Music Production Guide For Beginners

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Manitude
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Hi everyone,

Have you ever wanted to record your magnum opus, but never know how to get started? This thread is for you. I've prepared a couple of videos just for TSR to show an absolute beginner how to get started with recording music. While there are a whole bunch of different techniques and equipment out there, there are only a few things you need and you do not have to spend much money at all to get impressive sounding songs. So without further ado, here are the videos.




And here's some details on where you can obtain the equipment I'm using:
Spoiler:
Show


3.5 mm jack to 1/4 inch jack cable:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Earphones:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Microphone/interface:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Samson-Trac...samson+g+track
Note that the microphone is packaged with a USB cable and stand, these do not have to be bought separately.

Another, very popular, audio interface is the 2i2 by Focsurite:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Focusrite-S.../dp/B01E6T56EA


Audacity website:
https://www.audacityteam.org/
Reaper website:
https://www.reaper.fm/


Hopefully this will be useful to any aspiring musicians out there. And hopefully you'll all be joining us for the Music Production Challenge, which will be going live very soon, where everyone is invited to produce a track based around a musical or conceptual theme every month throughout 2018.

If you've any questions I'll do my best to answer them.

Adios, musicanos!
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AngryJellyfish
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Nice work, I loved the editing on the first video!
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PTMalewski
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I'm a bit sceptical about recording in unprepared rooms and doing everything by yourself. There must be a reason, why music performance, composition, and sound engineering/music production are taught in separate courses, and the best performers rarely do anything else.
Jack of all trades is a master of none.
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Manitude
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(Original post by PTMalewski)
I'm a bit sceptical about recording in unprepared rooms and doing everything by yourself. There must be a reason, why music performance, composition, and sound engineering/music production are taught in separate courses, and the best performers rarely do anything else.
Jack of all trades is a master of none.
Sure, professional recording studios will have top notch acoustic treatment, all the best equipment and people dedicated to recording, mixing and mastering. But for the cost of a single day in a studio like that, I'm offering people a way to record their own music in their own home for life. It would be great to be able to afford a proper studio with dedicated staff, but as we're mostly students here, that option doesn't really exist. And yeah, the recording quality isn't going to be as good as a professional studio but we make do with what we have. Creativity and songwriting pretty much always win over recording quality in my honest opinion. And, for what it's worth, some of my favourite albums were entirely self produced and they can sound phenomenal.
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PTMalewski
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(Original post by Manitude)
Creativity and songwriting pretty much always win over recording quality in my honest opinion.
I agree. Just think, it's better for music to spend time practising and learning about it than setting up a studio. Then at least it's better to join forces with others if possible, than doing everything on our own.
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GeoJones94
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If you know how to mix and you produce music, you'll produce with the sonics in mind as well as the musical content so your songs will have more chance of competing with other music as it will cover a lot of the frequency spectrum and not be to bass heavy for example
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Manitude
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(Original post by GeoJones94)
If you know how to mix and you produce music, you'll produce with the sonics in mind as well as the musical content so your songs will have more chance of competing with other music as it will cover a lot of the frequency spectrum and not be to bass heavy for example
For sure, it's not possible to compete with professionally produced music using a hundred quid of equipment and no acoustic treatment. But this isn't about competing. This is about getting started and being creative with what you have. Very few people are fortunate enough to have the finances to get a professionally equipped studio in their own home, particularly when they're just starting out. I'd also argue that adding too much complexity at the start is counterproductive and could well put people off doing anything at all. I'd rather hear a rough recording of something interesting than hear nothing at all because someone decided it wasn't worth recording unless you've got the 'proper acoustic treatment' or a £10,000 studio budget or whatever. There's nothing wrong with using cheap equipment to make demo recordings, which is what I'm advocating and teaching here.
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GeoJones94
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(Original post by Manitude)
For sure, it's not possible to compete with professionally produced music then a hundred quid of equipment and no acoustic treatment. But this isn't about competing. This is about getting started and being creative with what you have. Very few people are fortunate enough to have the finances to get a professionally equipped studio in their own home, particularly when they're just starting out. I'd also argue that adding too much complexity at the start is counterproductive and could well put people off doing anything at all. I'd rather hear a rough recording of something interesting than hear nothing at all because someone decided it wasn't worth recording unless you've got the 'proper acoustic treatment' or a £10,000 studio budget or whatever. There's nothing wrong with using cheap equipment to make demo recordings, which is what I'm advocating and teaching here.
100% agree. Firstly, hearing your own music back is an amazing feeling, regardless of how well it's recorded or whatever. Being the audio geek that I am, I'm always pondering these kind of issues. My breakthrough was when I lost my decent earphones and had to use a really horrible cheap set but the songs were still good songs... And it was much better to listen on the bad earphones then not listen at all. A good song is a good song regardless but a bad song mixed well is still a bad song. Anyway, nice work with what you're doing here buddy
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Manitude
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(Original post by GeoJones94)
100% agree. Firstly, hearing your own music back is an amazing feeling, regardless of how well it's recorded or whatever. Being the audio geek that I am, I'm always pondering these kind of issues. My breakthrough was when I lost my decent earphones and had to use a really horrible cheap set but the songs were still good songs... And it was much better to listen on the bad earphones then not listen at all. A good song is a good song regardless but a bad song mixed well is still a bad song. Anyway, nice work with what you're doing here buddy
Cheers, glad you appreciate it. There are some great recordings out there that are certainly rough around the edges (ITAOTS by Neutral Milk Hotel absolutely springs to mind) and I'd absolutely rather hear an album like that, than some bland, purely commercial, pop music with the clearest production imaginable. You can't polish a turd, to use a crude manner of speaking!

Certainly, when I look back on older recordings I realise that I could have done it better. But sometimes the captured performance is exactly what I wanted so you have to learn to live with it. I also find that little glitches and idiosyncrasies make the music more interesting rather than less listenable. That's personal preference, of course. Steely Dan would absolutely disagree with that, I suspect! I recently got a set of nice Wharfdale speakers (as shown in the first video) but at present I can't use them with anything other than my turntable. When I get the appropriate cable to plug into the amp, I'll have to listen to my recordings through them in order to see how terrible they actually sound.

I'm always learning new thing and trying to experiment with new techniques (in the last six months or so I started playing around with VST amp sims, and then only very recently realised that I need impulse responses to make them not sound awful. But there's never an objectively "good" sound for something. Whatever you think sounds right for what you are doing is the right thing to do!
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