating systems. It’s simple to jot down a few notes on your Android MIDI editor on the go. When you get home, you can import them on FL Studio or Ableton on your PC or Mac.

MIDI files are there to help you overcome your creative block. They are great even if you are simply searching for inspiration or trying to analyse how your favourite artist created his latest banger.

You can download MIDI files of popular songs or original melodies that you can remix in a few minutes at Carlo’s MIDI.

Learning to play the piano with MIDI files

Synthesia is a software that lets you practice playing the piano through a MIDI keyboard or with your own computer’s keyboard. After importing a MIDI sequence in the software, it shows you what notes to play. While this is not the standard way of learning an instrument, it is awesome if you are not comfortable reading music sheets.

Normal MIDI files do not work very well with Synthesia. Considering that most MIDI sequences are a close copy of the original song, it becomes apparent how trying to play them in Synthesia will get complicated quickly. Adapted MIDI files often come with a difficulty tag. Taking into consideration your skill level, they will let you proceed at higher difficulty levels at your own pace.

How MIDI files can help you study music theory

Have you ever wondered why a song chorus is so catchy, or how to reproduce a song you like? Regardless of whether you are a seasoned musician or a beginner, MIDI files allow you to break down the song into different instruments and parts. This lets you analyse chords and sequences with ease. It also lets you exercise your musician’s ear by isolating single tracks or removing some completely.

Software like MuseScore can help you turn a MIDI into actual sheet music, but be careful with that. The conversion from MIDI to sheet music still lacks a few important details that make sheet music readable or not. Thus, it can be a good idea to ask someone who actually knows how to read sheet music to help you. Something else you can do is to simply download a professionally made music sheet.

Practice Singing

If you are a singer, MIDI files can be very helpful when practicing. When you need to rehearse a song on your own, a smartphone can easily play the MIDI file back to you.

While it is easier to download an MP3, a MIDI gives you control over each instrument in the track. For example, MIDI can help you hear better the voice notes by increasing the volume of the voice track. When you are confident you have practiced enough, you can lower the volume of the voice track or just mute it.

Live Performers

Equipment such as a sound module can render MIDI files and make them sound like a real orchestra or band. Connecting them to your audio system, they allow you to replace a sick member of your band, or letting you perform solo. Then again, MP3 files can sound good as well. However, having a well-made MIDI file, with exact velocity and notes can be even better.


While MIDI files have been around for decades, they still have many different uses. Whether you are still making your first steps in the journey that is learning to play or create music, or you have already several years of experience, they can be of great help in enhancing your production.