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I’m very interested in starting music production. I have a small background in music but I don’t know music theory. I plan to use a DAW (Logic Pro X in particular) for making hip hop tracks. I was wondering if anyone has experience with Logic Pro or whatever DAW and could share any general advice, good courses (for both music theory and Logic Pro), quality resources for sound plug-ins and kits, etc. This would be greatly appreciated. 


Ofc I’m doing my own research on all this but insights from the experienced are highly valued. Thanks!

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@Unknown I have some experience using Ableton (making club music, techno, trance). I I started by only occasionally using the program for around 2 years, just making loops and stopping at that, but still had the intent to one day go at it more wholeheartedly. Around 1 year ago i made that decision, and ever since i have increasingly been using more time on it, producing more or less everyday for a few hours (with some days off if i lose motivation). It has been a quite a struggle at times learning the program, going through a lot of negative emotions at times, but i can really say that that part is mostly over, and now producing is the thing i look the most forward to (and i'm seeing some great results). Now it's more a question of creativity instead of learning how use the program. There will most likely be a phase in the beginning where you will be struggling learning the program as well, and it might take a while. Dont give up, just push through, and you will get your satisfaction later. I will write some tips of what has helped me the most so far;

 

1) Listening to music in a new way! This is so important. I have listened to electronic music my whole life and i thought i knew what was going on in the tracks, but its only recently that i started to pay attention to the seperate elements that make up the song. Start listening to hip hop with more focus, and try to figure out what the producer did to make it sound like that. After a while you will start to pay notice to a lot of elements you didn't hear in the beginning, which you will then be able to do yourself. 

 

2) Make full tracks, and not only a loop, even if it sounds terrible (and it will). It's really the fastest way get good at it. Just do it even when you don't know what you are doing. You are learning all the time. Push yourself, thats when you grow. Try to listen and write down the structure of some good hip hop tracks that you know, so that you can make pointers as to at what time the break/chorus etc should come. Thats a good exercise to learn a little bit about the genre.

 

3) Don't compare yourself to other, and cherish the small steps you take. I easily get sad if i start comparing myself to other people, but i also see from where i have been that ill get there:-) and so will you, if you want it.

 

4) I found a guy who makes the kind of music i like in my area, and had lessons learning the program. That was really great, and something i will def recommend. There are tons of great youtube material as well, of course. 

 

5) Be curious about the program, try out things yourself. A lot of the time you learn it better that way, and you might make some good connections yourself instead of just copying someone from youtube (It can be super useful of course). The good thing about doing things your own way is that you wont sound like everyone else, and you'll slowly start creating your unique signature sound instead of the same youtube tutorial that everyone went to. Take for example each effect one at a time (delay, reverb etc) and give a try to see what sound comes out, to get an idea yourself.

 

6) About the plugins, don't use a lot of money in the beginning. Buy maybe one or two, and stop there (do some research and find out which ones, depending on genre). It's a lot more useful learning the program, learning the effects and how to manipulate the sound yourself, instead of some premade plugin. You can get that later once you have an idea. It's a trap for a lot of people to continuously buy new plugins but never get anywhere.

 

7) Take a few days off if you lose motivation. Especially after you know the program a bit more. That goes up and down usually. A good break usually pays off.

 

 

Thats all i can think of right now, hope you can use some of it.

 

Edited by WhiteOwl
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@Unknown I don't use Logic, but have used Cubase, Pro Tools, Ableton, Reason and now use Reaper. There are a ton of amazing videos out there on Youtube that will teach you everything you need to know.

 

If you're into hip/hop I might suggest investing in a subscription to something like Splice or Loopmasters where you can get all your samples from. They have a lot of hip/hop material on there that provide a great starting block for any track.

 

There are a lot of free VST's out there. Just Google "free vst's" and you'll find page after page of them. They're obviously not as good as their paid counterparts, but they're good for beginners. Logic comes with some quite good built in processers as well. A friend of mine uses Logic and the analogue compressors and EQ's sound great. I think they're recreations of Pultec and Fairchild units. 

 

If you start getting serious about production then some VST's to check out would be Omnisphere by Spectrasonics, Sylenth1, Nexus2 and Serium.  They're all perfect for the genre you're looking at working with as well as all EDM genres. Arturia and Korg do some incredible emulations of the classic synths and drum machines available on subscription, as does Roland. You can get hold of VST versions of the classics like the 909, 808 and 303's plus Juno and Jupiter synths from the Roland subscription service.

 

I'm like a kid in a candy store with analogue gear and emulations and there is a risk that you can have too many VST's and lose yourself in them,  which I've learned. In my experience the best thing to do is find some processors, EQ's, reverb units and delays that you like, plus a small handful of synths and then just learn how to use them really well. They're so complex and so detailed that something like the Moog Modular emulation from Arturia could probably provide you with 80% of the sounds you could ever want!

 

My personal favourite effects are the Slate Digital analogue emulations. They're so close to the originals that it's impossible to tell the difference. They have recreations of the Fairchild and Pultec units, plus the LA-2A. They're comparable in my opinion to the ones by Universal Audio. They have a brilliant effect unit called Murda Melodies which is the dogs nuts! (video below) I love it and use it on everything from vocals to drums.  

 

 

Make sure you post some of your work on here for us to listen to. Happy to give constructive feedback! 😍

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I make the occasional electronic bleep and bloop, and for me the key to unlocking creativity was to go with a DAWless approach. I did the DAW thing, and just ended up getting bogged down in the technology, feeling like I was stagnant rooted in one place... it just wasn't for me.

 

So I got myself an OP-Z and some other stuff that I could easily carry around and now I can do it anywhere. I even took my OP-Z down to the Amazon jungle last year and sat making music on the banks of the river. To me that freedom is priceless.

I fully appreciate that these simple setups have their limitations, and that especially if your end goal is recording then some kind of DAW is going to become necessary, but I just wanted to offer a different perspective.

My YouTube channel - Adeptus Psychonautica

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6 hours ago, Adeptus Psychonautica said:

I make the occasional electronic bleep and bloop, and for me the key to unlocking creativity was to go with a DAWless approach. I did the DAW thing, and just ended up getting bogged down in the technology, feeling like I was stagnant rooted in one place... it just wasn't for me.

 

So I got myself an OP-Z and some other stuff that I could easily carry around and now I can do it anywhere. I even took my OP-Z down to the Amazon jungle last year and sat making music on the banks of the river. To me that freedom is priceless.

I fully appreciate that these simple setups have their limitations, and that especially if your end goal is recording then some kind of DAW is going to become necessary, but I just wanted to offer a different perspective.

 

Couldn't agree more. I've had much more fun sat somewhere strumming a guitar than I ever do sat in front of a computer monitor. Producing things can get stale, which is something that never happens when actually "playing" something

 

I just looked up an OP-Z. Whoa... Never heard of them, but that looks like a LOT of fun. ☺️

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Yea if you just want to have fun, it might be better with an instrument or some good hardware, but if you have a more specific project in mind that you want to share with the world, it will take some working through (hardware excellent for that as well). For me the great part is making people dance (or chilling, if that was the intention), so it takes something more than just enjoying it myself, even though that is of course the most important part for making it work. 

 

@Adeptus PsychonauticaThe OP-Z looks cool. Sounds like you can easily make a full track with that. I have stayed away from buying hardware so far though, only use my midi and vsts. Im afraid they will just be left out of my workflow.

Edited by WhiteOwl
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Great things have already been said, so I'll just link some amazing resources for you (if it's a bit overwhelming, don't worry, all the links are more for reference purposes). You'll realize that none of those use the same DAW - and the sooner you learn, that you can watch an Ableton tutorial and apply that to Logic, the better.

 

Simple all-rounders (great for the beginning):

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/andrewhuang

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/ReidStefanMusic

 

Songwriting/Music theory:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/Holistic-songwriting/featured

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/SignalsMusicStudio

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/RickBeato

 

 

Sound design:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/SynthHackerTV

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/SeamlessR

 

More mixing heavy channels:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/inthemix

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/MixBetterNowTV

 

https://www.youtube.com/user/MixWithTheMASTERS

 

 

Instagram goodies:

 

https://www.instagram.com/cosmicacademy/?hl=de

 

https://www.instagram.com/productionmusiclive/?hl=de

 

https://www.instagram.com/masteringthemix/

 

 

And a great podcast about everything around music: 

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClqDJBPSl6iMn7OPfNqzmEA/videos

 

 

The above resources cover just about everything.

But honestly, the best way is just going for what you try to create.. if you get stuck, search with the right keywords for a YT tutorial, apply and repeat from step one.

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On 4/5/2022 at 4:41 PM, WhiteOwl said:

@Unknown I have some experience using Ableton (making club music, techno, trance). I I started by only occasionally using the program for around 2 years, just making loops and stopping at that, but still had the intent to one day go at it more wholeheartedly. Around 1 year ago i made that decision, and ever since i have increasingly been using more time on it, producing more or less everyday for a few hours (with some days off if i lose motivation). It has been a quite a struggle at times learning the program, going through a lot of negative emotions at times, but i can really say that that part is mostly over, and now producing is the thing i look the most forward to (and i'm seeing some great results). Now it's more a question of creativity instead of learning how use the program. There will most likely be a phase in the beginning where you will be struggling learning the program as well, and it might take a while. Dont give up, just push through, and you will get your satisfaction later. I will write some tips of what has helped me the most so far;

 

1) Listening to music in a new way! This is so important. I have listened to electronic music my whole life and i thought i knew what was going on in the tracks, but its only recently that i started to pay attention to the seperate elements that make up the song. Start listening to hip hop with more focus, and try to figure out what the producer did to make it sound like that. After a while you will start to pay notice to a lot of elements you didn't hear in the beginning, which you will then be able to do yourself. 

 

2) Make full tracks, and not only a loop, even if it sounds terrible (and it will). It's really the fastest way get good at it. Just do it even when you don't know what you are doing. You are learning all the time. Push yourself, thats when you grow. Try to listen and write down the structure of some good hip hop tracks that you know, so that you can make pointers as to at what time the break/chorus etc should come. Thats a good exercise to learn a little bit about the genre.

 

3) Don't compare yourself to other, and cherish the small steps you take. I easily get sad if i start comparing myself to other people, but i also see from where i have been that ill get there:-) and so will you, if you want it.

 

4) I found a guy who makes the kind of music i like in my area, and had lessons learning the program. That was really great, and something i will def recommend. There are tons of great youtube material as well, of course. 

 

5) Be curious about the program, try out things yourself. A lot of the time you learn it better that way, and you might make some good connections yourself instead of just copying someone from youtube (It can be super useful of course). The good thing about doing things your own way is that you wont sound like everyone else, and you'll slowly start creating your unique signature sound instead of the same youtube tutorial that everyone went to. Take for example each effect one at a time (delay, reverb etc) and give a try to see what sound comes out, to get an idea yourself.

 

6) About the plugins, don't use a lot of money in the beginning. Buy maybe one or two, and stop there (do some research and find out which ones, depending on genre). It's a lot more useful learning the program, learning the effects and how to manipulate the sound yourself, instead of some premade plugin. You can get that later once you have an idea. It's a trap for a lot of people to continuously buy new plugins but never get anywhere.

 

7) Take a few days off if you lose motivation. Especially after you know the program a bit more. That goes up and down usually. A good break usually pays off.

 

 

Thats all i can think of right now, hope you can use some of it.

 

Thanks a lot, this is solid. I will be taking heed to your tips and experience. 
 

You mentioned that you spent up to 3 hours a day working on the DAW. That’s quite a commitment and I’m glad to hear you ended up getting past the phase of learning the technicalities such that your mental templates translate to the software. That’s a good place to be and I really hope to be there. I’m curious though, what motivated you to make such a commitment to music production? Was it pure passion? Was it a part-time/full-time business? 


Also, did you know music theory or have any musical experience before starting production? 
 

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Posted (edited)
On 4/6/2022 at 9:09 AM, Nowt said:

@Unknown I don't use Logic, but have used Cubase, Pro Tools, Ableton, Reason and now use Reaper. There are a ton of amazing videos out there on Youtube that will teach you everything you need to know.

 

If you're into hip/hop I might suggest investing in a subscription to something like Splice or Loopmasters where you can get all your samples from. They have a lot of hip/hop material on there that provide a great starting block for any track.

 

There are a lot of free VST's out there. Just Google "free vst's" and you'll find page after page of them. They're obviously not as good as their paid counterparts, but they're good for beginners. Logic comes with some quite good built in processers as well. A friend of mine uses Logic and the analogue compressors and EQ's sound great. I think they're recreations of Pultec and Fairchild units. 

 

If you start getting serious about production then some VST's to check out would be Omnisphere by Spectrasonics, Sylenth1, Nexus2 and Serium.  They're all perfect for the genre you're looking at working with as well as all EDM genres. Arturia and Korg do some incredible emulations of the classic synths and drum machines available on subscription, as does Roland. You can get hold of VST versions of the classics like the 909, 808 and 303's plus Juno and Jupiter synths from the Roland subscription service.

 

I'm like a kid in a candy store with analogue gear and emulations and there is a risk that you can have too many VST's and lose yourself in them,  which I've learned. In my experience the best thing to do is find some processors, EQ's, reverb units and delays that you like, plus a small handful of synths and then just learn how to use them really well. They're so complex and so detailed that something like the Moog Modular emulation from Arturia could probably provide you with 80% of the sounds you could ever want!

 

My personal favourite effects are the Slate Digital analogue emulations. They're so close to the originals that it's impossible to tell the difference. They have recreations of the Fairchild and Pultec units, plus the LA-2A. They're comparable in my opinion to the ones by Universal Audio. They have a brilliant effect unit called Murda Melodies which is the dogs nuts! (video below) I love it and use it on everything from vocals to drums.  

 

 

Make sure you post some of your work on here for us to listen to. Happy to give constructive feedback! 😍

Amazing advice! Thanks for sharing these resources. 
 

Yes, I heard of those VSTs you mentioned. For now I guess I’ll be sticking to stock stuff and work my way to Omnisphere and other VSTs. 
 

I’ll be referring back to your post often. Can’t wait to make a first legit track. 
 

Curious: if you don’t mind sharing, what genre music do you produce and is music your career?

Edited by Unknown
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On 4/7/2022 at 9:28 AM, Adeptus Psychonautica said:

I make the occasional electronic bleep and bloop, and for me the key to unlocking creativity was to go with a DAWless approach. I did the DAW thing, and just ended up getting bogged down in the technology, feeling like I was stagnant rooted in one place... it just wasn't for me.

 

So I got myself an OP-Z and some other stuff that I could easily carry around and now I can do it anywhere. I even took my OP-Z down to the Amazon jungle last year and sat making music on the banks of the river. To me that freedom is priceless.

I fully appreciate that these simple setups have their limitations, and that especially if your end goal is recording then some kind of DAW is going to become necessary, but I just wanted to offer a different perspective.

I can relate to your sentiment regarding dealing with software technicalities versus physically playing an instruments. For me though, I plan to record music. 

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On 4/8/2022 at 8:58 AM, Lotus said:

Great things have already been said, so I'll just link some amazing resources for you (if it's a bit overwhelming, don't worry, all the links are more for reference purposes). You'll realize that none of those use the same DAW - and the sooner you learn, that you can watch an Ableton tutorial and apply that to Logic, the better.

 

Simple all-rounders (great for the beginning):

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/andrewhuang

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/ReidStefanMusic

 

Songwriting/Music theory:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/Holistic-songwriting/featured

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/SignalsMusicStudio

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/RickBeato

 

 

Sound design:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/SynthHackerTV

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/SeamlessR

 

More mixing heavy channels:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/inthemix

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/MixBetterNowTV

 

https://www.youtube.com/user/MixWithTheMASTERS

 

 

Instagram goodies:

 

https://www.instagram.com/cosmicacademy/?hl=de

 

https://www.instagram.com/productionmusiclive/?hl=de

 

https://www.instagram.com/masteringthemix/

 

 

And a great podcast about everything around music: 

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClqDJBPSl6iMn7OPfNqzmEA/videos

 

 

The above resources cover just about everything.

But honestly, the best way is just going for what you try to create.. if you get stuck, search with the right keywords for a YT tutorial, apply and repeat from step one.

Sweet, thanks for the resources!

 

 

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6 hours ago, Unknown said:

Amazing advice! Thanks for sharing these resources. 
 

Yes, I heard of those VSTs you mentioned. For now I guess I’ll be sticking to stock stuff and work my way to Omnisphere and other VSTs. 
 

I’ll be referring back to your post often. Can’t wait to make a first legit track. 
 

Curious: if you don’t mind sharing, what genre music do you produce and is music your career?

 

I'm glad that it's of some help to you. 

 

The music I make now really is whatever I feel inspired to make. The latest couple of tracks I've made have been quite heavy punk style tracks. I like making soundscapes too as well as electro.

 

Im a full time carer for my son now, but used to work in music. I was a music publisher and label owner, but have produced things for as long as I can remember really. My Dad is a fantastic pianist and we always had music around in the house, even when I was really small, and so I kind of grew up with it 

 

Love to hear your stuff anyway. If you need any more tips or help then feel free to drop me a message

 

Oh and I forgot to mention. You asked about music theory.... Paul McCartney couldn't read music when he was in The Beatles and still doesn't to this day. Didn't hold him back! Probably one of the most prolific songwriters ever. I've put a video below of him "writing" Get Back. It just comes, he doesn't work at it. 

 

Play and record what "feels" good. Trust feeling and you really won't go far wrong  😍

 

 

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9 hours ago, Unknown said:

Thanks a lot, this is solid. I will be taking heed to your tips and experience. 
 

You mentioned that you spent up to 3 hours a day working on the DAW. That’s quite a commitment and I’m glad to hear you ended up getting past the phase of learning the technicalities such that your mental templates translate to the software. That’s a good place to be and I really hope to be there. I’m curious though, what motivated you to make such a commitment to music production? Was it pure passion? Was it a part-time/full-time business? 


Also, did you know music theory or have any musical experience before starting production? 
 

I've always been passionate about the genre i listen to, and i am in a community around it. In the beginning i felt like i had to get involved because i saw it as part of my identity, and i wanted to show that i was a coolkid who "knew", but i've gotten rid of some of those perspectives and are more relaxed and able it enjoy it now. I am still very much in the learning process, and it's still just a hobby. 

 

I didn't have any musical theory, only having done some basics of a few instruments as a kid. It's not really necessary, as long as your able to hear when it sounds good. You'll pick some of it up as you go, and you might create something original by learning it your own way🙂

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I'm a producer.  I prefer Ableton and Bitwig.  Hate Logic Pro tbh.

 

The only advice I'll give is: 

Understand your taste as fully as you can.  Listen to a variety of things and steal whatever is to your taste.  No one can teach you your taste.  The best teacher in the world will be useless for teaching you your taste.  Your own personal taste in music is your best teacher.

 

Oh and.. experiment with alternate scales, accidentals, and syncopation.  I can't stand most things in major with no accidentals.

Edited by God
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