Best Way to Get Into Music Production on the Mac?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by xShane, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    xShane

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    Location:
    United States
    #1
    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, 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.
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    afireintonto

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Location:
    Portland
    #2
    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!
     
  3. macrumors 6502a

    bwhli

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #3
    I agree, get a small MIDI controller and try to compose a few short pieces. This one's 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 of the software. It's on sale for $50 on Amazon at the moment.
     
  4. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    #4
    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 and Novation 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.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    xShane

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    Location:
    United States
    #5
    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.

    I don't torrent, ever :p
     
  6. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #6
    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.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

    afireintonto

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Location:
    Portland
    #7
    ^^ that is a sweet little mixing controller.
    I'm gonna have to check that out.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    xShane

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    Location:
    United States
    #8
    I do believe there is a Guitar Center near me. I will definitely check out your recommendation.
     
  9. macrumors 6502a

    fastlanephil

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    #9
    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
     
  10. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2009
    #10
    Highly recommend you check this site out. TONS of info on practically everything with respect to music production.

    http://tweakheadz.com/
     
  11. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #11
    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
     
  12. macrumors 6502

    AppleDeviceUser

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2012
    Location:
    Canada
    #12
    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
     
  13. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #13

    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.
     
  14. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #14
  15. macrumors 6502

    AppleDeviceUser

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2012
    Location:
    Canada
    #15
  16. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2012
    Location:
    Florida
    #16
    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.
     
  17. macrumors member

    PRPS

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #17
    Best Way to Get Into Music Production on the Mac?

    Agreed.

    Also the akai LPK 25 is around $40.
     
  18. macrumors 6502a

    fastlanephil

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    #18
    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.
     
  19. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #19
    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.
     
  20. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #20
    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)
     
  21. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    xShane

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    Location:
    United States
    #21
    I completely understand what you're saying. I tried to approach this topic as humbly as possible.
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    fastlanephil

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    #22
    And also possessing a certain amount of natural talent and a little luck.
     
  23. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
    #23
    Im learning abelton at the moment, really like it and I've got no musical background what so ever.
     
  24. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2013
    Location:
    NYC
    #24
    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.
     
  25. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2013
    Location:
    NYC
    #25
    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.
     

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