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14-04-2020, 23:51   #1
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How to start out in music production?

Hi All,

After reading the main post on this topic I still have some questions, so hoping someone here can help out. I want to produce my own songs, but don’t know where to start and I figured now is the perfect time to get into it.

What I wish to record:
On mic: Solo vocals. In Software/possibly synth: the music (various styles incl. Jazz, Pop, Indie, Dance).

At home, turning one of the rooms (partly) into recording room.

I’m a singer/song writer (initially classically trained – vocals and piano, then moved to jazz & modern – vocals and piano). I can read/write notes and have experience on musical composition. What I lack is any and all knowledge on production & mixing.

Music production knowledge:
Practically zero. I used to have a Yamaha Mo6 years ago, with which I did the majority of my song writing, but the recording of what I was playing (including various instruments, drums, etc. on synth) was done by someone else. I tapped a little bit into Cubase and FL Studios ages ago, but again, I’d say my knowledge is next to zero and even when I did I was largely lost.

Current equipment:
Guitar (not intending to record it, just used for song writing) and a USB microphone (which will do for now). My PC is on its way out so I’m looking into getting a new one anyways, and here the question of compatibility/setup arises. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a synthesizer again, because I’m most comfortable with a piano interface when it comes to writing music.

Low at the moment thanks to the current situation, but I am willing to save up.

My questions are:
  • Can someone recommend an (affordable) online beginners’ course on music production/mixing that would fit what I’m going for?
  • Would a synth + new PC/Mac be the best choice for the direction I’m going in or is there a better alternative? If synth – any recommendations?
  • Any Software recommendations or is a course the first step and I should look into Software after having more knowledge?

Thanks a mil
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15-04-2020, 11:12   #2
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This book is free from Ableton currently.
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16-04-2020, 11:56   #3
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Originally Posted by Kayce View Post
[*]Can someone recommend an (affordable) online beginners’ course on music production/mixing that would fit what I’m going for?[*]Would a synth + new PC/Mac be the best choice for the direction I’m going in or is there a better alternative? If synth – any recommendations?[*]Any Software recommendations or is a course the first step and I should look into Software after having more knowledge?[/LIST]
Thanks a mil
1 - I wouldn't pay for a course that doesn't give you access to anything practical (Studio / Equipment / Software ). You'd probably be better off looking at this as a Hobbyist home recording thing. So you'd be wanting to look up videos on Youtube based on the Software / Equipment you are using. (USB Mic might not be good enough with Latency). The Items you'd want to review are:

* Signal Flow
* EQ
* Dynamics (compressor / Noise gate)
* FX ( Reverb / Delay...)
* Mixing
* too a lesser extent, maybe an overview on the mastering process...

2 - It'll be easier to do a build with a PC. Go for as much passive cooling as possible to reduce noise on the PC.

3 - Depends on what you are looking to acheive and what kind of workflow you are experinced in. A lot of USB devices come with an entry tier version of a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Mackie's ship with Pro Tools, Steinberg with Cubase and Presonus with Studio 1. There are cheap alternatives though, Reaper is running an extended free trial and a personal lisence is relatively low priced. I recently got Reason 11 Intro for about 80 euro also. But this ties into question 1. Look up videos of those DAWs and see if you can follow the workflow.
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19-04-2020, 00:54   #4
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its a fascinating and frustrating thing to get into
at the moment you are a creative
and you want to take control of printing your ideas in reasonable quality
ok, well - i dont want to put you off, as i believe any one can do anything
the learning curve is massive , and the technical aspects are large , and they hinder any creativity .
especially as a newbie to the process .
the holy grail is to be able to hear an idea in your head ,
and flesh it out into a rough mix / near mixed track in a few hours .
thus- you have to rely on templates and alot of experience , to hit the ground running on an idea.

this is why most writers / creatives - have a got a goto person who takes care of the tech aspects
(so that the creative only has to about about creating )

if you wish to do it yourself , and you want good results,
you are going to have to spend ALOT of time on getting better at it
pretty much like learning a brand new instrument to stage standard.

you will need :

good monitoring
( good speakers and a treated room
( thick insultation and or room correction software sonarworks ref 4 for example )
- or good headphones and headphone correction like sonarworks ref 4 , and including a speaker simulator such as CANOPENER )

A PC with a DAW ( recording software - pro tools / Reaper / cubase / logic etc )
and two hardrives minimum in the pc c drive for programmes , d drive for recording onto .

a good sound interface ( i use audient id 44 ) it also has a DI for guitars
it also has good preamps for mics in it .

a good mic ( an SM58 is a great mic for a home studio , sm7b is even better )

a midi interface for keyboards if rquired.

you can do a whole album with the above , in great quality

after that its a matter of instruments you use .
( including a drum package , ez drummer 2 is very good )

the only thing stopping yopu making a pro sounding album with the above list - is you and your skills
thats the hard part .

i can reccomend doing a course online with Jordan Valeriot or Jason Moss , or Kenny Goia
if you wish to speed up the learning curve
but i cannot stress enough - the learning curve is HUGE , if you wish to sound good .

best of luck though !
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22-04-2020, 14:37   #5
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I somewhat disagree with the above post.

Yes it's very tough (impossible!) to get radio quality mixes straight off the bat without knowledge/equipment/experience but it doesn't need to be soul destroying or too detrimental to the creative processes. It is a skill in itself and up there with playing an instrument but getting ideas down to a rough standard is relatively straight forward which is what I'm assuming you're looking for at this stage.

It very much depends on you, what you want and what you expect.

Start slow and enjoy it to start with, don't expect it to be perfect but the act of getting a track down and messing with it, layering things on top of it can be a lot of fun, start there and you'll start picking things up.

If I were you I would start with the following:

- A decent PC, I won't go into what decent is as you'll find everything you need on Google.

- A DAW, Reaper is free to use, pretty decent and easy to use. Last time I checked Cubase Elements was €80 and has most things you would need.

- OK monitors, these don't need to break the bank, to start I would get something pretty transparent so as not to shape your sound too much. You can always get better monitors down the line, as your mixes get better you'll most likely switch between different monitors anyway so these won't be wasted unless they're total s**t. For starters you could use headphones and save here. I'm not a fan of mixing or listening back on headphones but I know lots of people who only use them and they churn out great mixes.

- you can start playing with soft synths for free at this point and getting to know how to use the DAW but it's less fun than having your hands on something.

- A mic, SM58/SM57 are safe but there are cheaper alternatives that will get you started. Personally if I'm on a budget I wouldn't spend more than €100 or so on a mic (and I like mics) until you know you'll stick with it and get your moneys worth.

- A simple 2in/2out interface, something like the Focusrite Scarlett for instance, it's not great but it's not bad and it'll let you plug in a mic and/or guitar. The 2i2 is fine for analog input but you'll need to step up to the 8i8 if you need a midi interface I believe.

- If you want a hardware synth you could save on the above by getting one with midi over USB so you can use it as a controller too. I like the Deepmind personally, the DM6 is only about €500 and is a good controller too.

So for me, using Reaper, Headphones, no midi interface and recording guitar and vox with digital drums (loads for free) and soft synths (loads for free) you could get up and running sub €300 (excluding a new PC). Spending more will most likely get you better results but I wouldn't spend €€€ until later on.

Just looked up courses and coursera do a free music production course for free:

I know nothing about it but it's free so can't hurt to sign up.
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22-04-2020, 14:47   #6
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Yeah, I'm with Keith..a half decent soundcard, a mic, monitors and a daw..a midi keyboard can do a lot for cheap these days..
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25-04-2020, 15:21   #7
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Groove3 have a free course at the moment = How to Practice Music Production - it's a good over view of whats needed
just sign up and login .

I assumed from your post and your historical musical training you wished to be a serious music producer-
hence the reality check
if you just wish to dabble in it - then ignore my advice and just do it whatever way you can

the most valuable thing you can do in any area of expertise is spend money on your skills knowledge / and training - and practise what you learned .
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