5 Things You Will Need To Start Making Electronic Music

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Are you a budding musician with a passion for sound and pondering how to make electronic music? If there’s one thing that stands the test of time when it comes to human creativity, it’s music. The constantly evolving world of electronic music has become more accessible than ever. If you’re looking to dive into this world and start creating your own beats, you’ll want to make sure you have these five essential components in your arsenal

1. Essential Equipment

Computer and Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

A reliable computer with sufficient processing power is the foundation of any electronic music producer’s toolkit. A powerful machine ensures maximum efficiency when working with numerous tracks, effects, and virtual instruments.

Choosing your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) is a critical decision, as it is where most of the magic happens. Some popular choices include Ableton Live, Logic Pro X, FL Studio, and Pro Tools. These industry-standard software programs offer a wide range of tools and effects to help you create your desired sound. Spend time researching different DAWs to find one best suited to your needs.

MIDI Controller and Keyboard

MIDI controllers are essential tools for electronic music production as they enable communication between you and your virtual instruments. They come in many shapes and sizes with varying levels of complexity.

For those who enjoy playing melodies and chords, owning a MIDI keyboard can help bring your musical ideas to life. A MIDI controller makes the creative process more interactive and tactile by providing real-time control over sound elements within your tracks. It is also useful for laying down chord progressions or melodies using virtual instruments in ways that might be difficult to achieve with just a computer mouse or keyboard.

Studio Headphones and Monitors

Studio monitors are essential for getting accurate audio feedback while creating and mixing your music. While consumer-grade speakers or headphones are sufficient for casual listening, they typically emphasize certain frequencies, which can result in an unbalanced mix when used for music creation. Studio headphones provide a more intimate listening experience – ideal for crafting precise mixes without disturbances from external sounds.

Invest in a good pair of active studio monitors with a flat frequency response to accurately represent the sounds you’re working on. This will help you when sculpting the sound of your tracks. Ultimately, the choice between headphones and monitors comes down to personal preference, budget, and work environment.

2. Sound Sources

Virtual Instruments and Sample Libraries

Virtual instruments play a starring role in electronic music production. These powerful tools emulate synthesizers, samplers, drum machines, and various other devices that produce sound. Some popular options include Serum for wavetable synthesis, Massive for simpler synthesis needs, and Battery for drum sequencing.

Sample libraries are collections of audio clips that can fuel your creativity. Whether you’re searching for obscure soundscapes, pounding beats, or hypnotic rhythms, there are many free and paid sample packs tailored to different tastes and genres.

Recording Hardware and Microphones

While electronic music can be created exclusively using virtual instruments and samples, real-world sounds bring an organic element to your productions. High-quality recording hardware, such as audio interfaces and studio microphones, is essential for capturing these natural timbres.

3. Audio Effects 

Part of the magic behind electronic music is the ability to manipulate and shape sounds. Various software plugins are commonly used throughout production, each catering to a specific need. Some of these include EQs (equalizers). They balance the frequency spectrum. There are also compressors. They control and shape an audio signal’s dynamics. Another tool is reverbs. They add depth and space to individual elements. And finally, there are delays. They create echo effects in your mix.

In addition to these essential plugins, you can explore many other tools that can enhance your musical creations. For instance, you may want to try out distortion plugins to add grit and character to your sounds. Or why not experiment with modulation plugins, such as flangers or phasers, to create unique and swirling textures? Additionally, pitch-shifting plugins can transpose your audio in creative and unexpected ways.

4. Mixing and Mastering

Mixing and mastering play a vital role in finalizing your track, laying the foundation for a professional-sounding piece. Although the two processes are often paired together, they serve different functions in electronic music production. Mixing is the art of balancing individual instrument levels while preserving clarity and separation between distinct elements. Mastering corrects inconsistencies in level throughout multiple tracks by using limiters and stereo imaging tools alongside other processors. 

With the right mixing and mastering techniques, you can enhance your music’s dynamics, depth, and overall quality, giving it a polished and professional touch.

5. Learning Resources

Online Tutorials and Courses

The resources available for learning how to create electronic music have grown exponentially over the years. Whether you’re just starting or looking to improve your skills further, online tutorials and courses have something for everyone. Websites like YouTube, Skillshare, and Loopmasters provide comprehensive instructions through videos. At the same time, dedicated course platforms like Udemy and Coursera offer a more structured curriculum for a deeper immersion into the subject matter. Investing time in online educational content will expand your knowledge and push you toward achieving your music production goals.

Community and Forums

Producing electronic music doesn’t have to be a solitary endeavor. Instead, tap into the wealth of knowledge available through online communities and forums such as Gearslutz, KVR Audio, and Reddit’s electronic music subreddits. These platforms provide like-minded producers a space for troubleshooting, feedback exchange, and discussions on trends or gear recommendations. Surrounding yourself with individuals with the same passion enhances your growth as an artist while building personal connections with others in the electronic music community.

Breaking into the world of electronic music production might feel intimidating. However, equipping yourself with the essential tools and joining the larger community of aspiring musicians can boost your growth exponentially. As you dive deeper into this craft, don’t forget that patience and practice will propel you toward your creative goals. So get out there and make some music!

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