This is part 2 of a 5 part series on the basics of electronic music production. Read part 1 if you haven't already.
The best place to start building our home studio is the computer, this is the nucleus of our home recording studio. I highly recommend an iMac or a Macbook Pro with at least an i5 processor and 2GB Ram. You’re going to want at least 1TB of hard drive either external or on the hard drive for all your audio files.
Some, not many use a windows based PC but I highly discourage this, if for no other reason you will miss out on Logic Studio, a very useful D.A.W for any electronic musician, if you’re running a Windows machine you will not have that option.
Next it’s time to look for a good quality audio interface. Number one on my list is an Apogee Duet 2, it will run around $600 new I have seen them used for as cheap as $450 and again this is only compatible with an Apple computer. The sound quality is completely pristine and well worth the money. Maybe you’re not quite that ambitious, you can buy an M-Audio Fast Track Pro for $99 and it will do the job fine.
Remember the Audio Interface is only going to be for any analog instruments like guitars, basses and any microphones you might want for vocals or any ambient sounds you want to record, this is where you can get really creative and set yourself apart from other artists.
Next is the midi controller, the midi controller unlocks hundreds of instruments that make thousands of different sounds for you to use at your disposal, the midi controller or midi keyboard controls all of the softwares instruments. I absolutely swear by the M-Audio Axiom 49 Pro with hyper-control, it will run you about $500 brand new but well worth the investment.
The main selling point of this controller is the hyper control which allows you to change the instruments sound directly from your keyboard while you are playing and you can change which parameters it actually controls in the D.A.W.S preferences, making it fully customizable to your needs, hyper-control also limits your use of the computers mouse and keyboard all while speeding up your workflow. M-Audio have midi keyboards all the way down to the $99 price range and they all work really well with all of the main D.A.W.S.
Headphones are extremely important in music production because you need to hear the lowest of the lows and the highest of the highs no matter what kind of music you’re producing. They should be at least in the $100 range but not over $200 for all practical purposes, if you find a pair of $300 headphones you can’t live without by all means grab them up, but as for functionality you don’t need to go overboard.
You’re going to want to stick to brands like Sony, Shure, Technics, AKG and Sennheiser for the best quality sound and if possible try them on for comfortability you may be wearing them a long time.
Studio Monitors come in many sizes, the absolute best in my opinion is Yamaha HS80M it will run $1000 for 2. A couple of M-Audio monitors will do fine to start they can be as low as $100 per monitor.
A good microphone to start with is a Blue Bottle condenser mic that runs around $199. There are many options, some producers like the Shure SM57 as it’s a good all around mic.
Next up, DIY Electronic Music Production Basics: Part 3 – Software.
Guest Post: Rick Lloyd is a Musician/Producer with 8 years of experience writing, performing, recording and producing with a variety of musicians focused in Electronic and Indie Rock music. Rick is currently getting ready to launch Ghost Print Media, an in depth media blog website focused as a reference guide and networking site for the D.I.Y artist, as well as reviews of media services, software, and equipment used to create our media. Follow him on Twitter @GhostPrintMedia