Making your own music is a time consuming process. It requires lots of work, devotion, music ears and the ability to be strict with yourself and your results considering the beats you make in order to be able to criticize your work and improve your music skills constantly. Also, you need to invest decent amounts of money into buying the necessary music equipment.
Here is a guide on what equipment you need to start making your own music:
What equipment do music producers use
When starting to make your own hip hop beats, first thing you have to do is buy the appropriate equipment. You have to determine your budget and stick to it. At first, there is no need to buy the most expensive equipment. You can start with more mediocre ones and upgrade slowly as your musical skills and requirements progress.
What you need to buy:
You can choose between a Windows or a Mac personal computer and buy it according to your budget. Some people prefer Laptops overs PCs because they are more convenient when it comes to moving to often and for long periods of time. You have to determine which one is more convenient for you.
There is a large variety of music software and plugins that a music producer can choose in the beginning, such as FL Studio, Ableton Live, Pro Tools, Reason, Logic and many more. There is no better or worse, all of these music softwares are excellent and help the beatmaker produce magnificent results after he learns how to use them properly.
All music software require patience and lots of time and practice in order to start using them in a way that brings a legitimate result.
There are also available tons of magnificent plugins available in the market such as the Waves series, T-Racks, Big Fish Audio, Izotope and many more. You can their sound libraries, audio compressors, equalizers and other features in order to produce, mix and master your beats.
Deciding on what is the right music software for you to use is a very important step when starting to make your own music, and specifically when you start creating your own hip hop beats.
There are a lot of magnificent music software solutions out there nowadays most of which were built based on hardware equipment and there is no way to define which one is better than the other. All softwares have their advantages and disadvantages along with their own unique ways of manipulating sound.
One of the best ways to decide which software suits your criteria best is to try the ones that interest you the most. So if you have ready reviews on five music softwares, and you like all five, you should take the time and practice on each one for a period of time.
That way you will be able to see which one you can operate best, which one makes it easy for you to apply your techniques and create the results you desire, and finally which one makes it more convenient and less time consuming to finalize your mix.
So, from all those options out there considering music software, we have decided to suggest five excellent ones that we have used for many years and still use to this day to create our beats and music in general. Here they are:
- FL Studio
- Ableton Live
All five of these DAWs have been essential tools for our music creations and it is very hard to distinguish one from the other four, even though FL Studio and Ableton Live are the ones that I have used the most and I am completely satisfied with their workflow and capability of using heavy plugins without any problems.
Many beatmakers and music producers prefer working with music hardware rather than software. Some pretty essential hardware music machines of high quality and value are:
- Akai MPC 2000
- Akai MPC 2000 xl
- Akai MPC 2500
- Akai MPC 4000
Those hardware machines are nowadays considered to be classic when it comes to creating hip hop beats, as they were the main machines used by the hip hop producers back in the days when beatmaking had started becoming popular.
A huge advantage of those hardware music production machines is the unique analog sound they have, especially the older ones which makes a huge difference to the way a beat may sound. On the other hand, a small disadvantage is they are time consuming because there is more time required to make a beat using an Akai MPC than using a software in a Laptop.
Midi keyboards are an essential tool for all beatmakers. They make it easier to add basslines or create loops using various synthesizer plugins properly, and they come pretty handy and convenient to those that have the ability to play the keys.
Here are the midi keyboards we suggest you to consider:
- Akai MPK Mini MKII 25-Key
- Akai MPK249
- Novation Launchkey 61 MK2
- M-Audio Keystation 49 II
- M-Audio Oxygen 49 MK IV
Studio monitors are one of the most essential tool when it comes to creating your own music. You should invest in high quality studio monitors, and purchase the best pair of monitors according to your available budget.
Some of the best studio monitors in affordable prices are:
- KRK Rokit 8
- Yamaha HS8
- Behringer Truth B1031A
- Equator D5
- M-Audio BX5 Carbon
The importance of studio monitors cannot be emphasized enough. Their quality is critical to the results of your music and they will help you in many ways to improve your sound, especially if you test your beats with other reference tracks with high quality sound.
What is more, you can listen to your beats in as many different audio systems as you can and try to get familiar with the sound you get from each one, so that you have a better understanding when it comes to correcting your Equalizer and Volume levels, type of compression and so on.
The audio interface you will decide to use is also a very important thing to consider. Audio interfaces are responsible for the quality of sound you decide to record in your mix along with the microphone, such as guitars, woodwind instruments or vocals.
The highest budget you can dispose for your audio interface the better, as it is a very essential investment. A huge advantage is that high quality interfaces come in very affordable prices, and you will be able to experience some incredible sound quality result without spending a fortune.
Audio interfaces you should take into serious consideration:
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
- Steinberg UR22 mkII
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i4
- Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6
- Mackie Onyx Blackjack
You should take your time before you decide to purchase your audio interface, read the reviews and especially the advantages and disadvantages of each model and focus on what covers your needs best, so that you experience the best results possible when you create your beats.
Headphones are a very useful tool. They are especially handy for paying attention to very high or low frequencies when mixing your song, and they give the producer the ability to manage properly the acoustics of each sound, processing it in more depth and detail.
In addition to that, they give the music producer the ability to work when they travel, as they are mobile and you can use them to create your beats in any place and any time of the day as they help you not disturb other people, while you enjoy your music in full volume.
Some excellent headphones we suggest are:
- Sennheiser 598
- AKG 267 Tiesto
- Bose Soundtrue
- V-Moda LP2
Headphones’ quality is important to be considered especially by those who travel a lot and want to continue making their beats when on the road, so if you are one of them search online carefully and make your decision.
Drum loops and sounds
Next to making your own beats is to start a collection of quality drum loops, drum kits, sounds and loops. This process will help you organize your sound libraries and have your music weapon of choice ready whenever you start a new session to create a beat.
There are plenty of free and paid sound packages available on the web, covering every category of sound you may be searching for such as:
- Drum loops
- Drum kits
- Special effects
- Piano loops
- Guitar loops
- Bass loops
And plenty other
What you need to pay attention to is to find sound libraries appropriate for your style of music. For example, if you make hip hop beats you wouldn’t be looking for a dubsteb sound library, or if you were creating trap beats, you wouldn’t be looking for 90s hip hop drum loops.
Of course, if you experiment too often with your music you can combine those different genre and style sound packages and libraries and create something new and unique. Music is limitless and there are no certain limitations and rules you should follow.
If you are just starting and your budget is too limited, you can easily find free quality sounds and start creating your beats with them.
To sum up, making your own hip hop beats may seem like something impossible to do, but it is not like that. A lot of hard work and study is involved in order to familiarize with the sound you want to achieve, but practice will improve your skills and experience will make things a bit easier.
One thing to consider is after every beat and mix you finalize, to take your time and listen to your creation as many times as possible, through several audio systems so that you are able to have a better perspective about the music you created.
What is more, remember to compare the final mix of your beat to other beats of the same kind, with a professional sound quality, in order to see the advantages and disadvantages of your own work, and try to improve the parts that need more work and attention.
Finally remember to ask your closest people for their honest opinion and pay close attention to their comments and suggestions.
Have fun making music!