How To Make Electronic Music With Computer? Where To Start?

how to make electronic music

I decided to write down some guidelines on how to make electronic music (although some of the following tips may apply to other musical genres as well, not just electronic music) covering such things as what hardware is required or recommended, what kind of music making software is needed, how to get a hang of different kind of electronic music styles, etc. There’s a lot of choices in hardware and software, countless of ways to do things in production wise and as many arguments and differing opinions as there are producers. In this article I try to point you to the right direction in electronic music production, muchly based on my own experience.

A little info about myself is that electronic music production has been my longtime hobby for years and I’ve been creating tunes on such genres as trance, downtempo, ambient and experimental. Some of my songs has been released commercially through record labels and has also been used in a film project.

Excuse my english, it’s my second language and not so perfect, but I hope you understand and find these guidelines useful and get your answer on how to make electronic music. Also, if you have any questions, opinions or improvements feel free to leave a comment!

So, without further ado, let’s begin!

1. Computer and OS

Computer is naturally a must have hardware if you wan’t to make electronic music. You can actually produce good music with anykind of modern computer (I mean anything made in the past 5 years) including laptop. You also have a choice: PC or Mac. Both systems are widely used in many professional and home studios. You can make excellent music with both platforms and most of the music making software are available for both (expect FL Studio).  The thing is, you should pick a platform you’re already familiar with. If you’ve been using PC, stay with the PC. And vice versa.  That way, you don’t have to put time and effort on learning a completely new computer system and you can concentrate more on learning how to make the electronic music.

However, like I already mentioned, even though you CAN make music with anykind of modern computer, it will help a LOT to have a decent specs. The more CPU power and RAM you have “under the hood”, the more smoother your music software will run and you’re able to build much more complex projects with less effort. Also, choosing the right kind of hard drive makes difference as well. You might even consider getting a solid-state drive (SSD).

I personally have Intel Core i7 950 processor, ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 motherboard, 12GB RAM and 24″ widescreen display and it’s been a very good computer setup for electronic music production. If  I’m going to upgrade this at some point, I probably get the SSD where I install the Windows. That will speed up things even more.

If you’re on the edge of buying a new computer solely for music production and don’t have a clue what kind of specs it should have, look at some of the custom built computers that are made for audio usage. Check what kind of specs and components they have and start from there.

Few words about the OS: if you stick with the PC, I would recommend upgrading to Windows 7. I bought the Windows 7 Ultimate with my current computer setup and it has been mainly in audio usage for a little over a year now and I can say it’s good. Best Microsoft OS so far and I’ve been using Windows since 3.1.

Here’s interesting discussion about XP vs Win7 btw.

Here’s some helpful related articles worth checking out:

Mac vs PC DAW’s
Online Guide Choosing a Computer
Lifting the Lid on Audio Laptops – Part 1
Lifting the Lid on Audio Laptops – Part 2

Check these online shops for audio computer systems:

ADK Pro Audio Computers
Scan Computers For Audio

Links to interesting discussions:

PC for music production
Newbie here! Need a new desktop pc for music production!!

2. Soundcard / audio interface

These days every modern computer has a somekind of onboard sound chip so basically you can start off making electronic music without spending money to external soundcard or audio interface. And if you wan’t low latency for sound chip/audiocard that doesn’t have native ASIO support (ASIO stands for Audio Stream Input/Output and it’s a soundcard driver protocol for digital audio specified by Steinberg, providing a low-latency and high fidelity interface between a software application and a computer’s sound card), you can use ASIO4ALL driver.

However, if you’re looking for a higher performance and/or planning to do a lot of recording from external sources, then decent quality soundcard or audio interface is recommended. At this point, I really recommend reading the The “Best”Audio Interface for your Home Studio and Soundcard FAQ or Help choosing a soundcard.

I myself have M-Audio Audiophile Delta 2496 and even though it’s not the highest “quality” soundcard, it has been enough for me for all these years. Be aware though: some users report they are having problems with Delta series cards in Windows 7 machines. Gladly there are tons of alternatives in a decent price range. Check out some of the Focusrite audio interfaces suchs as Scarlett 2ie, ESI audio cards like Maya44 or Juli@ or Echo Digital Audio MiaMIDI for example.

Here’s articles around the subject:

The “Best”Audio Interface for your Home Studio
Soundcard FAQ
Help choosing a soundcard to produce / record / monitor / mix

Interesting discussion:

AKA What is the best… Sound card?

3. Studio monitor speakers and studio grade headphones.

Although I created one of my dutch dance chart hit songs using only cheap Sony headphones I bought from a local supermarket, decent studio monitors (near field monitors) are highly recommended. Why? Because studio monitors are specifically made for audio production and they give an accurate reproduction of the tonal qualities of the source audio. In other words, they tell you the truth what’s going on in your music in a terms of frequency. The sound is uncolored so there will be no bass or high frequency boosts or anything like that like the normal hi-fi speakers or heapdhones tend to have. This will help you to create music where every sound is in balance (depending on your mixing skills of course) and will increase the probability that your music sounds good in different sound systems like car stereos, portable mp3 players with earbuds and so on.

Studio headphones are also recommended, for tracking purposes.

There’s a wide range of studio monitors and headphones in the market on all price ranges. The truth is, the more money you put into these the more quality you will get and be aware that many low-cost studio monitors actually DO color the sound or artifically boost frequencies even if they label themselves as “studio monitors” with flat frequency response.

Lot of audio professionals vouch for Genelec, Focal or Mackie monitors. They are in the higher price range, but the quality is the best.

In a few hundred dollars price range, I recommend checking out the M-Audio and KRK Systems. Here’s some specific models you may wan’t to check out: Studiophile BX8a & KRK Rokit G2 8.

As for the studio headphones, check out these: Beyerdynamic DT 880Sennheiser HD 380.

If you don’t have the possibility to use studio quality monitoring systems, use the equipment you have – whether it’s headphones or normal loudspeakers. Don’t let that stop you from start making music. However, before releasing your musical production to public, I recommend that you listen it through as many different sound systems as possible (like normal home and car stereos, etc.) and tweak your music until it sounds good and balanced on all of those systems. (Actually this is recommended to do even if you DO have a studio quality monitors).

Also, remember to position your studio monitors right. That makes a great difference on how they sound.

I personally have Behringer Truth B2031A’s studio monitors. Lot of professional say they are not very good, or that they completely suck, but so far I’ve been doing ok with them even though I may upgrade to KRK Rokit G2 8 at some point.

I’m also using AKG K271 Studio headphones and they sound quite ok.

I have to say that studio monitors are one of the most important hardware in homestudio, so before choosing your monitors (or headphones), try to listen as many different models as possible and ask around and chat with the audio professionals and people who work in the audio production field. Check KVRaudio and Gearslutz forums.

Here’s some articles I recommend checking out:

The Truth About Studio Monitors
Studio Monitors Buying Guide
Studio Headphones

Here’s links to interesting discussions around the subject:

Best Studio headphones?
Just starting out, best studio monitors?
Which studio monitors for mixing?
Good studio monitor headphones
The best headphones as studio monitor

4. MIDI keyboard controller

Although its not necessity: I’ve created many songs just by using mouse and regular computer keyboard. Many computer music software like FL Studio and Ableton Live lets you play music using your computer keyboard. Much like having a ‘virtual piano keyboard’. But on the other hand, you get a totally different feel for playing melodies and controlling your audio software with a MIDI keyboard controller. I use M-Audio Oxygen 61.

Here’s more helpful articles:

Tips on Buying a MIDI Keyboard

Discussions related to subject:

Best MIDI controller keyboard?
best midi keyboard for fl studio?

5. Sofware – DAW

Get the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). The DAW is an software environment where you actually create and compose the music and it is one of the most important components in your electronic music studio. To put it simply, its a music making software.

There’s lots of DAW software choices in the market, but the following four are the most popular especially in electronic music: Logic Pro (for Mac only), Ableton Live, FL Studio and Reason (other well known DAW’s are Cubase, Cakewalk Sonar and Reaper to name a few and there’s some free alternatives too such as Ardour and Zynewave Podium).

If you ask me what DAW I would recommend, I’d say FL Studio, hands down! Why? It’s a very powerful, easy to use music making software and you can produce just about any type of music with it: hip hop, rap, r&b, house, dubstep, chill-out, film music, etc. IMHO FL Studio is MADE for electronic music. I’ve been using it for over a decade now and the sequencing features and workflow compared to other DAWs are simply unbeatable and that counts a lot because it goes hand in hand with how well you are able to put your musical ideas into action (NOTE: if you decide to buy FL Studio, I have a special LINK which gives you 10% off the regular price).

Ok ok enough of this FL Studio ‘sales pitch’ :) Choosing the DAW is something you have to do yourself… You need to download the demo versions, test them throughly and pick the one you feel most comfortable working with. And learn it inside out.

6. Software – VST synthesizers (VSTi) and VST effect plugins

(Check introduction to VST)  VST synthesizers and effects are MUST if you’re going to start making music digitally with computer. VSTi’s (VST instruments) are virtual synthesizers that produce different kind of sounds. You can use them just like you would use real hardware synths – only difference is that they’re software and you install them as plugins (some work as stand-alone too) to your DAW which acts like a host to these synths and you then use them to compose melodies and make music.

There’s a lot of VST effect units as well such as reverb, eq, compressor, delay, chorus, phaser, some special fx, etc.

You can find  tons of free VST plugins in the net. Just Google for “free vst plugins”, “free vsti” or “free soft synths”. Or check out this website. If you have money, I highly recommend Native Instruments stuff. Check out the demos of synths like Absynth, FM8, Massive, Reaktor. These are suitable for almost anykind of electronic music style. Also, reFX has some quality synths like Vanguard for example. It can produce many kind of sounds from huge basses to lush pads and sharp leads and arps. And Nexus 2 , which is their flagship, is TOTALLY AWESOME sounding ‘all around’ rompler. It has sounds for practically anykind of musical style from trance to house to hiphop to ambient to film music.

Moreover, check out some of the IK Multimedia stuff. I have all of their virtual synths and I especially love Miroslav Philharmonik which has very good orchestral sounds.

Furthermore, check out H.G Fortune synths like ProtoPlasmTSMPro, STS-33 and Artvera’s Golden ASET. These can produce some really beautiful and experimental pads and background sound and the price is very low.

All of these virtual synths are very good for electronic music.

Check these well known commercial soft synth and effect manufactures:

Native Instruments
U-he
ReFX
Arturia
IK Multimedia
Ohm Force
Cakewalk
Spectrasonics
East West
Garritan

List of free ones:

There’s just too much of them to list here one by one so here’s a links for places where you can browse and download whatever you want

Freeware VST plugins
Dontrack.com
VSTplanet.com
Audiomastermind.com
Freemusicsoftware.org
Musicradar.com

7. Software – audio editor

Even though most of the DAWs have a basic set of tools for editing audio, separate audio editor is recommended for editing samples and doing final adjustments for your songs like cutting, encoding to MP3 before you let them go public. I recommend Sound Forge Audio Studio. It’s cheap yet versatile. There are free alternatives as well like Audacity.

8. Samples

You need a bunch of samples as well. Usually samples are used for drums, percussions, effects, etc. There are thousands of commercial sample packs which are usually high quality and cost anywhere from $10-$200 or more. Sample packs are mostly genre specific meaning they contain samples that are suitable for a certain musical genre, but you can use whatever samples in whatever genre you wan’t – it’s up to you and your imagination.

Sample packs consists usually of single drum hits like bassdrums, snares, hihats, handclaps, crash cymbals, percussion sounds, synth hits, bass sounds and so on which you can use to build your own beats and grooves. Most of the sample packs includes loops as well well: drumloops, bassloops, synthloops, fx loops. (Loops are short, ready made grooves or melodic compositions which you can use in your own music). I use drumloops a lot to strengthen the rhythmic sections of my songs.

When you buy a commercial sample pack, you buy the license to use the samples and most (if not all) are roaylty free meaning if you create a song which uses samples from these sample packs, you don’t have to pay any additional fees to the sample manufacturer.

Here’s more links to some well known sample manufacturers and online shops:

Big Fish Audio
Loopmasters
Primeloops
Vengeance
Best Service
Ueberschall
Producerloops
Soundstosample
SoundsOnDemand

There’s also TONS of free samples available in the net. Here’s some links to some of the free sample resources:

Free samples
Linklist for tons of free samples
FLstudiomusic.com
Sampleradar
Thesample.net

Okay, so now that you have your hardware, software and sample collections in place, you ask: how do I make that electronic music then?

9. Listen electronic music and learn

Let me tell you how I learned to make electronic music (trance) in a first place: I listened what other artists do and started to do the same. Just like many painters have learned to paint by studying and copying other peoples work, same goes to electronic music. (I don’t mean that you should copy the song melodies and ideas. Songs and ideas are copyrighted and there’s legal consequences if you take a eg. a melody from another song, and use it as your own without permission from the original author). So before I was able to make my own trance -song, I listened a lot of other producers trance songs, “analyzed” them and finally got the hang of how they were built.

So, in order to learn how to make electronic music, I would recommend taking these steps:

  • Learn the basics of your music making software first. Of course, you need to be familiar with your DAW before you can do anything with it . Learn the basics of your software first.
  • Decide the musical style or genre you wan’t to make music in.
  • Get some songs from that genre. Go to Beatport.com - it’s the most popular electronic music online shop and you can find all the most popular songs from every electronic music genre there.
  • Listen HOW the song is built. Take a song you like, listen it carefully – over and over again and pay attention. Analyze it. Learn the song “structure” first. Every song in whatever genre follows some sort of common and logical structure – including the different styles in electronic music. Try to get a hang of what the structure is in your favourite song: how does it progresses, how long is the intro and breakdown.. In other words, WHAT happens and WHEN. Here’s a few thoughts about song structures:

If we think popular radio songs (in rock, pop genre) they’re typically 3-4 minutes long and many of them follow this kind of structure:

[intro]->[verse]->[chorus]->[verse]->[chorus]->[bridge]->[chorus]->[outro]

OR chorus can also work as intro. Then the song structure would go like this:

[chorus(intro)]->[verse]->[chorus]->[verse]->[chorus]->[bridge]->[chorus]->[outro]

There’s few other variations as well, but I think these are the most common ones. Just check out Nelly Furtado’s “Say It Right” or Katy Perrys “Hot And Cold” for example. Or any other popular radio pop song. They all follow pretty much the same structure.

Check out these articles for more info about popular song structures. Yeah, they’re about pop, but it helps you to get a hang of the idea of song structures and you can apply the same principles to electronic music as well.

Study The Hits!
How To Get Started With Songwriting
How Music Works
Songwriting Tip – Structure of a Pop Song

However, In uplifting trance or dance music that is generally aimed for club’s, structure is a bit different than in main stream pop music. Different parts are longer and usually intro is like one big buildup to the breakdown. If you’re into trance music, you might wan’t to check out my tutorial about trance song structure and how it progress.

Here’s one commong structure in uplifting trance music:

[intro]->[breakdown]->[the thing after the breakdown, “release”, “climax”, “drop” or whatever it’s called]->[outro]

Or a little longer version:

[intro]->[breakdown]->[the thing after the breakdown, “release”, “climax”, “drop” or whatever it’s called]->[another breakdown]->[outro]

Ok, I try to explain it a bit more:

[intro] -> This is the buildup to the breakdown from the beginning.

[breakdown] –> This is where the  intro elements usually disappears completely(drums and such) and you introduce your musical idea which could be a nice, emotional and uplifting melody.  Let’s call it the “hook”. In here you also start to build tension towards the “climax” / “release” that comes next ->

[“release” / “climax” / “drop”] – This is the best part. The “hook” together with drums and everything.  This is the “climax” (or “drop”) where everything explodes and plays together. Very typical in uplifting trance. At this point, people will typically go NUTS on the dance floor lol ->

[outro] -> Things are fading out towards to the end.

That’s it basically. However, if we compare recent trance music to what it was a few years ago, it has changed a bit, but at least in uplifting trance the structure is basically still the same.

When you start to create your own song, I suggest you pick up your favourite song and load it into your DAW and – no, do not copy the song itself, but use the song structure like a reference to see what happens and when.

  • Pay attention to the sounds: again, listening your faourite song, what kind of sounds it has? Saw lead synth sounds, square wave bass sounds, warm pads, weird effected sounds are all the basic elements in electronic music. Try to hear what kind of sounds your favourite song has and try to replicate these sounds with your virtual synths. Many of the virtual synths have readily programmed preset sounds for various electronic music styles. Use them to your advantage.
  • Melodies. What kind of melodies the song has? Some basic chords and chord progressions are widely used in trance for example, but there’s definetely room for fresh ideas so I would suggest you to try something completely new. Don’t do what everyone else does.
  • Sound effects. Swooshes, sweeps and “explosions” are some commonly used effects in electronic music. You can find these from almost any sample pack you’re going to buy or download from the net.

Here’s some helpful guides on various electronic music styles:

Hip Hop Beat Construction Made Easy
Hip Hop Beats: Song Structure
Understanding Trance Music
Understanding Basic Trance Structure
The structure of a trance track
Dubstep Structure
7 Day Song Tutorials

Also, go to Youtube and do a search on “how to make hip hop” or “how to make trance”, you find tons of tutorial videos there.

Seriously, I think the best way to learn how to make electronic music is to listen it a lot and then try to do the same. But remember, keep it original and dont be afraid to try something completely new. There’s lots of room for fresh ideas!

Next, a few short words about the production itself.

10. Start with the drums and bass..

I’ve found it’s best to first build the drumgroove /beats. At this point, the sample packs I mentioned earlier come in handy. You can also use the ready made drumloops to help you to build your grooves. Whatever the style is going to be, with a cool drumgroove /beat it’s much easier to start to build a bass groove on top of it and other instruments as well. Remember to make drums and bass work together. They’re one of the most important elements in anykind of electronic music that has a beat. Really, I recommend to put a GREAT effort on these two.

11. … and add the synth melodies

Again, this is where the VST synths come in handy. Start building a melody on top of the drums and bassgroove. Like mentioned earlier, many VSTi’s have several ready made quality preset sounds to start with. These will help you to get going. However I also recommend to experiment and twiddle and fiddle with the knobs, sliders and buttons and see what happens. You can come up with some really original and wild stuff just by experimenting with the different parameters in your synths.

Next, few words about mixing.

12. Mixing – give a power to the beat

When I mix my songs (if it’s a dance music), I  give most “power” to the drums. Bassdrum to be exact. In most electronic music, drums are the element that should be heard clearly. Then, “according to drums”, I level the bass and other instruments. I use drums as the basis for how I mix other instruments in my song. I just make sure drums are punchy and loud enough and if some other instrument is trying to compete with drums (or bass in this matter), I equalize the low out a bit or simply drop down the level of that instrument. I use the drums like a “yardstick” to make other instruments fit in to the mix.

13. Mixing – hear how pro’s mix and try to do the same

Again, listen to your favourite songs in the same genre you’re trying to make music in and notice how they’re mixed. What kind of sounds stand out and why? How does your song sound compared to your favourite, professionally mixed songs?

Here’s a tip: try listen your mixes through as many different sound systems as possible: car stereos, home stereos, through ipod with those little earplugs – basically everywhere and try to make it sound as good as possible on all of these systems. Try to find the balance.

I have to say that mixing is one of the most hardest part in music making (or should I say mixing GOOD is the hardest part). It’s something you won’t learn overnight. There’s a lot to learn: how to use eq, compression, limiter, reverb etc. It takes quite a lot practice and trial and error to make mixes sound decent, but dont’ worry, it’s not an impossible task. It just takes some time.

14. Beware of ear fatigue. Take a break or continue producing in the next day

It has happened to me several times, that I thought I’ve made a killer song in a day and then in the next day when I listen the song again, it sounds like garbage: all the sound levels and equalization settings are out of balance or there are elements that doesn’t seem to fit in the mix at all. And then I usually get frustrated and and dump the whole song! This can happen if you produce music for several hours non-stop: your ears get tired and in the end of the day you can’t hear things in as balanced anymore as with “fresh” ears. So, my advice is this: try not to finish a whole song in one day, spare your ears and leave something for a next day.

15. Links to forums you should start to checking out

Here’s a bunch of forums where I have learned quite a lot. Lot of audio professionals are hanging around in these forums. Read the discussions and ask away:

KVRaudio
Future Producers
Gearslutz

The end. Hopefully this gave you a rough idea on how to make electronic music :)

About Petri Suhonen

Petri Suhonen is an electronic music hobbyist. He has been producing music with computers over a decade on such styles as trance, downtempo, ambient & experimental electronic using FL Studio.

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Comments

  1. awesome post!

    i’d like to contribute a few links to the already great selection.

    another freeware DAW: http://www.zynewave.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2337

    freeware VST plugins: http://bedroomproducersblog.com/category/bpb-freeware-studio/

    free samples: http://bedroomproducersblog.com/category/sample-packs/free-sample-shootout/

    • Thank you!

      Excellent links, I will add them to the article :)

      • Danny says:

        Thank you for all your hard work putting this together. This has helped me get started in the right direction. What would you recommend for controller and software? Tracktor / Serato? Which do you think is better? Im looking at the new Newmark control w Serato or the Tracktor control w tracktor software of course. And do you think Reason is better than Fl Sudios? Which one should I buy?

        • Danny,

          Firstly, thanks again :)

          Secondly: unfortenately I dont have any first hand experience on either of those devices.. I’m just playing with my ‘good ol’ Oxygen 61 MIDI keyboard controller.. However, Traktor is NI and NI = only good stuff in my personal experience (at leas when talkin’ about the sotware!)! :D

          As for Reason vs FL: well, I’m biased (I’ve been playing with Reason as well) I would choose FLS! Why? VST support and the workflow! :D

          Cheers, mate!

      • richard says:

        bro richard from this site, may i kindly ask you for a scrachsss tutoriallll that would be fantastic watch it comming from you…. best regardssss broooooo from slovakia…..

    • girish says:

      thanx a lot man. i was tired of trying to find musicians for my song. once i make it, and i hope it isn’t the last one, i’ll put up a link here for everyone’s opinion. it could take a few weeks i guess, as i’m just starting out. thank you for all the help :)

  2. Nat shand says:

    Hey thanks so much for this info was very informative i have just been making loop based electronic music but am self taught and am using sony acid pro . I’ve posted one song on soundcloud under sanctum. I’m definatly still learning! Cheers

    Sanctum
    Nat shand

  3. Boni M says:

    While its good info for starters, i can personally say from experience there are some improvement you could give to you overall kit, example are the monitors, i had behringer and they dont tell the TRUTH!! they are not very good for a neutral frequency output. at work i have BX8a m-audios and for their price they rock, hard. At home i have genelec and they rock harder, but are a bit steeper in the price range.

    As for soundcard, also used to be a m-audio user and quality was…best put it bad. Switched over to apogee, got the one and duet and they are quality.

    As for DAWs, i think FL is pretty damn simple, really simple, missing out on key options simple. I know producers though who dont just use one DAW but switch between two, maybe even more. I guess what i would say is don’t stick to just one. Just make sure u know your standard DAW well, and i mean really really really really really well before starting another, there are loads of little tricks in DAW programs you dont find at first, luckily there are forums and youtube to help increase your knowledge of your DAW.

    finally a little song structure amendment, not an amendment really just a tip, the “release / climax” should be split up a little, i work, as a hobby, on producing minimal and techno, and there after the intro there is simple stripped down melody, bare to the bone for minimal, before dropping all the percussive elements, ie drums, anything which is not essential to the mix, building up to the climax of the track, where everything together explodes. Obviously it doesn’t have to literally explode in sounds, it can still remain minimal, just as long as it ties in together, before heading off into the outro.

    Whenever i talk about music production with friends i always say there is never one way to do something. So i always try through experience, and every producer should as well. I have bought countless monitors and talked to countless people about them before finally finding a set that i like. As well with producing, watched way to many youtube videos, took online courses via pointblank and just talked to friends about it, information is key.

    • Boni M,

      I highly appreciate your valuable comment, thank you! I may actually add some of your gear recommendations to my article. Anything that is valuable to the readers.

      About monitors: While I agree your opinion about the Truth’s that they’re not the best in the market, I’ve been quite happy with them and been able to produce ok sounding music. I haven’t heard the Genelecs in action, but people are saying they’re really good. But so is the price. :) Also, positioning is very important to get the most out of whatever monitors you have.

      About soundcard: Referring to your comment about m-audio, what model specifically and by bad quality do you mean the overall sound, recording from external sources, driver problems or something else? I have to say I haven’t had any major issues with Delta 2496. But then again, I don’t record anything from external sources, I just use it with VST plugins and FL Studio and so far it has been doing ok.

      About DAWs: can you please elaborate what key points FL Studio is actually missing? :) As a longtime FL Studio user I think it’s a VERY versatile DAW and capable of amazing things if you know how to use it. But I agree with you fully about knowing your DAW inside out. That’s essential. However, I personally like to stick with just one software. I used to use three different DAWs, but I found it’s just too much hassle switching over from one DAW to another. I like to keep things simple and to consolidate my audio work inside one environment.

      About song structure: thanks for the tip :)

      Thanks again for your comment, Boni, I appreciate it.

  4. Kurvine says:

    Hello! If I already have a DAW software, do I still need to get an audio editor? Isn’t it possible to edit audio in the DAW itself? Thanks! :D

    • Hi Kurvine!

      Good question. :)

      Separate audio editor isn’t actually necessity. For example in FL Studio there’s Edison which is fully featured audio editor and most of the DAWs have some sort of audio editing capabilities.

      I personally like to use separate program for audio editing. I’ve been favoring Sound Forge because I can do the required precise cutting, copying and pasting with it. Audacity is also good.

  5. Great article but I dispute one of your claims – you really don’t need an excellent sound card for audio production. Since you can render to lossless WAV it’s pretty much irrelevant to have a fancy sound card unless you’ll be delivering performances from that same machine. True?

    • Hey Brian,

      That is true.

      I personally made music for years just by using the onboard soundchip and the audio quality was as good as it’s now with a decent soundcard.

      However, if you record a lot from external sources, then you should look into the more advanced soundcards/audio interfaces.

      I propably should have wrote “Decent soundcard / audio interface is RECOMMENDED” rather than “MUST have”. Need to fix that a bit :)

      Thanks for pointing this out, Brian.

  6. Hey Petri,

    thanks for this awesome “tutorial”!
    after nearly an decade in the metal/rock scen with nearly a dozen bands, some cds and lots of gigs i looked out for something fresh an totally fell in love with electronic music. especially acts like justice or digitalism.
    though i have some experience about how to “structure” a song and some recording stuff, this totally helped me out.
    thanks a lot!

    greetz
    Timbo

    • Hi Timbo,

      Thanks for checking out the article, I’m glad you found it useful!

      I must say that you have stepped into a very diverse and interesting genre :) I’ve been dealing with electronic music well over 10 years now and it’s just getting more and more interesting and the fact that the technology has brought the possiblity for anyone to try make professional music at home with a relatively low cost makes it even more attracting.

      Btw, have you heard Deadmau5? He’s genius in the EDM scene and I recommend to check out his work as well.

      Anyway, welcome to this scene and to my website,

      Cheers,
      Petri

  7. Just getting into this on my MAC, I have downloaded Ardour and am tryin to install some VST’s but when i install them they dont work, what am i doing wrong?

    • Hi, unfortenately I dont have any experience dealing with mac, but as far as I know, you need to download the Audio Unit version of the VST plugin. I think the Audio Unit in mac is sort of equivelant to VST in pc. Many of the free VST plugins are available as Audio Units as well. For example, TAL-NoiseMaker offers the Audio Unit version in addition to VST..

      Also, other possibility is to use VST to Audio Unit adapter. Hope this helps.

      • thanks, I’ll give it a go and be sure to let you know how it goes. Thanks for the article!

  8. Cameron says:

    Hi,
    I have not yet started making any form of electronic music yet, but I think that this has given me a great starting point. Now I am in a remote part of Australia and have found that computers and hardware are VERY expensive. Because of this I would like to know some minimum specs. At the moment I am using a crappy laptop with 2GB DDR3 RAM, a 320GB HDD, only 2.3Ghz Pentium Processor, and to be honest I wouldn’t have a clue as to sound card details. Is this, combined with some of the cheaper options in the list, a viable setup for beggining music production?

    Also, how hard is it to make a Drum base without using preset loops. When i begin, I want to try keep away from preset loops and conventional music production. I am looking at making sounds that are not the ‘norm’, so like not just 16 beats before a change and have kicks in odd places, similar to what deadmau5 uses.

    Thanks again.
    Camm,

    • Hey Cameron,

      Yeap, you can start with those specs. I had a 1.3Ghz AMD Athlon, 1GB of RAM and a integrated soundcard and I used it to create “Turnpoint” which was good enough to get me a record deal and all the way to the dutch dance charts. And before that I used even lower specs to create music.

      Now to your second question: it’s not that hard. I have created a tutorial video where I show you how to make a house beat. It should give you an idea how the beats can be created from scratch.

      Deadmau5 is genius by the way :)

  9. Arce says:

    this post is bloody awesome!

  10. don’t get too hung up on “gear”. i use fl studio because of the piano roll step sequencer and the pattern approach to assembling a tune but i also use the Nintendo Korg DS-10 to make electronica and i’ve got to say that the DS-10 is quite the “portable” DAW.

  11. What’s the point of 12gb’s of ram if Win 7 can only use 6 gb of it?

    • Hi Asd,

      Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate will support up to 192 GB of RAM so 12GB comes actually quite useful at times. However, the music making programs such as Ableton Live supports up to 3.2 GB of RAM and FL Studio 4 GB so the whole 12 GB isn’t actually needed in these applications.

      But when I bought my computer, I choose to go with the 12GB just to make sure I will not run out of RAM in anytime soon :)

  12. Luke says:

    Awesome post Petri!!
    This is a loaded question, but here goes… I’m wanting to build my own computer for music and assemble a decent recording setup. I’d greatly appreciate comments, ideas, feedback on anything below. THANKS!

    Computer….
    •Coolmaster HAF932 case (highest rated case on amazon)
    •ASUS P7P55D-E Pro ATX Intel motherboard
    •EVGA GeForce 9500 GT 01G-P3-N959-TR video card
    •Intel Core i7 Processor i7-960 3.20GHz 8MB LGA1366 processor
    •Kingston DDR3 8gb ram OR G.SKILL 8GB (2 x 4GB) Ripjaws X Series DDR3 1600MHz 240-Pin PC3-12800 Desktop Memory
    •Intel X24M Gen 2 SSD 160gb OR OCZ Vertex 2 OCZSSD3-2VTX120G 3.5″ MLC SSD
    •Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB 3.5″ SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive and/or fanless HIS Radeon HD 5550 512mb
    Also…
    •Media Card Reader: Kingston or AFT
    •Firewire card
    •MIDI Controller

    And the external bits I’d like…
    •PCI sound card/converter: M-Audio Delta 1010
    •Pre-amp: haven’t decided
    •Microphones: mainly piano and vocal, Rode NKT, Shure SM7

    • Hi Luke, looks like a pretty powerful setup :) 8 GB of RAM is plenty and SSD drive should be a very good choice for the OS. What kind of MIDI controller you were planning to get? I also recommend getting Windows 7 as the OS. About the soundcard: I’ve read through the M-Audio forums that lot of people have reported glitch and crackel problem when recording with the delta 1010 in Windows 7 machines. Have you checked the other products from M-Audio – such as their firewire audio interfaces?

      • Luke says:

        Thanks for the quick reply Petri! I’m still learning about all this, haven’t looked into M-Audio much. I had thought the MIDI Controller was a part of the PCI converter. So I need 3 pieces, PCI, MIDI, and pre-amp? I haven’t looked into those much; what do you suggest?
        I’m curious why you recommend Windows 7 over OS X… isn’t Apple less virus prone?
        And do you know if all my computer bits will be OK together? I’ve read compatibility can be a problem, want to make sure I get all the parts right before buying them.

        thanks so much for your help?

        • Luke,

          MIDI controller is an external device you plug-in to your computer via USB. It sends a MIDI data to your computer and you can use it to control your music software and virtual instruments. There are different types of MIDI controllers, but most commonly used external MIDI device in nomal home studio is MIDI keyboard. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIDI_keyboard)

          So basically you need just a soundcard OR if you need to have a pre-amp, firewire or USB audio interface with pre-amp built-in might be something to consider. Maybe something like http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/FastTrackPro.html.

          I personally don’t have much experience dealing with USB/firewire audio interfaces (other than Zoom H4 and Zoom R16), so can’t recommend much based on my own experience, but if you’re planning to record via external sources like guitar and microphone that FastTrackPro might be something to check out.

          So basically, to be able to make music with computer, you need these:

          – computer (Mac or PC)
          – soundcard or audio interface (you can even start with the built-in soundcards that every computer has these days, but if you wan’t a better performance or plan to record from external sources, then something like FastTrackPro might be something to consider)
          – MIDI keyboard controller (not necessity though, but recommended)
          – studio monitors/headphones (even studio monitors aren’t necessity, but highly recommended though)
          – music software

          About OS: let me explain a little. I was recommending Windows 7 as the operating system for PC machine. I wasn’t comparing it to OS X as OS X is only for Macintosh machines.

          For PC you can choose from Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 or maybe Linux.. from these operating systems I am recommending Windows 7.

          But if you are going to choose Mac as your computer, then OS X is your choice.

          About the computer parts: this is something you have to ask for your vendor.

          Hope this helps :)

  13. Stephanie says:

    Hi Petri-
    As a beginner I’m wondering which DAW you would recommend for the Mac platform? I am a musician but not too savvy (okay, not at all savvy) with the technical stuff. Is there a particular software that is easiest and most simple to use and start out with, but still has a lot of built-in features and sounds? And possibly one that I could use my computer keyboard as the controller (like the FL Studio)? Thanks!

    • Hey Stephanie,

      I would recommend you to check out Reason: http://www.propellerheads.se/download or Ableton Live Suite: http://www.ableton.com/products. Both have tons of sounds and features. Ableton let’s you use natively your computer keyboard as a virtual piano keyboard, but I’m not sure if Reason supports that. However, it’s not an issue as you can always download a third party application for that. Check out VMPK: http://vmpk.sourceforge.net/

      As for the learning curve, well, either one of those isn’t impossible to learn, but I think you may wan’t to check out the Reason first.

      Try the demo versions or both software and choose the one you feel most comfortable with.

      Hope this helps!

      • yaniv sharon says:

        not meaning to mess up the reply but I found propellerhead rather difficult to use..I would say ejay is the most simplest software to use. But fruity loops is better as you can do more, but yes very difficult for someone with little or no music background like me.

  14. adil says:

    This article opened my ears and mind. Have you heard Cutworks – Spacecraft Tools, please listen if you can, and can you recommend similar music? I was told it is Liquid Drum n Bass, but I could not find anything equally satisfying in that genre, to the extent that I tried. . . thanks again for the wonderful article and generous sharing of your experience and ideas. TC.

    • Hey Adil, glad you liked the article! I hadn’t heard Cutworks before I checked the song on youtube: nice drum & bass. For something similar, Simon V may come to close. Try to find his older songs such as Icebreaker or No Time To Cry.

  15. themrnix says:

    Hey there
    Ok so i want to start making music on my computer and i found this but im having a little trouble
    Im using fl studio but im not all that great at “self teaching” can you recommend some tutorial’s that will help me get started

  16. Michael says:

    Hello,

    Great article- it’s been an incredibly helpful learning tool as I begin to try my hand at making music. I’ve gotten to the point now where I need a MIDI keyboard to help make things easier on me. What do you think of this keyboard?

    http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/KeyStudio.html

    It is obviously a low-end keyboard, but that’s what I’m looking for (I’ve been using the DAW Zynewave Podium, so I’m obviously doing this on the cheap for now). Reviews say that it also works fine with Windows, even though it says it’s for Mac. Do you know of any other cheap but effective beginner keyboards?

    Thanks for your time.

  17. Jaya soorya says:

    This article is really useful for beginners like me.I have one doubt that is [i don’t have a midi keyboard] so if i just buy one…with a sound-card …as im using fl studio can i record the notes on piano roll?

  18. mkzklz says:

    Awesome stuff indeed, so as the whole web site, i will have to read a lot :)

    Im starting to deal with FL studio more seriously, so i wanted to ask does these tutorials on your web site cover FL studio 9, or they are for FL studio 10, or could they be used for both ?

    Keep up the good work :)

    • hi, there and thanks for reading the article! Yeah, 99% of the tutorials I’ve been producing so far will work with FLS 9 as well. However, some tutorials will have .flp project files that are made with FLS10, but most of them should open in FLS9 as well. :)

  19. Yo thanks again for posting this.. Really is a great resource!!! Thank you!!

  20. Jonathan Stone says:

    Hi Petri,

    Thanks for this website. I am extremely new at this and would love to just start experimenting with creating electronic music. Can you please in your reply post ‘FREE’ version links for: DAW, VST plugins and free samles please… I went to the links you provided and they were just forums or they did not provide much help.

    Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Kind Regards

    Jon

    • Hey Jon, please have a closer look on the links I have posted under the FREE VST PLUGINS & FREE SAMPLES categories, you’ll find the actual download links when you visit them. I’m not posting the direct downloads because most of the free samples/vst plugin providers wouldnt like that.

      For a free DAW, check out Zynewave Podium for starters.

      Hope this helps!

  21. Hey Petri, awesome post, I knew most of it already and still found out some new stuff, thanks!

    Now for my question, I want to know what is the instrument used in the background as an ambiental piano of the song on this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBfkcdRVsYs at 5:00, is that like an ambient piano, or a pad?

    Also, what vst do you think was used for the bass here? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFHa01hE-pY

    • Hello Thomas, and thanks for reading the post!

      To your first question: that’s a pad. You can find that kind of pads from several VSTi’s. For free ones, check out Alchemy Player or Majken’s Chimera for starters.

      To your second question: it can be anything actually so it’s kinda hard to say.. sounds like theres two different bass sounds used to create the bassline, a “rubber bass” type of sound and a some sort of semi-sub-bass.

  22. Ricky says:

    cool, but Reason is superior to FL Studio.

  23. deepak says:

    i fuckin love ua gudelines,link’s,tutrial video’s everything thank’s fa all dat……:):):):):):

  24. deepak says:

    ‘m actually a beginer n ‘m using fl10 frm past 2 months …i still have one thing alwayz striking is ds d best daw out of dem all in d market????and is der sound quality difff bw d daw’s??

    • Well, as a long-time FL Studo user, I’m heavily biased towards it so if you ask me I would say FL is the best lol :)

      Anyway, if we think objectively, no daw is superior to it’s competitors. You can make professional music just about any daw you choose: whether its Logic, Pro Tools, Cubase, Reason, Ableton Live, Sonar, Reaper, FL Studio, etc. etc. It’s all about what daw you find to be comfortable working with.

      About the sound quality differencies between daw’s: afaik, there’s none. Every modern daw is able to produce high quality sound. The quality is mostly dependant of the samples and VST plugins you’re using and your mixing skills.

      Hope this helps!

  25. i was thinking to make a song

  26. for fun

  27. dear sir, you are great . keep it up. i am a musician coming out with my music. i need set of computer to create my beat. let me know if you can send me a set so that i will pay for it. thanks .you are terrific.
    from king solomon.

  28. Mark says:

    who is this guy saying m audio cards sound bad!? I have 2 delta 1010’s (the top card in that range) for my hardware synths and guitar and once set up I hope the sound to be professional quality. but its comments like that which make me nervous about my choice. Hope it goes smoothly for me and Im happy with the sound.
    Also do you think making use of spdif digital connections for one or two hardware synths is worth the bother, if all the rest of the hardware can only use the analog outputs in the delta’s?
    good articles here glad I found it!

  29. Hi! i’m From argentina, and i speak SPANISH. I Want to know if you speak my language. Because i love electronic music, and y want to learn how to make it. I only have a PC with FL STUDIO without any pluggin adittional. I want to know what’s all i need to make it, and how to use the programs. Thanks! and Have a nice day!

  30. Louise twiggy forrest says:

    Your english is better than mine and i’m from Endland!
    Thank you for posting this its helped me so much, i didnt know where to begin or what to buy, i’m looking forward to giving this a go now! :)

  31. DFam says:

    THis is a great article by the way. Some great discussion topics. I have set up a little.studó at home and after seeing discussions about about quality monitors I audioned so Genelecs. They are excellent! However these being out of my price range I looked at some yamaha HS80M. They seem really good to me what do you guys think?? Also í have an M-Audio interfaçe i”ll have to think of replacing.

    Thanks peeps!!

  32. I saw an post somewhere about cracks and glitches with M-audio, when using win7. I had the same problem with my M-audio fireface410.

    But be Awere you can have the same trouble when runing with other brands.

    i now use an focusrite soundcard a pro40 wich have an lot of in and outputs . i use this for external gear like my Tla tube compressor, for the people who wants to plug their gituir or synth to it its realy great cause you dont need any di boxes or something like that . The already grade A preamps in it. and its cheap.

    But to come back to the point. There are several reason for glitches and even dropouts. First thing to check is your latency. Is it set to fast for your system ?
    second thing , when runing firewire soundcards is this: MOST onboard firewire 1394 chips/connectors just suck.
    A good tip is : look for an aftermarkt 1394 card fitted with an TI (Texas Instruments) chip and run it with an old driver 1394 ohci driver, wich is selectable in your windows config screen. This will work for almost all other brands to0 (not for M-audio at my system ) , and works for people having troubles with there (video cam also)

    Theres an article about this on the Focusrite website.

    Good luck.

  33. Thanks petri suhonen you are amazing… this stuff is amazing thanks for sharing
    keep it up the good work

  34. craig says:

    Hi,I’ve just started to learn to make music using computerized equipment,I haven’t a clue what I am doin with all the stabalisers,reverts and all the other 100 gadgets but your information has been so much help specially the song building techniques,I’m sure o will learn the gadgets over time! All exciting:) I love trance so this woll be my type Ill make! So its my first time didn’t have a clue what program I would nees but I found one called music maker designed by a company called magix! Wondering if you have heard of thete programs and are they any good! It seems to have all the gadgets you have mentioned! Thanks….

    • Glad you’re finding this site helpful, Craig! :)

      Here’s my honest opinion about Magix Music Maker (and remember this is just my personal opinion): it may be a decent first step into the world of making music with computers, but you MAY find it kind of limited when you get to the point where you want to start compose something original because the Music Maker relys pretty much on ready made audio clips (loops) and as far as I know the features to sequence and create something of your own are kind of limited compared to other DAWs like Ableton Live, Cubase, FL Studio, Reason and so on.

  35. Gavin says:

    Hi Petri,

    I’ve redd about half your article so far. Already i think i’ll be using it as my standard reference to get started with electronic music production. Thanx so much for the info !

  36. Neil Dunsmore says:

    Absolutely what I needed, many, many thanks for posting this – has given me a whole new lease of life!

    Thanks gain buddy ;-)

  37. DelaXus says:

    ASOT listen …
    inspired me to do TRANCE

  38. I found a free DAW that I find very nice. LMMS. It comes with samples, synths, and it is 100% free. I reccomend.

  39. craig says:

    thanks for the heads up petri i will take note, so at my level a beginner what program would you recommend that has everything i will need…

  40. Neil Dunsmore says:

    Been looking at this Petri http://www.inta-audio.com/computer-music-c36/music-pcs-c37/inta-audio-intel-i7-sample-station-p3210 you think it is good enough to go…..??? Have the money and needed an upgrade so thought I would take a chance with this – let me know what you think please ;-)

    • You should be fine with that, Neil! Intel i7 processors are good (I have core i7 950 myself), 12 GB of ram is good (I have 12GB myself) and 7TB of disk space is a LOT (I have only 1,5TB myself) so in my opinion you should be fine :)

  41. craig says:

    Any one know the kind of copyright from these programs because I’ve uploaded a video to YouTube using the loops and MIDI loop that came with it. Is this ok?

  42. craig says:

    Hi,so I’ve made my 1st song on my beginners daw magix music maker,I’ve used soundpools and a MIDI that was on the program would appreciate it If you pro’s could have a listen and give me some pointers etc….personally I think its ok,it hasn’t a video I dont know how and maybe equalisers could b better so I recommend listning to It thro studio head phones or a decent stereo.ok Its on you tube If you type In magix music maker dreamy it will show.my name is craigj17 I appreciate your time and hopefully feedback:)

    • Gavin says:

      Well i’m no expert, but i can give you my opinion as a listener:

      All-in-all a good first effort, really!

      Now for the critique:
      1) @ 2:02 there is a change accompanied by a ‘bang’. I think the bang sound can be scrapped.
      2) @ approx. 3:40 some high-pitched notes are introduced. They don’t integrate well with the rest of the sounds.
      3) @ approx. 6:20 there is some ‘white noise’ in the background which varies with some foreground sound. The noisy sound is a bit disturbing.

      ciao

      • Nick says:

        great first song mate, I really like what you did around 2:00 to 2:15, builds the anticipation in the crowd….climax it faster though, crowds don’t hang on that long. =)

        Fundamentally, there are some serious delinquencies in your time and key changes. Both are fine if used properly. Just sounds a bit choppy to me from a music fundamentalists POV. Perhaps some schooling on key signature, scales and time keeping would be helpful. Google will work for any of these.

  43. craig says:

    hey gavin,thanks for the comment and time i appreciate it. i will look into it think i got abit xcited to get it finished lol. what do u mean by white noise?

    • Gavin says:

      By “white noise” i mean a sort of hissing sound, like when a TV is on but not on a channel (only ‘snow’ showing).

  44. craig says:

    I see gavin thanks. for info:) I think I’m goin to re edit my song and add,out generally try and touch up on things! Do u have any tunes?

    • Gavin says:

      No tunes yet, craig, but many ideas. So my next step is to get the hardware (a better computer), then install the software (as a beginner, i’m leaning towards Reaper), then i must learn it, then only i can create my first song. Of course, i have to work on my day-job too, so i might only be able to share my first tune with the world in 12 months ! =):

  45. craig says:

    That’s sAme day as me day job so don’t get to much time,I impatiently brought magix but I might look Into getting a different daw infact its a def. Jus which one is nxt question. I’ve been on magix.3 weeks so im a beginner myself. I’m lookin into gettin a bigger RAM for my laptop from a 2gb to a 4gd.

  46. craig says:

    Wohoooo so I’ve ditched magix after a month and now a proud owner of fl:) its a maze to work! Is there a way to extract just the vocals from a song on a cd?

    • Nick says:

      I’ve been using FL since the 9 beta and it can be a beast to learn. Wait til you get to Pro Tools (the next step up IMO) =P

      As for the extraction of vocals from a CD, I wouldn’t recommend it. You might be able to isolate out some of it, but it won’t sound clean. Remember…crap in equals crap out. Also, you run the risk of getting sued if you don’t have legal right to whatever you are dubbing. I’d suggest contacting the producer of the vocals you want, explain what you are doing, and get the original tracks. Just as a warning, there is usually money involved at this point since you are using somebody elses completed work.

  47. Artur says:

    Ok man ive got a question.
    How much of a musical knowledge would you need?
    Ive little to zero technical knowledge, would that be a big problem?

    • Nick says:

      Hey mate, just a quick comment on this. I’ve been producing a while and came in with zero technical knowledge, and a ton of musical knowledge. IMO, it can be done without either. But you will have to bump up your perseverence quite a bit. Like Petri eludes to in this article, listen, listen, listen. Know your software well. Play around with it until you know every trick in the book. But most importantly, have fun.

  48. Nick says:

    Great beginner article mate, hope it helps out those who are looking to join the electronic revolution.

  49. Sonny Kim says:

    Your freakin awesome man please keep up the tuts and support! im 15 and im trying to start with FL Studio! THANKS
    -Sonny

  50. Siddhartha Chaudhary says:

    Sir,i am using fl studio since 6 month but i havenot got the bass they use like in genre electro .
    I should tell you truth that i don’t have internet .I visit cyber to download project files and vst plugin.
    I made some drum sample and bass and when i choose a plugin like sound goodizer,reeverb,compresser that is added to master volume.I want to add reeverb in bass but i didn’t find the way.Instead it is added to master again.And also could you,tell me how to add more than 1 plugin to 1 pattern like bass.
    And also is there any plugin or preset available which would produce same music like that of song lyrics?Eg i want my music to say with you.
    Hope you will give a best reply.

    • Hi Siddharta,

      If you want to add reverb just to bass instrument, you need to first assign the bass instrument/sample to a mixer track and add the reverb to the bass mixer track effect slot. I cover the instrument assigning on sevaral of my tutorials, check my latest for example.

      To second question: do you mean you want to use several instruments to play the same melody? If so, I would suggest you to use layering. I cover this as well. Check my tutorial on How To Use Layering To Make Your Leads Sound Huge.

      To your third question: there’s a speech synthesizer in FL Sudio where you type the words and it will then render them as spoken words. Check out my tutorial on How To Create Cimputerized Vocals.

      Hope these help! :)

  51. Pete says:

    Hey man, this articles very informative and helped me out alot, thanks for taking the time to put this together, cheers dude.

  52. craig says:

    hi petri, ive downloaded oatmeal free vsti and i have’nt a clue how to use it with fl studio 10! could you possible let me know, thanks….

    • Hey Craig, first you need to unpack it to your vstplugins folder and after that, start FL Studio, go to Channels -> Add one -> More… and from the menu (at the bottom) choose Refresh (Fast Scan). After the scan is done, you should see the Oatmeal in the plugins list. Double click it to open it.

  53. Ivan says:

    Petri,

    finally I have found a website that can explain very effectively and easy to understand of how to create your own music. Thank you so much on your tips. This is amazing. I can’t wait to start learning FL Studio.

    I wanted to ask you if there is any problem because I am 24 and I am starting now learning FL Studio? I have years of experience in DJ-ing but I actually never worked with FL Studio or Ableton Live. Do you think that is disadvantage? I mean, I am eager to learn, and I just love House Music.

    Do you have any tips on how long will it take to feel comfortable to actually be able to create a good remix or a song in FL Studio?

    Thank you again.

    Ivan

    • Hello Ivan and thanks for checking the tutorials! I am glad to hear you’ve found them understandable :)

      To your question: absolutely no problem! And your DJ background will most likely be to your advantage.

      However, it’s impossible to give an estimation when one is able to produce good music. I would say just keep on playing with the music software & watching tutorials (AND listening a lot the music genre you want to break into)! 8)

  54. Vince says:

    I was using FL Studio demo and it sounded nice and I liked its gadgets but there was one problem I couldn’t get. I found how to loop finally while attempting to record; I was also playing a part that I was playing while the beats and tones looped. But it started to loop part of what I played. Besides that, I couldn’t figure out how to record at all! I even tried to direct the sound through my computer’s audio output, into my speaker, then through that into my mixer board then back into my computer’s audio input but no sound came through. To be in truth, this is all new to me I only recently started to think of electronic style music. Help a newbie out?

    I will soon get my keyboard through which I have a MIDI access to things which can also open up to electronic music which is why I’m here. I can understand the concepts of electronic music its just hardware/software is not my strong point. If FL Studio isn’t right for me right now could you suggest a different program and walk me through?

    • Hey Vince, if you don’t wan’t to loop your recording check that the “Loop record / enable overdub” isn’t enabled in the Transport Panel (it’s that little icon with R on it).

      Also, what are you trying to record? Audio or MIDI?

      To your final question: have you tried out Ableton Live? It’s good software for electronic music as well though I don’t have as much experience with it as with FL Studio.

  55. Casey says:

    Hey man great stuff. Thinking about starting up doing this sort of thing. Was wondering what you thought about the Novation Launchpad, as used with Albeton Live. I think most of my interest would be sampling from songs that i already have and like. Easy to do? Was thinking about getting Albeton as well as the Novation Launchpad as my first purchases, and just using my PC, to see what I can come up with. With the launchpad my guess would be that the only other things I might need are a usb keyboard, and possibly a midi dj mixer controller… Suggestions?

    • Hey Casey!

      Unfortenately I don’t have any experience on the Novation Launchpad so I can’t say much about it, sorry! (Aleton Live is good soft though – I’m personally using it too as well alongside with the FL Studio).

      As for MIDI keyboard, I’ve been using M-Audio products for couple of years (Oxygen 61) and I can say I am a satisfied customer :)

  56. craig says:

    hey petri,ive just brought the alesis q49 midi keyboard not the best but not the worst. i was wondering if you know how to assighn things and ant info you may have to help me out as i dont have a clue. also is there a way to use it in the piano roll or do you have to record them all into edison?

  57. drew says:

    hello,

    great article, very informative. i have been a serious electronica enthusiast since the early 90’s – but i have never quite understood how the music is made!

    i still don’t quite understand a few things and i am a techie. for instance, what music does a deep house dj like mark farina or kevin yost or miguel migs actually make themselves? is it just a matter of excellent track selection and then adding some funky elements and blending it all together? what type of hardware/software do you reckon they use?

    and how about someone new like alexandra stan – do you reckon she produced the song ‘move like a freak’ herself or did someone else do it for her and she just added the vocals? and what software/hardware do you reckon was used for this killer hit song. (yes i like some electro pop too)

    i am actively looking for a dive off point to get more immersed – i am not sure whether i want to produce or dj or do something else. i am even considering a move to berlin germany. all i know is i need to get more immersed in this world.

    thanks,
    drew

  58. drew says:

    i guess my questions must be inappropriate to this forum

    • Hey Drew,

      Not at all – It’s very approprate. I’ve just been uber busy maintaining this site.

      Now, to your question:

      As far as I know, Mark Farina makes Chicago House and Downtempo -style music, but I’m not sure about Kevin Yost or Miguel Migs as I haven’t listened their music.

      I’m not sure how Mark Farina produces his track as every producer has a slightly different approach on music making, but mostly it goes like this:

      1. First, create an interesting drum sequence. You need single hit drum samples such as kick drum, snare, claps, closed hihats, open hihats and some percussion sounds and maybe some drumloops and you use these elements to create the drum sequence.

      2. Compose a bassline that goes hand-in-hand with the drum sequence. You need a bass sample or synth (virtual or real hardware) to be able to create the bassline.

      3. Then comes the melodies. And you need synths (or samples) for these as well. You need to compose chords and melodies that works with the bassline.

      So basically it’s all about (like you said) composing and then blending different elements together which then forms a complete song.

      I’m not sure what kind of gear Mark Farina (or the other guys use). Probably a computer (MAC or PC), soundcard/audio interface, DAW (Digital Audio Workstation, that is the music making program where you make the music, such as Ableton Live, FL Studio, Logic Pro, Cubase, etc etc), good quality studio monitor speakers, and most likely bunch of software synths aka VSTi’s (or maybe even some hardware synths).

      About Alexandra Stan: I’m not sure about her either. She seems to be a songwriter from what I checked, but I really can’t say for sure whether she produces her music by herself or use a “third party” producer. Lot of pop -stars do that though, but there’s lot of stars that produce their own music. I tried to google what kind of gear & software she uses, but couldn’t find anything…

      Anyway, I really encourage you to get into this world of electronic music making…. I’ve been hooked into this for over a decade now and I feel I’ve just been scratching the surface lol! This is a ‘flexible’ hobby which leaves a TONS of room for experimentation and imagination.

      Sorry I couldn’t be more help, mate :)

      Cheers!

  59. drew says:

    ok thank you. i have since learned these famous dj’s use other people’s work and combine it into one seamless club experience or album – this is what i assumed originally. this is amazing to me because i am sure 95% of the listeners give credit to the dj for originating (producing) the music, when in fact they are riding on the shoulders of other artists and earning a lot of money from it. originally i had this antiquated notion that these musicians would come together in a studio-like environment to make an album.

    must dj’s pay royalties or gain usage permission on each song?

    with alexandra stan, this is an original creation that was obviously produced on someone’s computer vs having a band.

    my dismay is that i have not enjoyed using any daw or standard dj gear thusfar. i have experimented with quite a few in the past. none of it feels intuitive to me. i will keep looking…

    • Yeah, that’s what DJ’s do :)

      However, DJing is not an easy job. It’s an art form and takes time to learn the skills: use the equipment to learn such things as beat matching, crossfading, EQing, etc.(whether it’s real turntables or Ableton Live type of software), to build a right kind of set to keep up the atmosphere, etc. etc.

      About the royalties: I’m not quite sure how it works for DJ’s.. I think it’s the responsibility of the club to pay somekind of yearly fee to the publisher and the publisher in turn gives the club the rights to broadcast the music.

      What DAW’s have you tested out so far? I recommend checking out Ableton Live or FL Studio latest versions if you haven’t already :)

  60. Shane says:

    Hey, beautiful article, found it to be of immense help. I’m just starting out in production, psy being my genre of choice. I just had one question, for now, I’m using an IPad 2 as my midi controller, is this something you would recommend or would I be better of purchasing actual hardware?

    • Thank you, Shane! Interesting idea to use iPad as MIDI controller… never thought of it actually :) Anyway, if you feel comfortable with it, keep using it, however (and this is just a my opinion) using a real MIDI keyboard might give you a better touch on music making and controlling your software.

  61. Prodip says:

    hi petri , im trying to find your tutorial for FL Studio and i can’t find it , i just downloaded the demo version and im really a newbie and it’s so much things , i get confused because it’s such an advanced DAW , i remember longtime ago i used djay and it was quite simple making songs lol.

    ive been listening to EDM quite long since i was 15 now im 19 , but not been doing anything like remixing songs or producing , so im kind of new to this :) , i bought behringer BCD 3000 recently , so been doing some “djing” cause it seems easier than making the music right now , since i dont know how & where.

  62. mathew sparrow says:

    Thanks for posting this, it will be a huge help when i purchase my new computer.

    Mat

  63. Prodip says:

    Im having a hard time understanding FL right now , should i use Ableton live instead? it’s easier? i heard deadmau5 is using it aswell for producing and live playing.

    • Well, I wouldn’t say Ableton is easier than FL. Both have a some sort of learning curve and actually I’ve found that I’m able to do things faster in FL than in Live. I would suggest you to use what you feel comfortable. Both DAW’s are able to produce very high quality music. You just need to choose what you feel comfortable to working with.

  64. Hello everybody. first of all i’d like to thank the OP for taking his time to give everyone a nice basic starting point. Now, to everybody considering buying a Mac, it comes with Garageband which is probably THE best DAW for starters looking to get some sounds out (quality sounds i might add).although it’s a bit of a RAM hog, it supports some fantastic third party Audio units (the Mac version of VST) it’s even great for experienced users just because getting thoughts out of your head before it disappears is priceless. i’ve been using it for a quite a few years now and it still gives me the creative edge i need. Propellerhead Reason 6 was recently released however i’m still using Reason 5 which is also fantastic… which brings me to my next point. Rewire!. Rewire syncs reason with any rewire capable host DAW such as Garageband, Cubase etc. all you have to do is open your host DAW first, then open reason once your host DAW has opened. you are now in rewire mode. This allows you to for example have a drum sequence playing in reason whilst the melody or bass line is playing in sync in your host DAW (Garageband etc), so when you bounce your project (creating an mp3 etc for distribution) it bounces everything in both DAWs to a single mp3 etc. and last but not least …LOGIC STUDIO 9 although i’m still fairly new to it, it is THE best DAW in the world. The mastering suite that comes with it is phenomenal and the best part about it is, for new comers who find creating songs quickly and easy using Garageband, can at any point import their Garageband project into Logic with everything as was saved in Garageband so you can continue to build your song from there and start applying effects such as compression, maximisers etc. and the stereo imaging plugins are second to non. it can give you spacial imaging that words cannot describe. oh did i mention that Logic is rewire capable too. Trust me. Reason, Garageband and logic studio 9 is the NASA space control centre of Macintosh music production. Happy producing.

  65. And as for new comers… i could be producing music for a thousand years and i’d still be a new comer because you will always, yes… ALWAYS find new ways of creating sequences, sounds, tips and tricks that you never knew was possible. anyone who thinks they know all about music production simply needs to find a new hobby :) music creation is literally speaking… ENDLESS.

  66. And last but not least…. for anyone looking for an affordable midi keyboard, look no further than the M-audio keystation 49e. reliable with good quality keys, pitch bend, modulation wheel and advanced controls. it’s a bargain for the price.

  67. Gabriel says:

    Wowwwww, thanks a lot this is exactly what I was looking for!!!! So helpful. You are the man!!!

  68. mishu says:

    Hello guys ! :) I don’t know if it’s the right place to put this here :-S

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYQemkEj8YA

    I’m just a beginner, this is the first song that I made in fl studio, Sylenth1 sounds in there… it took me one month to make it… I’m open to any ideas/suggestions… what do u think about it ?

    thx for this great website, I really appreciate it :)

    • Hey, Mishu! Not a bad song from a melodic point of view :) However, I would suggest paying attention to the mixing. It sounds a bit ‘muddy’ if you know what I mean. I think there’s too much bass in sounds that doesn’t need to have it so much – that ‘background saw wave pad’ for example. For a quick fix I would say, try to play with the eq: maybe cut the low frequencies from that pad sounds for starters. Also, I would suggest you to use a punchier kick if you can find one in your sample collection. btw, have you checked my mixing guidelines? It may help you :)

  69. craig says:

    Hi, I’ve heard about side chain in several videos,articles but nothing in detail I was wondering if anyone could help me out? Thanks :)

  70. Fanesa Cairo says:

    First of all thank you very your post is very helpfull…it is exactly i was looking for….
    I dont know if this is write place to ask this question …please direct me to proper site if you cant answer it..
    my question is as follow…
    I have Casio Lk-55 Basic keyboard with midi in-out…I wish to use it as midi control keyborad in Ubuntu Studio using this
    http://www.ebay.in/itm/USB-MIDI-Cable-Musicle-Keyboard-PC-USB-/160686410855?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_203&hash=item2569a80c67
    I will be using Ardour as DAW under JACK…..
    Will it work???????
    I am noob……
    Thanks once again….

  71. Peter says:

    Hi Petri !
    Name is Peter and im from Denmark, so ofcourse english is my second laungage to, so im sorry for any errors ive might have made.

    I have to say this is the best tutorial sites ive ever visited, and there are alot out there .. so please be proud of this info and comments you provided. Im 101 % sure you helped alot more than you would ever know.
    I was actually looking for help on the Music maker part. But i was given so much more info’s than i would ever have thought i could get.
    I really like you are explaining all the terms of words like DAW, VST, ASIO etc etc..
    Normally when visiting a site you get hit with words you have no idea what means.
    Also the fact that you give yourself time to explain to all us newbs what your thoughts and ideas are, keep it up m8.
    Now as stated on top, i work mith music maker .. and i don’t recall you mentioning it as a possible audio program, why is that ? Is it crap ? or does it lack something ?
    On my personal experience it seems like a good program, but since i havent tried anything else its hard to compare with the quality.
    Recently ive made 2 tunes .. but ive noticed a problem you also mentioned in your tutorial.. i used my creative headset when making it, however when switching to my speakers it lacks some quality for some reason ? I was told it sounded great, but in my ears it didnt.
    Is there some way i can share the tunes with you and get your opinion ? skype, Mail ?.. i dont wanna share it to everyone yet.
    Hope you can and want to help Petri :-)
    Thanks again.

    Peter.

    • Hey Peter! Thanks for your comment and I’m glad you’re finding this site useful!

      To your question about Music Maker: I think it’s pretty good introduction to the computer music, but as far as I know (correct me if I’m wrong though) it relys quite a lot on the ready made musical loops (?) and the actual sequencing features for composing your own melodies aren’t at same level as in FL Studio, Ableton Live, Reason, etc.

      Anyway, you can send me a demo to info @ howtomakeelectronicmusic.com and I’ll check it out!

      Cheers! :)

  72. DaveJ says:

    Great of you to take time out to help others. And many thanks for the various links.
    After 20 years of DJing, I decided to pack it in. Not wanting to stray away from music, I started to learn how to make it. Although a noob, I have friends who produce / remix music and all of them are verse in most DAW packages & all have their preferences. I am learning to use FL10 and Reason. There are a few things I prefer in Reason though. One is the sound quality. I gotta say, one has to spend time on paramatic EQ’s to liven the sounds up in FL. Make no mistake, I like FL, besides, one can rewire Reason or any other DAW into FL allowing one a wider ability to create the sounds you are looking for. However FL are making a mistake by their planned removal of the “Legacy pattern blocks” in future versions. Although using the “Track” layout to lay your patterns allows for a little more versatility, it uses alot more memory than when using the “legacy pattern blocks”
    (Not sure why though). But I have received an “out of memory” warning a good few times when I have layed out everything using the “Tracks”. Never have I got a memory warning when using the “Legacy pattern blocks”….I only have 4Gigs of RAM. After upgarding to 10.8.9, I had to reactivate the “Legacy Blocks” and got the nasty pop-up that they would be made redundant in future versions!
    I have been using a C-Media sound card and Labtec 5.1 speaker setup for the past few months and it has done me just fine. But I gotta say, upgrading has has been Fantatsic. Not the best, but what I could afford, my Lexicon Omega and KRK RP8G2 monitors & KRK10SE Sub has really made a huge difference. (and annoys my neighbours alot more…LOL)…..Thanks again for the links and keep things going. There are many many people who will get to appreciate the info you put out there.

    • Hey Dave and thanks for your comment!

      There’s lot of good in Reason: all the effects and synths it has built-in are good quality and the re-wiring possibility gives the possibility to use it with other DAWs which is awesome.

      About FL and the blocks: I agree it was a MAJOR change in the FLS workflow, but as a longtime FL user (and ‘blocks user’ as well) I found (IMHO) building everything on tracks actually simplifies the usage of FLS workflow, albeit it takes some time to get used to it.

      —–

      I’ve heard good things on the Rokit monitors… been looking into thems myself too – might ‘upgrade’ to those when I have enough the dough :)

      —–

      Thanks for your comment Dave, appreciate that! 8)

  73. Can you also use FL Studio to create realistic orchestral music. That is, real samples of violins and heavy drums, etc?

  74. And trumpets and stuff*

    PS. Thanks for this bit of brain-sharing. Been wanting to create real music this way since the original eJay came on the scene.
    Rob.

  75. sstivo3 says:

    please, thanx for the tremendous work. pliz, how can i ask questions and get reply / updates on my email address. thanx

  76. Wigifries says:

    This is one of the most informative things I’ve read, thank you very much! I have a few questions! So I’m getting the Akai MPK25 and some KRK rokit 5 monitors and FL Studio! Is there anything else I need to get? I have a computer with 4gb of ram! Im just confused on how to set it all up so I can hear the track through the monitors! Will I need an interface? Or a mixer to get everything to the computer? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

    • Hey there!

      What kind of soundcard you have? Basically, you just need to connect your monitors to your soundcard and your AKAI MPK25 to your computers USB and you’re all set. For connecting monitors, you need two TRS cables (or XLR) (if not included) and depending on the outs of your soundcard, you might need a 1/4″ to 1/8″ adapter in between.

      Cheers!

  77. Glenn says:

    After reading your article, I am still confused on how to get started. What I would like to do is find a freeware program that will allow me to play notes and chords on the PC keyboard with guitar, drums, bass and vocals, then combine them to create songs. Does Ardour and Zynewave allow the use of a PC keyboard to create music? I dont understand the relationship between the terms VST, VSTi, synth and plug ins. Which software would be the core of music production that you would wish to add plug-ins for my specific music creation strategy? Thanks in advance!

    • Hey Glenn,

      I’m not sure if Ardour or Zynewave Podium natively support the use of PC keyboard for playing notes, but its not a problem as you can always use a Virtual Midi Keyboard like http://vmpk.sourceforge.net/ to do that. It’s a piece of software which acts like a link between your computer keyboard and music making software converting keystrokes to MIDI notes letting you to play the instruments.

      Anyway, here’s a some tips (and exaplanation to the terms you mentioned) what you need to be able to make music you described:

      – Music making software (try Reaper, even though it’s not free, people say you can use the newest versions for as long as you want without restrictions, though it’s definetely worth buying)

      – Virtual instruments = VSTi’s. VST is abbreviation from Virtual Studio Technology and it’s a software standard in digtal music making. VSTi means simply “VST instrument” and they are plug ins which you can – well – plug in to your music making software (if it supports VST technology – majority will do). They are also called VST synths, software synthesizers or soft synths. There’s also VST effects such as reverb, chorus, eq, compression, etc. These are not synths. Just effects.You plug in them to your music making software like VST synths.

      – Now to be able to make music you mentioned, you need a VSTi that is able to produce guitar like sounds.Check some of these: http://freemusicsoftware.org/category/free-vst/guitar

      – For drums you need drum samples (gooogle them) or a drum VST plugin. Check here: http://freemusicsoftware.org/category/free-vst/drums for some free stuff.

      – For bass you need some VSTi as well (actually, majority of soft synths can produce bass sounds).

      – For vocals you need a vocalist and microphone.

      There’s thousands of VST instruments and effects available, free and commercial for all kinds of music making.

      Hope this helps!

      • Glenn says:

        Petri,

        Thank you for taking the time to reply. After I posted, I went to try LMMS for windows. I spent a few days with video tutorials, reading and experimenting, but I now understand the foundation of digital music production. Looks like I’ll be getter a midi keyboard as the PC keys are limited. It takes a lot of effort to produce a few chords using the PC method. I also found a few guitar VSTs. I chose to DL a few midi files, import them, and enhance the default instruments to create some new versions of the songs. This helped alot in understanding how the program (LMMS) works. I’ll probably try the other suggestions and see how they work. Since I dont have drums, I’ll probably work on music with digital drums and bass, then work in the midi and add my own guitar. Thanks again and Happy Holidays!

  78. Great primer for the beginners. I’ve been using “FL Studio” (we all know its fruityloops) for over 11 years! Crazy when you think about it.

  79. nimesh says:

    hey this is just awesome, and the link u have given r really helpful

  80. Chemis1 says:

    I wish i read something like this 7 years ago ..lol very informative .. i have a question on the computer i should get . i have always worked on reason on my laptop but im in the market for a desktop. im looking for something not to expensive but not to cheap .. i am planning on getting the newest reason (6) and maschine from native instruments. i currently have a fast track pro and im looking to upgrade my midi controller which is the axiom 25 ,but im waiting for nektar to launch the panarama which is a dedicated controller for reason 6 .so im not sure what i need to look for , keep in mind i plan on getting the komplete 8 ultimate which takes up alot of space , or should i get a external harddrive for all my sounds or both ? any information or knowledge whould help me out big time .. getting a nice return this year so im gonna splurge on the computer and music gear .. please help thanks

  81. Chemis1 says:

    almost forgot to add that in the future whould like to add the fruity loops as well as dual moniters if that make s a difference??

  82. Alghi says:

    hey, FL Studio Fruity Version Can use Piano and make music ?

    • Hey Alghi, what kind of Piano do you mean? If you have MIDI keyboard, you can use it tomake music with Fruity edition. Fruity edition does also have Piano Roll where you can compose complex melodies just by using your mouse if you want.

  83. Ivan says:

    Pietri,

    I would like to ask you for your help. If you go to this link:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQA5gQQNkIo it is a paradise remix by fedde le grand

    if you go to 3:18/3:19 there is a sound that is made, i don’t know how to say it in english but I hope you understand what i want to tell you. My question is how to make that sound? It sounds like it goes a little bit reverse (or drops for a second). :) I am so sorry but I just don’t know how to express myself in English :)

    Your help would be much appreciated.

    THank you Pietri and keep up the good work. AMAZING stuff.

    Ivan

  84. David says:

    Hello Pietri, Thank you very much for this guide and putting toether such a nice website, I`m just starting to discover all the useful information you have here :)

    On advice I would apreciate from you: I`m trying to put a nice production system together to be able to create some house music but I have a somewhat limited budget. Currently my list would be:

    Desktop Computer- around 1000 €( a AMD eight core with 12 GB RAM) and FL Studio 10

    Speakers- pair of m audio bx 8 around 270 €

    midi keyboard. m audio 61 around 175€

    audio interface- m audio fast track pro 145€

    However this would be at around 1500 € like 300 exceeding my budget, what would you recommend I downgrade from this list without compromising too much the whole process to keep it affordable for me?

    Thank you in advance for all your held.

    Greetings from Lisbon,

    David

    • Hello David,

      Thanks for your feedback!

      That is a tough question.. all of the components you have chosen are pretty important for making music with computer. I personally wouldn’t downgrade any of those..

      Have you tried to search used gear to save a few bucks?

  85. Dear Petri, could you please tell me what should i buy, when i have the next problems:

    1. When I use VST Plugins to my mixer and they occupied almost 50-60 channels, the computer slows down, once it even shut down, i guess because of CPU usage, although I have 12 GB RAM, 2 GB Grafics with Intel i7 chip on my PC, not MAC, i heard that it is very workable for music production :) but with MAC i will have to forget about some AiR – ed plugins.
    Here is the question, which equipment (hardware or USB) to buy to let the hardware to take part of that memory usage and control the mixer? so that it could carry the pressure from PC to itself, a kinda mixer hardware, gear or smth.

    2. At the end I want my work to sound more louder, although I use Ozone 5, Brainworx bundle and some other Vstz to mix the overall project, at the end it is not that loud as professional mixes. So, it means I have to buy a hardware like Limiter or Compressor or Summing mixer or may be Synchronizers / Clock Generators or may be Digital Converters. I can not differ all of them, how each of them affecting the mix ??? may be you could suggest a blog or make a tutorial for this, i couldn’t find any on youtube, searched for a week, they are just scratching the surface and showing off.

    Please help me, for solving the problem and buying equipment i have just 1200 euros. no much and therefore i need ya advice how to spend them appropriately to solve the 2 problems. Thx for ya awesome FL blog !!! Appreciate it.

    • Hey there,

      Some answers to your question:

      1. To my knowledge I dont think such hardware exist (?). All the VST plugins you use in your DAW use the CPU and I don’t think theres a way to transfer the stress to an external hardware. You need to either use lesser VST plugins per project, or “freeze” some of the tracks or upgrade your CPU.

      2. To make your music sound louder is all about creating a well balanced mix, proper use of EQ and compression/limiter. Maybe this article will help: http://productionadvice.co.uk/how-to-make-your-music-loud/

      I cant actually recommend you to buy anything as the loudness start from a well balanced mix and for finalizing you can find the necessary tools in FL itself (like Fruity Limiter for example).

      Sorry I couldnt be of more help!

  86. Alex says:

    Pietri, I really want to start producing electronic music and I just have no idea where to start at all.
    I have no experience in music, except for some piano lessons I took ten years ago that I forgot anyways, and I’m not exactly a master at computers, I just know my way around most things.
    Any tips for where to start? I’ve downloaded FL Studio for my PC, but I’m completely lost, I have no idea where to start with it, or how to use it or what to do. Also, I’ve heard piano lessons could really come in handy for this sort of thing, is that true?

  87. CatalinSpirache says:

    I’ve started my first project using your tutorials,my second also,my third agan watchin utube tutorial of yours and know as i read this article i realize i’m doing 90 % of the things wrong..I’ve learned sidechaining,rising,tensions,how to use eq,mixer track,the 3xosc,even to rename the paterns or the actual tracks :)) And i thought i suck and i have no talent at all,aldo i’m totaly addicted to trance and house..But when i saw how many years u’ve been doing this for …:)) over a decade,and i’ve got FL10 couple of moths ago :P:P Maybe u’ll laugh at me when i’ll say that every tune i make it’s based on what i dream about at night..and i can honestly say that if i’d had a machine that can record dream tunes i’ll be famous :)))) Thx a millliioooonnnnn time for your passion to music and havin’ the pacience to share your experience whit all of us !!Signed…ONE OF YOUR MANY FANS :)

    • Hey Catalin, its glad to hear you are finding the material useful!

      I must say that even though I’ve been making music over a decade, I still have sooo much to learn so this seems to be an never ending road :)

      That is an interesting approach on music making you got there – every producer has his own way to create ideas, so keep on makin’ it!

      Cheers!

      • CatalinSpirache says:

        I’ve just downloaded the TAL-LEC7RO VSTi PLUGIN :) BUT honeswtly i think i’m making a huge mistake by downloading tons of plugins cause i’m not sure i’ve even covered 10% of what stock FL10 Vsti’s can do!When i saw u creating that lead pad on your tutorial from scratch 3xosc i felt like i’m nothing :( My problem is that each and everytime i start a project i always end up beein stuck in the middle of it :( cause i know nothing ’bout oscilators,envelopes etc etc ..things that really matter when it comes to making cool sounds :( anyways..i have a new project rollin in FL10 as i write this :) i found a lead but when i try to use something on the op it’s sound ok but to much commercial like for my taste…!!i’ve spent the last couple of moths burried in FL10 :))) i got get better at this!!You’re one of the few people that’s worth beein’ mentined on the album covers even if it’s after 5 years since i’ve started doin’ it cause i know where i’ve learned to use eq and reverb and flanger and white noise and so on!!I speak for all here when i say thx a milion times and thank providence that brought me here in the first place!!Hats down Mr.Suhonen!! :) Greets from an enthuziastic roumanian 25 year old producer wannabe :))

        • Yea its easy to caught up on getting all the latest plugins (happens to me all the time hehe). I think its best to focus on one or two synths to learn it inside out.

          Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate that!

  88. Hey Petri!!
    first of all Thnx a lot for this awesome post…. Now i don’t Don’t have to Google every thing on Internet..spending hours…on internet…
    according to me Every thing is There in this post….And it’s really helpfull…

    but,
    i have 1 questions…
    how many $ did U spend to get these products…i mean: ur PC, monitors, headphones etc..??????

    • Hey Priyesh,

      Thanks for your comment!

      I’m not actually sure how much I have spent on all the equipment I have in my studio as I have gathered these over the past 8 years :)

  89. Hristian says:

    Amazing post! Thank you so much for taking time to do this its astonishingly helpefull!

  90. karoviev says:

    You know, something strange happened to me. I listened to steve reichs music and suddenly i wanted to create something. then i googled and this topic helped me much more then i thinked.

  91. Vince says:

    HI petri , i saw your youtube channel. and i am wondering how come you aren’t producing under Primo Lux anymore?

    lastly i have 1 question,
    what are some good plug ins for making trance music ??
    i am using logic pro 9:)
    vince

    • Hey Vince,

      I will produce under Primo Lux again at some day, its just that I’ve been busy with my other projects and my time for producing has been a kind of limited.

      To your second question:

      Sylenth1, Zebra2 and Nexus2. IMO those three are everything that ‘trancer’ needs :)

  92. milos says:

    hello peter,thanks for a great advices and your will to share your experience,i am using reason for few years,well for now i can use it only on laptop and good headphones,but i cant reach nice sound quality with integrated sound card,i want to buy external sound card but many people say that if card is not firewire powered most probably i i will not reach desire quality,my laptop doesnt have firewire port,i am interested about your opinion connected with usb extern sound card,thank u in advance,keep on with great work:)

    • Hey Milos,

      No problem, thanks for checking the article!

      Now to your question: can you be more specific what do you mean by sound quality as it is a bit of a subjective matter.

      Cheers!

  93. Unleash says:

    Thx a lot. Great info for beginners.

    Added to favorites!

    :D

  94. Sadat says:

    I’m from Bangladesh, I always tried to find out the better thing, technology for my home studio and today i found better info. on your website. Now I’m looking for some high tech software.

    What software or plugins i should use for Real effected ” Orchestral ” & ” Indian classical ” – sound / music…..? :/

  95. Richo says:

    Men this is really awsome, you just open my mind with all the articles u post there… Damn! really am so excited to star a new song :D as soon as i finish it with my partner am gonna be posting it here :D so then u can check it out!!

  96. karl anderson says:

    Your info was very informative and greatly appreciated, thanks for your effort, i now live aalborg denmark, maybe we could talk some more. I am a pro musician, and am starting my own business here,
    I make my money the hard way, but want to get into writing again. Hope you respond. Karl

  97. Matt says:

    Hey,

    I’ve been interested in music for a long time, especially the electronic category.

    I’ve been considering to learn how to use FL, but when I read a part of the License Agreement (Yes. I am the kind of guy who will read all of that,) it tells you,

    “you may not use the Software for the purpose of conducting, or in connection with, any commercial purposes or business purposes, whether ‘profit’ or ‘not-for-profit’.”

    I’m not the biggest legal person; I am not sure to what extent this abides to. But what would this mean, for someone who may be considering producing/composing music for profit?

  98. Pro Audio loops can be a great help too..
    Even many of the top electronic music producers use sample packs to either inspiration or to enhance thre tracks.

  99. Hello. Thanks for posting so much info. I was an electronica fan I guess before I knew there was a name for it listening to Vangelis Antarctica, Switched on Bach, P.F. Wish you were here and Kitaro when I was a little kid. Now in middle age, I would like to play some sort of ambient/chill type music myself, are 88 keys a smarter choice for learning and what is the downside of learning with less keys on a “keyboard” as opposed to a “electric piano”? What would be a good future ready 88 key beginner synth if such a thing exists? Sorry for the dumb questions and thanks in advance, CP

  100. Hello again, maybe I should clarify a couple things. I have no music background and when learning from the ground up so to speak, I would prefer to “learn piano” rather than what appears to be the shortcut of learning on a keyboard with less than 88 keys and very light key pressures (shortchanging myself long term). Also, my son will be needing a piano to learn/ practice on in a couple years so I want something in the house that works for his piano learning experience. We only have room for one, buying an additional piano is not an option. I also want this 88 key keyboard to be future ready enough to handle what my true interest is (ambient/ chill) when my skill level reaches that point. Is the M-Audio Key Graded Hammer-Action USB MIDI Controller a proper piano for my son and I to learn to play traditional piano on? And would anything about this machine be missing with regard to creating the atmospheric ethereal soundscapes you hear in alot of the electronica that I prefer? Thanks again, CS

  101. Nicko says:

    Great article! This has really inspired me up to get back into producing. Quick question, what mixer is that in your picture and do you recommend it? Sorry if I missed it but I didn’t see any mention of the mixer in the article or other comments. Cheers.

    -Nick

  102. Luka says:

    Hey Petri, i can’t describe to you, how you’ve helped me. Before this, i was thinking i have only few steps more and than i can produce my music well. I’ve only 15 years so i hope it’s not all over yet !! Thank you, so much, i love you like my parents! :)))

  103. This is miracle work! I’ve been searching for something like this. Thank you for all of this great work. I want to be like Mark Petrie one day. Glad i saw this :) all the best.

    sam

  104. Edward says:

    Petri,
    I really, have no idea what MIDI controller I should get, but I’m making music cheap.
    I have FL studio and Ableton Live, but I don’t have a MIDI CONTROLLER!!!
    I was thinking of getting a MIDI controller app for my ipad… Any recommendations?

  105. Finnsta says:

    Thanks mate this is probably the most helpful post on the web for this type of information. Its been really helpful! I’m quite young and started making music roughly 6 months ago but until now I haven’t been able to find my way. Good to know I’m not the only one who gets ear fatigue! At the moment I’m using GarageBand I don’t know whether this is holding me back??
    Thanks,
    Finnsta

    • Hey Finnsta,

      Glad you found the article useful!

      The thing is, you need to stick with the software you feel most comfortable working with.Now, I’m not familiar with Garage Band, so I can’t tell for sure if its holding you back or not. The thing is, if you can make the kind of music you wan’t with it, then you should be ok.

      However, since you’re on Macintosh, you MIGHT want to check out Logic Pro or Ableton Live. These two are very popular DAW’s amongst producers.

  106. MaSe says:

    This is more than awesome , thanks for everything Petri .

  107. Will Barker says:

    Thanks for this! I have a question, what is that in the picture between your keyboard and headphones on the left side? What is its purpose?

  108. I am using FL studio and are thinking of buying a good keyboard (any advice on this please?)

    I have been working on various tracks for about a year.

    This is my latest track: http://soundcloud.com/synthkandimusic/synthkandi-moombahtus-intro

    You can create music without no background knowledge, just takes more patience and determination. It is worth trying to learn a few cords in the process as well.

  109. Hey man. I’ll be setting up a new desktop on the following weeks. I hope you can dish out some new articles like this soon but this time more specifically for FL. What I really want to know is if it makes any difference if you install FL on a separate drive from your Windows OS as well as your VSTs and audio samples. And if partitioning a drive for these would be of any advantage.

    • Hey Mac,

      I’m using one HD for Windows OS and all the audio stuff (programs and sample). I have partitioned to two parts: part 1 has the Windows and part 2 all the audio stuff (FL Studio, samples and all the VST plugins) and so far it has been working pretty good.

  110. I’m wanting to make some electronic/dubstep(ish) type songs. I like the M-Audio Venom as a synth. What do you think? Also I’m looking at using ProTools (also from M-Audio) as a DAW. Any advice would be great.

    • Hey DG,

      Unfotenately, I don’t have any experience on Venom or Pro Tools, but if you’re familiar with them and are able to make music with them then you should be all-right!

  111. Hi. could i use TC Helicon Voicetone Create XT as my microphone interface or do i need a normal interface????

  112. Majik says:

    I have a MacBook pro, but want to keep that for live sets. I just made the switch to apple a few months ago. What would you recommend, pc tower (and if so, what specs am I looking for – I want to know exactly what you run) or an iMac (will a core i5 be enough?).

    I’m a newbie in the production game but serious about it, so want to get the hardware right straight out the gate. Thanks for all the great info! I learned quite a bit already thanks to your article.

    Majik

    • Hey Majik,

      I dont know about iMac specs, but I am using quad core i7 950, Asus P6T Deluxe V2 mobo and 12GB ram myself and been very happy with it.

      CPU and RAM are two of the most important elements in audio PC. The more the merrier. I would recommend the i7 processors (maybe even hexa core (?)). You can’t go wrong with them.

      Hope this helps!

  113. Douglas says:

    Great article. Very informative and inspiring. Very cool. Thx. Have a quick question, if you have a moment. Do you know of any synths (hard or soft) for producing low level clicks, pops, and ticks (not quite sure how to describe it… other than the kind of sounds most people are trying to remove.. haha). I wish I could point you to a sample. I’ll try and find one and post back.

    Also for those trying to decide on a midi controller… I just picked up an m-audio axiom pro 61 and so far am loving it. Feels very solid… nice semi-weighted keys… not too hard or soft.. little on the pricey side but worth the investment IMHO. Best advice someone gave me was to go down to my local music store and actually try them all before buying. Made all the difference. Could tell right away what felt right and not.

  114. Derpy-erpus says:

    Hey Petri, cool stuff! But I always thought you’d need much more than an MIDI controller to make electronic music. Like, for example, Daft Punk’s pyramid has lots of stuff, and deadmau5 does too. Do you have any tips for beginners? The closest I’ve ever done to it is listen to Daft Punk, Deadmau5, Skrillex, and some others.
    Thx.
    PS: Would you consider Daft Punk good role models in this case??

    • Hi,

      Yeah, you don’t need that much of hardware for making electronic music. Actually, you can make good music even without MIDI controller. Computer, soundcard and music making software is all you need to get started.

      IMO Daft Punk makes pretty ok music, but you might wan’t to check out other artists as well. Go to Beatport.com, pick a genre and check out the top 10 tracks for that genre for starters.

  115. George Baista da Silva says:

    Greetings, Petri. If possible, if you heard, or heard sounds like: Noise Control, Master Program, Robotiko Rejector among others that can show you, the sounds of the era of the 90s, could do a tutorial with those styles of music. I started listening to them, only that in their time, it was amazing how they did those songs with as little technology, and today we can do this in a heartbeat, but I would in his opinion today, as you would a style as those may be? Though the beats are similar to those of today … Like parents of electronic music as KRAFTWERK.

    Hugs George (Dj Phobos) Batista da Silva.

  116. Mariano says:

    Hi Petri,

    I have some deadtime at work and decided to find some more info about producing music with pc.
    I’m getting started. I just bought an AKAI mpk mini and the audiophile 2496 (I heard great things about it).

    I noticed that the soundcard doesn’t have a headphone jack, so my question is, will a mixer like the one on your picture (or something like that) help me connect the headphones? Will a mixer have an aplified signal to feed them?

    Thanks so much!!! Great stuff you’ve written here.

  117. Hi Petri. Umm, i have a ypt-400 yamaha keyboard. Can i use that instead of a MIDI, and if not, then what is the difference?

  118. I have a problem with my music and I dont know what Im doing wrong .My music sounds tinny
    or distorted in the upper register . I use Noteworthycompose,,FL Studiio 10 and Gold Wave Sound
    Editor .I wish I coulld let you hear what Im talking about This problem is very frustrating I suspect that
    maybe I am useing too many Instuments or the samples I am useing are of of poor quality .
    I have samples from websites that are available for free only now am i buying samples from Catooh
    but they are not the type I am looking for . They consist of musical phases and I am looking for steady
    tones .which I cant find any where. What should I do to ressolve this problem.?

  119. Joeri says:

    Hey man, thanks a lot for the article! I’ve been creating a lot of songs lately and i’m really getting in to it. Just got a question for you guys: suppose i buy a sample pack, for example Vengeance. I use a lot of samples in a song. If i eventually (probably not gonna happen :P) want to make money with the song (suppose it gets popular…), do I need to pay Vengeance anything? Because this is stated on their website:

    “All soundsets, samples and audiodemos are copyrighted by Vengeance Sound. Reselling of any Vengeance Sound product purchased, also partially (e. g. single sounds), is prohibited.Any violation of this will be legally pursued. When ordering a Vengeance Sound product, you accept this agreement.”

    In your article you said its usually royalty free. I think that this saysotherwise. What do you guys think?

    Cheers, Joeri

    • Hey Joeri,

      Answer to your question: no, you don’t have to pay anything for Vengeance after you have bought the sample pack. The thing is, when you buy a sample pack (from Vengeance for example) you buy the license to use the samples in your commercial/non-commercial songs. This means you don’t have to pay any roaylties or anything to the sample manufacturer for using the samples in your musical productions.

      That statement you quoted from the Vengeance website means that they hold the copyrights of the samples (when you buy a sample pack from a sample manufacturer you’re buying only the LICENSE to use the samples, but NOT the copyrights as copyrights can’t be sold) and you can’t resell the samples as is as a package or single sounds to another person, but you’re safe to use them as a part of your musical production.

      Hope this answered to your question 8-)

      • Joeri says:

        `Hey Petri, Thanks a lot for the fast reply! This really helped me out a lot. Now I know I can just buy samples and that I don’t have to worry. Just to be more specific: me and my brother are working on a dvd for a magazine. I am creating the music for the dvd and it is gonna be published here and maybe in other countries, so I needed to know precisely how it all works, so I wouldn’t get a lawsuit! ;)

        Anyway, thanks a lot! Bye

  120. Griffin says:

    Hey man! just wanna say that this was very very helpful for me. Thank you very much.

  121. Kage Edwards says:

    If I may add, Linux is also quite the capable platform for music production. In addition to tons of high-end software under free licenses, it also gives the capability to manipulate and equalize the sound hardware at the operating system level with much ease.

  122. Flamester says:

    I recently got into the idea of making my own electronics music, after listening to artists/bands like skrillex, dead mau5, anamanaguchi ( 8 bit ftw :3 ), and zedd. I’m more of a pencil-and-paper artist, but I’ve always had a knack for beats and such getting lodged in my head, to the point where I’ll start drumming it on the nearest object. This guide will help me get started properly, and that makes it alot better for me. :) Your guide already made me notice something I hadn’t before, the drumbeats hidden within most songs. Hopefully sometime soon I’ll have a song or two on YouTube. Once I get one, I might post it up for some opinions. :D

  123. Hi I am a bit off an old hippy and have always loved electronic music it seems that today with all the technology available to us it has never been easier to DIY I was wondering is there a good book or vide o etc that you would recommend to pull it together and even tutorials on the various software

    Great website and thanks
    Frank

  124. kapil singh bisht says:

    well i just started producing music and truly this blog gives some of the basic tips and i feel it helps me lot,suggest a way that dont just stick with listen to others just try it and do what you can …

  125. Kelly says:

    Speak your mind…wise words; well, I dont mean to rain on your parade, BUT… so steely, and sterile, and robotic, and so many of those things that resemble horrible little somethings called RULES… Great work in explaining how to make music. The kind that sucks the living daylights out of creativity and murders all hope of individualism. SO much will be missed, so much world changing music wont get to be made and heard if the chosen ones ever read this, and dont notice what a game changer this is, in all the bad ways.
    Why I even take the time to write this is beyond me, hopefully it will counteract the actual article to some degree.

    • SirCharles says:

      Kelly,
      I felt particularly the desire to respond to your post regards dance music (no its not EDM!) and it’s production. Firstly, if a musician is talented enough, whether vocally or in playing an instrument, they will succeed. I’m sure their are stories of wonderfully talented musicians who never made it but that mirrors life in general and in all professions. To say that dance music is void of any creativity is both ignorant and false. The “robotic” sounds you hear are often samples of people actually playing an instrument but are manipulated and arranged in a different way, some might say being very creative in fact. I have been listening to dance music since the early 90’s and there has been much change within that time. Although I can appreciate the talents of vocalists such as Adele, no other music moves me more emotionally than dance music. You suggest that all these computers and processed music will destroy all other forms, really?? I live in England and dance music is not heard that often on mainstream radio, there are probably only a handful of producers who have a degree of chart success. Therefore, it is mainly an underground movement and has been for 20 years!! Obviously this is part of the appeal for some, myself included although I would still love it if it was far more widely recognised. Similar to going out and buying a Ferrari F40 and finding out everyone else in your street has one, its still a great car but just not quite the same! I pity you for not getting it, for not understanding how amazing dance music is. Many pretentious, mis-guided individuals have had their ‘ten pence worth’ when trying to devalue and degrade this type of music but ultimately change nothing. Music can move you, take you on a journey and inspire you more than any other form of art, even music made by robots on computers, trust me! Peace.

      • Philip says:

        Hey SirCharles,

        That was such a great response to Kelly. There’s a part of me that understands where she is coming from, however she’s just made dozens of assumptions about what she thinks the creation of electronic music via the techniques Petri has put forward is and in the process just negated a whole form of art and individual expression. What has piqued my interest is your incredible passion for dance music. I’m virtually completely ignorant of dance music (although have heard it in clubs a few times and can recognise it) but you talk about it with such appreciation. This is off topic to Petri’s fantastic article (thanks Petri; it’s really great) but if you read this can you post some links on here to great dance music; the type you’ve spoken of that moves you. I’m wanting an ‘intro’ in the manner someone passionate and knowledgeable like you might offer. Thanks.

        Philip

  126. Ritwik says:

    Hey there,

    This article is really interesting and helpful.
    I had a question though.

    I wanted to ask whether a person completely ignorant of music can use these or not?

    What I mean is, Could a person who doesn’t know to play any real life instrument create some sensible music using all the above mentioned stuff? Or does he need some kind of separate learning?

  127. Edward says:

    Hi Petri,

    I need to get studio speakers and studio headphones, but I don’t know what to get. My budget is around the $1000 range for both. Also, I need a good sound card, and was wondering if there were any good ones(again, max $1000). I’m considering Native Instruments Audio10.

    Thanks

  128. Hello.

    This looks like a decent post, with some real planning having been put into it.

    All I want is to have fun producing Uplifting Trance and Chillstep music tracks. Will this be able to help me accomplish this? It’s my dream to be able to be good with this; to enjoy making GOOD Trance and make AWESOME Chillstep songs when I am in the mood. As good as the following:

    Trance: https://soundcloud.com/jaybmusicnet/daniel-ingram-kazumi-evans
    Chillstep: http://tinyurl.com/d3aw9m4

    I know it won’t happen overnight, but I want to know if this start will help me reach my dream. I’ve been learning Fl Studio for 5 years now and I still can’t make a good song when I want to. It only happens once every few months. Really, really frustrating.

    Please help!

    Yours truly,
    Kelvin.

  129. Bryn says:

    I wondering what would be the best software for me because I am on a limited budget (no more than £100 ($130ish dollars)). Would you say FL Studio 10 – Fruity Edition would have enough synths, drums and have an all round capability to compose EDM – drum and bass and dubstep to a reasonable standard.

  130. Trevor says:

    Good day,
    Thank you for that informative article. I have absolutely no experience making music, I do, however have a huge interest in trying it out. I have a basic laptop, nothing else. I want to start small and simple just to see if it is something I would like to pursure any further. What do you recommend (if any) to begin creating dance/ techno music with not much more than a windows 7 laptop?

  131. Pranshul Malviya says:

    Your article has been a godsend! This is one of the best materials out there for beginners in EDM i can confidently say that as one aspiring to do something in electronic music. Thank you so much and keep such stuff coming. This is definitely way more than a rough idea!

  132. Pranshul Malviya says:

    Also i would like to know what exactly is Deckadance? I mean is it a VST or a mixing software? And if it is a VST, how would you rate it compared to the ones you have mentioned here?

  133. Marcus Pires says:

    Aweeesome post…… :-)
    *found it while browsing some studio pics on Google.

    \m/

  134. Mohammad Reza Damsana says:

    hey, Petri
    First of the all I wanted to thank you for the great information you put on this useful website.
    I’m just beginning to produce a dub-step and chill-out song with Albeton Live 8.2.2 almost with no experience to make such a stuff but I’ve already listened to dub-step and chill-out for years.
    you suggested FL Studio all over this page that somehow I lost my interest in Albeton.
    will it be easy to work with Albeton for such a beginner like me?
    how can i learn to work pretty well with this music software?

    thanks again

  135. question … there’s one feature that i think would be very useful and wondering if it’s in any DAWs. there’s probably a name for it but as i dont know it, bear with me while i verbalize what i’m talkin bout:)

    basically the type of thing where you hear a track, take a five second (or whatever length) sample from wherever in it, and the DAW (or other software?) will break down all the beats being played in that sample. you could then manipulate it as you see fit (deeper bass drum, add a violin, whatever!)

    make sense? is there a name for that (like copy and edit :) and what software am i referring to here?

  136. Evan Loewe says:

    I liked this list all they way up to you telling people how to structure there music. I know that you are more experienced in making music but I find it best if a person finds out to make there music more idiosyncratically. In stead of starting with the rhythm section and/or bass line you could start with the melody. And instead picking a specific genre of music and getting pigeon holed you should just make what ever comes. Otherwise great list.

  137. Thanks so much for your website. I’ve been a huge fan of dance music since I was a little kid. I’m now trying to make it myself with a limited budget. Your posts are incredibly helpful.

  138. Caroline says:

    This article was so helpful! I do have a few questions though. Im trying to start making my own music, but i don’t really know where to start. I have taken basic electronic music using adobe audition, but I have a mac. Is garageband sufficient for producing music? I know how to play guitar, piano, and sing. However I don’t have a synthesizer, what one would you suggest I get that is preferably under 300? Also for mics, I’m not sure what ones would be good. Thanks so much for posting and hope you can answer some of my questions!

    • lauren says:

      http://lifehacker.com/5939740/five-best-audio-editing-applications adobe has a mac edition.
      look around amazon and read reviews for a synth, but don’t buy it there as they dog their workers.
      best is to buy from a musician locally. if your area is big enough, there is a craigslist type site just for musicians.. Or talk to the big music equip retailers with your questions, then get back to the local guys and gals– without looking like a newbie. there are some magazines. and get a good book. People in person is the quickest. g’luck.

  139. Classik xi says:

    Thank you for your help, im just starting out and this has been really helpful.

  140. Carlos Cuevas says:

    hi there bro!, I have a questoin.. I got one of those mixer as shown in the picture, whats the use I can give to it?

  141. Djcubarz says:

    thanks alot i love the part of not finishing your song in a day …..yea thats right been telling ma friends same thing

  142. Shubh says:

    Hey man, this is very cool stuff.
    thanks a lot for such a awesome post on this great website.
    i don’t have any knowledge about music but i am always attracted to this.
    i think or u can say compose music just in my mind and i am actually pretty good in it but now i want to do it for real. so please suggest me software that can help me to create music and sound and be simple as i am not a computer freak. i know you must be busy but i would be really greatful if u reply to me, so that i can ask my other queries accordingly.

  143. Jonathan Meyer says:

    So i read most of the article but giving the fact im 13 years old i didnt understand most of it. Is there a way to simplify it all? If not its ok because im starting a class on Electronic things so that may give me a boost.

  144. Man, how to make a beat drums like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrOBeaPtixk, in 1:28 and 0:37
    , and LEAD like in 0:44?
    Please man, help us, this is a FEVER here in Brasil. Yours tutorial are the best on net.

    :) !!!

  145. Lukas says:

    First I Have to say I love the article and seems to be very helpful. I am 16 and have been listening to house/electro for awhile and would love to get into making it. My question is where should I go or do to start from complete scratch in making house music.

  146. Sdam says:

    Hey man….

    I appreciate all the information and the step by step videos you upload. Really helpful for a newbie such as myself trying to make trance.

  147. Ijustnoticed says:

    I just noticed that you are from the same country… Finland I assume… Anyways nice guide, not really interested in making music, just were wondering how does Hardcore Tano*C make their songs.

  148. Harry says:

    The article is really helpful to all the songwriters. Your efforts are really appreciated.

  149. Thank you so much. This gives me a great starting point. Can I email you directly down the road if I have any specific questions?

    Thanks so much for this article.

    Cheers,

    Kelsey

    Ps: you English is almost perfect

  150. Oh God this is really one of the best points to begin creating electronic music. Thanks for sharing, I got many useful things out of that post!

  151. for making trance is it really necessary to learn the music theory?????

  152. Alex Diaz says:

    Hey Petri, thanks for posting this, it is very very useful.

    Couple questions, I would like to know where did you get that music workstation desk?

    Can you put the computer keyboard underneath it? I have a bigger music keyboard and both won’t fit.

    Also, what brand are those monitor speakers that are showing in the image?

    That’s it, thanks a bunch,

    Alex

  153. Pierre says:

    Hello,
    I would like to commend you for the huge work and passion you have put into this webpage. I often find myself in a situation where I wish to quickly know a lot about a subject of which I am a total ignorant. Your work here is a real gold mine and I cannot thank you enough for it.

    Have a nice one!

  154. Adam says:

    Hello Petri

    Thanks sooo much for the explanations relating to the production of computer & electronic music, I hope one day to make some music, that will please your ears, but taking into consideration – musical tastes perhaps I will not achieve this, no doubt any music I am able to produce will please someone if not only myself & perhaps someone else’s contribution will serve to please you… I am not a massive fan of trance music although progressive trance on the other hand I find really quite interesting & mind expanding.
    By the way your English is very good, strangely enough probably at the expense of some or other of the thousands of languages spoken worldwide which are apparently disappearing on an almost daily basis.
    I am personally inspired by old school drum & base, house, R’n’B & many world musical styles.
    Thanks for producing music, it clearly makes people happy!

    Adam

  155. John Jullet says:

    Hi, thanks for this site and all your commitment. This is all very new to me, but I after 5 years as an engineer decided to start creating music as a new profession. One of my major idols is Calvin Harris, I wonder often what the system these world renowned music producers use? What do I need at this stage for gear & software to get started? I love songs with voice in them, I had even thought to sing, how do I add my voice in the music. Any other advice are greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for all.

    U the best!

    /JJ

  156. This is a great piece on how to break into making electronic music. It was concise and to the point. I enjoyed your examples of the trance song structure, I’ll be using this soon.

    Cheers

  157. Aryan says:

    Dear sir .. Am new to your site . I am very happy to find this site .its very useful .. I am not a musician nd i dont no to play any music instruments .. My knowledge on music is below zero ..but i love music , i love singing but am just a bathroom singer…i use to write lyrics nd make tune it on my own style ..nd i found a friend with a similer intrest in my city … But our problem is we both didnt studied music .. So my question is … is it is necessary to learn music for electronic music production? … So where should i start ? Can you help us if we need help ? How to remove vocal from music tracks? … I have pc nd even i downloded fl srudio …but i am not understanding anything … Its like a hard puzzle for me.. My problem is i dont even know is the meaning of midi ,loops ..nd lot more … So sir please tell me from where should i start ….? thank you .. Aryan

    • Derek says:

      First of all thank you very much for taking time to post this information. I love Trance music,Ive been listening to it for a long time, and now I want to learn how to produce it, I don’t know anything about it, and you blog was very helpful. I have a Sony desktop computer that five years old, I bought a pair of Truth B2013 A studio reference monitors a year ago, just for listening to trance, I don’t have a DAW, or a sound card yet,after reading your blog im thinking of purchasing FL.studio. I went to guitar center and told the i wanted to learn how to produce trance music and they said i should really consider buying a MASCHINE to produce beats. my question is, do you think that’s something i need to produce trance. it seemed like a cool machine, but is it necessary? also i wasn’t really looking into buying a mixer just yet i really want to learn how to produce, but they had a Numark N4 on clearance $200.00 off So i went a head and bought it, So im trying to learn how to use it. Thank you..

  158. Prateek says:

    First of all thank you very much for this helpful artical. I am a new user of fl studio 11 and i can’t use parametric EQ 2 to equalize song bass and song quality properly. My beat does not comes clear.
    What should i do with this????
    And also, what effects should i use make sound clear and good????
    Pls Help…
    Thanks..

  159. jimmy says:

    Nice post! I myself have been using a computer from PCAudiolabs for digital audio creation, and I’ve been really happy with it. PCaudiolabs made me a computer that was exactly what I needed, and I have never had an issue with high track counts or latency. Their support has been top notch, as well. They have even trained me on how to use my DAW more effectively which has been really useful. I’m finally almost done with my album!

    I love what they do, check them out at http://www.pcaudiolabs.com

  160. Kraig says:

    Thank you so much for writing this post!!!

  161. Neal says:

    Hi I’m interested in making my own electronic music with sounds like the artist, (bassnectar–raw Charles, time stretch), (Tipper–bubble control, spunion), and (destructo-LA funky)…. What software would I need including a laptop, speakers/woofers, what program to run and what instruments are needed to make that kind of music….
    Any information would be greatly appreciated
    Thanks-Neal

  162. Himanshu says:

    I always wanted to make edm’s like the pro’s thank you!!!!! Petri Suhonen.
    And can we make edm by ony three steps like, nowadays there is a app in ipad “KONKREET PERFORMER” so by tht and a software in my pc, can i???????

  163. TonyL says:

    Hi Petri and everybody else!

    Love trance (I’m a OAP! ) and I’ve been dabbling with electronic music for a few years but gave up a while back….I was getting nowhere fast and my initial naive creativity vanished as I learned to be more critical. Early on I had uploaded a few tracks to SoundCloud and they are sooo embarrassing now. But here I am coming back for another try…

    Petri, Thanks for your trance song structure article, just what I needed and how I came to this page. But the other reason I’m posting this is that my music setup is so similar to yours that it is eerie…and I’ve never seen your stuff before. I have an have Intel Core i7 processor, ASUS P7P55 motherboard, 12GB RAM and 24? widescreen display running W7 x64 Ultimate. Monitors are Truth B2031As and my MIDI controller is an Oxygen II 61 ! How’s that for convergent thinking :-) Oh, and I recently moved to SSD on drive C:

    Headphones are Sennheiser HD 280 Pro and I’m using a Edirol UA-25 for audio I/O driven by ASIO4All. Using Reaper and a mix of free/paid vst plugins….current favorites are Synthmaster (vast feature array is bit overwhelming and still learning how to drive it) and Alchemy (emphasis on samples, lots of inspiring sounding presets to tweak and adjust)

    I’m still reading your advice on this page and hope it will get me out of my ‘creative rut’ and producing stuff again. At the moment I tend to sit here enjoying the great sounds from synth presets and zillions of samples but not getting down to actually constructing anything. Your song structure advice will, hopefully, give me some templates..a starting point to write some songs again.

    Thanks so much

    Tony

  164. Ahmed says:

    Hi Petri, I’d like to thank you for this valueable information on electro music, i really found it very helpful as i’ve decided to indulge my passion for music and needed to a direction to start. The reason i wrote this comment though is that i’m looking for something related but haven’t found it yet, maybe you can help me by pointing to a certain direction. I’m looking for a software similar to DAW but with a little feature, this feature should allow me to write music on a music sheet, like a scratch paper if you like, and then the software should be able to play what i just wrote, and of course editing should be possible. Based on your experience in this field, have you ever come across something like this, if yes please tell me where? :)

    Thanks a lot once again and hope to hear from you soon.

    Ahmed

  165. Pranav Mehta says:

    Hi Petri,
    I really liked the way u posted this article explaining every single bit of information…After reading the article ( and listening to some epic electronic music) I am completely into producing electronic music.

    But, I’m kind of in a dilemma… I have an HP All-in-One PC with 2 GB RAM..Do u think it will work…I’m only 14 yrs old so I can’t buy own hardware and stuff like the MiDi Controller etc..

    And also my Knowledge in tech is like 2% ???? so pls help by recommending few starter music making softwares… And about my knowledge quotient it’s kinda okkkk….I have played the guitar for an year so i kind of understand the basics…..

    Another help pls…… For me to understand and learn about this new stuff..it’s gonna take time and experience..so can u help me out by giving links of few songs u personally have produced…

    As for listeners….I would to recommend music of a producer called FRACTAL… Check out his songs in Youtube…..

    THNX AGAIN FOR THIS EPIC ARTICLE……..
    Pranav

  166. feyi says:

    good and good .. Am glad to see this after 2 or 3 years of this tutorials, i know i should pay for this but thank God is free
    My are my questions is please aid me
    1>what is the advantage of higer sample rate in music dose is add to recording value
    2> i used Sonar 3 for recoding voice and FL studio for beat making are this two tools compatible to work together and give generally acceptable sound
    3 > is focusrit scarlett 12i2 good soudcard for sonar3 and can it assist in producing perfect and industry sound music
    4> what is different between expencive soundcard and the cheap one’s
    5> what type of Mic do you use or do you prefer that sound good
    This are my questions i will be glad to recieve your respond……

  167. Petri,

    I am considering setting up a small home studio to produce electronic music but to be completely honest I had no idea where to begin until I came across this page. Well, even now, I am still completely lost except for the grooves I come up with in my head and while listening to electronic music. As a very young child I was always beating/drumming on something, adding my take on songs, making mix tapes of various sounds and trying to see how to get them to go together and sound neat. teaming up with other talent and playing around with beat boxing and weird new sounds. I guess my only judge was to watch the reaction of peoples faces. If they smiled, or it brought laughter about, I knew I had succeeded a bit at my dream – help making people dance, feel happy, come together as one and so on. If I got yelled at and told to stop by the family, or got the odd look I knew I must be the only one hearing it which I have come to find that I had ear fatigue or whatever and I needed a break. The latter happened a lot but that was okay with me as I knew one day I would be in the company of persons that enjoyed music as much as I do. It just seemed I needed to get older or maybe around more free willed and open minded individuals.
    Well I have rambled and probably given you ear fatigue by now, or would this be eye fatigue? Doesn’t matter.
    Like most probably, I want in the industry. Probably for way different reasons than the average person however for the true music enthusiast, the true people lover, happiness promoter, we are identical. I love to see people happy/dance/smile-just real emotion you know- and if it is me who makes that happen, whatever. If it’s the next Man/Woman, whatever it’s all good across the board.
    I thought it may never come to produce fruit, it still may never but after coming across your page here I have a lot more hope for this dream of mine. I am on a limited budget to start but I do have the funds for a few of the items mentioned above but have been a bit concerned on pulling the trigger on purchases because of all the unknown language, compatibility, revolving cost like new sounds or outdated equipment and the list goes on.
    I just want to do this as a hobby and have fun. Not clear the bank account while getting sold some stuff I do not need or unable to use because the salesman doesn’t know crap except what is written on the same package I can read and only concerned about making a sale. And with a lot of this equipment I am finding that once it is purchased that is it, good luck and if it’s not right or the wrong thing I am left with selling it on my own. This has only happened once and I made the money back but what a waste of time.
    If you have the time I would really like to get in touch with you. I have seen on here that some of these are answered and a lot are not so I am not sure what to do. I recently moved to a very small town in Montana, United States yet came from a very large city in Nevada with a lot more culture and availability to talk to people. I suppose the move is a good thing all around because there was a lot of distractions there and now I can get busy on this dream of mine and collaborate with others with the same dream and make it happen.
    I would love to hear back from you if you got the time

    Best wishes and with all the love,
    Joshua

    Thanks again for the great page. It has made things a little more clear but some one on one would be great

  168. Petri,
    I forgot to click that box at the bottom to be notified by email if you respond. Just doing that here.

    Have a great one sir and I hope to talk to you sometime

    Joshua

  169. ERDEM says:

    good article to createsome thing in my brain. thanks for ur time.

  170. CoachellaGirl says:

    Petri,

    Thank you so much for all the helpful info! My 12-year old son is naturally very musical, however he has multiple disabilities, so playing traditional musical instruments is a challenge for him. His fingers just don’t move right. He’s great with computers and is interested in producing electronic music. All this info you’ve provided will be perfect for my future Martin Garrix! …Only we’re not Dutch, and there’s not much I can do about that ;) LOL

    Thank you again!! <3

  171. Great stuff man. This post is really helpful for all the beginners out there who are looking forward to getting started with electronic music. Pretty in depth information, keep it up man :)

  172. Emmie says:

    Hey! i come from an era of making music on the commodore amiga’s in the late 80’s and 90s. i used a program called protracker, and one called soundtracker which were both essentially the same. i used my amigas keyboard to produce the sounds and used samples loaded from floppy disks :D but i lost touch with it all through my teenage years and through my 20s.. i’ve forgotten a lot, and my inner frustration to make music suddenly exploded and i NEEDED a damn keyboard. i want to remix video game tracks, make my own original 80’s tracks.. so i got myself a tyros 2.
    it’s weird, because im a beginner, and yet..i’m not. does that make sense? hahaha.

    basically, i am well and truly ready to get back into making music. i am very much a techhead so will understand pretty much anything thats required, but i learn differently to others because of a learning disability.
    my question is, 20 odd years ago, i had a yamaha psr 230, a midi cable and no compatible computer. today, i have a beast of a machine and a beast of a keyboard and no effing clue what to do! it’s like all my knowledge has dribbled away, waiting to be unovered again lol.
    so i would need either a one to one sort of lesson on how to connect everything up, what softwares to use, how to get everything ready etc, then another one on how to start up. then i can learn as i go.
    is there anywhere i can find stupidly simple tutorials, or anyone who’d be willijng to teach me what i need to know? :3 im so happy i can play again, and im already learning several melody’s each day as the memories come flooding back. but as for how to set everything up? my brain totally folded in on itself XD. sorry for the huge post, but i am a terribly frustrated musician just itching to jump back into it, all i need is that kickstart!
    i recently got into 3D rendering, which is super complicated..all i needed was a couple of short lessons and i worked it out for myself thereafter. if you like video games i would happily make something with favourite characters etc in exchange ^-^ (i never like just taking. i like giving something back).
    i really hope you can help! :D your article really really interested me!

    • Hello Emmie!

      And thanks for taking time to write your comment!

      I started making music with trackers at 90’s as well (I’ve always been a PC guy so I was using Fast Tracker and Scream tracker). Some of my schoolmates used Amiga’s and Pro Tracker.

      A question for you: have you tried any of the popular music making softwares (they are called DAW) such as Ableton Live, FL Studio, Cubase, etc yet?

      If not, please do so! Personally, I recommend either FL Studio or Ableton Live (thoug I am biased because I’ve been using FL Studio for a long long time).

      So basically, all you need is a computer and DAW to make music. (Keyboard is a big plus, but not necessity though as you can use your computer keyboard to play the sounds inside your music making software).

      Inside the DAW, you have (usually built-in) few software based synths and effects which you can use to produce sounds (basses, leads, pads, etc). And of course, you can use samples as well (same way as with trackers).

      Inside your DAW, you can create “patterns” for your melodic and drum sequences. These are like building blocks which you can combine to create a full song.

      With keyboard, you can play and record the melodies live to MIDI note data using any synth you choose (if you have a piano synth inside your DAW, you can use your keyboard to control/play it just like a real piano and record it to MIDI data which you can then edit with your mouse any way you like).

      Then you can mixdown your song to .WAV or .MP3 and share it with the rest of the world through internet!

      I don’t know whether this makes any sense. Let me know 8-)

  173. What package of FL audio should I get? It offers fruity,studio,signature

  174. Grant says:

    What version of FL Studio do you use?

  175. Steff says:

    Greetings,

    As far I have reached reading this article, I have noticed that speakers are Really Really important in making sounds.
    I have come with plenty of questions related to the above. But First, I am currently owning a pair of Hi Fi Speakers (Don’t really sure if the term High-End Stands true), Nordmende LB 500, 60Watts Philharmonic speakers.

    However, What’s your opinion related to them? Are they good enough to Reproduce quality sounds?
    Have you ever used or seen them in public or private places?
    Shall i keep using them as sound output?

    In addition, I do not have negative opinions, or thoughts, even I have made several tracks using them using my newbie skills…

    To conclude, I am seeking and collecting personal opinions related to my speakers.

    I’d be grateful to hear from you in the near future,

    Regards, Steff.

  176. Nicolas ALmeida says:

    Awesome! a really complete tutorial that will clarify a lot of new minds, thank.

  177. Howard Lamb says:

    Great, great information. I just started researching all of this today and your website is the jackpot. My one big question is…. which version of FL Studio to get. It looks like the Signature has many of the remaining software tools your have listed, along with many Plugins and features too… Thanks

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