If you’re an aspiring techno music producer, it’s important to understand that 2021 is a great time to start. After all, Spotify recently reported how they now have 150 million premium users, which makes up a total of 345 million monthly active users on the platform. Other streaming services like Apple Music and Tidal have also noted similar growth. And if you think that techno isn’t on-trend, think again — Kaspar’s “NOVA” has been topping the charts since January. New tracks like Andy Murphy’s “Nobody Listens to Techno” and Alen Milivojevic’s “Dreamstorm”, have also been very popular in recent weeks.
However, to produce your own music, you need the proper equipment first. And here are the essentials:
A digital audio workstation
A digital audio workstation (DAW) is the heart and soul of music production; it’s what allows people to record, edit, and export music files. There are several DAWs out there — each with their own specialties and requirements. For example, Ableton Live has built-in sampling and synthesis plugins, making it a favorite in techno music production. However, it’s also one of the most expensive DAWs on the market ($799 for the Live Suite). On the other hand, Reaper is hard to beat in terms of the best value for your money. Armed with full automation capabilities for tracks, effect parameters, and other neat features, it’s hard to believe that it only costs $60.
Most DAWs, like Ableton, come with a free demo. Use those as an opportunity to find the right software for you.
A powerful computer
Every good track needs an equally good computer to make it on. To this end, you should consider a device with a mid-high range to high-range processor, plenty of RAM, and a 250 GB SSD drive. This ensures that it’ll be able to run your DAW without lag. You can get either a desktop or laptop to meet your needs. Between the two, desktops are naturally cheaper and more customizable.
However, if you plan to bring your equipment with you, you’re going to want a laptop instead. Fortunately, modern laptops have carefully calculated PCB stackup impedance that allows its engineers to influence crosstalk susceptibility between ground and power planes. The end result is hardware that can optimize its power levels, so the laptop rarely runs out of battery quickly. Now, all you need is to find a laptop with a relatively high watt per hour (WHR) count, so its power capacity is bigger. Models such as the MacBook Pro and LG Gram 14 are good options to consider.
A pair of studio headphones
While most headphones will do the job, a studio-grade pair will allow you to listen, mix, and produce better quality music. For techno production, look into a closed-back pair. This will ensure that no background noise is heard while you record and tweak your tracks. You might also be tempted to invest in a pair with bigger drivers, but they don’t make a difference in sound quality — just its bass.
What’s important, however, is the how comfy the headphones are to wear. After all, you’re going to be wearing them for hours. For this, you will want to pay close attention to the headphone’s weight (the lighter they are, the better), ear pad softness, and how tight the headband is on your head.
Creating your own techno music requires a lot of investment, when you consider the hardware and software needed. However, the great thing about music production is that nearly all your equipment is a one-time purchase — unless you plan to upgrade them. And if you do your research right, you can find the right tools the first time around.