Do you ever wonder how the music is made? What is sound? And how can we transform analog wave to digital form? This article is for anyone who wants to become a music producer.
Over the past 20 years, music production has become more accessible. 20 years ago, a music producer needed expensive analog gear (mixing board, analog compressors, analog EQ’s, gate, everything) and in 80’s everything was recorded on tape. Nowadays you don’t need all of that, everything can be made in high quality on your laptop or desktop computer. Now, I’m not saying that it’s going to be exactly the same sound like mixing on analog gear; but big award-winning companies such as Wave Audio are using professional digital audio signal processing technologies and audio effects, used in recording, mixing, mastering, post-production, broadcast, and live sound. They are making something we today know as digital plug-ins. So, the job of a music producer is basically to oversee, manage and guide the process of producing and recording a song. If you are a problem-solving person with many ideas and good ear and music knowledge, you are probably producing quality music from your bedroom, which is a common thing today (I’m not saying you are producing literally from your bedroom, but you don’t have expensive hardware and massive studio). Many great albums are produced in bedroom studios and artists are aiming for that. And this is why:
1) It’s way cheaper than professional recording studios
2) They still have high-quality sound of the song
3) They still have fresh new ideas from you
And these three things are your arsenal in this business. It’s always good to update your sound by buying new sets of plug-ins or software. If you are new to this, you can start by buying software like Steinberg Cubase, if you are more into alternative music like Rock, Pop, Metal, Punk, etc. and then upgrade to Pro Tools or Logic Pro (if you are using Mac PC’s). Steinberg Cubase is cheaper than Pro Tools, maybe using experience is a bit lower-level, but it cuts it. It’s great if you are a beginner, you get the whole Steinberg pack of Plug-ins and you can find it for free online (but than you may be experiencing some of the software bugs. It’s always better to buy this kind of software). If you are more into electronic music like Drum ‘n Bass, Techno, Liquid, Dubstep, etc. you can start with FL Studio (Fruity Loops Studio) and then upgrade to Ableton Live. FL Studio is more classic, but you get everything you need, and with Ableton Live you get more options and it’s great for live shows. Okay, here are few Plug-ins to get you started in producing alternative music:
1) CLA plug-ins by Waves is legendary Chris Lord-Alge Signature Series of plug-ins. Here you get the whole pack (CLA Bass, CLA Drums, CLA Effects, CLA Guitars, CLA Unplugged and CLA Vocals) for only $129 (it’s on the sale at the moment), regular price is $399. It’s bit expensive, but it’s the first plug-in I would buy.
2) Easy Drummer 2 is basically the easiest beat making drum machine today and you can get it for free. It’s something you need to have.
3) FabFilter Pro is the series of signal processing plug-ins which includes (EQ, Compressor, Multiband Compressor/Expander, De-esser, Limiter and Noise Gate). Very handy, easy to use and you can find it for free.
Here are some free plug-ins you can add to you arsenal:
Also, pay attention to speakers you use, a cheap set of speakers are not going to cut it. You’ll need a set of studio monitor speakers and this is the golden rule – if you want a good mix, you will need a good set of speakers.
I hope you’ll find your way in this business of the music production.