A look at modern day music production and how you can get started. Music is a universal language. Add to it the technology of today and you could have your own verse in this ever-expanding Bible. In this article, we’ll take a look at its history, DAWs, artists, and more.
A Brief History
Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville was a French inventor and bookseller. During the 1850s, Scott took an interest in studying sounds on paper, which led him to invent a phonautograph. The phonautograph is considered the first ever recording device. It was 20 years later, in 1877, that the world was introduced to the famous Phonograph by Edison.
During 1886, Emile Berliner, a German inventor, started working on sound recording technologies. Consequently, the Gramophone was born. A Phonograph used a spinning cylinder whereas a Gramophone used a spinning disk. Not to mention, the mechanism of the spinning disc is what lead to the creation of Vinyls. The early 1900s were all about Vinyls and they remained dominant until the emergence of digital media.
More tracks, more music. So it was with the creation of the Multi-track Recorder. The device divided tapes into multiple tracks. Also, the tracks could run parallel to each other as a result, bringing more complexity into music. Now, one can bring home a 32-track recorder.
The 80s, the age of digital media and synthesizers. Furthermore, home computers by then possessed enough power to handle audio processing. Hence the rise of MIDI, sound editing software, and DAWs. This was a huge boost for music production.
Digital Audio Workstation
Imagine the ensemble of an orchestra packed into your CPU. The need to own a studio doesn’t exist anymore. These workstations come in two types: a virtual app and integrated hardware. Regardless of the type, DAWs are capable of producing, editing, enhancing sonic waves. This is possible due to their vast array of musical components such as MIDI and various VST (Virtual Studio Technology) plug-ins.
MIDI is a communication device. It passes info back and forth to other music devices, acting as a keyboard of sorts. Plug-ins are basically downloadable tools that increase your DAW’s functionality. For instance, you can install a synthesizer plug-in into your DAW if you’re creating a synth-wave track. DAWs are used for videos, songs, games, effects, and anything else you can think of. Although, the most noteworthy feature of DAWs is that they can undo actions that are impossible in real-time scenarios. Also, they can cut, copy, paste, etc sounds, too. Famous DAWs include Ableton Live, FL Studio, Logic Pro, Pro Tools, etc.
Let’s take a look at a few DAWs through music genres. Although it’s more about which DAW you are comfortable with, knowing the differences may help.
One of the most influential, famous, and arguably the best music genre to date, Hip-Hop has indeed come a long way. A lyricist can go without a beat for sure but a good beat just stays, you know. Many professionals use Ableton Live for rap beat production. Although, if you are a novice or someone who doesn’t want to invest just yet, Pro Tools is the way to go. Look for the Zebralette plug-in for rap focused sounds.
The powerhouse of electronic sonic! EDM is a DAW-friendly genre, you could say. Still, the most used DAWs for this genre seem to be Ableton Live and FL Studio. Artists like Skrillex use Ableton while Krewella is all over FL Studio.
The music of the undying! Rock needs a simpler DAW compared to the rest in my opinion. The DAW Reaper rocks the house here. LePou and MT Power Drum Kit are a couple of plug-ins you can look into.
Synth-wave is steadily gaining momentum in popularity, the neon lights and nostalgia are irresistible after all. Here, you’re looking for samplers, drum machines, and synthesizers. So, plug-ins like SQ8L and drum machine samples are what you’re looking for. As for DAWs, FL Studio is most preferred.
If you just want to create some music, Audacity and Pro Tools are the best bet since they are free.
Artists Who Made It From DAW or Similar
Steve Lacy has produced for J Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Denzel Curry, etc. but he started off by playing guitar and creating beats on his iPhone.
Niklas Åkerblad, also known as the artist El Huervo, has some of the most memorable tracks in the cult classic game Hotline Miami. He is a Swedish artist who makes paintings and soundtracks. His most famous track is probably Daisuke from Hotline Miami. Before Hotline Miami, Niklas did music production for mobile games.
The unmistakable alias known as Trevor Something is a synth-wave musician. He hosts a catalog of sensational songs, such as Sega Genesis. He orchestrates his art through FL Studio and a few instruments like samplers and drum machines.
Music Production is at Your Door and Your Talent at Everyone Else’s
Depending on your preferences, you can download one of the DAWs: Ableton 10 Live, Audacity, Reaper, etc. and literally start diving into your creativity. It’s astonishing how accessible music listening and creating is. Once you download the DAW of your choice, start learning it through the internet and get comfortable with it. Also, find some plug-ins here and there. Produce! Let the global gang buzz in on social media. Music is a universal language, time to start making it more evident!