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So you’ve decided it’s time to record some background music, but you don’t know where to start or what you need to do.
First of all, it should be noted that you will need, first of all, knowledge and practice of playing a musical instrument, preferably keyboards, because this is perhaps the main instrument of a sound engineer. Knowledge and experience can be gained at music schools or by hiring a private teacher. At a minimum, you need to master the basics of solfeggio theory and master the basic skills of playing a musical instrument. This can take from 2 months to several years, it all depends on your erudition and ability to learn. If you are a genius, perhaps even less.
In addition, you must be a confident (preferably advanced) computer and Internet user. To use a DAW (discussed below), you need knowledge and skills. You will also need sound engineering skills. To be a good sound engineer, you must have the knowledge and skills of mixing and mastering. In this case, you can find the Internet-specific training courses for the DAW of your choice and engineering skills. Get ready for the fact that if you embark on the path of a sound engineer, you will have to constantly learn to keep your services and work relevant and in demand.
This article explains what you need to create music at home.
Several decades ago, in order to record your work, you had to go to a professional studio. The high-quality sound was available only to those who had money. Thanks to advances in technology, making music has become much more accessible today: with the help of a computer, we can create great tracks without leaving home.
To organize a home studio, you will need:
These four components are the minimum to start with. Of course, in addition to this, a MIDI keyboard and studio monitors will not interfere, but at first, you can do without them. Below, we’ll take a quick look at each item on our list.
Any modern computer is suitable for sound recording. Whether it’s Mac or PC, it doesn’t matter, both platforms offer the same experience for the musician. The two main criteria here are the performance and processing power of the processor.
RAM is responsible for the speed of the computer in the studio. Your computer should have at least 8 GB of it, but more is better 16-32 GB. Replacing a conventional hard drive with a high-speed solid-state SSD will further improve performance.
The operating system and music software rely on the CPU for plugins, sound effects, and virtual instruments. It is rather difficult to indicate the exact power required for comfortable work: the processor should work without unnecessary problems with a large number of plug-ins. The more he can digest, the better. The recommended minimum here is an Intel Core i5-level quad-core processor, but the more cores and threads you have at your disposal, the more comfortable your work will be.
DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) – digital workstation or sequencer. Is special software for recording music. This is what turns an ordinary computer into a powerful tool and the center of a home studio.
Such software is available for both PC and Mac and is both free and paid. All DAWs offer similar capabilities and differ in essence only in the approach to organizing the workflow.
Sound cards built into computers are only suitable for listening to music. To fully record yourself, you need a special audio interface that can record the audio signal with high quality.
In most cases, an audio interface with 2-4 input channels and phantom power will suffice – enough for recording 1-2 guitars (even simultaneous), keyboards, and vocals when you get a microphone.
The created material needs to be listened to somehow, so the studio headphones will be the least important component of the required minimum. Unlike consumer headphones, which embellish sound in specific frequency ranges, the isolated sound of studio headphones delivers greater detail and fidelity. In addition, headphones will allow you to work at any time of day.
It is worth choosing headphones based on budget, frequency response, and usability. Everything is clear with the budget – make a list of models that fit into the amount that you are willing to spend on your ears. As for the amplitude-frequency characteristic, it should be as flat as possible. The issue of convenience is individual, but headphones should not cause discomfort during prolonged use.
Headphones are more than enough for a start. Later, if your music practice becomes more serious, it is worth getting a pair of good near-field studio monitors.
There are over 20 different DAWs on the market, but choosing software for recording music is easier than you might think. Firstly, you shouldn’t bother too much in this matter – DAW is nothing more than a technical tool with which you interact. This is where skills decide, not the program itself. Secondly, the choice of a DAW is a matter of taste, convenience, and personal preference, so you still need to choose what is more convenient for you to work with.
If you’re a Mac user, you already have GarageBand DAW installed on your system. In fact, GarageBand is a simplified version of Logic Pro X: its capabilities are not so rich and advanced, but this is enough to get started – the program records audio without problems, works with plug-ins, and virtual instruments. Plus, iOS device owners can download the mobile version of this DAW to create projects on a smartphone or tablet and transfer them to a desktop for further work.
Gradually, the functionality of GarageBand will cease to be enough: you will need more advanced audio editing, automation, high-quality and productive synthesizers. And here you have two options:
Switch to Logic Pro X. In this case, the transition will be painless: the principles of operation of Logic Pro and GarageBand are largely the same (you won’t have to get used to a new environment for a long time), and projects created in GarageBand can be easily opened in Logic Pro and continue working;
Switch to some other DAW, but in this case, you will have to recreate all projects.
GarageBand is a good starting point for exploring the world of recording and music production, but it shouldn’t be considered a mainstream program. The main advantages of the garage are that it’s free and easy to learn, but the pain of moving projects to another DAW isn’t worth it.
It is a little easier for PC users, as the choice of programs is much larger. If you are a beginner and have no idea how a DAW works, then acquaintance with sound recording can start with the free Magix Music Maker, Ardor, or Podium Free. As in the case of GarageBand, it is not worth working in these programs all the time, since the problems are still the same – lack of functionality and the inability to quickly and easily transfer already created projects to another DAW.
Virtually every serious DAW has a time-limited, fully functional demo to give you a try. Usually, such demos work for a month – this is quite enough to understand how the DAW works, how convenient it is, and what it has to offer. If you don’t want to mess with free software and want to start studying the features of music production right away in a serious program, download the demo on the developers’ sites.
It is also worth remembering when choosing a DAW that there is no best software in this environment – they all have their pros and cons. You need to choose here based on the popularity (prevalence) of the program and how comfortable it is for you to work in it. The more popular the DAW is, the more likely you will be able to work with your projects in any studio. The prevalence of the program will also allow you to exchange your ideas and work on music with friends and fellow musicians, without worrying about whether they can open a project in their studio.
Check out the following DAWs:
Pro Tools is considered the standard in the recording industry. Thanks to this, you can easily send your projects to studios all over the world and be sure that there will be no problems opening them – Pro Tools is everywhere.
Choosing Pro Tools, you need to be ready for two things: a long study of the interface due to its some confusion and complexity for beginners, and also working only with AAX plugins. If the first is not a problem, then the second may become critical – not all external processing exists in this format.
The big brother of GarageBand and another very popular DAW, which is now found in all studios built around the Mac. Logic features a simple and intuitive interface and a large library of plugins, virtual instruments, loops, and samples for 70+ GB.
Logic’s main problem is that it only exists on the Mac. This can be a problem if everyone around you is not using Apple computers.
Compared to other DAWs, Ableton was created with an eye to living sessions and performances. You can record any music into the program without any restrictions, but DJs and concert musicians appreciate Ableton precisely for its ease of use on stage. For example, you can run various samples and audio clips, as well as create new loops in a couple of clicks and look like a real man-orchestra.
There is a popular belief among musicians that FL Studio is a program for beginners. Such a judgment is not true: DAW is actively used by such musicians as Deadmau5, Mike Oldfield, Martin Garrix, and Afrojack, one cannot call it a beginner.
FL Studio’s approach to work is different from what you might see in other DAWs – making music is like working with a step sequencer. FL Studio doesn’t any better or worse, the program is just a little different. Nevertheless, the line-up has everything to make electronic music, and it is quite easy to learn how to work with “fruits”.
Cockos Reaper has been around for over 10 years, but only now it has become more or less heard by musicians. The creators claim that the commercial caller worries them a lot less about the quality of work, and it’s true: the Reaper costs only $ 60, but it can do everything that the more expensive and well-known DAWs do.
In addition to the price, it is worth highlighting the rich set of programs, along with a set of excellent plugins and effects. The disadvantages of Reaper include the lack of virtual instruments in the delivery (you will have to look outside), as well as some confusion and complexity of the interface for a novice musician.
The old-timer Cubase is rightfully considered one of the most popular DAWs, which is not least due to the cross-platform nature of the program and its prevalence in recording studios.
Cubase comes in three editions, each offering musicians easy audio and MIDI experience, a set of instruments and samples, built-in autotune, and more. Among the minuses – too bright and overloaded interface, which on the Internet was called “window madness”.
When it comes to recording music, many people immediately think of Adobe Audition. Despite its popularity, Audition has always been and remains an audio editor, and is poorly suited for serious studio tasks.
Audition is handy for multitrack or voice recording, but it ends there. For example, the editor can work with VST effects (compressors, equalizers), but does not support VST instruments. In addition, Audition is not familiar with MIDI – loading a virtual piano or drum kit and recording their part simply won’t work.
Against this background, the audio editor from Adobe loses even to the free Magix Music Maker. A home studio without virtual instruments simply does not exist so it makes no sense to consider Audition as the center of the studio.
As it turned out, now you can create music not only in a DAW program but also on some online resources, which are equipped with samples and loops. Of course, this will not allow you to create a full-fledged track and work it out thoroughly, but making notes or drafts (especially on the road) is very good!
In principle, none. Most DAWs are equipped with everything you need to produce music. In a set with almost any program, you will find a large number of equalizers, compressors, reverbs, and other effects, the capabilities of which will be enough to record and mix a project.
The need for third-party development will appear only in two cases:
If something is not included with the program. We are talking about some specific processing or virtual instruments. Usually, developers equip DAWs only with the most necessary tools (if it’s not Reaper), but if you know that your music will not do without something specific (for example, gusli), then you will have to look for all this on the side;
If you are not satisfied with the sound quality of stock effects or instruments. Usually, the stumbling block here is the virtual instruments, which sound passable, but not great.
Whether you need third-party plugins and whether you should immediately look for additional tools is an individual question. First, you should study your program in detail. Perhaps what you are looking for is already included.
The most adequate solution here would be to start working with what you already have and gradually make a list of what you are missing. Plugins will not run away from you – you can buy what is missing at any time. The main thing here is to know what and why you need it. This understanding comes only with experience and after exploring the possibilities of DAW.
When it comes to the plug-in format, it all depends on the DAW and what plug-ins it can work with (this is usually indicated in the program description). There are only six formats – VST, AU, AAX, RTAS, DXi, ReFill, but for the end-user, there is no difference between them. You won’t get any benefit from using VST or AU: plugins work the same regardless of format.
The only difficulty you can face is the lack of the required plugin in the right form. Before buying anything, check what format the plugin comes in and if it supports DAWs.
You can, but it won’t be very convenient – screen sizes impose significant restrictions on the interface. Smartphone displays cannot be compared in areas with a conventional monitor – there will be little information on the screen. In addition, working with regulators sometimes requires high accuracy of manipulation, and with this, smartphones have problems.
Things are better on tablets, but another problem will appear here – software limitations. Mobile DAW features are not comparable to desktop DAWs due to platform differences. For example, mobile DAWs don’t have this wealth of plugins and virtual instruments, even if we’re only talking about stock content. Many functions (the same automation and audio editing) exist in a simplified form.
You won’t be able to mix a project on a tablet or smartphone, so far it’s a utopia. Of course, the developers are actively developing the capabilities of music software and increasing its productivity, but the situation is still far from choosing a portable device as the basis of the studio.
Consider a tablet or smartphone as a complement to a studio computer. For example, you can download a mobile DAW to link it to a desktop and use it as a notebook to write down new ideas: they came up with a beat, recorded it on a smartphone, sent the project to your computer, and continued working with the project on the desktop. Sounds great, but keep in mind that not all large DAWs exist in a pocket version: only Cubase (Cubasis for iOS), Logic Pro X (GarageBand for iOS) and FL Studio (FL Studio Mobile for Android and iOS) have mobile versions.
Another scenario for effectively complementing a studio is to use a smartphone or tablet as a virtual instrument or effects processor. For example, for iOS and Android, there are high-quality synthesizers and drum machines from Korg, Moog, Propellerhead, and a number of other developers – these applications sound great and will definitely come in handy in the studio. By connecting your tablet to a computer running a DAW, you can use the application as a regular virtual instrument.
Well, for guitarists, portable devices can replace a pedalboard. On iOS, there are mobile versions of Positive Grid BIAS FX Mobile and AmpliTube guitar amp and effects emulators. By connecting a tablet or smartphone to a computer and connecting a guitar, will allow you to switch effects and control your sound from the device screen without being distracted by the mouse or running to the computer to change the sound.
Modern DAWs are ready for all stages of music production and there is nothing they cannot handle. The same rule applies here as for plugins: everything that you are missing can be purchased later (when you get comfortable and understand what is really missing).
If the question is whether you need additional software for music mastering, then most likely not. First, as stated, DAWs are ready for all aspects of production. Secondly, mastering is a separate and rather voluminous topic, which is worth taking on with some experience in working with sound.
Of course, we want our music to sound cool and professional – that’s natural. The problem is that high-quality music is not cool software but your ideas and arrangements. The path from draft to the mastering of the finished music is long, and it is possible that by that time you will have learned to work so skillfully in a DAW that you simply won’t need external software.
As you can see, the process of creating background music is not as simple as it might seem at first glance. You need to have some knowledge and skills to make music. You may need some time to get used to this business. But when you master this, you can create background music for yourself and other people like you hear it, also I think you will not stop there and want to distribute it, license it, sell it, promote it and make money on it.
This article contains only basic information so that you have an idea of where to start and in which direction to move.
Making music is a profession, and it is quite difficult and well paid. If this article inspired you and you began to dream about making music, take action, and move towards your goal.
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From the article you will learn:
The musical content is widely used in video production. Authors spend more than one hour of their time on the selection of a suitable soundtrack, often forgetting (or not knowing at all) about the existence of copyright to the music. How to use music on YouTube so that it doesn’t lead to video blocking or even litigation? This is what will be discussed today.
Thousands of promotional, informational, and entertainment videos are uploaded to YouTube every day. Most of the video content is accompanied by music. Songs of famous artists/groups, classical music, background music can be used as a background. However, it is prohibited by law to freely use someone else’s musical work, as it violates the copyright of the artist, label, or media company.
To comply with the laws, YouTube has developed methods to protect the rights of songwriters. The Content ID system has been created especially for this purpose. With its help, each author can register their music, and then follow how it is used on YouTube. If the fact of unfair use of audio content is confirmed, then the copyright holder can fill out a special notification form and ask to remove the violator’s video.
If a video contains licensed music content illegally, YouTube may take the following measures:
Blocking a YouTube account is another half of the hassle for those using proprietary music in their videos. At any time, the owner of a musical work can claim his rights and file a lawsuit.
Of course, it only comes to court proceedings in extreme cases. But YouTube users often encounter blocking a video or account. It should be understood that a copyright complaint can seriously damage a channel. It is enough to receive 3 complaints of copyright infringement for the channel to be closed. In order not to get into such unpleasant stories, you need to know where to legally get music for videos from.
Copyright laws and YouTube’s fight against music theft complicate the process of selecting background music for a video. But there are not so few options: you can write music yourself, order it from a freelancer, buy a ready-made composition from the author, or download your favorite music on special services.
Most video creators just want to find suitable background music. They don’t want to pay for the music or contact the copyright holder directly. Therefore, they prefer to use non-copyrighted music.
There are several ways to get this kind of music:
It is clear that if you create music yourself, then no one will have any questions. If it didn’t work out with musical talent, then the cheapest way to get a finished track is to order it from a freelancer. There are dozens of exchanges where freelancers offer their services for music writing, mixing, and processing tracks. One of them is Fiverr.
Music that has become public domain can be used by everyone at their discretion. However, this right only applies to sheet music. The right to use a particular sound recording may belong to the record company, orchestra, or group, so it is risky to recklessly use such content.
When choosing a service for downloading music, you must carefully read the license agreement. There are both absolutely free resources and paid ones. There are also services that allow you to freely use music for commercial purposes, provided that the author and source of the download are indicated. You can find a detailed overview of services for downloading the music here.
Important! On the Internet, you can find hundreds of resources that offer free music in the public domain, but do not have the rights to such distribution. The result can be disastrous for a YouTube channel.
It is not recommended to take music from such sources:
- unverified social media pages;
- YouTube channels with an unverified reputation (they often tout users with promising names like “Royalty Free Music”, but do not have the right to distribute songs);
- services that work without a license agreement;
- plugins for downloading music from iTunes, Play Store, SoundCloud, and other services (if they download paid or closed tracks).
“Royalty-Free”, “No Copyright”, “Creative Commons” (CC), and “Public Domain” are some of the clue terms to look out for when looking for background music. They indicate that the audio track can be used legally.
This type of license agreement allows you to use music for commercial purposes an unlimited number of times. In order to get this opportunity, you need to pay a one-time license fee.
Important! The presence of the coveted word “free” in the title of the license is deceptive. Many people think that this is free music, but it is not. The word “free” refers only to royalties – regular payments for using the composition. The music itself costs money.
Benefits of Royalty-Free Music:
A license is needed for commercial use by entrepreneurs, businessmen, radio stations, TV channels, in general, content creators on a commercial basis.
You can find licensed music at Audiojungle, Pond5, PremiumBeat, and the like. However, this kind of Royalty-Free music also has its own subcategories.
Use in one end product, free or commercial. Most web uses. 10,000 copy limit for a downloaded or physical end product. No broadcast use. The total price includes the item price and a buyer fee.
Use in one end product, free or commercial. Most web uses. 10,000 copy limit for a downloaded or physical end product. Plus up to 1 million broadcast audiences. The total price includes the item price and a buyer fee.
Use in one end product, free or commercial. Most web uses. Up to 1 million broadcast audience. Plus unlimited copies of a downloaded or physical end product. The total price includes the item price and a buyer fee.
Use in one end product, free or commercial. Most web uses. Unlimited copies of a downloaded or physical end product. Plus a broadcast audience of up to 10 million. The total price includes the item price and a buyer fee.
Use in one end product, free or commercial. Most web uses. Unlimited copies of a downloaded or physical end product. Plus an unlimited broadcast audience, or a theatrically released film. The total price includes the item price and a buyer fee.
This is absolutely free music. This term was coined by the creators of YouTube content to refer to music with which you can freely monetize your content for commercial purposes. This music, like any other, has its own authors, however, they provide this music for absolutely free use.
Benefits of No Copyright Music:
If a piece of music is not protected by copyright or the term of copyright has already expired, then it becomes public domain. There are also situations where an author deliberately releases his music into the public domain.
The nonprofit organization Creative Commons (CC) emerged in response to restrictions that prevented people from freely using music on the Internet. It is thanks to the emergence of CC licenses that now everyone can copy, distribute, and use music for free at their own discretion. To do this, you do not need to personally contact the author, because he has already issued permission himself.
Here are 3 types of licenses that allow you to freely borrow music for dubbing a YouTube video:
Copyleft is a license that allows, without the consent of the author, to take the original work (it can be music, software, databases) to create derivative works on its basis. In this case, derivative works must be distributed in compliance with the same rights that were established by the author of the original work.
The other 3 types of CC licenses are not free, because they prohibit the commercial use of musical works. These licenses include:
Therefore, you should not rejoice at a service with a large archive of music protected by a CC license. Not all content is available for use in videos. You can verify this by visiting the same YouTube music library.
Copyright protection complicates the selection of music content for YouTube videos, so finding the right audio track is a painstaking job. You definitely need to know what kind of music, under what conditions, and from what resources you can use it.
Dozens of free and paid services come to help the owners of YouTube channels, where you can easily find a large selection of “purified” music. Using such services and complying with the requirements of the authors of musical works, you can protect your channel from the risk of complaints from copyright holders and blocking. Uninterrupted operation of the channel, high-quality video footage, and suitable music content – all this will have a positive effect on the development of the YouTube channel.
Don’t forget that a high-quality picture, sound, and music are only half the job. It is also necessary to make the channel popular. If you don’t want to wait for years for the channel to gain subscribers, advertise it using the Webartex service. Here are thousands of YouTube channels ready to advertise to you. It will take you 10 minutes to select sites and order advertising. At the same time, you are protected from the risks of default on the obligation on the part of bloggers and have full control over the process.
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