Building Out the Setup That’s Right for You Means Taking No Shortcuts
|By AMIR SAID (SA'ID)|
When it comes to beatmaking setups, if there's almost one sure thing, it's the likelihood that you will, at some point, add and/or subtract something from your setup. Indeed, the right core setup is not something that most beatmakers obtain easily, or early. Although some beatmakers are still using the exact core setup that they began with, many more are using a core setup that is different from the one that they began with.
For years people have asked me one of the most deceptively simple questions, "What do I need to make beats?" Well, the truth is, what I need, what someone else needs, and what you need are three entirely different things. Because each of us are different—in terms of taste, creative style, and work ethic—it naturally follows that each beatmaker needs the music production tools that are best suited for them. Now, it's certainly understood that beatmaking requires specific electronic music production tools. However, although these tools may share some similarity in the functions that they embody, the ways in which these functions manifest themselves in an individual's own music-making style and workflow differs dramatically.
This brings me to the point of the article: No quick-fix core setup. I've received many questions about "how to make my drum sound like MPC drums," or "What's the best way to customize .wav file sounds?" Typically, these sort of questions are followed by, "Should I just get...?" Thing is, many beatmakers approach building a setup like they're trying patch multiple holes in a broken water pipe system. Sticking with this analogy, one must recognize when it's time to not merely add or replace a pipe here and there, but instead, to replace the system itself.
Thus, when building out your beatmaking (music production) setup, I strongly recommend that you do not take the "quick-fix" approach. That is to say, take no shortcuts! Whether you have the financial resources at the time or not, invest in the sort of music production tools that fit your personal approach to creativity and your preference for working within a hardware or software environment. And keep this in mind: More often than not, the beatmaking tools that are right for you are usually the tools that are perhaps most right for the sound and style that you're trying to achieve.