Hello, this is my first post. I've just recently dived in to the world of production, but I'm having problems regarding equipment. I've wanted to make music for so long, and this year I finally acted on it. My problem is regarding the sea of hardware and software that exists in production. For a beginner my setup is fairly decent, but I continue to feel like I need more. I feel like i'll be limited or somewhat inferior to other people making music. I feel that I will not be able to achieve the sounds that I want to make, that I won't be able to make music that I want to make. This in turn, makes me spend hours searching for gear instead of focusing on making sounds. Rather stupidly, I look to the artists I love and try to find out what their using (some use hardly any equipment, mind). I wish that I would have faith in the equipment I have, rather than constantly looking for more. My setup is:

I-Mac, nio 2/4, rokit krk's, novation nocturn 25, korg nano kontrol, tascam 4 track portastudio, Zoom h2 field recorder, Korg Monotron, Fm3's, Logic Studio, Ableton Live Suite 8, Max 4 Live, Audiomulch, Circle, Synplant, and a host of plug-ins.

I constantly feel like i'm limited in someway.Maybe it's a confidence thing. Maybe it's because i'm new to production. I have recently purchased a good amount of literature to help me learn: Live 8 Power, Electronic Music and Sound Design in Max, Music Theory for Computer Musicians, Music Composition for Computer Musicians, Synthesizer Cookbook, Digital Musician, Listening Book etc.. And also a variety of video courses.

Can anyone talk any sense into me? I'm into abstract/noise/drone/metal/electro-acoustic/avant-garde/. I'd love to be able to focus on what I have, rather than searching for hours. I'd love to adopt the the "less is more" approach. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated

Thank you.

3 Answers 3


sounds to me like you're trying to skip the hard part of getting good at something - trying and failing a bunch. It also sounds like you're trying to emulate the sound of others instead of exploring your own voice. Also this:

I feel like i'll be limited or somewhat inferior to other people making music

You will be, but that's because the people that you look up to have been doing it all day every day for years and you're behind.

If I were you I'd come to peace with those things and dive into it.

Try this:

don't by any more gear or software for 2 years. You have everything you need.

read this excellent post on working within limitations by Miguel Isaza (google can translate it if you don't speak Spanish)

read this interview with Dane Davis (sound designer for the Matrix)

read outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Start woodshedding with the tools you alread have. Ableton Live is insanely powerful and deep. Ditto logic. You can use either tool alone to bend sounds around to your will and shape almost anything into almost anything else, if you have the knowhow to do that kind of thing. Spend a thousand hours or so figuring out just that aspect of either Live or Logic, but not both (at least initially - focus).

Backup and then toss all of the presets to your synths and plug ins. Spend a few months doing nothing but dreaming up new sounds and processes from scratch. This will give you critical insight into how to create the sounds you hear in your head, and you'll develop your own personal library of sounds in the process. This will also be incredibly frustrating because everything will sound like crap at first, but take heart because it will be frustrating for everyone who tries it which means that only those who cross that painful threshold will be standing with you on the other side. At the end you will have a rudimentary vocabulary with which to speak.

Now begin to work with arrangement and orchestration. Learn what specific stories you're trying to tell with your music. Indulge in some philosophy, but be careful not to go down the rabbit hole there.

Listen to non-electronic music with an electronic musician's ear.

Spend a few months manipulating textures and tempos with specific emotional intent. Here's where you use your words (sounds) to express specific musical thoughts. Learn why you're bothering, then be bold about expressing it. This can sometimes be a painful process and many get derailed here when they realize that they have nothing to say.

Good luck!

  • @Rene, excellent response. Dec 21, 2010 at 4:51

I don't make music myself anymore, but i have many friends that do really cool music with nothing else besides Logic!

Check out this guy for example


Of course it depends on what you want to do, but it seems to me you're not that limited ;)


There are a lot of good minimal examples on youtube. Just watch Dub Cousteau with a Korg Volca Beats and a Monotron Delay! I also just bought some basic hardware: Volca beats, keys and sample, Monotron duo and delay, Maker Heart Loop-Mixer, some patch cables. Added some crap I found (an old Akai Cassette Recorder, Yamaha PSR-180 keyboard...) and limit myself to Audacity concerning the post-processing. I#m still experimenting/jamming but just about to upload my first introduction noise tape on yt: watch out for Futzi Berger!

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