Can I start producing music when I am 30?
Music produce equipment
Who you want to make music yourself and your own Produce music, you have landed correctly. But what kind of musical equipment do you need besides your voice or a musical instrument? In this guide you will receive instructions with practically implementable tips for the first steps on the way to producing music yourself.
Produce music: At the beginning there is the equipment for the music production. Here you can find out what you need and how you can start producing music with it.
From Marius Schweitzer
Produce music with the right equipment
What should you watch out for? The budget is clear, especially at the beginning, and smart investments must be made in equipment and music programs.
The good news: Even without a large recording studio, music can be produced at a very high level.
The basis is an audio calculator. Many work steps after recording can be solved with free music software and plugins. In our guide we also assume that you also want to record singing or rap.
The standard in terms of music production equipment:
- Audio interface
- microphone if necessary
- DAW software
- Music effects
Read also: Create music Guide: This is how it works
Music production equipment explained
The computer is the control center that combines all analog and digital components for producing music. It doesn't matter whether it is Windows or Mac. Both systems are stable and offer different advantages and disadvantages.
Today, the audio interface not only replaces the functionality of a mixer to which all instruments and microphones are connected. It converts the signals from the real (analog) world into a digital format.
The audio interface is the interface between the analog world with singers and instruments, which can be recorded using the functions of the audio software. If you want to record vocals or musical instruments, you need a microphone.
The prices mentioned are an orientation and aimed at ambitious beginners.
Unfortunately, music cannot be produced entirely without equipment. But you can get a lot for little money when you start out.
Also read: Gift ideas for musicians
Music production software: which one do I need?
If you want to create your own songs or tracks, you need a so-called DAW software. »DAW« is an abbreviation for »Digital Audio Workstation«, which strictly speaking describes your entire audio PC including music software. But more and more often the extensive music programs of the modern form alone are titled as »DAW« - after all, this music program is the heart of your recording studio.
You can't avoid audio software when producing music. When choosing the right DAW, it always depends on what exactly you want to do.
Many DAWs available on the market provide practically all the necessary tools even for advanced users and professionals: make recordings, cut them, add effects, mix, arrange and finally give the final touches before release on vinyl, CD, or in digital form. Multiple tracks as well as real and virtual instruments can be used.
Also read: Homestudio Setup: Equipment & basic equipment for making music
Which audio software for music production?
If you can initially be satisfied with the basics when producing music, you do not need to plan a large budget for the audio software. Many programs are available as a slimmed-down entry-level version for little money. We also have a recommendation for you: practically every program on offer offers enough scope to record your music. It is more important to just start with it.
»DAW« is an abbreviation and stands for »Digital Audio Workstation«
In addition to the DAW software, there is also the “audio editor” (alternatively often called the “wave editor”). In contrast to the first-mentioned division, these work (almost always) destructively and at the file level instead of in projects with many files. In addition, many DAWs are now equipped with such extensive functions for audio editing that very few have to resort to an audio editor. There is no budget to reserve for the beginning, especially since there are some variants that are available free of charge.
You can also produce music with free DAWs. Just keep in mind that the free copies usually don't offer all of the features you might need.
Do I need an audio interface to produce music?
You don't necessarily need other devices in addition to your audio PC to make music - at least if it is equipped with an internal audio interface. But as soon as you want to record instruments, voices or sounds from a playback device, you need an audio interface as an interface to the analog world.
An audio interface simplifies music production.
Then the question arises which sound sources and how many of them should be recorded at the same time. If the answer is: »Only one!«, You can simply use the small jack socket on the internal sound card of your computer (usually called the »onboard sound card«) to get started.
Also read: DAW software comparison
You only need an appropriately equipped interface if, for example, one or more of the following scenarios occur:
- The noise of the internal sound card is too high for you
- The delay in producing music is too long
- You want to record several signals simultaneously and independently of each other (example: a guitar and the vocals)
- You want to control and record external synthesizers and keyboards
- You want to use a condenser microphone for your recordings
- You want to record the guitar straight into the computer
An audio interface, also called a sound card, serves as the center of your music production. It ensures the correct flow of signals.
If none of that applies to you and you want to make music with virtual instruments and effects and / or only with samples, you are good to go - at least when it comes to hardware. However, you should know that most audio interfaces offer a better sound quality than the internal sound cards, can be operated with less delay and often have useful additional functions and software with them.
By the way: We have put together everything you need to know about the audio interface for you. Then you finally know whether you need one or why you might need one at some point. And when you finally start looking for a suitable device, you can take a look at our market overview with 28 audio interfaces to see which one is suitable for you. From around 100 euros you can count on a device that can accompany you at least for the first time.
Also read: Audio Engineer Training
Mixer for the home studio?
A mixer is only worthwhile if you want to record many audio signals simultaneously and it becomes too cumbersome to control them with the audio software alone. Thanks to the many buttons and controls, you can always have the mix of signals under control in terms of volume, panning and so on.
Even in the context of a band or the band rehearsal room, a mixer could pay off thanks to the improved feel. There are now numerous mixing consoles with integrated audio interfaces - the development is only logical and represents a potentially very attractive all-round solution for music groups. For around 150 euros you can get an inexpensive, usable mixing console with four microphone inputs and an integrated USB audio interface.
The microphone test: 36 studio microphones in comparison - quite suitable if you want to start production. You can also find the test in this special or in the text below.
Also read: Make music yourself: Advice & instructions
Studio microphones for the home studio
If you want recordings of voices and instrument sounds to sound reasonably natural, you need a decent microphone - and that's exactly why we have a very detailed article with everything you need to know about these devices. Afterwards you will find a market overview with 35 microphones of all stripes.
You only need a microphone if you want to record your voice or instruments.
As with everything in life, a good microphone costs a lot of money. Practically all models can simply record sound, but the cheaper the devices become, the more compromises you have to make. Usable condenser microphones start at around 100 euros.
When planning your budget, you should definitely consider a microphone stand as well. Even if studio microphones can be held in the hand in an emergency, this creates unwanted noises in the recordings. In addition, this is beneficial for the service life of the studio microphone if it is not constantly moved and exposed to hazards.
Microphone stands can be purchased from specialist retailers for as little as EUR 15. They are really stable and of high quality from around 40 euros.
To the big microphone comparison »
Is the stereo enough to listen to?
This question really only arises when there is enough budget. And the answer is first of all: yes. It's just like household tools. You can also drill a hole in the wall with an old, blunt drill. Only, with a new, sharp drill that was specially developed for stone or concrete, you only need a fraction of the time - and the hole is drilled cleanly, the plaster around it is intact. And if that basically applies to all tools in music production, it is particularly noticeable when listening to music.
Speakers are the interface between the music and your ear.
In other words, proper speakers or studio monitors help you make your mix sound playable. And everywhere. Good monitoring does not only include 1.) good, often expensive loudspeakers, 2.) a prepared room and 3.) listening experience with the loudspeakers in this room.
In the special: loudspeakers - low budget to high end »
The special boxes for assessing a mix are usually called "studio monitors". In our experience, it only starts to get interesting at 250 to 300 euros when it comes to getting hold of fairly neutral and non-beautiful, dynamically playing speakers in mint condition - each. And of course you need two if you want stereo sound. :)
Room acoustics are an important part of listening to and recording your music. However, the room acoustics are like a large project of their own.
As far as optimizing the room acoustics is concerned, you can at least eliminate the grossest sound sins with a few tricks that don't have to be too expensive; However, the famous egg cartons on the walls are nothing more than well-intentioned, they serve purely esoteric matters. Visually appealing room acoustic panels, such as those from the manufacturer Vicoustic that are visible in the picture, can be purchased for little money. If necessary, diffusers and absorbing panels are then necessary. The positioning of the loudspeakers in the room is also extremely important.
Good room acoustics ensure better mixes.
It is therefore worthwhile either to roll up your sleeves and move around properly or to plan the design of a room that has not yet been allocated accordingly.
With some restrictions, which should not be the topic at this point, you can switch to headphones to assess the quality of a recording and ultimately a mix. In order to deliver a decent demo CD, it is sufficient with a little experience and very frequent cross-checks on various systems (sometimes in the car and on the kitchen radio!). There are already decent copies at 150 to 250 euros.
Do I need special studio furniture?
If you still have money left over after buying all of the essential equipment, you can consider buying studio furniture. Loudspeaker stands are definitely worth considering first, as this creates space on the table and better acoustics can be achieved. These stands are available in a set from around 50 euros, more stable contemporaries can also cost a little more.
Studio furniture is available from Zaor, for example. Whether you need a special studio table at the beginning depends on your wishes. If you have a lot of equipment and hardware, a studio table is definitely the better choice.
Above all, a studio table can be very useful - it is usually a work table with an ergonomic height of approx. 90 cm for most people, which has additional functions, for example pull-out levels for keyboard, MIDI keyboard etc., an or several housings ("racks") with rails for 19 inch wide equipment or storage space for studio monitors and screens.
Specially made tables according to your wishes are of course the best solution, but in general prefabricated models are much cheaper. Numerous manufacturers have established themselves here, it shouldn't be difficult to find a suitable model, even for relatively small rooms. It starts at just under 500 euros.
Continue to the audio recording tutorial »
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