What Is An Electronic Music Studio?
On October 18, 1951, the first electronic music studio was established in Cologne, Germany. The physicist Werner Meyer-Eppler, together with the composer Robert Meyer and the musicologist Herbert Eimert, founded this historical center that would operate until the year 2000. Meyer-Eppler, Eimert and Meyer began experimenting in 1951, and a couple of years later gave the first public demonstration of their new sounds.
Since then, the electronic music studio served as a meeting place for the most innovative producers and musicians of the 20th century.
These characters were true revolutionaries in the audio world, and for years they experimented with new equipment, sounds, rhythms and totally new editions that would inspire thousands of musicians today.
What is a studio for electronic music?
An electronic music studio is basically a place where composers create new musical styles by manipulating synthetic sounds. They achieve this through equipment that is constantly being upgraded to meet the needs of musicians. Among the first important equipment first developed in the electronic music studio were the Monochord and the Melochord, direct precursors of what we know today as a synthesizer.
Later, Karlheinz Stockhausen, one of the most notable names of this niche, would upgrade the equipment to modern synthesizers such as the EMS Synthi. These new inventions and sounds were very influential in 1970s on bands like Pink Floyd and Mothers of Invention(Frank Zappa), as well as paving the way for pioneering electronic music bands like Kraftwerk.
Cologne's electronic music studio signified the birth of genres such as Techno, as well as the new DJ and festival culture that is now enjoyed all over the world.
How to make electronic music?
Producing electronic studio music is very affordable nowadays. You only need a computer and a specialized program to create electronic studio music, but this was not always the case. Since the creation of the Cologne studio and for several decades afterwards, very expensive equipment was needed to be able to synthesize sounds.
This is one of the main reasons why rock, for example, has been so much more popular among young musicians. Over time, however, computers became much cheaper and also more powerful. In addition, many computers were replaced by very versatile and affordable software.
Currently, studio music production is computer-centric. The musician or producer opens a new session in specialized programs (known as DAWs), that allow you to create arrangements for all kinds of instruments. Using only the keyboard or mouse, you can produce all the notes you need, to later edit or modify them as you wish. Creativity is the only limitation…
Once you finish arranging and mixing your track, you can export it in any kind of audio format, and save it or share it on services such as Spotify or YouTube directly.
What do you need to set up an electronic music studio?
Chances are you already have the essential equipment to start creating electronic music: a computer. Anyway, we'll go over the essential equipment and some software with you, in case you want to get into the hobby or business of music production.
- Computer or laptop
- Software or DAW
- Studio monitors
- Midi Keyboard
- Audio interface
- Studio monitors
The computer or laptop
The computer is the heart of electronic music production. This is where you will store all the sounds you create. Chances are you already have a laptop or desktop PC. If you want to produce at home, a desktop PC is more than enough, and they are usually cheaper than laptops. If you need to produce anywhere, a laptop is essential.
On the other hand, your old computer may not offer enough capacity to properly handle DAWs or specialized programs for studio music creation. Like graphic editing software, DAWs use most of the capacity of computers, and if you are underpowered, you may experience a lot of latency during creation or editing.
If you are considering purchasing a new versatile computer, a MacBook Pro is usually the most commonly used computer. They are the most popular equipment for music production, because they are very durable, and their operating system is excellent. The downside: they are somewhat expensive. You can also work perfectly well with a PC , and this allows you to choose great configurations and reduce costs.
The software or DAW
Another essential point in creating studio music is to choose the right software. Programs known as DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) allow you to edit, record and play back digital music.
From the DAW you can mix different tracks from many sources without any problems. For example, you can use a vocal recorded with a microphone, a virtual synthesizer-produced bass and a loop for the drums.
The possibilities are endless, and also allow you to use thousands of plugins that mimic or alter existing sounds of other instruments or effects.
What software do you need?
If you are using a MAC you can start with GarageBand, which you probably already have installed on your computer. This program is simple, intuitive and fun, but it doesn't offer the advanced options of more professional programs. It's a good starting point, but as you get a little deeper into the genre you will probably need more options, such as Apple Logic Pro X.
Logic Pro is one of the most used DAWs by professionals in the world, and it has everything you need to produce the most complex electronic music. Another option is Image-Line FL Studio 12, formerly known as Fruity Loops. This software is more beginner-friendly than Logic, but offers many advanced options such as effects or synthesizers. Producers like Avicii continued to use it throughout his career.
Ableton Live is the last of the professional DAWs we recommend. It works with both Mac and PC, has an intuitive interface and performs great especially for live events.
Quality headphones are also essential. You need to hear what you're producing, and headphones are more versatile and cheaper than professional studio monitors. Normal or more affordable headphones usually offer a manipulated sound that strengthens the bass, but when recording studio music, the most important thing is to have the highest possible fidelity.
It's best to look for options that offer a neutral profile with no embellishments in any layer. You can check our review of the best HiFi headsets in this link.
Studio monitors are necessary if you want to get serious about this world of electronic music. If you already have good HiFi headphones and do not want to spend more money, do not worry too much. However, if you want to have a professional studio, monitors an indispensable element.
Studio monitors are self-amplified loudspeakers designed for music production. Like HiFi headphones, studio monitors give you a flat response and are necessary for creating pieces for commercial purposes. Studio monitors allow you to master your track properly and the end result will sound good on different equipment and speakers.
A Midi keyboard is an instrument designed to create electronic music from your computer. They do not produce sound on their own, but by connecting them to your computer (usually via a USB port), you can play hundreds of virtual instruments stored in your software. You can control these instruments with your computer's keyboard or mouse, but it's never quite the same.
Your computer's sound card may work fine in most cases, but most likely is not designed to handle the high-definition audio needed in music production. An audio interface is usually in the form of a small box, and is basically a powerful external sound card that allows you to perfectly handle audio outputs and inputs with a much higher quality.
An audio interface gives you a cleaner signal, and allows you to use and connect microphones or real instruments to record your tracks. If you are just starting out in this world, the sound card in your computer is sufficient, but the interface is necessary for more professional users.
We hope we have helped you understand a little about what an electronic music studio is, and what you need to make it work. We recommend you visit our culturasonora page, where you will find objective and in-depth reviews of the best stereos on the market.