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xShane
Feb 20, 2013, 05:33 PM
Hello everyone,

I'm writing to the wonderful MacRumors community today to obtain advice on breaking into the lovely field of music production (on the Mac). I've always been an artistic individual, and never really realized my love for electronic music until I started listening to the Progressive House genre a couple of years ago. I've been in love with it ever since and nothing can get me more pumped and energized than a good beat. I've had the urge to make my own beats, although I understand there's a pretty high learning curve associated with this field (especially its software).

I've done a small bit of research and was fairly obsessed with getting FL Studio back when I still had a Windows laptop. Unfortunately FL Studio is not (yet) for the Mac (it's been in a beta for the last two years). Apple's Logic is roughly the same price ($200). I've also been looking into Reaper (http://www.reaper.fm/), which seems pretty powerful, too (but what do I know?). It's also only $60.

I have a 'Music Theory for Computer Musicians' book, which I'm "attempting" to teach myself music theory with. Seems great so far, although at times it can seem rather complicated and boring.

I guess I'm just asking for advice and input on how to get myself started. I'd love to hear your opinion on DAWs and how to self-teach myself (is that repetitive?).

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

P.S. Money isn't too available at the moment, so spending ridiculous amounts on software/plugins/learning material isn't an option. I'm only 18 and still in high school.



afireintonto
Feb 20, 2013, 10:14 PM
Since money is an issue and you're still testing the waters try using GarageBand as your daw. It's what I use and while I occasionally run into an issue that I find slightly limiting, I can almost always find a way to do what I want to.
GarageBand is a great daw and its free! You already have it.

I suggest picking up a USB midi controller and playing with some of the included synths and drum kits to get started.
Once you get the hang of that then you should torrent a few plug ins.
I run massive, machine, and a few other really cool plug ins and GarageBand never skips a beat.

Progressive house is a sweet genre, make yourself a soundcloud I'd love to follow you!

bwhli
Feb 20, 2013, 11:01 PM
Since money is an issue and you're still testing the waters try using GarageBand as your daw. It's what I use and while I occasionally run into an issue that I find slightly limiting, I can almost always find a way to do what I want to.
GarageBand is a great daw and its free! You already have it.

I suggest picking up a USB midi controller and playing with some of the included synths and drum kits to get started.
Once you get the hang of that then you should torrent a few plug ins.
I run massive, machine, and a few other really cool plug ins and GarageBand never skips a beat.

Progressive house is a sweet genre, make yourself a soundcloud I'd love to follow you!

I agree, get a small MIDI controller and try to compose a few short pieces. This one's (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00466HLXI/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00466HLXI&linkCode=as2&tag=bristum-20) small (25 keys) and pretty cheap. Fancy plugins and instruments can come later, after you've grasped the basics of making music on the computer. You might eventually want to invest in Ableton Live. It's good for loop based composition. Ableton also makes an intro version (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002VWRCEC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B002VWRCEC&linkCode=as2&tag=bristum-20) of the software. It's on sale for $50 on Amazon at the moment.

Johbremat
Feb 21, 2013, 02:34 AM
Small MIDI controller would probably the best investment...one with Ableton Live Intro perhaps (my DAW of choice, more for the workflow than anything else).

It's not for everyone, but I've found most people remain enthused if they have a tactile interface (keys, knobs, buttons, faders, pads) versus pottering about with a keyboard and mouse.

As far as MIDI controllers are concerned, Akai (http://www.akaipro.com/en/index.php) and Novation (http://global.novationmusic.com) are two brands you may have some joy with. Uncertain what comes with a version of Live bundled, but even using GarageBand or Reaper you should still get use out of what ever you decide is for you.

xShane
Feb 21, 2013, 04:17 AM
Thank you everyone for the support! I've never thought about getting a nice, cheap MIDI controller. I will *definitely* look into that. I can kind of see how music lessons (specifically piano) would help here, yes? Would this be recommended? Hmm, I wonder if my local store would offer some kind of DJ/electronic/House lessons, too.

Since money is an issue and you're still testing the waters try using GarageBand as your daw. It's what I use and while I occasionally run into an issue that I find slightly limiting, I can almost always find a way to do what I want to.
GarageBand is a great daw and its free! You already have it.

I suggest picking up a USB midi controller and playing with some of the included synths and drum kits to get started.
Once you get the hang of that then you should torrent a few plug ins.
I run massive, machine, and a few other really cool plug ins and GarageBand never skips a beat.

Progressive house is a sweet genre, make yourself a soundcloud I'd love to follow you!

I don't torrent, ever :P

Boyd01
Feb 21, 2013, 08:18 AM
I second the recommendation for GarageBand. It is free and surprisingly powerful. Give it a try and see what you think. When you get more advanced, you can upgrade to Logic Pro and it will open all your GarageBand files.

Yes, music lessons wouldn't be a bad idea either but you need to be patient because it takes awhile.

Do you have a Guitar Center store near you? They have regular free classes on recording in the stores and you will get the chance to play with some expensive equipment there.

If you want to have buttons, knobs and sliders, look at the Korg NanoKontrol2. I have one of these and it works great with both GarageBand and Logic (as well as other software). It's a bargain at $60.

http://www.korg.com/services/products/nanoseries2/NanoKONTROL2_black_MAIN.png

afireintonto
Feb 21, 2013, 09:35 AM
^^ that is a sweet little mixing controller.
I'm gonna have to check that out.

xShane
Feb 21, 2013, 01:12 PM
I second the recommendation for GarageBand. It is free and surprisingly powerful. Give it a try and see what you think. When you get more advanced, you can upgrade to Logic Pro and it will open all your GarageBand files.

Yes, music lessons wouldn't be a bad idea either but you need to be patient because it takes awhile.

Do you have a Guitar Center store near you? They have regular free classes on recording in the stores and you will get the chance to play with some expensive equipment there.

If you want to have buttons, knobs and sliders, look at the Korg NanoKontrol2. I have one of these and it works great with both GarageBand and Logic (as well as other software). It's a bargain at $60.

Image (http://www.korg.com/services/products/nanoseries2/NanoKONTROL2_black_MAIN.png)

I do believe there is a Guitar Center near me. I will definitely check out your recommendation.

fastlanephil
Feb 23, 2013, 07:05 PM
If you want to do loop based music which PH sounds like it is check out this free music creation tool called Ignite. You can't import samples into it but you can export .midi files that almost all DAWs can import.

http://www.airmusictech.com

I would think that you also would want to learn to create your own pads and custom synth sounds for some originality. Crystal is a free synth VST.


http://www.greenoak.com/crystal/about.html

masterofbuckets
Feb 27, 2013, 11:13 PM
Highly recommend you check this site out. TONS of info on practically everything with respect to music production.

http://tweakheadz.com/

ChrisA
Feb 28, 2013, 01:42 AM
Thank you everyone for the support! I've never thought about getting a nice, cheap MIDI controller. I will *definitely* look into that. I can kind of see how music lessons (specifically piano) would help here, yes? Would this be recommended? Hmm, I wonder if my local store would offer some kind of DJ/electronic/House lessons, too....

Garage band come with some built-in lessons for both Piano and guitar. You will not learn this way but you can get a slight start then move on with a real teacher

AppleDeviceUser
Feb 28, 2013, 10:08 AM
I have a $20,000 studio in my home so I think the stuff I have is a little too expensive for you. But I would recommend one thing, get a good Midi Keyboard with lots of sounds, or a cheaper midi Keyboard with Apple's Logic Pro. Logic Pro has thousands of sounds, all you have to do once you buy it is click download additional content (About 20GBs) Since the keyboard I have is over $3000 you should look into buying Logic Pro (About $300) for your sounds instead. All you have to do is buy a USB Keyboard Midi controller, and it looks like you already have one. :)
One more thing, you need a lot of CPU power, I use a late 2012 iMac with 16GB RAM and a 3.6 GHz Quad Core Intel i7 plus an SSD. All of those are not necessary at first, but they sure will be nice when you have 22 tracks and it's still only at 15% CPU power and blazing fast

ChrisA
Feb 28, 2013, 10:31 AM
If you want to do loop based music which PH sounds like it is check out this free music creation tool called Ignite. You can't import samples into it but you can export .midi files that almost all DAWs can import. ...


Free is good. But Garage Band lets you build songs from loops and comes with a bunch of loops. But even so you need to at least know what a time signature is and the difference between the key or C and the key of G. You can't do much in music without knowing the very, very basics.

The other way to learn and it's what I finally did a while back. Find a Community Collage. They will have classes after work in the evening and they are not to expensive. Sign up for Beginning Piano. or maybe a beginning music theory. The school near me has a large music department and cover even studio recording and music production. However you have to take one class before the other. Most start with one instrument like piano or guitar and learn to read music notation then take a theory class and the second class for the instrument and then maybe the studio class and learn to record the more advanced musicians and so on. Take advantage of your local community collage. They offer very high level of instruction for cheap. And even better you will meet and get to know others like yourself and in time develope a relationship with some of the faculty who are likely long-time pros. Doing al this at a university is impossible for most of us but a CC music department is easy to get into and will only cost you two nights a week.

Boyd01
Feb 28, 2013, 11:25 AM
you should look into buying Logic Pro (About $300)

Actually Logic Pro is only $200 if you purchase through the app store. :) https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/logic-pro/id459578486?ls=1&mt=12

AppleDeviceUser
Feb 28, 2013, 02:55 PM
Actually Logic Pro is only $200 if you purchase through the app store. :) https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/logic-pro/id459578486?ls=1&mt=12

Sorry my mistake, I bought it through the app store as well. I am sorry OP the price for Logic Pro is $199

ljusmc
Feb 28, 2013, 09:25 PM
I came from PC/ FL Studio and Ive found Logic Pro is the only DAW I can understand somewhat coming from FL. It seems like a professional DAW as well so I'd say go with that, but I demo'd other ones and I came to this conclusion so you should too and see whats best for you. And get yourself a MIDI keyboard if you havent. You'll eventually figure out what else you need from there as I did and I got into all of this by teaching myself.

PRPS
Mar 2, 2013, 03:21 PM
Highly recommend you check this site out. TONS of info on practically everything with respect to music production.

http://tweakheadz.com/

Agreed.

Also the akai LPK 25 is around $40.

fastlanephil
Mar 3, 2013, 11:35 AM
I picked up the Personus Studio One Producer this summer for $99. It's about as transparent as it gets for a DAW. They have a free demo version that you can play with which comes with built-in instruments. The Artist version is always $99 but I can't recommend it except as a trial version with an upgrade path to Producer because of it's inability to import 3rd party plug-ins.

It's not as mature as Logic but you won't be out anything but your time by checking it out.

I bought it for a secondary/backup DAW.

ChrisA
Mar 3, 2013, 12:14 PM
Hello everyone,

I'm writing to the wonderful MacRumors community today to obtain advice on breaking into the lovely field of music production (on the Mac). I've always been an artistic individual, and never really realized my love for ......


Notice how EVERYONE here has this entirly WRONG.

One does NOT "break into the lovely field of music production" be buying some software. That is like saying "I want to learn to be an artist, what paint should I buy?" It's silly, you learn be drawing using whatever materials you and find.

Same with music. The tools you use are not importance at all. If you have a Mac you already have Garage Band, Use that until have some sound in you head that you can can not get with GB.

Look on Craig's list for a $25 guitar or and old keyboard. As long as the keyboard has MIDI you will be good. No reason to spend more than $50.

Later you will find that you can't get the dynamics "right" on the low-end keyboard but for most people they need to practice every day for a year before they approach the limits of a low-end synth keyboard.

My point is that likely you are not the famous music producer yo's like to be not because you lack the money to buy still. It is because you have not yet put in the years of study and practice.

Boyd01
Mar 8, 2013, 12:27 PM
I do believe there is a Guitar Center near me. I will definitely check out your recommendation.

From an e-mail I got - they are currently offering free GarageBand workshops: http://www.guitarcenter.com/Recording-Made-Easy-g26448t0.gc
__________________

Week 1: Introduction to GarageBand with a focus on Signal Flow and Microphone Techniques
Saturday, March 2, 2013 - 10AM - 11AM
(Begins with an introduction to computer recording and ends with Question and Answer session)



Week 2: Introduction to GarageBand with a focus on Virtual Instruments and Loops
Saturday, March 9, 2013 - 10AM - 11AM
(Begins with an introduction to computer recording and ends with Question and Answer session)



Week 3: Introduction to GarageBand with a focus on Effects
Saturday, March 16, 2013 - 10AM - 11AM
(Begins with an introduction to computer recording and ends with Question and Answer session)



Week 4: Introduction to GarageBand with a focus on Mixing and Publishing
Saturday, March 23, 2013 - 10AM - 11AM
(Begins with an introduction to computer recording and ends with Question and Answer session)

xShane
Mar 8, 2013, 12:32 PM
Notice how EVERYONE here has this entirly WRONG.

One does NOT "break into the lovely field of music production" be buying some software. That is like saying "I want to learn to be an artist, what paint should I buy?" It's silly, you learn be drawing using whatever materials you and find.

Same with music. The tools you use are not importance at all. If you have a Mac you already have Garage Band, Use that until have some sound in you head that you can can not get with GB.

Look on Craig's list for a $25 guitar or and old keyboard. As long as the keyboard has MIDI you will be good. No reason to spend more than $50.

Later you will find that you can't get the dynamics "right" on the low-end keyboard but for most people they need to practice every day for a year before they approach the limits of a low-end synth keyboard.

My point is that likely you are not the famous music producer yo's like to be not because you lack the money to buy still. It is because you have not yet put in the years of study and practice.

I completely understand what you're saying. I tried to approach this topic as humbly as possible.

fastlanephil
Mar 9, 2013, 10:54 AM
It is because you have not yet put in the years of study and practice.

And also possessing a certain amount of natural talent and a little luck.

sim667
Mar 14, 2013, 07:27 AM
Im learning abelton at the moment, really like it and I've got no musical background what so ever.

jblongz
Mar 19, 2013, 12:03 PM
I've been using Ableton Live for 9 years now (time flies). Its the best way to get ideas down. BUT, depending on what type of music you're doing, you'll may need 3rd party plugins. I have Live 9 Suite, and there's a lot of instruments in there (59GB) but I mainly use EastWest collection, Nexus and others depending on genre.

Ableton itself it the best sequencer you can get on the mac. Logic is the next best thing due to its integration.

jblongz
Jun 20, 2013, 02:18 PM
Adding to this is Ableton's new PUSH instrument/controller. What makes it stand out? Its an instrument of a different type that lets you play chords based on pad patters and has scale modes which make it impossible to play out of scale. A revolutionary approach to the world of digital music. Designed by Ableton, built by Akai.

ChrisA
Jun 20, 2013, 06:33 PM
I completely understand what you're saying. I tried to approach this topic as humbly as possible.

So whats up? Have you bought a guitar from the Goodwill Thrift store yet. Have you figured out the difference between a C and G major scale yet.

I notice all these people here are still taking about buying software and other gear. This is just like in the photography forums, they all talk about buying stuff as if owning a $5K rig makes you a better artist.

AppleDeviceUser
Jun 20, 2013, 07:49 PM
1: Buy Logic Pro
2: Buy a Midi Keyboard
3: Connect the midi keyboard to your mac
You're done! You now have all you need to create music on the mac! If you have the knowhow you will have no end to what tunes you can create!

Have fun!!

Sackvillenb
Jun 27, 2013, 05:47 PM
I have some very simple advice for you, to get started on a minimum budget:

1) Use Garageband. it's free with your mac! Eventually you can upgrade to Logic (fantastic for making electronic music, and a great value too) but stick with Garageband for now (because it's free, and if you get Logic later, you can import all your Garageband projects into it!)

2) Buy a basic midi controller of some kind. You can get a good basic one for $100 or $200. The KIND of midi controller depends on your musical style and abilities. I would suggest a simple keyboard controller, like the M-audio keystation series. They offer fantastic value. It might be nice to get one with knobs or faders, but getting a basic keyboard controller will absolutely suffice (and will cost less)

3) Learn some theory and techniques on playing and composing music, as well as audio recording on computers (e.g. using DAW's (digital audio workstation, which includes Garageband). For this, you can talk to people you know if they possess these skills, or take lessons, but the internet has TONS of free lessons and advice and tutorials. Look on youtube, look at websites like soundonsound.com, download some free e-books, etc. You can buy some good magazines too (e.g. computer music, future music, etc.). There are many free or cheap resources for you to draw upon.

Although I learned how to play music as a child, I started making music with an old windows computer, but I really got into it when I bought a Mac that had Garageband on it. And now, I make music using a variety of programs (mostly Logic and Ableton).

You can totally do this, and you can totally do it cheaply too! It's fun living in 2013! If you have more questions just ask! :)

GALENOS
Apr 12, 2014, 01:14 AM
As far as a DAW , Im not sure if any ones aware of this but I thought I share my experiences and what has worked for me. I can speak from experience when I was a beginner. I was I did some research online , and found a program that was really good and pretty intuitive software I became pretty decent in a few days.

Which is most important to me for beginners is ease of use. I wasn't expecting it to be so great but it really surprised me. Works very well for my midi controller and pads.. (MPK 25) I bought it from this website here (http://makemagicmusic.net) . I used them as a beginner and used for a very long time.. I still use it today from time to time.

Also very cheap which is why I bought it at the time im all to familat with "The struggle" lol.. but other programs like protools and logic are good buut thats gonn run you thousands for sure..

would check out either linustectips build for his work station. The only thing I would change about this build is to use Asus Rampage IV Black Edition EATX mother board. Or you could go with a ASUS P9X79-E WS board either way it kicks ass ( this build I use know and cost like 3,500$) but its really good. But the program I mentioned ealier runs on any "regular use" computer so the barrier to entry is much lower I think it would be great for you..

Hope this helps!:D:apple::cool:

hulk2012
Apr 12, 2014, 03:37 AM
MIDI keyboard?? Ive got iPad Air and Logic Pro plus two 27" iMacs with over 600 plugins of sound manipulation. My iPad connects wireless to Logic Pro and it's used as instruments player, mixer and anything you can imagine. Same on MacBook Pro retina if I travel. Also tabletop and impc apps for iPad if I want power but to be very light. All wireless. All neat. Good pairs of speakers and dre beats. And I'm set. On the go. At the studio. Can't have better then that.

DPUser
Apr 12, 2014, 07:11 PM
MIDI keyboard?? Ive got iPad Air and Logic Pro plus two 27" iMacs with over 600 plugins of sound manipulation. My iPad connects wireless to Logic Pro and it's used as instruments player, mixer and anything you can imagine. Same on MacBook Pro retina if I travel. Also tabletop and impc apps for iPad if I want power but to be very light. All wireless. All neat. Good pairs of speakers and dre beats. And I'm set. On the go. At the studio. Can't have better then that.

... unless you want actually play a real physical instrument, which I would recommend the OP consider. Otherwise, we're simply recycling other's ideas. :D

Then again, I readily acknowledge there are many ways to approach music, so perhaps I spoke too soon and harshly. I just feel that, at some point, being able to realize the sounds and melodies one hears in one's head becomes the reason one continues to create music. Familiarity with (and, if we're dreaming, mastery of) an instrument frees us from the mundane.

hulk2012
Apr 12, 2014, 08:01 PM
... unless you want actually play a real physical instrument, which I would recommend the OP consider. Otherwise, we're simply recycling other's ideas. :D



Then again, I readily acknowledge there are many ways to approach music, so perhaps I spoke too soon and harshly. I just feel that, at some point, being able to realize the sounds and melodies one hears in one's head becomes the reason one continues to create music. Familiarity with (and, if we're dreaming, mastery of) an instrument frees us from the mundane.


I've got an mpc but prefer to use iPad Air as an instrument. Might but the mpc case with pads for it though when on the fly. Otherwise an additional instrument creates an clutter which translates to distraction to me. I like working in neat and minimalistic environment. Unless in real size studio..

natashasharma
Apr 23, 2014, 02:43 AM
That is a nice
I'm gonna have to check that out.
;)http://www.raid24x7.com/