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