How To Make Your Own Beat Studio

How To Make Your Own Beat Studio

Being able to make high quality beats anytime and anywhere (and get paid) is certainly the ultimate dream, but sooner or later everybody’s gotta step their game up and setup their very own beat studio. Sounds pretty simple but there’s a lot more to consider than you think and it’s pretty easy for someone new to get swallowed up by all the different variables at play. Never fear! Today we’re gonna talk about the basic components that make up a basic beat studio and in a follow up post, we’ll take a look at more advanced techniques to take it to the next level and turn it into a full on home recording studio. For now, let’s guide you safely through the swamp and show you what it takes to make your very own beat studio.

However, first a bit of theory

Flow of Audio

There are many organic and technological elements that could affect the quality of your end product. It’s not just about the gear you use and how well it performs but how well you perform, not just as a producer, but a buyer too. To understand this completely let’s take a brief look at the flow of audio and the various routes it could take in and out of your computer. It’s all about Input, Process and Output. Like this:

Make You Own Beat Studio Audio Flow Chart - How To Make Hip-Hop.com
Click To Enlarge

Input:

  • Microphone
  • MIDI Controller
  • Audio Interface

Process

  • Computer
  • DAW

Output

  • Speakers
  • Headphones

Let’s break it down with an example of this. Let’s call it: A day in the life of producer/rapper, MC Air-Knee-Body (or MC AKB for short). MC AKB has his microphone setup and plugged into his audio interface which leads directly into his computer via USB. He also has a MIDI Controller plugged into a second USB slot that he used earlier on when he was composing his beat but today he is going to record a verse for his track.

MC Air-Knee-Body - How To Make Hip-Hop.comOnce MC AKB presses record and begins rapping into the mic, the audio travels down the cable and into the interface, which should have it’s own built in mic preamp. Microphone signal on its own is very weak and needs to be amplified before being transmitted elsewhere. From there it travels through the USB cable into your computer where the audio is instantaneously converted from an analog to a digital signal and added to the track.

Any signal from the MIDI Controller would go directly into his computer. Here’s where the fun begins for him as he edits and mixes his tracks (probably using the four basics we talked about in this post here) to get it all sounding great. The audio then travels out into the world through his headphones or speakers so that he can hear the end result loud and clear.

 

Level 1 (The Basic Plan)

To get a quality beat studio going, like MC AKB, you need just four components. Right now you’re probably satisfied just being able to pump out those sweet electric sounds and you wanna do it as effectively and as cheaply as you can. For this you would need only 4 things

#1 – Computer

The bottom line is: Audio is a RAM killer and it’s even deadlier when recording or adding too many effects. So to avoid latency, and keep everything seamless, you better be looking at something higher than 8GB but 4 will do on any 32-bit operating system. Get as much hard-drive space as you can too. Anything less than a 1TB will have you leaping for an external hard-drive within a year (you know, if you’re committed).

Now when it comes to your operating system, I have to throw my weight behind Mac. They’re fast becoming the industry standard and it’s not surprising since their drivers are suited more to audio than PC. They can be seen in studios around the world and you could get away with using just a MacBook pro instead of a desktop computer, even though they lack a bit in terms of hard-drive space.

#2 – Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

Magix Music Maker Screenshot - How To Make Hip-Hop.com

You know this term right? If you haven’t, DAW is the fancy term for the software used to record and make music and it’s the next step in building a bangin’ beat studio. If you’re just getting in the game and have 0 experience whatsoever then I’d highly recommend Magix Music Maker as your first choice. Anybody, whether young or old, can jump in without hassle and start producing bangers from day one. Check out my full review on Magix Music Maker here.

For something with a little bit of a learning curve to it, I’d recommend either Cubase, Reason or Ableton Live or even my childhood favourite, FL Studio. Don’t be afraid to get the trial versions that are available for all these great Softwares if you need a little more convincing before you buy. Chances are, the two of you will be together for a very long time.

#3 – Monitors & Headphones

Don’t be alarmed! Monitors are just another fancy industry term for speakers (learn it, know it…believe it (0.0)) and they go hand in hand with your headphones. “But Ryan, why would I need both?” Well, I’m glad you asked, my young Padawan. If you’re like me, and you live with other people, you can’t always have your speakers thumping while you work your magic so that’s where they would come in handy, so I guess that’s that.

The truth is a lot simpler, though. You see, these are the two most vaguely common ways that your music will be digested, either Publicly (in a car or at a club or party) or Privately (directly from their device). All you need really is a complete stereo image with one speaker for the left and another for the right with 3-5 inch subwoofers in each. Your headphones shouldn’t slack either.

Make sure they get you the best possible representation of what your audience will hear to make sure that absolutely everybody is pleased by your sound.

#4 – MIDI Controller

Now the final piece to make your beat studio legit is a MIDI Controller. These can come with as many as 61 or even 89 keys, but you’ll have all you need with as little as 49 keys or even 25. Besides being an all-purpose piano, many controllers have features that will allow you to effortlessly control your software with faders like the Novation LaunchKey Mini and some, like the Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII, that come with their very own set of assignable drum pads to keep the beat-making process as fluid as possible. You may not need it with you from the get-go but it’s a tool that any producer should add to their arsenal. Akai MPK Mini MKII 2017 review - How To Make Hip-Hop.com

 

Conclusion

So, to get your own beat studio off the ground you need the following:

  • A computer
  • Software (DAW)
  • Monitors & Headphones
  • MID Controller

Check out the next post to learn how to take your beat studio to the next level and make it great home recording studio in How To Make Your Own Beat Studio Part 2. Are you interested in learning how to make beats or buy software? Check out other related posts and feel free to leave your thoughts, comments and questions below!

Peace.

Ryan C. Voller, Recording Artist – Producer – Lead Contributor for HowToMakeHip-Hop.com

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10 thoughts on “How To Make Your Own Beat Studio

  1. Shawn

    My son would love your website and I will turn him on to your URL
    I am interested in following this process from the beginning myself and am hoping I can find all the steps to creating and publishing a beat from start to finish.
    Do you offer this on your website and if so can I get a order of your articles to check out?

    Shawn>>

    1. Ryan

      Hey Shawn.

      I’m glad you think your son would find this useful and I’m keen to hear what he has to say on my articles.

      The topic you mention is something I plan to cover in future posts but I will be writing as I go through the process with my own beats and music to give you a more authentic perspective. Right now I’m still planning my 2017 creative project as well as planning the series of articles I will write around it but stay tuned as that ball should get rolling soon.

      Thanks again for leaving your comment. 😀

  2. Eris

    This is a fascinating topic! I’m always intrigued by new things. I was able to follow a good bit of your explanation and think this would be very helpful to someone who was trying to set up their own in home studio. It would be really awesome to watch you set one up and produce some compositions on video. Would you need any additional equipment or software depending on the type of beats you want to create?

    1. Ryan

      Funny you should say that, I am planning a series of posts and videos that follow along as I create my 2017 project from start to finish which should see me do just that.

      This setup is best for the sole purpose of making beats. Recording and adding a microphone will be covered in part two as we go in to full home recording

  3. Nico Collu

    I’ve had a home recording studio for years.

    I came up to the point where I owned an RME Fireface 800, a Mackie Big Knob, a Focusrite Pre-amp, a MXL V69M mic, an Axiom 61 M-Audio MIDI Keyboard, a Korg PADKontrol Drumpad and a Mac Pro running Logic Pro X.

    It was a delight all these years to be able to create whatever I wanted, when I wanted…

    Might I add, a very great reason for having monitors is simply for the fact that it is the best to mix with. Now, this depends on your room of course as of where I owned an ARC plugin to neutralize the room but for beginners, I do not recommend anything but the basics until you feel like you might actually do something profitable!

    Great advice and I can perfectly vouch for the hardware recommendations here!

    1. Ryan

      Thanks Nico.

      There are always more beginners, I always say, and your kind of setup is what they should all aspire to but I hope to show that it’s easy to get started without breaking the bank.

      Thanks for sharing your personal story with us

  4. Angelique D.

    Hi Ryan,

    I am music producer myself. I am mostly producing Electronic music but when it comes to making beats we all use the same studio setup anyways, whether we make Hip Hop or Electro
    I am using Ableton Live but I used to start with FL Studio as well. I like Ableton’s workflow better than FL Studio and the combination with Ableton Push is just awesome!
    I liked your review on Ableton Live 9 btw 😉
    Haven’t heard of Maxic Music Maker though.
    I might try the trial version to get an idea of what you get for that price because it is a bargain compared to other DAWs!

    Thanks for sharing! I’ll be back!

    Cheers,
    Angélique

    1. Ryan

      Hi Angelique,It’s definitely a bargain and it’s what I recommend for all beginners. I find it interesting what you say about FL Studio because that’s almost my story exactly: started out with FL and moved to Ableton eventually. Thanks for checking that out too.

      Hope you’ll pass this on to those in need and thanks again for leaving your comment.

  5. ht

    I have set up my home studio several times many years back. It was setup and then had to sell the equipments when priority changed and then setup again when its time again. But the many times I had it, I never knew how I can create my own beats. So I’m really looking forward to the next installment of your article. Thanks for writing this.

    1. Ryan

      Whadup Bro!

      Why wait, the next instalment is available here

      Thanks for leaving your comment

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