music production

how to make music in 3 easy steps

How to Make Music Faster: Start Making Electronic Music in 3 Easy Steps

Are you wondering how to start making electronic music fast? Well, you came to the right place. Here are 3 ways to make music producing easier for yourself.

1. Start with samples: Subscribe to Splice.

Everything you really need to write electronic music is in one place, and it’s called Splice.

I recommend starting out with Splice if you are new to producing. If you haven’t gotten Splice and you have been producing for years, get it. Seriously, it’s awesome. If I was using Splice when I first started producing, I would have found the sounds I was looking for so much faster. Ah, my life would have been so much easier. Instead of scouring the internet for expensive sound packs or incomplete free sample packs, try doing a monthly subscription to splice. It’s about as much as a large coffee. Ever since I started using splice, I make songs a lot faster. It’s also way easier to get started with a new idea! Splice is not only equipped with sample packs. They also have midi packs and sound presents. Finally, they even offer “rent to own” VST plugins for you to try and buy, making them a “one-stop-shop” for electronic music producers.

If you use samples, it will save you from having to worry about creating new ideas. For a lot of us, this is the hardest part. Not everyone is naturally gifted at playing music, and even if you are, samples can help you save valuable time. It’s good to make music with a little help from our friends sometimes, and there are tons of samples out there to use when starting a bit.

2. Buy an audio interface and get a cool synth to play with.

Alternative: Splurge on a VST synth like Massive or Serum (available through small monthly payments on Splice).

One of the most fun parts of producing music is using an analog synthesizer. Don’t get me wrong, VST synths are pretty much just as fun, but there is value in hands-on learning from trying out analog gear. There are so many options! I recommend the Novation MiniNova. It has huge power packed in and is pretty portable. I also have really enjoyed using my MicroKorgXL because it’s so straight forward and easy to use. Both of these synths have tons of classic sounds to use for electronic music production.

If you don’t have a ton of space or a ton of cash, I would recommend using the payment plan through spice to get yourself a synth like Serum. Serum is debatably one of the best synths available. And, it is probably the most popular VST used in bass music. I can’t stress enough how useful Splice is, really it is a lifesaver. The rent to own is so reasonable you can get tons of synths for a small monthly fee. In the long term, you are going to find some samples from your favourite producers on Splice and make a gnarly collection, along with the synths they have available through rent-to-own. Then you will be crushing your music production goals much easier.

3. Use a midi controller to make beats: MPK Mini/Maschine/Ableton Drum Rack

This one is a game-changer. If you have ever seen a video like this then you know how powerful this Maschine is.

If you want to have similar control of Ableton without the price of the Maschine MK3, opt-in for an MPK Mini. It may be best to learn Maschine when you are first starting out as a producer. Out of the gates, you are in learning mode. You are very excited about learning how to produce music and you have a little extra money for something fancy. If this is you, definitely try to get your hands on a Maschine. In a similar way to the first two steps, Maschine is equipped with samples and controller capabilities. It will help you shortcut some of the pains of producing everything from scratch in your DAW. I especially find Maschine useful for drumbeat creation. With hundreds of customizable drum kit libraries, you really have endless capabilities for drums. Although you will have to practice, it will open the doors to music creation in a hands-on way, similar to analog gear. Like I said above there are many alternatives to these steps, but I think these are three big steps you can take if you want to avoid some of the pains most of us experience starting out as a producer. Not to mention, these things do make the process of music production a ton of fun! I personally did not have these resources when I first started producing. When I did finally have all of these things though, it did make big difference in how EASY the process of electronic music production was. When it comes down to it, you can always keep it simple, but if you are looking to upgrade your studio power, here are a few great ideas. Use ANY samples you can find that fit your vibe. MASTER the built-in synths of your DAW. Use your computer keyboard as a MIDI CONTROLLER. There are SO MANY ways you can produce music with just a computer and a DAW if that’s all you can afford. If you can buy a little something extra, it will definitely be worth it and make your life a little bit easier and more fun.

 

Top 10 Electronic Music Producer Essentials

Whether you are just starting out as an electronic music producer, or if you are looking to expand your existing studio, here are the essentials.

1) A Computer Fit for Music Production – MacBook Pro/iMac Pro/Asus Zenbook Pro

You are going to need a fast and powerful computer.

Nothing is worse than being halfway through a project and the CPU gets overloaded. Apple is known for its creator-friendly computers and easy to use the operating system. If you want something portable, I would recommend starting out with a MacBook Pro. For something more powerful but less portable, go with the iMac Pro. Finally, if you are a dedicated PC user, I would recommend the Asus Pro Art Station or Asus Zenbook Pro.

2) A USB Keyboard/MIDI Controller M-Audio Keystation49/MPCmini

If you don’t already have a USB Keyboard or MIDI-Controller, get one!

Although you can use a computer keyboard, you should use a midi keyboard or midi controller. I recommend starting out with an M-Audio Keystation49 or an Akai MPK mini. For someone who is looking for something in between try the Alesis V49.

3) A DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)– Ableton Live/Logic

Although there is some debate, Ableton Live is probably the most common DAW available.

Ableton Live is the easiest to use. Produce beats from making basic loops, which can be easily arranged into full songs. Get the free trial here. Logic Pro is also a good choice and is probably the second most common DAW used for electronic music production. Free Logix Pro X trial here.

4) An Audio Interface (or DJ Controller) – Focusrite Scarlett/Pioneer DDJ

The best option for setting up your studio is with the Focusrite Scarlett Studio Bundle.

The bundle includes headphones, a microphone, and cable and the audio interface. You don’t “need” an audio interface for electronic music production. But, if you want to record your own vocals or analog sounds, then you will need proper audio to digital converter. Not to mention you could set up your studio monitors with your audio interface as your output. If you are planning on DJing too, I would recommend getting a Pioneer DDJ-SZ2, which can also be used as an interface for recording. If you are planning on just producing electronic music then you should buy the Focusrite Scarlett 2I2, which is probably the most popular audio interface for bedroom producers and professional electronic music producers. Really want to step up your music production game? Get both.

5) Studio Monitors/Speakers KRK Rokit/Yamaha HS5

You’re going to want to hear your music well, so get some studio monitors.

KRK Rokits and Yamaha HS5 are going to be your best speaker choice starting out. You might want a second set of reference speakers eventually. If upgrading I recommend the Adam Audio T8V. If these above options are all too expensive for you then go with the JBL 305P MKII. Make sure you get a pair!

6) Headphones Audio-Technica AT50/Shure SRH440

This is going to be essential as a DJ or an electronic music producer.

Headphones are another set of reference speakers when you are checking your mix. They are essential if – like most of us – you can’t always have your speaker volume turned all the way up at home. The Audio-Technica ATH-M50X is the best option, they are highly recommended by most producers and come at a reasonable price. If you are looking for something a bit cheaper, Shure SRH440 is going to be the best headphones for you. With a flat frequency response curve, they are going to give you the clearest and most accurate sound when you are creating your electronic music.

7) An Understanding of Music Theory Piano for All

When it comes to making music, it gets pretty difficult to dance around the fact that music theory understanding and piano playing skills are going to make the process a lot easier.

Many producers are not the best musicians and they still are professionals. But, you should know the basics of piano playing, which through the process helps you understand music theory in general. I recommend learning the piano because it’s a linear instrument. The notes are from left to right and clearly structured by tone and octave. Luckily, you don’t need to be a professional piano player to be a professional electronic music producer, but the basics help. Start out here to learn how to play the piano or keyboard and get a foundation for electronic music production.

8) A Microphone stand, laptop stand, cables or other accessories

There are a few microphone options above. If you are DJing you’re going to want to have a laptop stand. You will need some extra USB cables, long ones, and some XLR cables to connect your speakers to your audio interface or DJ controller, and, instruments. If you are a signer or want to record vocals, you need to choose a microphone and get a microphone stand. If you are just starting out and aren’t bringing in vocalists, a USB microphone should be just fine, but if you want a mobile option for DJing or if you are bringing in vocalists then you should get a stand so they can stand up comfortably to sing.

9) Sound Treatment/Acoustic Panels

A little soundproofing goes a long way (at least for the listener, haha).

You should try and dampen about 50% of the reflections of the ceiling if you are producing music in a room without carpet. Although it is highly expensive to fully soundproof a room, you can treat the room with foam panels for relatively cheap. If you have more money to spend then try getting the foam panels and a baffle.

10) An External Hard Drive or SSD Drive

As an electronic music producer, you are going to acquire and create a ton of files.

I recommend buying a computer with a fair amount of built-in memory, but you want an external drive to store programs, music libraries and extra sample packs so you never lose your data. Not to mention, you should always backup your precious projects!