How To Set Up A Home Recording Studio To Make Beats

Get A Macbook Pro

First, you should seriously start out by getting a 2016 (or later) model Macbook Pro laptop. Stay away from PC’s and desktops. Here are the reasons why:

  1. Viruses: You won’t have to worry about getting a virus, malware or ransomware on a MAC.
  2. Connectivity: Latency issues with MIDI controllers (piano keyboards, pads etc) are pretty much non-existent.
  3. Space: The Macbook Pro, especially in clamshell mode, has a very small footprint and takes up little space on your desk / workspace.
  4. Audio: The built-in soundcard is powerful enough to drive studio monitors.
  5. Battery Backup: You won’t ever lose what you are working on due to a power outage or brown out because when those events happen, the battery kicks in.
  6. Noise: Hardly any background noise from CPU fans.
  7. Portability: Since it’s a laptop, you can obviously take it with you to another studio or on the road with a pair of headphones.

Buy A Set Of Sennheiser HD600 Headphones

Second, stay away from Beats By Dre or any other “gimmick” headphones that are amplified.  There are 2 main types when it comes to studio headphones, they are the “Open Back” and “Closed Back”.

We recommend you get a pair of Sennheiser HD600’s:

  1. Price: ($290-$425)
  2. Quality: these Open Back headphones are considered to be STANDARD and have been around for over 15 years and still among the best!  (don’t bother with HD650 or HD700)
  3. Comfort: They are light and fit any head shape and you can wear them for extended periods of time without sweating.

Choose A DAW

A Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) is the main software for recording music and running VST plugins and such.  Stay aware from “Protools” as it is very overpriced and overrated.

Below are 5 DAW’s you should consider:

  1. *FL Studio – ($100 to $300) important to note that for the MAC, it is still in Alpha release but don’t worry, they are quickly making progress to final release (as of August 2017).
  2. Presonus Studio One 3 (FREE to $400) – choose from 3 versions… “Prime”, “Artist” or “Professional”.
  3. Ableton Live 9 ($80 to $590) – prices are depending if you get “Intro”, “Standard” or “Suite” versions.  You can also integrate it with their Ableton Push MPC.
  4. Logic Pro X ($200) – this software is made for the MAC and only works on the MAC.
  5. Propellerhead Reason ($400) – very respected in the music industry.

Get A Pair Of Studio Monitors

  1. KRK Rokit ($300 to $600 a pair) – the most common found in most home studios is the Rokit 5 G3 model, but you should consider getting a set of Rokit 6 or Rokit 8.
  2. Yamaha HS8 – these have a professional quality sound and are considered a step up from the KRK.  They have also been around for years.

We really recommend any of those 2, however, there are also many other “pricier” brands and models worth getting such as the “Event 20/20 BAS”, “Dynaudio BM5 mkIII”, “Mackie HR824mk2”, “Neumann KH 120”, “Adam Audio A7X”, “Genelec M040” and also the “Focal Twin6 Be”.

Other things to mention:

  • Audio Interface: An audio interface could be considered optional when you have a Macbook Pro because it has a very good sound card.  But it does make things easier (and way louder!) when you have an audio interface.  There are hundreds to choose from, so after you choose brand of monitors, then you could consider looking for a package deal, where you can get your studio monitors and an audio interface.
  • Extras: Don’t forget to get some acoustic foam isolation pads for your new monitors.

Get A MIDI Controller

Of course you can easily get away with only using a regular computer keyboard & mouse to make beats and melodies, but if you want to make more complex sounds, it’s easier when you have a MIDI keyboard or MPC.

  1. Akai Advance 49 ($500) – this is a very nice keyboard that comes ready to integrate to many DAWs, right out of the box.
  2. Maschine ($600) – produce beats & melodies using a smooth workflow.
  3. Ableton Push ($350) – similar to the Maschine but made to work with Ableton Live.
  4. Akai MPD 18 ($100) -a simple to use MPC that is compatible with any DAW.
  5. Alesis Q49 ($100) – a simple to use midi keyboard that is compatible with any DAW.


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