What do you need to get started? A complete guide.

So you love music so much that you want to start making music yourself.
What exactly do you need to get started you might ask yourself?
Lets make a list of the basics you need to get you started, why you need them and some examples of gear for a proper and affordable (bedroom) studio.
You might skip some stuff, depending on the budget and save for those to buy them at a later time.

Listed from most important to get started to less important if you’re on a tight budget

  • Computer
  • DAW
  • Studio headphone
  • Audio interface
  • Studio monitors
  • Midi (USB) keyboard
  • Microphone
  • Midi controller

Computer
This is selfexplationary actually, you mostlikely already have one.
That said, with todays software its recommended to have a look at the specs.
A good processor, atleast a i5 or Ryzen 5 is recommend and enough GB RAM, atleast 8GB can avoid a lot of headache and troubleshooting.
As it’s the hearth of the set up its most important that you have a computer that meets minimum specs of general DAWs and plug-ins.

*TIP* Get a custom made computer if you can to get the best bang for buck.
If you can’t build it yourself the shop where you buy parts can do it for you for a small fee.

DAW
Digital Audio Workstation, that’s your workspace. The software you need to start making your own music from scratch.
Examples are FL Studio, perfect to begin with. It has tons of tutorials on YouTube and a affordable price, what makes it really interesting is the free updates for life! Something no other DAW offers you! Another good example would be Reaper, this DAW has a lot to offer and all that for a unbeatable price of 60,- ! (Be aware, if you make over a certain amount of money with it, this DAW costs like 1000,- )
If you own a Mac, Logic Pro X would be the perfect DAW to get you started.
If you have more money to spend you can have a look at DAWs like Ableton or Studio One etc.
Remember, all DAWs give you a free trail periode or if you can’t afford the full version you can get a Lite version.

Some gear will give you a Lite DAW version for free btw, that is a stripped version of a full DAW, but perfect to start with and learn.
I would highly recommend to take a few free demos of different DAWs before buying one. Afterall they all have a different workflow and this way you get a good feeling witch one suits you. A common error i see people making is asking others what DAW they recommend for making a certain genre music and base their deccision on that. Chanches are you end up with spending a lot money on a DAW that doesnt suit you because you dont like the workflow.
Every DAW is capable to make every genre, a best DAW does not excist, they all can do the same more or less and all have their pros and cons.

Audio Interface
Although about every computer comes with a build in soundcard it’s higley recommended to get a external Audio Interface.
It will give a better soundquality, specially when it comes down to the mic, a good mic pre amp will make a huge difference.
But also you get desceant outputs to connect your speakers, better known as  studio monitors in the producer world.
Studio monitors give a better result with balanced cables like Jack or XLR, your computers soundcard does not have those inputs.
Some examples of good and affordable audio interfaces in a price range of 125,- to around 200,- are the Focusrite 2i2 , 2i4 , Steinberg UR22 mk2 , Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6.

Studio headphone
If your budget doesn’t allow you to buy proper studio monitors rightaway a good alternative are a pair of good studio headphones.
For a 100,- you can have good studio headphones while good studio monitors will start around 150,- each, and you would need 2, plus not to forget, the cables. AKG 240 mk2 are good and affordable at a price of around 80,- , Beyern Dynamics DT770 pro are really good but a higher pricetag.
You need to hear the sound as flat and pure as possible, hifi  headphones or speakers usually have a boost in the low end etc, by far not flat anyway.
You could use a studio headphone for the fine job and your regular speakers for comparing the sound at the endresult.

Studio monitors
Do not save money on studio monitors.
As mentioned above you need to hear the sounds you produce as clear as possible to get a good endresult. It’s bettr to save 6 months longer and meanwhile learn more about producing then to save a few dollars, you will regret that in the long run. Not enough money? As mentioned above, get studio headphones for the time being.
Krk is pretty hyped and populair but they don’t give a flat sound though. For the same price you can have Presonus eris 5 or Yamaha hs50 , KRKs entry models are actually really low budget basic studio monitors, Some like them but they are not giving a natural flat sound.

Midi keyboard
A studio is in my opinion not a studio without a midi keyboard.
Offcourse you can draw midi notes with your mouse but a midi keyboard makes life so much easyer and saves a lot of time. It doesnt have to be expensive. Any (USB) midi keyboard will do. Depending on the budget Some knobs can be convinient. You can map those to control parameters on your DAW witch make it a even bigger asset in your studio. If you have space a 49 Keys keyboard would be prefered but a 25 can do the job to.
M audio is reasonable priced and known as a reliable brand. Some keyboards have midi control buttons and knobs or sliders for your DAW too, even better!

Microphone
Do you need a microphone? That really depends on what you want to do and what genre music you want to make.
If you want to sing or rap, obviously you need one.
If you only want to make music and use a vocalist or vocals from the internet or whatever you can do fine without.

Midi controller
To enhance your workflow you could get a Midi controller. More details about midi controllers in THIS post.

VSTS

You probably will want extra software as a addition to your DAW.
Soft Synths EQ Compressors and much more!

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