How do you get started in music or podcasting? Well the first thing you’ll need is equipment, and there’s a lot of it. Of course, you don’t need to spend your entire wad of cash on the top of the line stuff. With a little shopping around, you can get a really nice studio that serves you well. No matter what your budget, you’ll need a list of essential music production equipment. So here it is.
Essential Music Production Equipment
Here is a list of studio elements that you will want to invest in. You can pick and choose where you want to spend the majority of your money, but these days you can get away with some of the basics. The basics would include a computer and a digital audio workstation. You can really get a lot done with just those two things. However, what audiophile doesn’t at least want a nice pair of studio headphones??
- Computer with a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW): This is where you’ll begin your musical recording and editing journey. Everything is digital these days, so the computer you get will be your foundation for years to come. The first decision will be whether you go with a Mac or a PC. Both will be able to accomplish what you’re looking for, so personal preference and comfort are big factors. If you don’t really have a preference, then the most recommended computer for media editing is probably the desktop Mac. It caters to media editors and people seem to gravitate towards it. The software you need to edit your sounds is referred to as digital audio workstations. There are a lot of options out there and each will have it’s pros and cons. Many of them are free, so you can try those and figure out which is most intuitive to you.
- Microphone: A microphone is an incredibly important part of your setup. It’s the only way to get your sound into the track. The choice of microphone is a bit like the photographer’s choice of camera. Each sound capture will be slightly different with a different mic. So it’s important to try a few out, but you’ll find some brands that consistently rank very high. Rode and Shure are brands to look for. Shure has some nice handhelds that are affordable as well.
- Studio headphones: Although not strictly necessary, you’ll want to invest in some nice headphones. To really get the sound definition that you want, these are a must. There are a couple names that consistently appear on top 10 lists. For example, you’ll want to checkout the Sennheiser Pro line and the Sony MDR line. The Sony MDR 7520 is the top of the line model, but they have cheaper ones in the Pro line.
- Audio interface: Audio interfaces are external sound cards that attach to your computer. They allow you to have additional plugs for things like microphones. They can be very useful and will help optimize your sound inputs.
- MIDI keyboard: These are really fun in a studio. They are basically blank programmable keyboards that allow you to customize your sounds. They vary depending on your needs, but they can be very useful.
- VST Plug-ins: TVST stands for Virtual Studio Technology. When you use your computer, you are dealing with digital sounds. However, the VST has sounds for everything. This includs keyboards, drums, FX, strings, choirs, full orchestras, and more. You’ll also need one of these for your MIDI keyboard. Many producers use VST’s instead of actual instruments. The technology is amazing.
- Studio monitor speakers: These speakers are really high quality and are built to produce true sounds. These try to create frequencies that allow you to hear the actual sound rather than accentuating certain frequencies like bass, which may be popular for consumers. These can be useful. However, if you have a good set of studio headphones, then these might be less necessary for your setup. Plus, the range in price is huge.
- Various other controllers: Depending on your type of music, you may be interested in some of these additional controllers.
- DJ controllers
- Digital pianos
- Electronic drum sets
- Drum pad controllers