When you decide that you want to make your own beats, there are two things that you need to know starting out. How are you going to work and what are you going work with. To get to an answer, one of the first things to consider is whether you will use music hardware, computer music software or a balanced and functional combination of both in your recording studio.
1. Deciding: Hardware or Computer Music Software.
If you want to make good rap beats or any other kind of beats fast, you should take some time to choose the approach that will work best for you at the time. This is less painful than it sounds because a part of knowing will be in the doing, meaning that you won’t really know until you have had some fun and made some mistakes trying different things out. Then, you can figure out your best working style and continue to change it later as you learn more and gain experience.
At first, it is probably best to get your feet wet as inexpensively and easily as possible to find out if beat making is really the thing for you. Once you do, you will naturally have some choices to make like whether to use hardware or software in you recording studio.
While working with physical equipment has it benefits, it often comes with a higher learning curve, a higher investment in time and a higher price tag than a lot of the reasonably affordable music software on the market. On the other hand, good quality hardware can still yield superior results to any lower end, standalone software solutions and you will probably have to put in a little effort and spend some cash on higher end software to get close to the same quality.
However, take note of the fact that most high end software is designed to work seamlessly with some hardware components and will give you the most bang for your buck when they are used in conjunction with that equipment.
With that said, hardware is still an obvious requirement for many things like vocal and instrumental recording. What this means is that, although you may be doing your recording on your laptop, you will still need at least a mic, audio interface and possibly a mixer or pre-amp of some sort in order to capture your sounds.
In this area, hardware solutions usually excel and, even today, it is much easier to get a great sounding recording using hardware than it is with standalone software on the computer by itself. In fact, the truth is that getting a really good recording usually works best when some well chosen hardware is involved in the process.
2. So, that’s it! Hardware is KING!
In one form or another, hardware has been the tried and tested way of making all forms of recorded music since Thomas Edison first made the phonograph. The fact is that using hardware remains the simplest and most efficient way to produce and record true analog signals.
This is important because the sampling technology used in the digital realm is great and it is always improving, but it is no match for analog audio image quality in the same way that digital photography still lags behind the image quality of film. When it is used correctly, solid, high quality results can be obtained consistently with hardware recording equipment and techniques still being used by many top studios and producers today. Hardware reliability and quality of sound are two of the things that make it hard to match even with the best computer software of today.
3. No… Maybe Software is KING?!
Software can sometimes be a much easier and less expensive solution than hardware, especially for anyone who is just starting out. Although it is much more user friendly and more flexible than most hardware based setups, it is standard in a lot of areas in music today and produces superb results. Usually the learning curve is shallower than other options, at least at the mid-range and below end of the spectrum, and you can be up and running toward making your first beat within a very short time. In many cases, you can be up and running within hours or even minutes!
No matter which way you choose to go, you are effectively building a working studio that needs to stay out of the way as much as possible so that you can focus on your creativity. What that working environment will look like is up to you. Just remember that, these days, the most effective toolkit will usually have to include well chosen elements from both the hardware and software arsenals.
If you choose that approach and spend a little extra time learning to get the most out of your new system, you will be well on the way to making high quality, pro level recordings and enjoying the sweetest fruits from both the hardware and the software trees.
If you just want to get started right away though, there is no substitute for a good piece of standalone beat making software that can have you putting out studio quality beats before the day is out. Just remember for now that if you are just starting out, a good piece of standalone beat making software can be more than enough to get you started making hot beats right out of the gate and it can work for you for a long time to come.
Later, when your skills and your needs grow, you can think about upgrading your knowledge and your toolkit with higher quality software and the right compliment of hardware components. Now go make some bangin’ beats!