Studio Start Up Guide

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When you first start out as a producer, or start dreaming of being one, you probably think you need the most expensive and fancy equipment to be able to create great production. The only problem is you donít have enough money to afford a $1,000 drum machine, $2,000 computer, or all of the Waves plugins which cost thousands of dollars themselves. Well hereís some good news, you donít need the most expensive equipment to make great production, nor do you need it when youíre starting out. Sure as you get better, you should upgrade your equipment as necessary, and there are plugins and equipment out there that can give you an edge and better your production, but all those things arenít mandatory.

It is the producer, not the equipment that creates great music. You can have the best equipment in the world, but if you donít know what youíre doing, it doesnít matter, and vice versa. So without further ado, here is a quick list of what you will need and how to make it affordable.

1. Computer: A proper running computer, with the proper specs to be able to handle all of the processing youíll be doing on it is essential. You can go with a PC,if you want the cheaper route, PCís allow you customize, but when youíre starting out, this might not be your greatest concern, unless youíre already very tech savvy. Brand new can start from $400-$500, but if you want to go the Apple route, which does not allow a lot of customization, but is simpler to run, and is prone to less problems.

2. DAW: As for DAWS, or Digital Audio Workstation, which is what you will use to produce those beats, there are plenty to choose from. Most DAWS run both PC and Mac, except FL studio, which runs exclusively on PC, and Logic Pro, which runs exclusively on Mac. There are plenty more DAWS out there, these are just the most popular ones. There is no ďbest DAW,Ē itís all about which one suits your style or your workflow the best. You may have to go through a few before you find the right one. Your options for DAWS are as follows, but not limited to:

  1. Image Line FL Studio
  2. Logic Pro (Apple Exclusive)
  3. Ableton Live
  4. Propellerhead Reason
  5. PreSonus Studio One
  6. Cakewalk Sonar

3. Speakers & Headphones: Preferably if you can have both it would be great, but for some of us thatís not always a possibility. If you want to go the cheap route, Iíd say get some headphones, as a good pair can go for around $100 or so, maybe even cheaper. Whereas speakers will at least run you $150 for each, and thatís if youíre talking used. Best brands of Speakers are:

  1. M-Audio Studiophile
  2. JBL LSR305
  3. Alesis Elevate
  4. Yamaha HS8
  5. Rokit 5
  6. PreSonus Eris

4. Virtual Instruments, or VSTís / Processors: Now lastly as for the Vstís and processors, theyíre always offered in your DAWS when you purchase it. These arenít always the best kinds, and there thousands of other one out there which you can use, but when you first start out, spending $500 on a Plugin Processor will be a waste if you donít even know how to use a compressor correctly, or at all. So when you get a DAW, they are basically free.

So thatís it, a beginnerís guide to starting a Studio, and some tips on how to make it affordable. Remember, this is just the start, focus on getting what you can, master it, get your skills up, get your understanding of the equipment up, then as time goes on, you will improve and your equipment will as well. Good Luck!

Written by: Jean-Bernard Lauture for

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