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Music Production Equipment for Beginners 2017

Thursday, 6 July 2017 15:08:47 Europe/London

Music Production Equipment for Beginners 2017

Have you thought of turning those musical ideas you have in your head into a reality but not sure where to begin? Well, whatever style or genre you want to create, we have four differing studio setups that will enable you to produce professional quality music, from the comfort of your own home.  Each equipment package has been created with budding music producers in mind, product specifications and more importantly to fit the space you have available!

 

Software

Anyone with a Laptop or PC can turn any space or environment into a home recording studio. All modern music production setups start primarily with a digital audio workstation (DAW), and we have chosen one of the most popular and reliable DAW's to work with, Ableton Live. This software comes with everything you need to create music in the digital domain; this includes a mixer with channel effects, allowing you to virtually blend elements of your musical composition together, as well as an ‘arrange’ page to compose your track within a timeline. As if that wasn't enough, Ableton also comes with inbuilt software synthesisers that you can control via MIDI information. This is managed via the piano roll, where you visually draw notes which the synthesiser will then recreate. The best way to think of the Ableton Live software is that it is your control hub for all elements, be it software or hardware related.  Ableton Live is extremely user-friendly, and all of its capabilities become apparent through using/learning the software.

Ableton Live 9 Software


 

Studio Monitor Speakers

As a music producer, you need to ensure you can clearly and precisely hear all the sounds, blends and mixes.  To achieve this, you need to use studio monitor speakers which have been expertly designed and manufactured to withstand the type of precision required. Unlike traditional party speakers, reference monitors are designed to play sounds back without any enhancement and in its 'truest' form, thus allowing you to make critical mixing decisions e.g. when blending drum parts and bass parts together. To connect the monitor speakers to your computer, you would require and an audio interface, basically an external sound card. The sound would be directed out of your computer, through the audio interface and then to your reference speakers for you to hear.

KRK Monitor Speakers


 

Other external hardware

MIDI Controllers allow for people who are a lot more hands on, to still make full use of the Ableton software. Instead of drawing notes in the piano roll, you can alternatively play them on a keyboard. For people that want to record sounds, be it vocals or anything else, a microphone can be connected to your audio interface for easy plug and play functionality.

Midi Keyboard Controller

 

The Packages

Here we are going to discuss in more detail the bespoke packages we, The DJ Shop, have pulled together using our expertise and product knowledge.  The first three packages all come with Focusrite Scarlett Audio Interfaces, which includes additional free software; Red 2 & 3 Plug-in Suite (a collection of high-quality Focusrite VSTs (Virtual Studio Technology Plugins) that integrate directly into Ableton) and 2GB of Loopmasters samples. These are royalty free which means you can use them in your productions, commercial use included. Additionally, Novation Bass Station VST Plugin Synthesiser is also included.  This is a software emulation of a superior quality hardware analogue  Synth. It will provide you with a more in-depth look at synthesis, especially their components such as oscillators, envelopes, filters and modulators, etc.

Focusrite Scarlett Audio Interfaces

Each of the packages below will offer a full explanation of what you need to get started.  You will find the studio packages get slightly more advanced as you read through, such as additional software extras, MIDI controller size and speaker specification, to suit all requirements and desires.

 

Beginner Music Production Equipment Package (Portable)

This production setup is ideal for those with limited room or mobile music producers. The package is easy to assemble and disassemble, allowing you to make music anywhere, thus enhancing its attractive portability.

To start, we have selected the Alesis Elevate 5 Mk2 monitor speakers.  These are designed to accurately recreate sound across the frequency spectrum, allowing you, as a music producer and engineer, to hear where specific frequencies may be too loud or too quiet.

This package also includes a copy of Ableton Live 9 Standard, which will serve as the digital audio workstation (DAW) for your productions. Ableton allows you to compose, arrange, and edit your audio and MIDI tracks.

Finally, the Scarlett Solo Audio Interface will allow you to monitor and control your Alesis speakers.

Beginner Music Production Equipment Package


Beginner Home Studio Equipment Package

This studio setup is perfect for the ‘bedroom producer’ that can keep a permanent, albeit small configuration, in a bedroom, spare room or office. The selected KRK RP6 G3 Studio Monitors provide precise, clean and distortion-free frequency response, along with providing a clear mid-range and high-frequency replication.

The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd Gen Audio Interface will serve as an excellent method of monitoring your speakers, as well as giving you two inputs e.g. ideal for a microphone and external synthesiser. The Scarlett Pre-Amps are an extra inbuilt function that aids in capturing cleaner and smoother audio recordings.

Ableton Live 9 Standard serves as your central control hub. With Ableton, you will find the possibilities are endless by providing the flexibility to dive into the world of MIDI, synthesis, sampling and audio manipulation.

The Novation Launchkey Mini MK2 Keyboard will give you hands-on control of the software as well as allowing you to record in real-time, directly into your DAW. Finally, the Launchkey Mini keyboard comes with 1GB of high-quality Loopmasters samples, ideal for you to edit and use within your music production projects.

Beginner Home Studio Music Production Equipment Package

 

Home Recording Studio Production Package

For those with a little more space such as a spare room or a bigger bedroom, this equipment package contains elements of a more professional studio setup.

The Yamaha HS7 Monitor Speakers are arguably the most accurate monitor speakers with regards to their price (value for money). These monitor speakers will reproduce mid to high range frequencies correctly, allowing you to refine elements of your mixdowns that other speakers may of coloured or masked.

The Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 Audio Interface provides you with two balanced TRS outputs for an even cleaner audio signal from your interface to your speakers. You also have the world famous Focusrite Scarlett Pre-Amps integrated into the 2i4 to provide even more clarity in your audio capturing.

Ableton Live 9 Suite is the upgraded version of Ableton Live 9 Standard and comes complete with a whole host of additional features and functionalities. You are granted access to the full Ableton feature set, including instruments such as Operator and Tension. With the fully functional Ableton Suite, you also obtain access to all VST effects as well as unlimited MIDI and audio channels.

Control the software functionality with the included M-Audio Keystation 49 MK2, giving you a more artistic freedom to perform musical ideas before recording into a MIDI track inside Ableton. The added pitch bend and mod wheels offer even more refined control, as well as a wider octave range.

Included in this package is an sE Electronics X1 A Condenser microphone, ideal for capturing crystal clear audio and it can be easily connected to the Scarlett 2i4 via an XLR cable. Vocals can be recorded with ultimate control, directly into Ableton, for further manipulation. Despite whether you are recording vocals or instruments, you can manipulate the captured audio in Ableton, for even more sound design possibilities.

Home Recording Studio Music Production Package

 

Professional Home Recording and Production Studio Package

Here at The DJ Shop, we understand that some people learn best by only throwing themselves into the deep end. We have therefore created an intermediate standard home studio setup for those who want to challenge themselves or for existing music producers looking to improve their current configuration.

A majority of professional studios feature a combo setup of studio monitors and a subwoofer, which provides you with a more accurate picture of the entire frequency spectrum. The subwoofer will enable you to control frequencies between 20Hz and 100Hz with clinical accuracy. The studio monitors then allow you to focus on mid to high range frequencies.

The studio monitors we have selected are the Mackie HR624 Studio Monitors. The idea behind using a 6-inch woofer and no higher means that you are not introducing too much low-frequency information, the included Mackie MR10s MK3 Subwoofer alleviates this responsibility.

Due to the extent of the external signal, an audio interface would not be suitable in its entirety; therefore a studio monitor controller would be better suited.  This is where the Mackie Big Knob Studio Monitor Controller would be best placed. Each of the studio monitors and subwoofers would be connected (outputted) to this controller, which in turn would be connected (inputted) to your computer via USB.

This bundle also comes with Ableton Live 9 Suite. Additionally, we have included the Native Instruments Komplete 11 Software, which is a collection of software effects and instruments that integrate perfectly with Ableton. The plug-ins include compressors, reverbs and effects which have been emulated on classic analogue hardware for a more vintage sound.

A pro studio setup would not be complete without an advanced MIDI controller.  Here we have selected the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S-49, which allows for superior control over its own Software as well as having a ‘scale’ mode where a musical key can be selected for composition.  This feature is ideal for those who have not yet developed sufficient knowledge of music theory (beginners) or those who want to improve upon this (intermediates).

Finally, the package comes complete with the sE Electronics X1 S Studio Bundle; which includes superior quality condenser mic, guaranteeing clarity in all audio recordings, and a reflection filter, which will help prevent against unwanted reflections within your room.

Professional Home Recording and Music Production Studio Package

 

Conclusion

We feel there is a package to suit all beginners’ requirements, space and budgets. Starting out, producing music, can appear quite daunting. However, we all have to start somewhere.  We have produced this article in the hope of providing you with informative and useful information to make that transition into music production a little easier and clearer (and kinder on your bank balance!)

It is worth noting that more in-depth information, on each of the individual products mentioned within this article, can be found on our website, should you wish to delve a little deeper.

Studio and Instruments

Alternatively, you can contact us to discuss your requirements or products features/specifications.

Posted in News By

Laura Apicella