WHAT YOU NEED TO GET IT DONE:
The 5 basic necessities you need for modern music creation:
I thought I'd just share some thoughts on contemporary music production and the gear you need to begin your life as a composer. I find that many people get bogged down by thinking about loads of gear and the intimidation factor leads them to never getting started. Here are what I consider to be the most essential things you'll need to begin making music with todays current technological world.
This ones pretty clear cut. Gone are the days of even thinking about making music without some sort of computer that had a decent amount of power behind it. This is your main window into your musical world. This is your vessel to create. It has never been more simple and affordable to create music and it's starts with the computer. Most people already have some type of computer so this is an easy one but it does make sense to think about the processing power your computer will have if you are buying a new one. Look into upgrading things like RAM and doing some basic research on CPU and how it works. You want to make sure you're buying something that will last you a while and when you have sessions that go over 150 tracks and 5 gigs, it can slow a basic computer down. It will be worth it in the long run as you find yourself not wanting to work on sessions because you know they are too big and slow! Do a little research on this one and find one that fits. I am a life long Apple fan so I have a mid 2012 iMac. This is a perfect seagueway into my next topic...
This is the next thing you will need in your journey. This is the software that will allow you to piece together your masterpieces with relative ease compared to the way it used to be. With modern DAW's, anything is possible when creating so there are virtually no limits! The only issue is that most people tend to overthink their DAW and once again get in analysis paralysis. At the end of the day, the DAW isn't nearly as important as the person running it. Many DAW's do the same thing, which is to allow you to create music on your terms. Some are better than others in certain ways but as long as you have the will and drive, any one of them can be great.
That being said, I am a hardcore Logic fan. The ease of use and processing power alone are worth the measly $199 but then all the great mixing tools like the compressors, delays, and reverbs bring it up to the next level. The $199 is great especially if you're just starting out. This is another area where you have to do some research and find a great fit but don't fixate on it too much! At the end of the day all the goals of the DAW are the same which is to just make music. Pick one and if you don't like it, you can try another. Pro Tools is still industry standard for most big jobs so knowing that one is still a great skill to have. Think about buying the light version and messing around with it.
If you can't get sound into your computer, there's no way to have live audio! Your audio interface will convert the audio signal into a digital one and allow you to record live audio. This is crucial as every track needs some humanity to it. Without that, it becomes stale and machine like. Don't go nuts looking for the perfect one. As you progress, you can get better gear. I was using a 10 year old basic M-Audio 2 channel for years and it got the job done. Do some research, find one that's in your budget, and buy it. You can always get new gear later if you find your skill is outgrowing it. Just get one now and make music.
You want a decent mic to capture the audio you're sending to your audio interface. A basic condenser mic will do the trick. This is an all purpose mic that can record almost everything except for the low end of the spectrum. Great for guitars, vocals, cymbals, strings, and a lot more. There are millions of videos online on mics so this is one I may watch some videos on and get a great all around mic. As you grow, you will buy more mics so pick one now and start recording.
Well you have to be able to hear the music your making in it's most pure and natural form. This is the only way to make sure that the cymbals aren't too ringy or that synth patch is just right. You have to be able to hear what you're making or else you are not in total control of your craft. I have a pair of Yamaha HS5's which have been great. There's a little lack in the sub bass frequencies so look into the HS7's which have much more frequency response down there or maybe think about getting a sub.; The Yamaha ones are great. Go to a Guitar Center and listen to a bunch of them. Talk to the guy in that department and get his opinion after you tell him your goals.
There really is no end to gear if you don't want there to be. There will always be a new technological advancement that makes the current gear outdated. Granted, some things are timeless and you'll find people who swear by a 50-year old mic because they can't find another sound like it. The whole spectrum of thought can used to research and purchase gear but the best advice I can give is just get a great computer, a good DAW, a solid interface, an all around great condenser mic, and some decent speakers that are flat and are crystal clear in the mids and hi's. That's what you need to start.
Go for it guys. Best of luck and always keep creating.