Maybe you are just entering the musical world, or perhaps you want to upgrade your rig. Either way, it is critical to understand what you need for effective beat-making and good music production.
The gear that you use does not determine how good you are or the music you can make, but it does determine how easy the process is and how well you can flow.
With that in mind, what gear do you need to make beats?
To make beats, you only need a computer and a DAW that has samples and good plugins. A good set of studio headphones is also critical. It is easier to make beats with an audio interface, MIDI controller, MIDI pads, a condenser microphone, and studio monitors, but you can start with very basic gear.
The gear that you use for producing music affects the experience of making music drastically. You do not need the best gear out there to make good beats, but it is critical to collect a few pieces of specific gear to create beats at all.
Let’s explore the items you need to make beats and a few that make the process smoother as well.
What You Need To Make Beats
Making beats can be complex, but so long as you have enough talent, skill, and drive, you can use almost any gear to produce good music.
However, it is impossible to produce anything without having at least some equipment. For that reason, it is important to know what gear you need at a bare minimum – and how to use it.
You will need a way to do each of the following:
- create your beats
- record your beats
- mix your beats
- export your beats
For all of this, you may need a digital instrument or input device, a microphone, and some MIDI gear as well. You will also need a way to play back the beats that you make so that you can listen carefully to your work and make adjustments.
With all of this in mind, let’s take a closer look at what you need to make beats.
The most important piece of production equipment that you will need for making beats is a computer. There are several effective ways to use a computer to make beats, but without one, producing any kind of modern music is impossible.
It is important to use a computer that can successfully run the recording or DAW software that you use, as well as all of the plugins and samples that you want to use for making beats. An older computer may be incompatible with your software.
It might also run so slow that it is frustrating to do your work. Without a capable computer, making beats is extremely difficult.
Be sure to choose a computer that is compatible with the hardware and software that you want to use and has more than enough RAM, storage, and processing power. A computer with a large screen is helpful as well.
A dual monitor setup is something to look into as well.
A Digital Audio Workstation
A digital audio workstation (also called a DAW) is another critical requirement for making beats. This is software that allows you to generate and record beats, as well as manipulate the music, and finally mix and master the tracks when you are done.
There are several DAW options for making beats, and different producers have their own preferences. No matter what, it is critical to use a DAW that has a large sample library as well as plenty of plugins.
Without a good range of samples and plugins available for the software, you will have to source your own by creating them or paying for them. That would make the process of creating beats significantly more difficult and expensive.
An Audio Interface
An audio interface is a must-have for producing beats, especially if you want to use an external sound source such as a microphone or a digital instrument such as a MIDI controller or MIDI pads to create your beats or add to your music.
Using an audio interface is the only way to reliably get signals from external instruments and controllers into your computer for recording. Some MIDI devices are USB compatible, but they still work best if they can be run through an interface, as it produces a far cleaner and more usable signal.
A MIDI Controller / MIDI Pads
If you want to play your own beats or let your creativity come through in the music that you make, the best and most enjoyable way to accomplish this is to use a MIDI controller or MIDI pads of some kind.
Even if you do not play an instrument, using a MIDI controller or MIDI pads is great for inputting the beats yourself and controlling when they happen.
This adds an element of human touch and feel rather than simply inputting beats or notes by clicking on a timeline with your mouse.
When creating beats, it is critical to have a good set of studio headphones. These headphones are not the same as regular buds designed for listening to music, but they are full-ear studio headphones that have a very flat frequency response.
The flat frequency response of studio headphones allows the listener to hear the music as it is, without any tweaking or manipulation by the headphones.
This is essential if you want to make good-sounding beats that are not biased toward one frequency by the headphones that you are using.
A good set of studio monitors is great for making beats, but it is only necessary if you do not have good studio headphones.
Studio monitors also have a flat frequency response to prevent biases towards any frequency and to prevent the lack of any frequency due to speakers that do not output everything in the music.
It is critical to have some form of either a studio-grade monitor or headphones for making beats.
A microphone is an optional piece of gear for most beat-makers. However, if you want to record a sample, record a voice, or record an instrument for your music, you will need a good-quality microphone to do so.
The best option for recording is a condenser microphone, but almost any mouse will work for making basic recordings for making beats.
At the end of it, it does not matter what quality of gear you need to get started, as you can make beats with only a computer and a DAW. Take your time to build up your gear and experiment with different beat-making options along the way.
Refine your gear by the sounds you want to make, not the other way around. Do the best with the gear that you have, and never use it as an excuse. Learn to use your gear well, and you are sure to produce excellent music.