What Music Production Tools do you Need?

You can spend a whole load of money on all sorts of different music production tools, but what would really be considered as important? Here’s David ‘Trash’ Kelly on the music production tools he uses.

Music Production Tools - Thor Polysonic SynthesizerTraditionally a hardware mixer with a multitrack reel to reel recorder would have been essential, and indeed, even today, some engineers and producers still love the sound this ‘vintage’ analogue equipment creates. Today though most would opt for a computer based digital audio workstation or DAW, typically a PC or an Intel based Apple Mac Pro running software such as Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase and so on. If you are on a budget and are not too worried about having the very latest software then you can get great deals on 2nd hand equipment such as an Apple Mac G5 mentioned in the video, running earlier versions of the the software listed above.

If you are looking at courses to learn music production and the tools available, the Recording Workshop runs many. Take a look at our Music Production Courses page.

As far as instruments are concerned having both real and virtual or software instruments make a great combination although virtual instruments have come a long way since their inception in the late 90’s, and sound very realistic. However it is still difficult to emulate the way a real instrument would be played using soft synths or samplers, therefore using a combination of real and virtual instruments provides us with a more natural sound.

Music Production Tools – Microphones

The quality of microphones is absolutely crucial to the sound we get as this is the first point where we convert the physical sound into an electrical signal, and if the mic does a poor job then things will not get any better from there on. Good quality microphones can be expensive although lately the price has come down quite a bit and there are some good deals to be had if you shop around.

One important thing to take note is not to keep buying and selling. There are those who are always after the ‘latest and greatest’. The problem is that the latest is not always are great as the marketers would have you believe. Always listen and test things out yourself. Let your own ears be the judge. Avoid selling ‘older’ musical equipment. Things go out of fashion – that’s ok, but soon they’ll be back. Analog synths are a classic example. In the early 80s you couldn’t give away an analog synth as the new digital ones had emerged and everyone jumped on those and abandoned their older equipment, but then there was a massive resurgence and demand for those retro synths could not be fulfilled so today the price of analog synthesizers is higher than when they were brand new.

There are no right or wrong tools to have. It is really down to the type of music you intend to produce. as David ‘Trash’ Kelly mentions in the video, embrace all different types of music including that of other producers, and build up your arsenal of music production tools.