What I Use to Make Music

What I Use
Although I admit I am fascinated by all the synthesizers that are available (especially the new breed of analog synths), I personally have a very minimalist music making setup. This is partly to keep the costs low, but also because software can do so much these days, especially Propellerhead Reason…


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Propellerhead Reason

Propellerhead Reason 8 Effects

I have been using this software since 2010, and I really do think it is the best music software I have ever used. In the late 90s and 2000s, I used various other music programs but never were as good as this. It’s a full music studio in software form, which is what I always wanted.

The great thing about Reason is that you can start making music straight away as soon as you have installed it. It comes with a lot of great sounds that you can use immediately. But as soon as you want to get experimental and expand it, you will find it has infinite possibilities.

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Akai MPK Mini MKII

Akai MPK Mini MKII

There are two reasons I got the MPK Mini. Firstly, I wanted to have knobs that I could turn to control synth parameters like filter cutoff and resonance. Secondly, I wanted a keyboard that I could take out with my laptop to make music away from my bedroom; and yes, I do do that; I sometimes drive out to a viewpoint and sit in my car and come up with tunes.

I will admit, it doesn’t have the best quality keys, but for the price, it is good value for money and gets the job done.

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KRK Rokit 5 Monitor Speakers

Best Budget Studio Monitor Speakers

When you are making music, you need to use monitor speakers that play sounds as they actually sound, without any enhancements. If you are making music using hi-fi speakers, even high-end ones, you are doing it wrong. If you are making music using cheap PC speakers, you are definitely doing it wrong!

The KRK Rokit 5s are the best monitor speakers I was able to get for my budget. I got them as part of a deal that came with cables, isolation pads, and an audio interface (see below). However, if you are on a tighter budget, there are some lower priced studio monitor speakers that are worth considering. For more information, take a look at my review:

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Focusrite Scarlett Solo USB Audio Interface

Focusrite Scarlett Solo USB Audio Interface

This came with the speakers as part of a deal. For me, it just functions as a way to connect the speakers to my computer. The two cables from speakers go into the back of the audio interface, then the audio interface plugs into the computer via USB. However, it does provide me with the option to plug in a microphone or an audio line in such as a guitar or an analog synthesizer. But for the moment, it is just for connecting the speakers. It sits on my desk next to my computer, and the volume knob is within easy reach for turning up or down as necessary.

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Other equipment I use:

  • Midiman USB Keystation 61 MIDI Controller – no longer made.
  • Audacity – free audio editing software.

Equipment I have used in the past:

  • Kawai K4 synthesizer.
  • Atari ST computer running Cubase.
  • Various PC music programs, including:
    • MIDI Orchestrator Plus
    • Cakewalk
    • Acid
    • Mixcraft
    • Cool Edit
    • Adobe Audition

What music making equipment do you use? Why not let me know in the comments below.

All the best,
Marcus.

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