Practice English Speaking&Listening with: How to record music. What gear do you REALLY need?

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Over my career Ive made a lot of music,

Sock Pop, played kazoo, recorded over 100 tracks, been able to Topline for fantastic

producers and acquired...

a lot of gear.

A lot of gear

Im going to walk you through the 7 main pieces, in order of importance, share some

pro and ghetto tips and show you some mistakes to avoid when buying gear.

There's a bundle in the description with a gear list and infographic style guide to help

you sort out what you actually need.

There's a whole bunch of goodies in there.

Check it out.

Before we get to the main setup, I first want to share the most basic set up that actually


The Mobile Studio Using something like the BandLab app on your

phone or web browser is a great start if you are looking to just get your feet wet.

Great for when you're traveling or just jotting down ideas.

Ill share an example of some BandLab music at the end so you can hear what's possible.

The workflow is slow though.

So if you're serious about music you're going to want to go with...

The Studio Setup.

Gear Piece 1.

The computer and DAW You don't need a beast of a machine to record


When buying a computer for music creation you want to prioritize things in this order...

CPU, RAM, type of storage and lastly graphics card.

Graphics cards are great for gaming,

doesnt really matter for music.

USB2 is fine for most cases.

Watch out for high end audio interfaces like the apollo twin though.

Some want thunderbolt or usb 3 input, well cover what audio interfaces are more in a


Any mac you can get your hands on will work, as well as any PC or laptop with at least

8 gigs of ram.

Youll know you need to upgrade your computer when your music playback starts sounding like


If that's the case.

You can upgrade in the order I just mentioned.

CPU first then Ram then Storage.

Next thing you are going to need is a program to record and edit your music in.

That's called a DAW, or digital audio workstation.

There are paid ones and free ones available.

Which DAW you choose is not really important.

Have a look at a couple from the bundle.

Watch some tutorials and try some demo versions.

They all basically do the same thing, it really comes down to which one best suits your workflow.

My studio uses Reaper.

Gear Piece 2.

The Headphones

Next up, youre going to need to hear what you are doing.

You're looking for studio style headphones with a flat-ish response.

All that means is that the bass isnt boosted and you can hear the full spectrum of sound.

If you can make a track shine in studio headphones they will likely sound great on other sources


PRO TIP: The ear cups, padding and cable will degrade before the speaker elements will.

So consider studio cans that have replaceable parts.

No point buying a new set of headphones just because the cable on your current pair is


My studio uses KRK KRS 8400s

I also put little booties on my earcups to protect them even further.

Because thats how ghetto I am.

Gear Piece 3.

Midi Controller

Its basically a music keyboard that plugs in via USB.

It doesnt make sound on its own, you use it to play VSTis.

The cheap end of this spectrum is generally fine, more money just adds fancier things

like buttons, knobs and screens.

It's all just fluff mostly.

Small keyboards are really great!

The less space they take up the better in my book.

There are some bluetooth ones as well which are pretty chill.

I use a whole bunch in my studio, just for different purposes.

Sometimes I want a big piano one, sometimes I just want to do a little melody.

So if you want to see that stuff (gear) check out the links in the description.

Gear Piece 4.

Audio Interface

This is how you get your sounds, made outside the computer, inside the computer.

through the magic of cables.

Guitars cables look like this and go in holes on the interface that look like this.

Mics have cables like this, that go into holes that look like this.

You may see a hole like this in which you can plug a cable like this or this.

Have a look at focusrite stuff.

They're red audio interfaces.

Theyre generally reliable.

My studio uses a Motu Ultralite AVB.

A PRO TIP: get some velcro cable ties and a couple of screws and attach your audio interface

under your desk.

You rarely touch it, so clear some desk space!

Now, a word of warning.

Generally the more inputs on the interface the more expensive it is.

So why not get a USB mixer with a whole bunch of inputs and beat the system?!


Thats where they get cha, in fact...thats how they got me back in the day.


A lot of USB mixers, mixdown your stems to 1 track making future editing impossible.

Dont be an idiot like me and fall for it.

Unless you actually need a USB mixer for live streaming dont get one.

Theyre a trap.

HOT TIP: If you have a guitar multiFX pedal with a usb port on the back, you can very

likely use it as your audio interface and they often have direct outs as well for you

to plug your audio monitors into.

We'll talk about audio monitors in a moment

Gear Piece 5.


When we talk mics, we also need to talk about acousticly treating your room.

We will discuss that more in a moment.

But as far as mics go, you can't go wrong with an SM58.

It's a high quality, yet cheap and reliable general purpose work horse.

A popular mic these days online is the SM7b.

Its a special kind of mic that out of the box is really quiet.

If you have a lower end interface you are hardly going to hear it unless you turn the

gain way up, but then you will also hear the preamps gain hiss in the background like


To fix that, you're going to need a cloudlifter or a higher end interface.

I use the shure 55SH series II.

I bought it back in 2007, people ask me about it all the time at gigs.

It works great and Ive never had a problem with it.

Its basically a sm58 in a fun case.

My go to mic stands are from Hercules Stands and have a boom clamp and mic clip.

All cheap mic stands sag over time.

I recommend these ones over them, even though they costs a little more.

Itll save you buying 3 crappy ones that endlessly need adjusting.

Plus the mic clip makes switching mics a breeze.

Pop filters are all the same really.

Just something between you and the mic that stops plosives / aggressive mouth sounds from

hitting the mic.

*beatboxes like a dang pro.

You can use a sock over the mic in a pinch, use your finger or a pencil between you and

the mic.

Or panty hose over a coathanger.

But the real OGs do it like this...

*Beatboxes like a dang OG.


You merely adopted the pop filter, I was born in it.

Be one with the popfilter.

Not all mics need a pop filter.

If yours comes with foam you can remove then you wont need one.

Gear Piece 6.

Studio Monitors

You dont buy these for how loud they go, you buy them because of how clear they sound.

You're mostly using these as a mix reference.

Rokit 5s are a fantastic baseline and I've used them across multiple studios.

If theyre good enough for Skrillex theyre good enough for you.

Bigger monitors are for bigger rooms.

They look cooler but you dont need them.

Dont waste your money.

Gear Piece 7.

Acoustic treatment.

Check the gear guide in the bundle to see if you really need any acoustic treatment.

Generally, acoustically treating your room makes your recordings sound like this, instead


like this.


Just having stuff in your room is already a good start, it helps the sound bounce in

random directions.

But a carpet and DIY insulation panels go a long way.

Or you could make a perfectly acoustically treated studio with something as simple as

a blanket.

Does it get hot in here?


But boy, it sound sexy baby.

But you know sometimes its just nice to have a little bit of ambiance sound as well.

So you don't need to slap acoustic panels on ALL your walls.

A good way to know where to treat your room for mixing...

is to sit where you would normally do your mixes,

and get a friend to walk along the wall with a mirror facing you.

If you can see the speaker, that's where you need to add something to muffle or deflect

the sound from bouncing back into your ear.

I can (_) you

In the gear list I link you to a fantastic resource for DIY...

and professional acoustic treatment so make sure to check that out.

Now before I tell you about the mythical 8th piece of gear I need you to help me with something.

If I made a mistake in this video... let everybody know in the comments.

As a community we can help each other out.

Also give me a like if you want to help support me, and subscribe, if you want to

help support yourself.

Gear Piece 8. Mythical gear.

The most important piece of gear that you have at your disposal is...

the artist.

You can make amazing stuff with just your phone and your phone's mic.

Fancier things are just more practical, or personally inspiring for you to use.

Over time you will start to recognise bottlenecks in your workflow that can be alleviated by

different pieces of gear and upgrades.

Its a learning process.

But it starts with you as an artist.

If you dont have the cash yet, don't worry.

Just keep practicing your guitar, or piano, or kazoo.

or your triangle.

Use your limitations creatively.

Understand your gear and instruments inside and out.

The gear generally wont make your music sound better, itll just make it easier

to make.

Now lets have a quick listen to a phone jam.

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