If you want to make music-whether you’re a professional musician or just an enthusiastic hobbyist-it has never been easier or cheaper to do so. Gone are the days where you needed a professional sound studio full of expensive equipment just to produce one song. Today, you can access a music production machine online for cheap or free that give you all the power of a professional audio lab on your home computer… assuming you get the right one, that is. There are dozens of different music production machines currently available through the internet and, like any product, there is a wide range of quality from excellent to abysmal. When selecting a Music Production machine, what should you look for? How can you tell a good one from a bad one? To help you decide, this article will list the must-have features any music production machine worth its salt should have.
Sixteen-Track Music Sequencer
Make sure the machine you eventually decide on has a music sequencer with at least sixteen separate tracks, preferably with individual volume controls for each track. A lot of smaller, cheaper machines have only an eight-track music sequencer. This is fine if all you need is to create a simple beat line. But if you want to create a full song, you’ll need additional tracks for the instrumental melody and vocals, and eight tracks just isn’t enough for all that.
Some music production machines (usually the more expensive, high-quality types) have thirty-two tracks. You might need this if you are a professional musician, but if you are an amateur or a beginner, thirty-two tracks is probably way more than you’ll ever need or use.
If you’re composing a complete song, not just a beat line, then you’ll need to insert an instrumental hooks and the main melody at some point. The easiest way to do this is to tap the music out on a virtual keyboard. Virtual keyboards can generally be used to play other instruments beside piano, and the more the better. A virtual keyboard that allows you to sample a sound and they play it back as different notes is a useful bonus, but not strictly necessary.
BPM stands for beats-per-minute, which establishes the tempo for your song. For example, a slow love song would have tempo of 70 BPM, while fast dance music could have a tempo of 200 BPM or higher. A music production machine that allows you to quickly and easily adjust the BPM of your song is a useful and powerful tool.
Make sure the music production machine you choose has the ability to export the completed song to MP3 format. The MP3 format is open-source, meaning anyone can use it for free, and is compatibly with almost every digital music player on the market. Many music production machines will only export the completed song to an obscure and proprietary format that is only compatible with a handful of digital music players. Unfortunately, a lot of musicians don’t realize this until they’ve completed their song and try to distribute it to their friends. When they find that can’t, or that it’s very difficult and/or expensive to do so, it can be very frustrating.
These are just the basic any decent music production machine should have. Other great (but non-essential) elements to look for in a good music production machine include large sample & sound libraries, VST plugins, and built-in audio production tools. In general, try to get a music production machine with as many extra features as your budget can afford. But don’t settle for a music production machine without any of the elements mentioned above. Sooner or later, you’ll regret it.