If you are the 80s and 90s kid, you must have bounced your head to the songs by Tupac, NWA, or Snoop Dogg. Though the songs were narrating lyrics, the actual feel of those songs was the sick beats playing behind them.
Every youth at that stage wanted to place two speakers and a turn table in their bedroom to make beats. That was when some iconic beat makers like Dr. Dre emerged and made some of the most recognizable beats.
The question is, how did they do it? The talent and technique haven’t changed, but the equipment has been updated.
This article will guide the equipment you need to start your beat-making journey.
The basic equipment to make beats hasn’t changed a lot, in-fact it has progressed with time. The essential equipment required is enlisted below:
After getting your computer or setting it up for making good music, you now need software to make that beat. This software is generally called Digital Audio Workstations, aka DAW. DAW is a program that runs on your computer and gives you the functions you need to make your beats.
This software allows you to record vocals and make beats. You can also record other music genres in DAW Some DAWs are sold separately to be installed on your computer later. In another scenario, a whole computer is sold with built-in DAW software.
When you operate this software, you will be shown an interface on your computer screen where you can perform multiple tricks for making beats, such as:
For a beginner beat maker like yourself, budget is everything. However, it is best to invest in a DAW at this stage. It will surely benefit you tremendously. So, basic audio processing software is not recommended at any stage.
There are various DAWs available in the market according to features and price. You don’t need to spend much money at the beginning of your beat-making career with a top-of-the-line DAW. Instead, as you progress with time and make some money, then get a better model.
As mentioned above that there are many types of DAWs, but the following two are best for beginner-level beat making.
Magix Music Maker is the best D.A.W. to start the beat-making journey for PC users. The best part is that it is free to download, and the premium version has a free trial period.
You will start making beats immediately with the trial period on the Magix premium edition.
Some of its cool features are:
If you like the experience, you can buy the full premium.
Undoubtedly, Apple computers are reliable systems with much useful built-in software. One of them is GarageBand, a built-in free software to make music.
For a beat-maker student, this is a good start. However, as you progress, you need a proper DAW. Logic Pro X is one of the best DAW for Mac with more complex functionalities.
Whether you have Mac or PC FL Studio will not disappoint you. It is one of the most popular DAWs for beginners and experts. Some of the notable names using FL Studio are Metro Boomin, Soulja Boy, Southside, and more.
Generally, beginner music producers connect their microphones, studio headphones, amps, and other recording equipment directly to their computers. If you are on a budget, this recording option is useful. However, the sound quality of your recording will be significantly low. Furthermore, finding single hardware with a USB port to connect all the equipment is hard.
The best option, in this case, is to get a separate audio interface for the best quality audio recording, even if you are new to the business. An audio interface is hardware that connects your computer and the rest of your recording equipment.
You can add numerous recording equipment like amps, mic, studio headphones or studio speakers, guitars, etc. The objective is to manage the input and output recording equipment for the best results.
Various types of audio interfaces are available on the market. As a beginner beat producer, spending a hefty amount on a new and expensive audio interface is not a good option. There are many economical options available that are sufficient for a beginner-level beat producer.
The most important use of the audio interface is its ability to destroy latency in sound. The sound latency is the delay in the sound between the input and output audio. It has a built-in sound card that ensures consistency in sound.
When you use an audio interface, you don’t need to install a separate soundcard on your computer.
We found Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 to be one of the best beginner-level audio interfaces. This is a rather compact audio interface with only two pounds of weight, but it’s full of features to make high-quality beats anywhere.
The outer case is made of robust metal, making it durable for any music gig.
The best part of this interface is its ability to digitize music from live instruments into beats.
A big dial on top of this interface controls the volume. Halo indicators are also available to indicate the strength of recording signals. The all-time famous mic preamps are installed in this audio interface.
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 also comes with a monitor switch, allowing you to listen to the beats directly. So, it is straightforward to set up this device for beat-making.
As you progress with making beats, you wouldn’t like to lose all the hours you spent making good music at once. So, to be extra careful, get a nice and durable external hard drive with an extra or only backup source.
Modern computers come with enough RAM to store giga-bites of data. However, it’s always good to have an external backup data source where you can add your timeless collection of super beats. If you have a budget, go for a 4 or 6 terabit external hard drive.
This is true that now a day, we don’t need to carry extra hard drives anymore due to cloud backup services like Google drive. These cloud-based drives store your data in giant size central servers available for global data storage.
They provide free space; you can buy more space if needed. So, if you don’t want to buy an external hard drive, back up your data on cloud servers like Google Drive.
Now that your computer has been set up with DAW and you have got yourself a nice audio interface, now it’s time to make beats. But there are too many things you need to control simultaneously.
At this stage, you need a device to mix up all the loops created by different musical instruments and make beats by overlapping them. Here, the Midi controller comes to play. A midi controller looks like a mini piano or a pad used in conjunction with your DAW installed on your computer.
The beats are made by placing various musical instruments one after another, such as a guitar riff behind a steady strum of drums. With the help of DAW, you control this placement of musical instruments. These virtual musical instruments are assigned to the keyboard of the midi. Then you make beats through those keys, which looks like you are playing the piano without the piano sounds.
Apart from a midi piano controller, another option is a midi pad controller. This controller doesn’t have keys on it. Instead, it has different pads assigned to different elements (like loops, samples, or channels) of DAW. With a press of a button on the pad controller, a sound or an effect is turned on or off while recording a beat.
Once again, spending thousands of dollars on a midi controller in an earlier stage of your beat-making business is not suitable. A reasonable controller like Akai Professional MPK Mini MIDI Keyboard is ideal for you.
The best part about this controller is its portability and compact size. Further, it comes with a USB connecter so you can connect it with your desktop or laptop and make a tune whenever and wherever you get some inspiration.
This is a keyboard controller, so you will be playing the beats via keys on it. Apart from that, the Akai MPK controller has numerous features like:
Start using this controller at the beginning of making beats. Once you get pro, then go for a bigger and more advanced midi controller.
Another piece of equipment that you might need is a microphone. Though it’s not so important for beat making, if you want to add lyrics to your beats, you need a good microphone with the best resolution and minimum sound distortion.
The microphone is essential to communicate with your artist if you are producing the beats for him. Like other instruments, a microphone is also attached to your audio interface, and you can control it through your DAW.
The next piece of equipment that you need to have is a running computer. Like everything else, the computer also runs music software that helps produce the beats.
The discussion of “which is better, PC or Mac?” is a never-ending debate. However, at this stage, focus on making beats rather than getting a Mac or other expensive computer. That said, you need a computer that can efficiently run your music-making software.
However, if you can afford a new computer at this stage, get a computer with a powerful processor, like an i7, and at least a 64-bit operating system, and a lot of space. Secondly, before buying a new computer, you need to consider a few things.
For the first point, now a day, it doesn’t matter whether you get a PC or MacBook because both have evolved with the latest technologies and efficiency. Now, it’s just a matter of personal liking and comfort. If you are a Mac user, getting a MacBook Pro will solve your reliability problem but will cost you a lot. If you are a PC user, try any gaming laptop like Asus Rog, which has massive performance capabilities and will cost you less than a Mac. However, they are big, so portability might be an issue.
Moving towards the second point, if you like to make the music on the go or have events to cover, then a laptop with a widescreen is best for you. Simultaneously, a Desktop computer is best for you if you are comfortable in your studio and producing music for some artist. Desktops are easily updatable, especially PCs.
If you don’t know about a good desktop computer for music making, get any gaming desktop PC. It will be sufficient for you to start.
Once your DAW is set up, your MIDI controller is plugged in, and your audio interface is ready to help you record some sick beats, you need a piece of equipment to listen to your creation. Again, at the beginning of your career, it is important to invest in good studio monitors to analyze your beats for further improvement.
Many rookie beat makers stick with the built-in speakers of their computers or use a set of desktop speakers to listen to their beats. However, these speakers are not powerful enough to produce quality sounds. A good studio speaker has a lot of power and quality to give you proper feedback for your created beats through your DAW.
Furthermore, pre-installed computer speakers lack the volume and frequency required for a quality beat output as well.
The final solution is studio monitors. We know that a good studio monitor will strain your budget heavily. However, you don’t need to spend a hefty amount on state-of-the-art studio monitors at the start of your career. Instead, there are many budget-friendly options available in the market to start with. These will still be much better than your computer speakers.
If you like a proper studio feel, don’t forget to get yourself a pair of studio monitors. Make sure to place them at the right location in your home/ room studio. You need to experience the stereo surround sound to monitor your beats’ quality, balance, and alignment. So they need to be perfect.
Before buying your first studio monitor, you should be clear about the music genre you are interested in and wants to make beats for. For example, if you are into hip hop music, then do your homework on the best studio monitors for hip hop music before buying them.
When buying your studio monitors, look for noise profile, size, and connection options. It is important because you will be connecting them with your audio interface. Moreover, studio headphones are an option if you don’t like to disturb others from your music creation.
Once again, right now, you don’t need Beats by Dr. Dre studio headphones. Instead, look for an affordable option with good quality. AKG K 701 Ultra is one of the best options for beginners.
The AKG K 701 Ultra headphones are feather light for comfortable long-time wear. The ear-cups are contoured that perfectly fit on your ear without being painful. The tight fit is also important for maximum sound isolation and essential to enjoy the purest form of your created beats.
Here are some more benefits you will get from these headphones:
This is the most important aspect of making a beat. Most of the music industry’s iconic beatmakers like Dr. Dre didn’t have fancy equipment at the beginning of their careers. However, they all have one thing in common: their creative mind.
A good studio setup is essential to produce a nice piece of beat, but the mind that created that beat is far more valuable than the equipment.
To test your beat-making creativity, use the built-in music-making software like FL Studio to make a beat. Then, try producing a few beats. After that, if you are satisfied with your creation and feel you can be the master beat maker, go ahead and invest in your first studio equipment.
Making a beat is like reaching the point of ecstasy. It’s that much addicting. To do that, you will sit in front of your equipment in your studio. Therefore, you need a nice wide table and a comfortable chair with good lumbar support and easy movement.
In the beginning, don’t go for expensive and big furniture. There are many budget-friendly options for both tables and chairs, which will suffice your requirement for now. As you progress with your music and start earning from it, there is no harm in upgrading your furniture then.
First, you need a wide table to hold your equipment and a comfortable chair. Next, you need a computer (PC or Mac) to run your digital audio workstation (DAW) software. Then you need an audio interface to control the audio and a MIDI controller to make beats. Finally, you need a pair of studio monitors (studio speakers or headphones).
It is not necessary. However, you should study music at a basic level to understand the technical aspects of making beats.
Not necessarily. The mic is to record a song or communicate with the artist between recording sessions. However, if you are a producer and a singer, you might need a mic with good frequency and less distortion.
There you have it; we have shared the basic equipment needed to make your first home studio for your beat-making career. In addition, we have shared some software and equipment names along with their features that are a good beginner-level source to produce.
You don’t need to spend much money on every piece of equipment at the start of your career. Instead, now you know how to spend efficiently for your home studio.
If you have the creative mind that will make you a master beat maker in the future, then go ahead and benefit from this post in knowing and selecting your arsenal to create beats.