Look on the bright side, if your an up and coming producer or beatmaker there is good news for you: YOU DON'T NEED A MILLION DOLLAR STUDIO TO HAVE A MILLION DOLLAR SOUND! Times are changing and for the better and technology is changing with it for the better as well. 20 to 30 years ago if you were an artist you had to go to a major studio to record your mixtape or album. Now these days you can record your album or mixtape in your momma's basement haha! The truth is that technology is our friend in the music world. You can have just a macbook and some speakers and a mic in your house and your good to go. These DAW's nowadays (Digital Audio Workstation) come packed with essential gear and stock plugins as well as a boat load of samples and loops to help get you started. They pretty much have everything you need to get started. Now as a producer were always on the lookout for new samples, loops and plugins haha. That's our version of going shopping! When I go shopping it's usually for a new plugin I've had my eyes on recently or a new drumkit. Yes I buy drumkits even though I make em and you know why? I support the music producer / beatmaker world! If I can help someone out by purchasing a drumkit or a new plugin then I will. One day hopefully I can do music full-time and not half to work a 9 to 5 job. The point is if your an up and coming producer or beatmaker you have TONS at your disposal right now! There are even tons of FREE PLUGINS AND SAMPLE KITS out there to get your started that are quite good for free! When I first started out making beats in my college dorm room to be honest I didn't know what I was doing or what I was getting myself into haha. I kept asking myself is this really what I want to do? I traded in my guitars and pedalboards for a DAW, turntables and a mic hoping to do music production one day. That was back in 2012. I didn't have much help when I started out. I didn't know what I was doing to be honest. From working a 40-hour week day job I would come home and mess around with my computer ( I was working FL Studio 10 at the time) I would go on YouTube and watch tutorial videos and try to hopefully learn something haha. I stumbled across one day a company called Studiolinked VST (Which make Great VST's by the way!) and instantly fell in love with them. It's like they knew the sound that I was after haha. Ever since then I've had the opportunity to collab with other producers who have shared essential knowledge to me. One told me the only reason he was doing it because he could see the passion I had in my eyes. He knew this wasn't just some hobby I was doing just to do. It definitely is not in any way a hobby. This is PURE PASSION FOR ME AND WILL ALWAYS BE! I'm getting off track now but in the end understand that you don't half to have a lot to get started out making beats. You can do it right in the comfort of your own home and make some great music doing it!
Here's What Your Gonna Need
1. Computer - Mac or PC - This is all personal choice! I've had other producers tell me that Mac is better than PC and others have told me that PC is better than Mac. I think both are great! I personally use PC but that's just me. There are Pro's and Cons to both. Also think about if your gonna use a laptop or a desktop computer. Think about your budget as well as you know a Mac is probably gonna run you more money. Cheaper is not always better in the end. Unfortunately in this business you do half to spend some money. You don't half to spend a fortune starting but it's good to get something that's gonna last you a couple of years.
2. Interface - These are essential to starting out as a producer or beatmaker. They essentially connect to your computer and provide an audio source for your DAW. You can hook up your microphone and studio monitors through your audio interface. They are a must. I have several in my arsenal. For the price they all depend too. They can go anywhere from $99 dollars to the thousands: again it all depends on how much your willing to spend. Some companies will include software in the interface as an extra bonus for purchasing the product. You can even find bundle deals for the interface that come with a microphone, cables, interface and more all for a low price. I would recommend looking into these if you are starting out and are on a budget!
3. DAW - A Digital Audio Workstation! If you wanna make music your gonna half to have one. The market is definitely saturated with these. You've got FL Studio (Which I Use!) Pro Tools, Ableton, Cubase, Studio One, Reason, Logic, Garageband and so much more. They all have their little quirks about them as well as TONS OF LOOPS AND SAMPLES included with each of them. They all vary in price as well. You will half to do your research and find out which one suites you best. In the end they all do the same thing: Record Music. Some producers swear by one or the other. It's all personal choice.
4. Microphone - If you want to record you or somebody else your gonna half to have a microphone. Again the market is heavily saturated with companies out there. Price wise varies as well. You can spend $50 to thousands on just one microphone. It also depends on what kind your looking for in the first place. Microphones comes in all shapes and sizes. Here are some options to choose from:
Large Diaphragm Condenser Mics.
Small Diaphragm Condenser Mics.
If you want to record vocals I suggest going with a Large Diaphragm Condenser Mic. They are not only solid but they are great on vocals! They can bring out the warmth and clarity of your voice. Again it's all personal choice here. Look at your budget and see what your willing to spend on a mic. They range from anywhere to $50 dollars to the thousands. The choice is your's my friend!
5. Studio Monitors - Haha last but not least your gonna need some Monitors to hear your music playback. These range from 5 inch monitors all the way up too 8 inch and 10 to 12 inch monitors and everything in between. When I say 5 or 8 inch I'm referring to the woofer on the front of the monitor. It's varies on size. Some great companies out there that have great products are KRK, Yamaha, Mackie, M Audio, Focal and so many more. When your finding the monitors that are suited for you, first look at how big (inch wise) you want whether or not you want some small 5 inch or some big 8 to 10 inch monitors. The bigger the inches the more bass response your gonna have so keep your neighbors in mind haha! Some of these monitors can get pretty loud and if you pair these bad boys up with a subwoofer your guaranteed to have the walls rumble and possibly the cops called which hey I'm not against turning up haha!!!
In the end, you don't half to have a million dollar studio to have a million dollar sound! Find a budget that works with you and go from there. There are websites out there like Zzsounds.com and Americanmusical.com that offer payment plans on gear. All you do is make the first payment and boom they ship your gear to your door and you just pay monthly. What a great offer! You don't half to have a credit card upfront to pay for anything!
Some others things worth considering in the future to add to your studio setup:
External Hard Drive
I hope this helps you along the way. Don't give up! Since I've started back in 2012 I've worked my butt off saving my money working sometimes 2 jobs to afford what I have now. It definitely hasn't been easy but I can assure you it has been worth it through all the ups and downs: IT DEFINITELY IS! Don't give up on your dreams yo! Stay strong, have a positive attitude / outlook!