Getting Started in Music Production
Over the last 20 years, music production has become incredibly accessible, with getting started in music production has never been easier. All you need to get started and have a home studio is a computer, some software and you’re ready to start making your first track. With that in mind, finding the tools and assets that will help you with the process may seem a little overwhelming, so we’ve compiled this article to give you a head start.
In this post, you’ll find links to several sites providing royalty-free samples, free software plug-ins, templates and tutorials to jumpstart your journey into getting started in music production.
Beginners Guide to Music Production
When getting started in music production there can be a lot to learn. However, with websites like YouTube featuring an abundance of videos that will help you learn just about anything, it certainly isn’t expensive to find out the basics. Here we feature a few examples of great channels you can visit to expand your knowledge of everything audio production.
In The Mix
A fantastic channel to get into, with well over a quarter-million subscribers. In The Mix produce regular and informative content specifically aimed at teaching the basics of audio production and even topics that seasoned players may find useful. Whatever your level, you’ll find something to learn.
Musician on a Mission
Another fantastic channel to check out, with incredibly high-quality videos and informative information and video topics, like In The Mix there will be something for every level user to watch and learn. With an impressive 90,000 subscriber count, this channel is one to watch.
Lastly, we feature Production Expert. This channel is incredible with the sheer amount of great content it features. The quality of videos and content is undebatable.
Along with amazingly detailed videos of audio production techniques and the sheer amount of gear review videos, you’ll more than likely spend a few hours inside this channel. This channel serves as almost the one-stop-shop for anything audio production, defiantly worth checking out.
Long-established producer Claudio Passavanti founded Doctor Mix several years ago. The site itself is a one stop shop for getting your productions mastered, but that is not the only great thing about this website; the blog is an amazing resource full of useful tips, advice and tutorials which, coupled with their YouTube channel provide a huge amount of information for the budding music producer.
Next, we’ll examine some great websites to check out to further your audio production knowledge.
Sound On Sound
Sound On Sound is considered by many to be the golden standard for information. If you haven’t heard of Sound On Sound you have now and pretty much everyone in the audio production world will have read the magazine or visited the website, so you don’t feel left out and go check out the wealth of advice and information on their site.
Another great website worth checking out would be MusicTech. If your new to using digital audio workstations or need some tips refining your skills, MusicTech feature an abundance of tutorial articles and videos to inform or hone your skills. Along with the latest gear reviews and the latest news in the audio production world, MusicTech is an excellent choice for spending some internet time.
Last but not least is Gearslutz, a fantastic website featuring all the reviews of the latest gear, but mainly it’s unique selling point which is its forum platform. Any topic that may come to mind there will most likely be a Gearslutz forum column on the subject, and even user reviews of the products you may have your eye on. A great way to see the more honest of reviews, by the users themselves.
Royalty Free Audio Samples
Sometimes a big problem, when getting started in music production, is having access to musicians and sounds. When it comes to finding the best audio samples, whether it’s a drum loop, a vocal acapella or a killer bass sample, there are many options out there to find what you’re looking for. What we have here are a few options that can provide what you’re looking for with high quality and a pinch on the purse strings.
Where to Find Royalty Free Audio Samples
One of the most comprehensive sites we’ve found is Looperman. Not only does it contain thousands of samples, but it also includes access to many free software plug-ins as well. The site has a real sense of community as well with its blog and forum, which is very active and a great place to connect with other producers and musicians.
Audio Jungle is a fantastic place to buy anything royalty-free, from songs to audio samples. Whether you are looking for a track to use in a piece of film or looking to design your own foley, there nothing you can’t find on Audio Jungle. While Audio Jungle doesn’t offer free samples, it is royalty-free, but the sheer quality of material found is astonishing and with price tags as low a £1 a track what is not to love.
Freesound is another platform to find free audio samples. Unlike Audio Jungle where you have to pay for the royalty-free samples, Freesound like the title is completely free. Just like Audio Jungle what you find is all down to your creativity for searches and your needs.
Freesound’s library is compiled of users uploads, which leads to the drawback of using Freesound. Being based entirely upon user’s uploads, you’re at the mercy of users from each end of the technical spectrum, meaning you may have to sift through a lot of different samples before you find the sound you are looking for and if it’s a usable quality. But it’s free so who’s complaining?
Free to download Digital Audio Workstations
When diving into the world of audio production, the most essential and pivotal tools anyone needs in this area is a digital audio workstation. A DAW is a piece of software that is used to record, arrange and edit audio files.
Finding the right software to build your audio creations can be overwhelming and expensive. Featured here are some free alternatives to some of the more pricey options on the market, that if you’re new to the game will be great examples to get your feet wet.
First and foremost, probably the most famous of DAW the public has exposure to GarageBand, a free DAW produced by Apple. Coming pre-installed on all Apple products, this has been countless people’s first taste of digital audio workstations.
GarageBand essentially a more technically stripped-down version of Apple’s paid DAW Logic Pro X. GarageBand comes with a variety of instruments, loops and effects, and even features in-music lessons for piano and guitar. With a limit of 32 tracks, this is more than enough to get any song or piece of music to professional quality, and with the ability to use third-party plug-ins, the limits are almost endless.
Moving from Mac to Windows. Being produced by BandLab technologies is Cakewalk, a fantastic free DAW only compatible with Windows and offers excellent features and usability. It has advantages over other free DAWs like GarageBand as it features an unlimited amount of tracks you can use.
Also offering more possibilities and options with the support of third-party plug-ins. Its highly customisable interface retains the endless possibilities theme with such customisation that other DAWs on the market won’t support.
Lastly, another excellent free DAW that you can download is Ohm Force’s Ohm Studio. A perfect option for both Mac and PC users. Ohm Force features unlimited amounts of track and the ability for third-party plug-ins, the only limits are that your projects are saved in the cloud, and you only can save up to 10 projects before paying for a subscription. Another limitation is you can’t export projects in a lossless format.
DAW Templates for Logic X, Cubase, Ableton & Reason
When starting a new project in your new digital audio workstation, you may find yourself at a crossroads on where to start. Thankfully there are some options out there to help you set up your workstation so you can jump right in.
Where to find Templates for Music Production
This website is an excellent website that provides free templates for Logic Pro X, Ableton and FruityLoops. The amount of templates with ranging genres is incredible; there’s so many to choose from. Although they are on paid platform DAWs, this site incredible and well worth being the first place to go when searching, plus they’re all free!
Free Audio Plug-ins
Once you have a workstation and audio to play with, the next step would be to get some VST plug-ins to start processing raw audio into something more polished for your final mix.
Like anything in the audio production world, there are thousands of choices for additional plug-ins ranging from expensive to free. What we’ll take a look at are some free VST plug-ins that are great for processing audio, saving time and proving a better understanding of what you’re hearing.
Flux – The Bittersweet Transient Designer
This plug-in is a simple one-knob transient processor that reduces or magnifies the transients in your audio. Whether you want to smoothen the sound of your acoustic guitar or increase the intensity in a kick drum, you have total control with the ease of use of one knob. Time effect and simple what more could you want.
Cableguys – PanCake
The PanCake plug-in is an automatic panning plug-in. You operate the plug-in by drawing a curve and choosing a time period that it affects, it then pans the input signal. This plug-in is essential for anyone and is an absolute time saver.
Gone are the days of spending hours of drawing automation for simple panning effects. PanCake takes care of all the hard work, and being a free plug-in it’s a no brainer addition.
Voxengo – SPAN
SPAN by Voxengo is a free to download audio spectrum analyser. This plug-in lets you see what frequencies are in your music. This would be a fantastic tool to compare your music to commercial tracks, that allow you to see the comparisons between yours and professional releases in the audio spectrum.
This plug-in is a necessary tool that can help build your knowledge how to get everything sitting in the right frequency bands and to get a crystal clear look at exactly what frequencies are present that you may not hear, and make well-informed mix decisions.
Something a little different here, not a specific free plug-in, but instead a platform that features both paid and free plug-ins. Plugin Boutique features everything from instrument to studio tool plug-ins.
So, if the stock plug-ins that come with whatever DAW you’re using aren’t enough, or that you are looking for a change check out Plugin Boutique. They’ll defiantly be something for you check out, and what have you got to lose they’re all free.