DREAMING of becoming the next Adele or Ed Sheeran?
Making music at home is easier than ever thanks to the growing number of good- value gadgets and apps.
With most of us having access to a smartphone, tablet or laptop, advances in technology mean wannabe music stars can come up with a mini-home studio that would have cost tens of thousands of pounds a decade ago.
Here are the best.
Novation Launchpad X
IF you want a really fun and organic way to record and produce tracks, the Launchpad X from Novation is a midi controller that lets you DJ between different loops and sections of a song by hitting the LED pads.
It is also a great tool for giving live performances when you want to take your creations before an audience.
Audio-Technica M50x headphones
UNTIL you land your first monster hit to pay for that acoustically treated studio, you will need a way to listen to your mixes accurately.
The industry standard for clear and neutral headphone monitoring is Audio-Technica’s M50x cans.
These headphones will allow you to hear exactly what your mix sounds like . . . so you will be able to figure out just where you need to improve.
GarageBand and Logic Pro X
Free/£174.99, both Apple
NOW you need to record and edit your hit. This is all done on a computer using software known as a digital audio workstation, or DAW.
GarageBand is a great free way to do the basics on Macs, iPhones and iPads.
To do it like they do in the trade, Logic Pro X is a great step up.
For PCs, Pro Tools and Ableton are good. With practice – and YouTube tutorials – amateur producers can make their tracks sound as good as those in top studios.
Spitfire Labs Samples
GIVE your tracks a studio sheen with professionally recorded instrument samples.
They can be pricey but Spitfire does it for free.
Access sounds from within your DAW with Spitfire’s free plug-in.
Get more sounds – like the Abbey Road piano used by the Beatles and Pink Floyd – by upgrading to Spitfire Originals for £29 each.
Fender Mustang Micro
GUITAR players can use this nifty little gadget to recreate a range of Fender Mustang amp tones.
It plugs right into your guitar or bass and has a USB-C connection to record directly into your computer.
It is pocket-sized and gives four hours of continuous playtime – great for practising quietly with headphones so you nail your solo come time to record.
£9.99 a month, Fender
NEED to brush up on your shredding skills first?
Get the Fender Play app – an online learning tool for guitar, bass and ukulele.
With bite-sized lessons from qualified instructors, feedback and the ability to track your progress, you get a personalised learning experience for a fraction of the cost of private lessons.
iRig Stream Pro
WANT to test out your work before an audience?
With lockdowns a thing of the past, live gigs are back on.
But you can still live-stream a mini-show to your mates or new fans.
They can be fiddly to set up with your phone or laptop – linking a mic, guitar or keyboard and the backing tracks on your DAW.
The Stream Pro lets you do this easily so you can perform live on any app, such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.
iRig Keys 2
EVERY home studio needs a solid midi controller . . . and this one from iRig is a great place to start.
Even if you are not a keyboard player yourself, you will need this to program your midi sounds.
The Keys 2 comes in two compact sizes – either of them perfect for a small set-up – and it also works with mobile devices for when you want to be making music while out on the road.
Bedroom studio starter packs
Focusrite Scarlett Solo Studio
THESE audio interfaces – the little boxes that convert the sounds of your singing and playing into digital information for your computer – are loved by pro and amateur musicians alike.
You might in time outgrow the mic and headphones that are included but the Scarlett Solo interface is something you will want to stick with.
Great for singer-songwriters aiming to be the next Ed Sheeran.
Audio-Technica Creator Pack
THE firm famous for top headphones and microphones has a combo perfect for podcasters, gamers and streamers.
There is no audio interface but the USB mic that comes with it can be plugged directly into your computer and sounds fab.
Presonus Audiobox 96
IF you are looking to be the next Mark Ronson, the Audiobox 96 comes with the best entry-level recording software, hands down: Studio One Artist.
It comes with a generous package of effects plug-ins and virtual instruments, worth £700, so you can learn to produce, mix and master like the pros.