Musicians, who are used to play only with live instruments can be confused about the fact that people produce mainstream music by only using a laptop.
Nowadays, everyone is able to produce music only by using a laptop. All instruments are recorded and designed with third party plugins and anyone is able to make music with them using some sort of music production software.
In some better designed VSTs, you can’t even hear the difference between digital sounds and real recorded ones.
In this article, I will cover all what does it take to create music without having any expensive studio equipment or instruments in your room.
How To Make Music On Your Computer Without Instruments.
Music Production Software
First of all, we need to have a digital audio workstation, in order to be able to write music. I would recommend choosing from the most popular software on the market:
After this step is completed, we can discuss further steps on how to make music on your laptop.
VSTs, Plugins, Sound Packs
In order to create music without real instruments, we will need to get virtual ones.
There are probably so many VST plugins on the market so that there shouldn’t be any problem finding good virtual instruments.
However, virtual gear costs money as well. So it might be challenging to find good alternatives for low budget instruments, sounds.
I will show you the best ways to get with a low budget and have great sounds.
There are great sites, that are not selling sounds as a whole package, but they sell it in single units. So it allows you to pick only sounds from the package that you want and don’t pay for the whole set.
Low Priced Tools That Give Huge Value
Costs: 100 credits = 7.99$ / month
With 1 credit you can buy one sound. With 3 credits you can buy 1 preset of a certain VST.
I’ve personally used it for at least 2 years and music production without this service would be impossible. It is very handy when you need certain sounds. This website is designed to find any sound fast. There are filters that allow you to sort by genre, tempo, style, instrument type, key and much more. It really makes music production easier with this tool in hand.
Costs: 150 credits = 9.99$ / month
I’ve found it just recently and it looks promising. You can find there the same convenience for filtering your sounds and finding exactly what you need.
This site seems to have a bit smaller selection than splice, but as I see it has better quality sounds, that makes them stand out.
Also, genres are structured more accurately than in splice. So it makes it even easier to navigate between sounds.
High Budget Tools – For Next Level Production
I would recommend checking out Native Instruments VSTs bundles packs. These have the best quality and are trusted among big artists.
- Komplete Start kit is a free version. It is perfect if you are not sure if you are ready to go with this package since you are able to test it for free. This package includes over 2000 studio-quality sounds, various synths, recorded samples, effects.
- Komplete 12 Ultimate kit is a bit more expensive. But it has over 25,000 sounds and over 220GB of instruments and effects. This will be much more than you need. It will cover any style you produce since it has over 60 VST products.
What does it cover?
- 13 synthesizers
- 20 sampled instruments
- 5 drum and percussion instruments
- 15 effects
- 10 expansions
For more in-depth information check this link.
If this kit does not fit your needs, you can check out Native Instruments Machine catalog. There you can listen to all expansion packs separately and buy them in single units.
We’ve explored the most necessary steps that without them music production would not be possible. Now we are going to reveal also very important steps in making music without instruments, that are optional, but very helpful when producing.
Music Theory Basics
If you are going to create music, it would be useful to have a basic understanding of how to create proper melodies, chords, or how to arrange your songs.
Every style has its own rules on how it is supposed to sound or to be structured. So these things will make your music-making journey much easier if you will know what has to be implemented, what tempo is appropriate, what sounds are popular etc. Otherwise, don’t be too careful about this part, since creativity also plays a big role here, so when you learn the rules, make sure to break them!
There is the whole music history to study how it evolved, what people were trying to achieve with music, what was its purpose, what music was considered as good music and why it was so. So It would help to avoid mistakes by learning from the past in order to not reinvent the wheel, or not remake the same mistakes.
Creativity And Passion First. Theory Second
It is also doable without music theory. I’ve started to make music without any knowledge and still got to work with big artists. But it only makes harder to make melodies, so make sure to learn it as you go
MIDI Controller – For Beat Makers
If you spend a lot of time producing beats, rhythmic parts, MPC controller would make your life much easier.
Machine Studio. This is the ultimate beat-making machine, that would make your flow to the next level. It has not only pad buttons, but it also provides visual feedback to better understand your programmed music. Also navigation panels, ultra-precise jog wheel allows you to navigate through your sounds much faster.
You can map out all the instruments that you have straight to this machine studio sampler. It is especially convenient to play with Native Instruments Machine Expansion Packs. It has a lot of packages that some of them definitely will grab your attention. Make sure to check out this link to see all these packages.
But can I produce music without being able to play any instrument?
The answer is of course why not? There are a lot of famous music producers in the scene that do not know how to play a single instrument! For example, we can name Deadmau5. In his masterclass, he mentions that he has to draw melodies in his software since he can’t play any instrument. Axwell (from Swedish House Mafia) also does not play any instrument.
Music producer’s main goal is to make great music, not to play it via instrument. Ability to play an instrument only can make it easier to express your ideas, but that’s that. These days major importance is in mastering how to control sounds in software, but not a real instrument.
Benefits of making music without instruments
Producing music with a laptop helps you to save lots of money since you don’t need all the instruments and recording gear to have for recording purposes. Furthermore, you don’t need to have any skills for playing a certain instrument in order to create music. Everything is achievable only using a laptop.
That’s it for this overview of music production without real instruments. These days it is even more important to master virtual instruments since they provide better flexibility and uniqueness than real ones. So make sure to learn as much as you can about them, master them and surprise everyone with it. Good luck!