Part 2: Recording Equipment

The Three Essentials

  • DAW
  • Video Editing Software
  • MIDI Piano

I know what you’re thinking, money. Not everyone has it.

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If you do then this is all going to be a lot easier for you. But if you’re like the rest of us, you don’t have two penny’s to rub together (or cents)

You’re financially challenged, insecure, afraid of spending and have a friend everybody likes more than you.. you’re a Weasley.  

ron-weasley

You’re going to need to spend some money. I will tell you the cheapest possible avenues, and remember even if you have no money, at least you’re not ginger…

 

DAW

Your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) will make uploading and recording much easier. You could record acoustically but the problem is you need microphones and the option to edit out mistakes is gone completely, you also need total silence.
So unless you’ve got tons of cash, live in a cave and are so good at your instrument that you won’t be making any mistakes, you will want to be recording digitally.

 

Logic Pro X

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This is what I use. It’s reliable, extensive, user-friendly but not to the point of being unprofessional. It’s easy to navigate and you can do all your recording no problem.

Price – £149.99

If you want a reliable DAW that you won’t need to change and will remain enough no matter what your experience level then this is perfect.

You will need a Mac to run Logic Pro X

 

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Pricey pricey Cubase. It’s not as user-friendly, but it’s arguably more professional. I’ve used both, I used Cubase for three years while studying music technology at college and the only difference I can really remember is that it was uglier. I created my own piano VST in Cubase but I’m fairly certain that could also be done in Logic Pro X.

There will be other features and I’m sure it probably is more professional. But for what we want (recording for YouTube) it’s unlikely that we’ll be using these more complicated features.

Price – £406.00

The cheapest

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Garageband

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Reliable and user-friendly. I suppose people will tell you this is as unprofessional as it comes. Ignore those people. I remember this guy who had money, he went out and bought Pro Tools 9 which was the most expensive software at the time. He had no clue how to use it and did the most basic of things on it, he would’ve been a lot better off if he had just got himself Garageband.
This is worth thinking about. You are using this to record your music and Garageband is perfect for that. It will detect your VSTs and has a decent default library with pianos and a wide variety of orchestral instruments.
Some sound synthetic but it’s not a bad place to start. For my entire first year on YouTube I used Garageband.

My version of This Land using Garageband and Garageband’s default library. 

My original Homeland using only Garageband default library. 

Price – Free with most Macs or £3.99
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FL Studio is the cheaper alternative for PC.

Price – £55.00

Consider Buying a Mac

I really recommend getting a Mac if you’re going to be composing and uploading to YouTube. If you’re a beginner this will be made so much easier if you get yourself a Mac. A lot of the lower end software comes free with Macs (DAW, Video Editing Software) It’s all connected and easy to get onto YouTube. It may cost a lot for your mac (Cheapest are usually around £400) But it’s so much easier to do.

Pros and cons of getting a Mac and comparing prices.

Pros

  • Your current laptop is unlikely going to be powerful enough to run all of your new recording and video editing software.
  • Free video editing software and DAW (iMovie & Garageband)
  • Simplicity

Cons

  • The price

 

A Mac will set you back but on eBay and other sites you can find a decent Macbook Pro for $449.00.

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I just had a quick look and found that straight away, I’m sure there’s probably some even cheaper. It might seem like a lot but there’s a good chance you’re going to spend a lot on your DAW and Video Editing Software if you don’t have one of these.

Which brings us onto

 

Video Editing Software

This isn’t as difficult because in my experience they are all pretty similar. All you really need (If you are doing what I do, static image with music in the background) is the ability to put an image and some music over it.
All of these allow you to do that

  • iMovie
  • Final Cut Pro
  • Adobe After Effects
  • Sony Vegas Pro

I’ve only used iMovie and Final Cut Pro, which I think is similar to the difference between Garageband and Logic Pro, Final Cut is like an upgrade to iMovie, the interface is almost identical.
I’ve not used Sony Vegas Pro or Adobe After Effects but from what I’ve seen they have a ton of great effects. Those two are the higher end video editing programmes, from the looks of it you get what you pay for.
iMovie is free with most Macs and if not it costs around £10.00.

Final Cut Pro costs around £230.00 but apparently there are free cracked versions online.

I can’t write as much on video editing software because it’s not really my field. But I know a bit about them and you can find them around online, just look for  ‘Final Cut Pro Cracked Full Version’ on YouTube, you will go through a lot of fakes and dead ends, most will take you to a never ending survey but eventually you will find the real deal, a good indicator is the amount of likes on the video and have a read of the comments. Never enter your credit card details or sign up for anything. General rule is if something doesn’t start downloading and you get redirected more than once, give up and try another.
If you’re the really honest type though you could just drop £230.00 on it or get iMovie. I’m not sure what the cheap PC equivalent to iMovie is but I found this;

A list of video editing programmes for Mac and PC, some are free. http://www.iskysoft.com/article/imovie-alternative.html

The good thing about Final Cut Pro and iMovie is there’s a ‘Share to YouTube’ button. They are both for Mac, it’s like I said before it’s just much easier doing all of this with a Mac.

MIDI Piano

I said in the last entry to get familiar with the piano even if it isn’t your primary instrument and this is one of the main reasons why.

The first thing you want to make sure when looking for your digital piano is that it has USB connectivity. You don’t want to be messing around with MIDI In Outs

MIDI1                    MIDI interface diagram, bullshit that you don’t know or have time for. 

 

With USB connectivity you just plug a 1.8m to USB 2.0 (which is a Printer cable) from the piano to the computer and it’s done. Your computer will most likely recognise it straight away. If it doesn’t you just install the driver (which are always online).
But most times your DAW will detect it the second you plug it in and you’re ready to go right there.

I made a big mistake when starting out. I bought a piano that I didn’t really need. I got the Yamaha DGX 640

DGX

It’s a good piano but it was £640.00. Which is £500 more than I needed to spend for what I needed. If you’re not planning on performing live (I don’t mean infront of a camera I mean infront of a live audience in person) then you don’t need a piano like this.
From the picture you can see one glaring problem with this as a controller… It only has one mod wheel. Which was a pitch bend wheel, so you couldn’t control string dynamics or anything useful, all you could do was bend the pitch.
It was a performance piano. What I should’ve got is a basic 88 key MIDI controller keyboard.
With a keyboard like this you have USB connectivety and much more control over your DAW.

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I’ve made a slight mistake again though, I bought the first one (m-audio), the keys aren’t weighted so it doesn’t feel like playing a piano and it’s made it impossible to play all the samples in the VST’s (limited amount of dynamic range) You can pick these up for around £100.00 (sometimes less).

Another thing to take into account is most MIDI controllers don’t have speakers, so if you were hoping to practice out loud without firing up the DAW then I’ve got some bad news for you.
If you’re recording and uploading to YouTube then these are the best options though so have a look around but I really recommend getting a £100 range MIDI piano.

Once you’ve got your DAW, your video editing software and your MIDI controller you’re all set to get yourself on YouTube.

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