Gear for starters questions

My son has gotten into dubstep and is really interested in making music. Does anyone have recommendations on gear for starters?


1 BigUp

Hi David,

I moved this thread over to the production forum as this is a better place for it and you may get more answers. If your son is just starting out, he is going to need a computer as mentioned. Then he will need a DAW, Digital Audio Workstation. There are many different flavours, and people like to debate which one is best.

I personally use Ableton Live as do many other people although that might be a bit of investment for someone just starting out. You may be able to get a hold of Live Lite which comes free with many different midi controllers. It has some restrictions on how many tracks you can use at a time.

A lot of DAWs offer demo periods so you may want to look at that.

Another option is a DAW called Reaper which is a full fledged DAW and they offer the license for $50 or $60 dollars.

Two other less expensive alternatives are Reason and FL Studio. Reason is like a fully self contained studio but you cannot use VST’s with it. You can use VST’s with FL Studio.

Hope that helps. Also your son will need some decent headphones to start out with. Many people start with headphones and then invest in near field monitors later.

1 BigUp

Awesome! Thank you for the information. Are there any websites you could recommend for looking at some of this gear

Sweetwater is a good music store. Their sales reps are really helpful and can answer any questions you may have. They will ship anywhere in the US. I have never had any problems buying instruments through them and they offer a two year warranty on most items. They are based in Indiana and I have had things shipped thousands of miles away to where I live with no issues.

They have a very large catalog of equipment.

@David_Ullom That’s probably the best answer you’re going to get. In my opinion, you should have your son download a few demos first to get a feel for what he likes the best. You can download 30-day trials of Ableton Live and other software for free completely. That’ll allow him to test them out without you plunking down a bunch of cash blindly.

Also, and this is not really really necessary but may come in handy, a small MIDI controller is really helpful for some people starting out. Something with knobs or faders, so he can have something tactile to control. You can get one of the small Korg controllers for under $70.

Yes, these are very handy and quite cheap.

I use these for my portable laptop setup:

Thank you all much for the great input. How do you all feel about the Presonus Studio One? It seems to be popular and the free version sounds perfect for introductory purposes. However the main website seems to have a bug when attempting to download. Anyone know of mirror sites?

Presonus Studio One seems pretty cool, but I have never used it. Maybe someone else here has. I’m sure the free version would be a good introductory DAW if you could get a download.

I would personally recommend going with one of the more popular DAWs to be honest. There is an insane amount of information and tutorials floating about for the more standard daws on youtube for when your son actually boots up the program.

Avoid presonus in general in my humble opinion. The main reason I say this is because I owned presonus products for a long time and I always had issues

Hi guys, new to the forum and in the same situation as David_fullum over here…
I was looking at midi controllers for my son and came across the Akai MPD218 as a starter kit because it comes with a big software bundle that includes Ableton Live Lite and a lot of drum samples. Anyone have any experience with this pad? Is it a good choice for producing dubstep or should I be looking for one with specific features?

I’m gonna disagree with others by saying that I don’t really consider a midi controller necessary when you’re starting out. Maybe if you’re a drummer/pianist etc. and you really need something to physically play to get inspired. Choosing a DAW that suits your needs is essential. Then again it’s easier to be said than done because you don’t really know what you need or want at the first.