GETTING STARTED MAKING MUSIC ON YOUR COMPUTER
Making music isn’t as hard as it used to be. Nowadays, thanks to modern
technology, many would-‐be musicians shy away from expensive studio time in favor
of their own in-‐house recording setups. Whether you’re interested in producing,
beatmaking, mixing, recording, or just having fun, getting started making music on
your home computer isn’t as complicated as you’d think.
Fortunately for Mac users, all versions of Mac OSX come equipped with a
DAW (digital audio workstation) already installed – Garageband. Although it’s a
default program, Garageband offers a lot of useful options and features. Apple also
sells Logic, software similar to Garageband but with more versatile features (VST
support, a larger library of virtual instruments) for those more serious about
Windows users looking to start making their own music at home might want
to check out FL studio, formerly known as Fruity Loops. With it’s intuitive layout FL
studio offers ease-‐of-‐use for amateurs and extensive features for professionals.
Popular hip-‐hop producer Hit-‐Boy (In Paris, Goldie) claims to only use FL studio to
make his beats.
Producers who’ve got the basics down want to check out Avid’s Protools or
Steinberg Software’s Cubase. Both of these are industry standard programs for
tracking, recording, and mixing songs. Both are supported on Windows and Mac and
offer full VST plugin support.
Ableton Live (available for Windows and Mac) is perfect for would-‐be DJ’s
and producers who are interested in playing around with loops and samples.
Ableton’s combination live/linear setup allows users to both record songs like a
normal DAW, and also to run loops in real-‐time.
If you’re interested in home recording you may want to consider purchasing
MIDI equipment, which allows you to play notes on a physical keyboard or drum
pad that will trigger virtual instruments on your computer. MIDI keyboards are
supported on both Mac and PC.
To complete your home studio setup, invest in a pair of quality speaker-‐
monitors. These special speakers are designed to give you the most accurate sound
response possible. Studio monitors are absolutely necessary for anyone looking to
get quality mixes. KRK Systems’ Rokit series is pretty reliable and often used.
Yamaha’s HS series are a viable alternative.