Music Production Equipment for Beginners

music production equipment for beginners - decibel peak

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It’s funny, I just got a phone call from an aspiring group of young musicians. Talk about humbling, right? That’s what inspired me to write on the subject of music production equipment for beginners. 

These young gentlemen seemed discouraged at how much it would cost to have their music produced by someone like me.

I tried to reassure them by letting them know that there was another way…

It may take some trial and error, but learning how to produce your own music is the most realistic approach to creating music nowadays.

You’ll simply need the best music production equipment for beginners:

The best computer for music production

Ironically, the best computer for music production is actually one of the most affordable. If you’re just getting started with music production, it may be worth the investment.

However, the computer you already have is probably your best bet.

Somewhere down the line, you’ll feel the need to upgrade so just get started!

Regardless of the machine you use, I still recommend the following:

  • 8th generation Intel processor (or higher)
  • 8GB of RAM (DDR4, ideally)

If you have the choice between using an SSD and a HDD, go with the SSD.

The amount of storage doesn’t really matter because you can always use external drives.

Before you decide to be a professional music producer though, the most basic computer will most likely be more than suitable enough. It may be slower, but it WILL work!

As your skills develop though, you will eventually need more power.

That’s why I recommend the Mac Mini M1 for EVERYBODY.

New Apple Mac Mini with Apple M1 Chip (8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) - Latest Model

It’s one of the most affordable computers on the market right and also one of the most powerful. If you don’t already have a computer, this is the one I’d go with.

It’s also the one I’m using at the moment, so there you go!

If you prefer using Windows-based machines, that’s okay.

In the long run though, I don’t personally believe it’s the best move (from experience).

It might seem more affordable at first, but it’s not.

The best music production software for beginners

The next most important element on your music production equipment “shopping list” is the software you’ll be using. The software you need is referred to as a DAW (digital audio workstation).

The truth is, there are plenty of free DAWs out there.

However, I can only personally recommend TWO…

GarageBand is the best of the two and is included (along with lots of other software) with the purchase of any Apple computer. PreSonus Studio One Prime is the DAW I recommend to Windows-users.

I personally started producing music with Reason Studios Reason.

That would be the best DAW to start with for beginners in my opinion.

The only issue is that it ISN’T free.

The good news is that you can use it for 19.99$ per month!

That’s much more affordable than any of the other DAWs out there by a LONGSHOT. It’s also based on what I believe to be the easiest piece of music production software to use.

I still use it to this day, but my main DAW is Logic Pro X (the “upgrade” to GarageBand).

If you want to read more about my recommendations, check out THIS ARTICLE.

The only thing I want to say is NO… You cannot use Audacity.

Don’t start your music production career (or hobby) on the wrong foot. Audacity wasn’t designed for music production. Get the right tool for the job!

The best audio interface for beginners

If you’re planning to record audio, then you’ll need an audio interface. If you’re simply planning to use software instruments (virtual instruments), then  you may skip this item.

An audio interface basically converts an analog signal to digital.

That’s how the audio can be stored in your computer’s storage.

The first audio interface you purchase doesn’t need to be expensive. There are some fairly decent ones between 100-200$. Either way, they all have pretty much the same features.

You may also need microphones if you’re planning to record.

That being said, I personally recommend THIS BUNDLE if you don’t know where to start.

You’ll have everything you need to get started.

Is it the best? It’s certainly not the worst!

You’ll need to develop an appreciation for high-quality equipment before investing too much.

And besides…

There’s NO such thing as equipment that sounds bad.

The sooner you learn to work with what you have, the sooner you’ll stop making excuses. I’d rather start you on that path from the start. The bundle includes high-quality equipment though.

Sometimes, you’ll learn that more expensive doesn’t necessarily equal better.

The best headphones for beginners

The one tool you’ll absolutely need to get an accurate (or as close as possible) representation of your music is a decent pair of headphones. Now, they ALL sound different.

There’s no such thing as the perfect pair of headphones.

However, there are headphones that are designed for music production.

I just want to get you to STOP using consumer-grade headphones (like Beats).

Those types of headphones won’t work for you in the long run since they artificially boost certain frequencies (usually the bass frequencies).

I personally recommend the Sennheiser HD 280 PROs.

SENNHEISER HD280PRO Headphone (new model)

Those are the headphones I personally started with and am still using them to this day!

The best keyboard controller for beginners

You’ll quickly notice that creating music with a mouse and keyboard is tedious. Not to mention that it’s completely UN-musical. That’s why you need a keyboard controller.

My first keyboard controller was the M-Audio KeyRig 49.

They don’t make it anymore, but there are plenty of products in that range.

Here are a few options you can consider:

I recommend getting something that’s at least “semi-weighted” which means the notes will react to how hard you press on the keys.

You’ll want to start working with this tool as soon as possible.

You don’t need to be a pianist to use one of these. Think of it as the keyboard of music.

Now, the mouse of music will take the form of a modulation/pitch bend wheel.

Make sure your keyboard has those because it makes the music production process MUCH more fun (and efficient, of course).

Summary: Music Production Equipment for Beginners

Alright, so I hope that you now realize that you can produce music at home. It’s possible!

It’s also more affordable than ever with the leaps technology has taken.

The best music production equipment for beginners is simply the essentials. There’s no reason to be investing large sums of money until you understand what you’re doing.

Nowadays, the most affordable equipment for music production is still on par with some of the best. In other words, the gap for quality is very narrow.

The most difficult part about the music production process is LEARNING.

It’ll take you years before your productions are up to par with the big boys (and girls).

That’s why I created Decibel Peak. I want to make music production accessible to all.

The average artist/band will never make a return on their investment by purchasing music production services from someone like me.

However, learning this invaluable skill can probably pay all your bills someday!

So, who REALLY pays for the music we make? That’s a topic for another day.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments. I’d be more than happy to support you on your quest to become the best music producer than you can be. Thanks for your time, now go make some music!

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