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Where To Make Beats - Anywhere You Want If You Start With The Right Setup
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Where To Make Beats   -   Anywhere You Want If You Start With The Right Setup

I cannot express the value of having a mobile beat making setup in your possession, being able to make beats when and whevever inspiration strikes is a capability that every aspiring and current music producer should have. Not to say that you can't be successful when considering where to make beats, say, if you chose to do it at home exclusively, but having that mobile setup at your disposal whenever and wherever the inspiration or opprtunity may strike could be detrimental to your career as a music producer.

I mean, who's to say that you won't run into Diddy on a hotel elevator, and he needs a quick single for one of his up and coming artists? If you're ready to go with your mobile setup, it could mean the difference between having a life changing experience, or living with the regret of not being prepared for that opportunity for the rest of your life. I'm just saying, it could happen!

So, if you're just starting out, or you're looking to expand your current production setup into a more flexible mobile setup, let's discuss some of your options.

You're Going to Need a Laptop Computer

My weapon of choice is the Macbook Pro. It's sleek, stylish, and capable of handling anything that I throw at it as far as my audio applications are concerned, and I have yet to experience any freezes or data losses. I got mine in 09, so I can only imagine how powerful the new ones are. The downside to the Macbook Pro is that they are quite expensive, as compared to a similarly equipped PC laptop; the difference in price could be at least $600-700.

You can get a comparably priced PC laptop for almost half of what the Macbook Pro would cost, but you would be compromising the plug and play capability that the Macbook Pro offers, as well as the suceptibility of exposing your computer to viruses. Mac's just don't have virus issues! But if you're willing to deal with the workarounds and driver installations and tweaks that come along with a PC purchase for audio production purposes, then the PC laptop might be perfect for you. In the end I recommend the Macbook Pro hands down, but ultimately, you should buy and use whatever you can afford, and make the best of that situation.

Which Software Titles Should You Choose?

I currently have FL Studio, Reason, Pro Tools, Logic Studio, and Ableton Live all installed on my computer. While having all these titles can be considered overkill and it's not at all necessary, I myself like to experiment with beatmaking, and there's something that I like about each program exclusively that can only be done with each particular program.

For instance, with FL Studio, it's the easiest and simplest application to make beats with, without any extra thought on your behalf. You can literally fire up the prgram and get it in, with dope sounds and an easy to use sequencer.

With Reason, I love how I can create just about any sound that I can think of, I love the tweakability of the parameters within Reason. You can create as many instances of every application within reason that your computer can handle, unlimited keyboards, synths, compressors, reverbs, whatever. You can make Reason as simple or elaborate as you like it.

With Pro Tools, it offers hands down the most complete audio mixing experience possible. While I do not like making beats in Pro Tools, I will take the beats that I create in one of the other programs, track out the beat, and import it into Pro Tools for further processing and completion.

Logic Studio is a more "complete" application for making beats, but it comes with a learning curve, and it's only available for Mac users. If you have the time and the resources, then Logic Studio will be a great fit for you.

Ableton Live offers a platform to re-mix a track like none other. Instead of tracks, you work with clips or scenes, and you can move them around on the fly as you see fit. This is a feature unavailable within the other software programs.

I would recommend that you look into downloading the demos from each respective software application's website, and see how the workflow of each application works for you and your production needs.

Throw in the MIDI Keyboard Next

Try playing chord progressions on a regular computer keyboard, and you will see fast how complex and uninspiring it can be. The cure to this would be to add a MIDI keyboard! Any brand will do here, the only recommendation is that you get both a 25 and 49 key version, so that you can throw one in your bag, and leave the bigger one at home. More keys also allows for easier piano playing as well, so having a bigger keyboard won't hurt at all.

Audio Interface or No Audio Interface?

There are many mobile audio interfaces on the market these days, like the Focusrite VRM box, or the Mbox mini. You would ultimetely need to decide if you plan on doing any vocal or external live instrument recording to determine whether or not you will even need an audio interface, because if you're strictly using software to make your beats, then the soundcard on your laptop will suffice. It is however recommended that you upgrade to a professional audio interface when you can afford to do so, so as to give you a better sound representation of what you are hearing when making your beats.

Cheap converters tend to take away or color the sound coming from audio applications, so adding an audio interface designed specifically for audio applications could very well benefit your productions mix wise. Hearing is everything with making beats, so you want to be able to have the clearest, most accurate sound possible for your beatmaking purposes.

Grab Some Headphones and You're Set!

I think that choosing the Beyer Dynamic DT770 headphones was the smartest purchase that I have ever made for my mobile setup, alot of people holler about those Beats by Dre headhones, but obviously, they haven't heard these in action! The lows are repesented so accurately, all the way down to 20Hz, so you will have no problem mixing those 808's. And the mids and highs are both extremely well represented as well. So if you can, check these out at your local Guitar Center or whatever pro audio store might be in your area.

I think that you should definitely not go cheap on the headphones purchase, because the headphones will be the gateway to what the world is ultimately hearning. Hearing what is going on in your mixes if detrimental to your success as a producer, so look into getting the best headphones that your money can buy you.

All in all, I hope that I have given you some insight into what you should look into when creating your own mobile music production setup, you definitely have the tools listed here in this article, it's now up to you to look at your options and make a decision. The only thing missing from the equation is you! So get to it, learn what you can learn, and do what you can do... it's all in the game and you are definitely winning.

The shortest distance between where you are in life and where you want to be is called having a plan, create one and execute that plan. Better Beats Ahead.


Street Talk

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