Thanks to the internet, it's never been easier for musicians to share their songs with the world. Fortunately, music production equipment is more accessible, too. You might think that music production requires tons of equipment and a huge studio. While you can have a fully loaded studio, you only need a few pieces of equipment to start producing music.
From computers and software to a desk and chair, a basic recording set up is affordable and easy to create. Now anyone can become a music producer with only their love of music and a few basic pieces of music production equipment.
Music Production Equipment FAQs
The world of music production can be confusing, and the abundance of equipment options doesn't help. Before you build your music production equipment collection, you should know some of the basics of music production and the type of equipment you might need.
What is music production equipment?
Music production equipment is an umbrella term for anything and everything that you use to record and produce music. From computers and microphones to digital audio workstations (DAWs) and a comfortable chair, you have to make a lot of choices when building your music production studio.
How does it work?
Different types of music production equipment serve different functions. Of course, you need good hardware like a computer and a microphone. You also need a good DAW to pbuin0roduce and edit your music. A nice desk and comfortable chair will help you get through extended editing and recording sessions.
Good quality music production equipment will save you money because you won't have to regularly repurchase gear. Great music production equipment should also serve a purpose and be user-friendly. There's no point in having an expensive microphone if you never use it.
Why do you need it?
You can get started recording with a computer, a DAW, and a microphone. Technically, you don't need anything else, but some music production equipment will help you tremendously when it comes to producing music. A great microphone will do wonders for your sound quality, and a microphone stand will come in handy for anyone who plays an instrument.
While you can get away with a few items, the more good music production equipment you have, the easier it will be to get the best sound possible.
Do you need a full studio?
You don't need a full recording studio. Professional studios are expensive to build and furnish, and most musicians don't need every last piece of equipment that professional studios have. You should be prepared to invest in a few great pieces of music production equipment, but those investments don't have to break the bank.
Where can you buy the equipment?
There are many in-person and online retailers where you can buy music production equipment. Common choices include Guitar Center, Sweetwater, BestBuy, and Amazon. If you're shopping for a computer for music production, you can buy a computer from BestBuy, Amazon, or directly from the manufacturer, like Apple.
How much does it cost?
Each piece of music production equipment varies in price, and some items cost less than others. If you don't have a computer to use, that will probably be your biggest cost at $1,000 to $3,000 depending on your computer of choice.
DAWs range from free to $700, and a good microphone will cost $100 to $500. You can also take advantage of online marketplaces on Facebook and eBay to find used gear for less money. You might be surprised by the deals you can find.
How We Reviewed
We found a few articles that discuss music production equipment, and we found examples of each of the products on our list. We looked at the opinions of experts and then checked out which products customers were most satisfied with. You don't have to buy each of the products we chose, but you can use the products as inspiration for building your unique music production studio. Everyone's needs and preferences are different, so you should choose the equipment that's right for you, your budget, and your needs.
Before you purchase, we recommend checking customer reviews or testing the equipment for yourself to make sure that you like the equipment. Also, don't feel like you have to buy all of these products at once. As long as you have a working computer, a microphone, and some recording software, you can start producing music. The other equipment, while important, can wait.
9 Essential Music Production Equipment
Some professional recording studios are filled with music production equipment. As an independent musician, you don't need a full studio, but there are some essentials that you need to make the best music you can. From hardware to software to comfort, here is our list of essential music production equipment.
One of the most important things you need as a music producer is a good computer. There are many great computers on the market, but Apple makes some of the best computers for music production. Whether you want a desktop or a laptop, you can't go wrong with a Mac.
Macs and MacBooks are more expensive than some computers, but you can take advantage of two popular music programs. GarageBand and Logic Pro X are only available on Mac, so if you want to use either of them, you have to have an Apple computer.
Apple Macs range in price from $700 for a Mac mini to over $3,000 for a Mac Pro. They all have amazing features and specs, and Macs have a reputation for lasting a long time.
2. Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
A good digital audio workstation, or DAW, is a piece of music production software that you use to mix and edit your songs. Some programs are free, and others cost up to $700. If you have a specific program in mind, you want to make sure that you can use it on whatever computer you choose. Certain DAWs are only available on Mac or only on Windows. You don't want to end up with a computer that doesn't support your favorite program.
While different DAWs have different features, most of them support audio input from your recording. Any good DAW should also allow you to edit and mix your music in whatever way you choose. If you're just starting, you can use GarageBand or Audacity. They have plenty of features, they're free to download, and they're easy to use.
If you want to spend a bit more for more features, try Logic Pro X or Ableton Live. Both of those programs cost money, but they're true workhorses. You can do just about anything with them. If you buy a new Mac from Apple, you can even have Logic Pro X pre-installed.
3. Audio interface
An audio interface lets you connect your computer to a microphone or speakers. When recording, you need to connect your microphone to the computer so that it picks up your take. Once you start editing, you need to hear your music, and an audio interface connects the computer to your speakers or headphones.
An audio interface converts sound from an analog to a digital format so your computer can process the input. For output, the audio interface works in reverse, converting sound from digital back to analog.
There are many different types of audio interfaces, and it can be hard to choose the best one. As with anything, make sure you know what you need so you can choose the gear that works for you.
4. MIDI keyboard
If you want an easy way to compose music right at your computer, you need a MIDI keyboard. MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, and that's precisely what it does. A MIDI keyboard serves as a digital musical instrument so you can write music without having various instruments scattered around you.
Some digital keyboards have different settings that let you change the sound to different instruments. MIDI keyboards do this, and they connect to your computer.
Plenty of brands offer MIDI keyboards with different features and in different sizes, and we recommend the Pyle USB MIDI keyboard controller. It has 25 keys, which equates to a 2-octave range. The keyboard also comes with a USB cable so you can connect it to your computer without any other special cables. You can change the key and the octave of the keyboard, and you can download and install their software kit to your computer.
What would a recording studio be without a microphone or two? You can record music with the microphone on your smartphone or computer, but a dedicated microphone is much better. A microphone has better quality than that of your other devices. You can set up the microphone wherever you need to. You don't want to be stuck in one place based on your computer.
A good microphone doesn't have to cost a lot, but it should suit your needs. If you plan to record mostly vocals, a vocal mic like the Shure SM58 is a great choice. If you need a microphone for instruments, then we recommend the Audio-Technica AT2020. It's perfect for home recording, and it can handle a wide dynamic range. Both of these microphones are affordable, so you don't have to drain your savings for a microphone.
As you record more often, you can get a wider variety of microphones. Drums sometimes need their own type of microphone. Vocals need a vocal mic, too. When you're starting, you need just one or two good microphones.
Headphones are another necessity for recording sessions. You need a good pair of headphones that can block out any excess sound and maintain sound quality. Ideally, you would have one pair of headphones for recording and another for editing. Recording headphones should prioritize sound isolation, but you want great sound quality for editing.
If you have to go with one pair, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones give you the best of both worlds. These headphones have the sound quality and the sound isolation you need for long sessions in the recording studio. They're affordable and a great option for anyone from beginner to professional.
7. Microphone stands
Unless you're solely a vocalist, you need a place to set your microphone when you record. Even vocalists shouldn't have to hold a microphone. You want to focus on getting your best take. A good microphone stand is key to any recording session.
You should choose a sturdy, affordable microphone stand. While microphone stands are important, you shouldn't spend much of your budget on them. Computers and microphones can easily cost thousands of dollars, but that also doesn't mean a microphone stand should be an afterthought.
You can start with a basic microphone stand. If you need more stands or would prefer a different one, you can always upgrade later.
8. Desk and chair
Editing sessions can last for hours, and you need to be comfortable. That means you need a good desk with an ergonomic chair. You probably already have a desk and chair, but if not, you need them. There are some fancy music production desks, but you don't necessarily have to have a huge desk. If you choose a desktop computer, you will need a desk that can fit that computer. You should also have space for your audio interface and a good pair of speakers.
A comfortable chair is also something you shouldn't compromise on. You will spend a lot of time at your desk sitting in your chair. Your chair can mean the difference between a comfortable editing session and a painful one.
9. Acoustic panels
The last thing you need for a sound recording space is acoustic panels. While they aren't an immediate necessity, acoustic panels let you take advantage of the space you have. Acoustic panels absorb excess sound so that you won't bug any roommates or neighbors. If you need to absorb lower frequencies, then you need bass traps. Bass traps are one type of acoustic panel that specifically works with bass frequencies.
You can buy a set of acoustic panels from Amazon, or save your next few egg cartons for a low-cost DIY project.
The Best Music Production Equipment for Folk Musicians
Building a music production studio doesn't have to difficult or expensive. Some of the most important music production equipment comes in the form of a good computer and a quality microphone. While a MIDI keyboard and acoustic panels are great, you don't need them for your first recording session. Instead, we recommend starting with a computer, a digital audio workstation (DAW), and a microphone. You can build the rest of your recording studio as time goes on.
Music production is what you make it, and your experience is going to be different from that of other musicians. As long as you have a way to record music and a place to do it, nothing is stopping you from producing music.