What to buy to start making EDM?

A lot of the questions I receive are about how to start making electronic music. I remember the pull into creating music I got in my teenage years.

“How do I start making EDM? What should I buy?”

Joe Carter

Hello Nu-Trix! I’m just starting the journey of learning EDM / iPad – Mac Music production – and would love to hear suggestions for basic gear and apps!  It seems like very often people will show a Midi Controller (for instance I have the Arturia Minilab MkII) – and talk about what neat things it can do – and then they connect it to 2K + of gear which leaves me stuck thinking I need to get all this kit so I can start making beats. The other side of the coin is I beat myself up for my investment thus far in Apps and Gear (probably less than $200 at this point) since shouldn’t I have just started making beats with Garageband for free (already own an iPad and MacBook)? So – from your perspective, if you’re just starting out… where should you spend your $$$ – and where should you spend your time learning DAWs / Sequencing… etc..?

I cannot honestly give you a list and tell you “buy this and you’ll make great music!” Composing, creating, writing music is a very personal thing. You need to be inspired, you need to be in the “zone”, you need tools and instruments that triggers ideas, images, mood and stories. It all comes down to you. What makes you tick, vibrate. To really be able to answer these questions I would start by asking YOU questions:

  • What style of music are you looking to create? Some style are directly link to specific sounds.
  • Where are you the most inspired? Studio, bedroom, anywhere, outside, in the bus.
  • How much time do you plan on putting in making music? Like 2 hours per day. 4 hours per week. I personally make music instead of playing a video game. When I get into playing a video game, I usually don’t make music for that time being.
  • How much space do you have? Can you have a small home studio or it should all fit in a briefcase?
  • Talking of briefcase, do you want something mobile? Do you want to bring your music to your friends and jam?
  • Is creating your own sound a must, or getting lots of good presets is your thing?
  • Do you need a lots of instruments simultaneously, like orchestral music per say?

Take the time to think about your answers and write them down. Let’s say we start from nothing. And you want to start making music on a budget. I prepared different kits for different style of musician and budget. But before we even talk about budget, we’ll have to talk about workflow.

  • Some prefer computers and softwares for the amazing amount of options and freeware. To many options sometimes leads to getting lost in the options instead of getting things done.  
  • Some prefer hardware for the authenticity, stability, resale value and hands on approach.
  • Some prefer ultra portable. They move a lot and it has to be light.

With all that in mind, I prepared several kits to demonstrate how you could build your own setup. When we start from scratch we need at least a sequencer, a drum generator, a bass and a lead. Of course you could need more but is it the minimal to start with.