„Wow. I can’t believe it! Really?! Lol!“ Can you imagine? Obviously, times have changed since the digital revolution in the early 40s. Today we can’t think of computers anymore. Everything is controlled by them – our whole life. I don’t want to imagine what will happen if there is a blackout. Maybe you have already experienced something like this, so you know what I am talking about.
Now back to the studio. Your computer is literally the brain in the whole music production process. It allows us to do many things inside, like recording, editing, writing emails, visiting the world wide web, even talking to our lovely family members who might be on the other side of the world, and much more.
Today I won’t go into the technical specifications that are important to run your home studio safely. However, it is important to understand from the very beginning that if you are about to buy a new computer for your audio production journey, most likely you should be prepared to spend more money here as it will be the holy grail of your bedroom studio.
„Do I need to spend millions on buying the newest, fastest and best computer out there to run my sessions successfully?“ Absolutely not! But you need to have in mind that in most cases the cheaper your equipment is, especially audio related, the more you will get what you have paid for.
In my next article, I will cover the very basics of important computer parts (CPU, RAM & hard drives) which you should be aware of in case you are about to buy a new computer or want to make a new update to your already existing system.
2. Headphones & Speakers
The second item which you will find in every audio related studio are headphones and speakers. Why do I mention them together? Well, let me explain briefly why it is super beneficial to have both. I am sure that you have already heard the term car-test. What is the so-called car-test and why are producers talking about it?
The answer is quite simple: You are working on a track in your studio, but you know as well that the track will be played back somewhere else – another location. A different location means that you will probably find different acoustic circumstances. Every room, speaker and headphone are different in their frequency response. And what is frequency response exactly?
Frequency response is nothing else than what we hear coming outside the speaker. However, it is only one opinion about the mix. If you add headphones to it, you already have two opinions. Have you ever build a website yourself?
Even if not, you probably know that the mobile version should look as good as the desktop version, right? At least, this is what all front-end programmers are striving for. No difference with audio. Your goal is to make the best possible product which not only sounds great on your speakers but on other devices like laptops or smartphones too.
So if you have already a pair of headphones, make sure to check on another speaker system as well. This will definitely guarantee you more success, than just mixing on one device only. Makes sense?
3. Audio Interface
When I first began producing, I remember I had no clue what an audio interface was. Is it something important? Do I really need one? I mean everything is working fine. I take my headphones and plug them straight into my laptops 3,5mm input-jack. What’s going on here?
Okay, please let me give you some advice for your future. Let’s say you are really just starting out and you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars for more equipment – at least for now. That’s totally okay.
First, you really need to gain some more experience in music production, the super basics. But after some time you will probably start to fiddle around with EQ (equalization), compression, reverb, etc.. I believe that at this point you really should consider going for a professional audio interface, as you and your workflow will benefit more in the near future. What is the reason for that?
First, you will realize that due to better audio conversion compared to your internal one (computer), you will start to hear more details in your signals and your overall productions. I do remember that day when I first plugged my audio interface into my computer and had that „A-ha“ moment. It was like my headphones opened a whole new world to my ears. Mind-blowing really.
Another super beneficial fact is that all audio interfaces come at least with the option to have two different outputs. For now, I will only say to make it easy for understanding: One output for your headphones and one output for your speakers.
Back then I was plugging my headphones and speakers every single time I wanted to hear them – in and out, in and out. A laptop has only one 3,5mm jack. Actually annoying after some time. I know it was stupid, but it was the reality! I will cover audio interfaces more in-depth soon. Don’t forget to subscribe (if you haven’t already) to be informed first which audio interface might be the best for your needs.
4. DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)
I would say that it is still one of the most discussed topics (maybe even „the most“ discussed topic) today. Which DAW should I buy? What is the best DAW out there? And so forth…. I want to say this at the very beginning: Stop worrying about what is the best DAW out there. Start with one and learn it well. If you can handle your starting DAW after a while, you won’t have any difficulties to switch to another I believe.
Yes, there are some differences between the DAWs, however, the basic concepts are always the same. Remember that choosing a DAW is always a personal preference. There is no good or bad. No right or wrong. You need to find one that serves your needs and just learn it. Comparing apples and oranges is a real time waster.
Soon, I will talk about different DAWs and share my thoughts. I want to stay as objective as I can be. Now, I want to explain in a couple of sentences what a digital audio workstation is and what it is good for.
A digital audio workstation, short DAW, is nothing else than an application software to record, mix and manipulate audio files. DAWs are used without exception in all audio and music-related scenarios.
If you are about to produce, mix, compose, record, master music, or recording speeches, podcasts, and sound effects, you will never work around a digital audio workstation today. There are many different out there, and during the past decades some of them switched their focus to serve another task more, however, they all do the same: Record, collect and finalize audio productions.
Here are the most used DAWs among music producers:
5. Time & Patience
The last of the five things which is actually not a „physical thing“, are more of an intangible assets – time and patience. Do I need to tell you what time is? „Yes, please!“ Time is a gift from above that everyone of us has equally – today, tomorrow and hopefully in one year as well. Successful people talk about that all of us have roundabout 1000 minutes a day – roughly 16,5 hours each day to plan and execute. Even if we go down to 900 minutes, we still have 15 hours left.
It doesn’t matter if you are rich, poor, famous, or just an ordinary human being like your neighbor. You still have the same amount of time every single day. All you need to know for now is that only you are responsible for your time, so your day and your achievement. Nobody else. Only you.
I guess we all heard that sentence from someone or even worse, ourselves: „Sorry, I had no time….“ And the best part is that you know exactly that you have spend two and half hours today checking instagram stories. And what are your statistics telling you? The point is that you will always find space if you want to.
The earlier you start actively remind yourself about it, the more time you will have learning new things, being more productive and becoming better faster. But it all takes time and the more time you open up for yourself, the greater you potentially can become!
However, time is not the only factor here. Only because you freed up some time doesn’t necessary mean that you will become the next big hit producer. What you need as well is called patience. This is what being patient means for me: If I have a specific goal that I want to accomplish, I try to focus all of my positive energy and guide my mind to achieve exactly that, knowing that time will help me understand the tasks showing up on my way. Concentrate on yourself only because your path will always be a different one!
Thank you for reading! And now, enjoy the video! :)
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To your success,
Creator of Make Better Music Now
Hi, I’m Alexey aka JLX,
it’s nice to meet you!
I am a Germany based composer,
sound designer, mixing engineer and coach.
Feel free to check out my website,
connect and subscribe to my blog!