Today I would like to get into one of the big mysteries of music: producing songs. Many people write songs on guitar, piano or even Voice Memos while walking down the street. But after you write your songs, how do you record it? Do you know how to make a demo? How does this all work especially if you do not know anything about producing?
Well, let me backup a bit. Production is actually almost simultaneous with writing music these days. Artists have a big group called “producer-writers”, myself included, where we not only use production to record music, but also write music during the production process. So in these next couple of blog posts, I would like to unfold some of the mysteries and provide an introduction to producing your own music.
In my previous blog posts, I wrote about songwriting, mainly about song forms and writing interesting melodies. To quote myself, I said:
Until a decade ago, songs were created in large studios with big budgets, where the role of the ‘music producer’ and ‘songwriter’ was clearly defined. Everyone had a specific job in these large projects and the work was almost done in a factory assembly line manner. Fast forward to today, with the great technology at our disposal, the roles of a songwriter and producer are blurred. With a laptop in our hands, we can simultaneously write and produce professional level songs.
What Kind of Equipment Do You Need?
• Computer So, before we go about getting intro production, let’s talk equipment. First off, I suggest a computer with high processing power. With a good CPU, you would avoid crashes and hence avoid losing unsaved work, lots of potential tears and heartbreaking moments. MacBook Pro is always a go to choice, and they are industry standard. If you have a higher budget and want to go desktop, such as iMac or Mac Pro these are much faster and durable options, but they have the problem of mobility.
• Microphone If you want to record good quality music, you have to have a professional level microphone. You can maybe take your chances with a USB mic, but it will never be the same as a condenser microphone quality recording of your vocals. There are lots of great options for different budgets, so I would highly encourage you to check out this post I wrote and also start digging around the web to do more research. Also, feel free to ask friends and colleagues about which microphones they have, how do they like it and also if possible, test them out before you make a purchase. It’s important that you like the sound of the microphone, which is a very subjective topic.
• Interface An interface helps connect the microphone, guitar or any analog instrument to the computer via microphone recording input or a direct input. It is our analog to digital gateway, and is one of the key players of the recording process. Getting a smaller interface will certainly help you to be more mobile and if you dig around the web, there are plenty of options.
• Headphones A pair of great headphones will change so much when you are recording. Hearing the lows, mids, and highs clearly will alter your and your musician colleagues experiences to the next level, so be sure to get some good ones.
• Speakers/Monitors Having a great pair of monitors will help you hear everything that’s going on in your recording clearly, and will enhance your overall experience. If you want to make something that sounds good, better invest in some of these!
So these are the basic set up for a home studio. In the coming weeks, I will be going further into production and will talk further about how each equipment is used throughout the process. Get researching for some cool equipment and find the ones that you like!
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Alper Tuzcu is a Berklee College of Music and Denison University alumni, and a Boston based guitarist, songwriter and producer. His new EP ‘Lines’ was released on November 2017 and his debut eclectic album ‘Between 12 Waters’ featuring 8 different vocalists is available on Spotify. In addition to being a musician, he regularly teaches workshops and masterclasses internationally. You can follow him on Instagram or Twitter, and for more information you can visit his website www.alpertuzcu.com