How To Make Music

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How To Make Music Using Computers. You decided that you want to make music. You want to be a producer. That’s great! There is no better time to start learning this rewarding artform. Here’s why:

  1. The tools have only recently become cheap enough for amatuers to achieve professional results.
  2. Technology is making completely new production techniques possible every day.
  3. The music industry is transforming so that more musicians are able to share the spotlight.
  4. It’s incredibly fun!

Even if you aren’t an amazing instrumentalist, learning music production will enable you to create songs that force people to dance, feel emotions, and enjoy themselves. Quality music invokes a full range of feelings within the listener. As a producer, your job is to master the techniques that invoke those feelings.

Make no mistake, professional-sounding music is a craft. It can be taught and it can be learned. All it takes is time and passion.

If you have the desire to create excellent music, SonicTransfer will provide you with the skills needed to become a master producer.

What You Need

Today, almost all electronic music is written on a computer. Producers use software to process and arrange the music so that it sounds perfect. Sometimes the music is further refined by sending it through lots of dedicated hardware. However, as you will see, expensive hardware is not needed to get started with electronic music production.

There are tons of options when choosing your studio setup. However, for simplicity, assume that there are three main "levels" of personal studios. These levels are described in the following list:

  1. Minimum Setup – This studio meets the fewest requirements necessary for music production. It contains:
    • A Computer (PC or Mac). It was purchased new within the last 7 years.
    • Music Software. Possibly a free loop arranger or MIDI sequencer.
  2. Good Setup – This studio has everything needed to produce lots of types of high quality music. It contains:
    • A Computer (PC or Mac). It was purchased new within the last 4 years.
    • Music Software. Uses a modern package like Ableton Live, Digidesign Pro Tools, Steinberg Cubase, Cakewalk Sonar, MOTU Digital Performer, etc.
    • Professional Audio Interface. Offers low audio latency with high quality inputs and outputs.
    • MIDI Interface. Possibly included with the audio interface, this device enables you to “play” instruments contained with your computer.
    • MIDI Controller. You can use a MIDI keyboard or guitar to control virtual instruments provided by your music software.
  3. Pro Setup – This studio has everything needed to produce any kind of top quality music. It contains:
    • A Computer (PC or Mac). It was purchased new within the last 4 years.
    • Music Software. Uses a modern package like Ableton Live, Digidesign Pro Tools, Steinberg Cubase, Cakewalk Sonar, MOTU Digital Performer, etc.
    • Professional Audio Interface. Offers low audio latency with multiple (more than two) high quality inputs and outputs. More inputs and outputs allow you to record multiple microphones at once, or process audio with external hardware.
    • MIDI Interface. Possibly included with the audio interface, this device enables you to “play” instruments contained with your computer.
    • MIDI Controller. You can use a MIDI keyboard or guitar to control virtual instruments provided by your music software.
    • Studio Monitors. High quality speakers enable you to listen to you songs completely “flat”, accurately reproducing the sound without audio distortions.
    • Acoustically-Treated Room. Room sizes and shapes greatly affect the way your songs are reproduced on your speakers, as well as how sound is recorded by microphones.
    • Hardware. Microphones, preamps, external processing units, etc. The possibilities are infinite.

To really make some very respectable music, the Good Setup is all you need. The Pro Setup will take your sound to next level, but it is overkill for anybody except production veterans. Of course, most music shops will tell you that you need everything listed in the Pro Setup. Don’t listen to them! If you have a computer and some music software, you already have enough to start making really excellent music.

Your First Steps

Start reading about your music software. Read your music program’s manual! Really learn it.

Once you feel a little comfortable with your software, click here to start reading the electronic music production tutorials on SonicTransfer. If you have any questions along the way, click here to ask a question on the SonicTransfer forums. There are lots of helpful people there who can assist you.

As always, stay passionate and stick with it. You’ve started on a new path that will reward you for the rest of your life. Welcome to the exciting world of electronic music production.

The Next Step

Subscriptions to SonicTransfer Premium support the continued improvement of SonicTransfer. Premium is “The Next Step” and contains over 100 pages of additional material that is not on SonicTransfer Basic. Click here to read about SonicTransfer Premium.

Happy Producing!

Matt Sonic