What You Need to Make Electronic Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A beginner’s guide to the equipment you need to make electronic music. Learn about synthesisers, drum machines, controllers and more.

The Right Tools

Electronic music has come a long way since the days of 8-bit sound. Today, you can create professional soundingtracks with just a computer and the right software. In this article, we’ll show you what you need to get started making electronic music.

A Laptop

Your laptop is going to be your best friend when you’re starting out making electronic music. It’s portable, so you can take it with you wherever you go, and it has everything you need to get started.

You can find a lot of great music production software for your laptop. If you’re just starting out, I recommend going with a free option like Audacity or GarageBand. These programs are easy to use and will give you a good feel for how to make electronic music.

Once you start getting more serious about making music, you may want to upgrade to a paid program like Ableton Live or Logic Pro. These programs have more features and options, so they’re better for people who are serious about making music.

In addition to your music production software, you’ll also need a good set of headphones and a MIDI keyboard. These are both optional, but they will make your life a lot easier when you’re making music.

Assuming you already have a laptop, the other things on this list will cost you less than $200 altogether. That’s not bad for everything you need to get started making electronic music!


A digital audio workstation (DAW) is a piece of software used for recording, editing andproducing audio files. DAWs are the centerpiece of any electronic musician’s toolkit, and there are many different options available on the market.

The three most popular DAWs are Ableton Live, Logic Pro and FL Studio. All three have their own unique strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to choose the one that’s right for you. If you’re just getting started, we recommend checking out Ableton Live Lite or FL Studio Producer Edition, which are both free versions of their respective software.

In addition to a DAW, you’ll also need a MIDI controller. A MIDI controller is a device that allows you to control the various parameters of your DAW with physical buttons, knobs and pads. The most popular MIDI controllers on the market are the Akai MPK series and the Native Instruments Maschine.

Finally, you’ll need some sort of audio interface to connect your MIDI controller to your computer. The audio interface is what allows you to actually hear the sounds you’re creating in your DAW. There are many different audio interfaces available on the market, so it’s important to do your research and find one that’s compatible with your specific needs.

MIDI Controllers

MIDI controllers come in all shapes and sizes, from simple one-octave units to complex all-in-one control surfaces. The basic features to look for in a MIDI controller are a keyboard (for playing notes), pitch and mod wheels (for controlling pitch and modulation), and transport controls (for controlling your DAW).

Some MIDI controllers also include faders, knobs, and other buttons that can be programmed to control almost any parameter in your DAW or virtual instrument. More advanced units may also include displays, arpeggiators, and other performance features. When choosing a MIDI controller, it’s important to think about the type of music you want to make and the specific workflow that will best suit your needs.


Before you can start making electronic music, you need a few things. First, you need a computer with a music production program like Ableton or FL Studio. You will also need a MIDI keyboard so you can play and record your melodies. And lastly, you need a synthesizer. A synthesizer is an electronic instrument that creates sound by generating electrical signals.

Hardware Synthesizers

There are a wide variety of hardware synthesizers available on the market, from all-in-one units to modular systems that you can custom build to your own specification. The type of synth you choose will depend on your own personal preferences and needs.

All-in-one units are great for beginners or those who want a simple setup that they can just plug and play. These units usually come with a built-in keyboard and a range of sounds that you can select from. Some all-in-one units also come with other features such as drum pads or phrase sequencers.

Modular synthesizers offer more flexibility and allow you to create your own unique sounds by connecting different modules together. These systems can be more complex to use, but they offer a much wider range of possibilities for sound design. Modular synthesizers are also often cheaper than all-in-one units, as you only need to buy the modules that you need.

Synthesizer workstations are all-in-one units that offer a complete set of tools for making music, including a built-in keyboard, sequencer, drum machine, and often other features such as audio and MIDI interface ports. Synthesizer workstations are great for those who want everything they need in one unit, but they can be more expensive than other types of synthesizer.

Desktop modules are individual synth modules that you can buy separately and connect together to create your own custom modular synth setup. These modules usually come in 19” rackmount cases, but there are also some desktop modules available which are smaller in size. Desktop modules offer great flexibility as you can mix and match different modules to create your own unique setup, but they require a bit more knowledge to use effectively compared to all-in-one units or workstations.

Software Synthesizers

When it comes to making electronic music, synthesizers are one of the most important tools you can have in your arsenal. But with so many different types and models available, it can be tough to know where to start.

In this guide, we’re going to take a look at software synthesizers – what they are, how they work, and some of the best options available. By the end, you should have a good idea of whether this type of synth is right for you and your music.

So, what is a software synthesizer? In short, it’s a type of synth that uses computer code to generate sound, as opposed to hardware synthesizers which use physical components.

This means that software synths can be more complex and powerful than their hardware counterparts, and they can also be much more affordable. Of course, there are downsides too – most notably the fact that you need a computer to use them.

But if you’re looking for a versatile and affordable way to get started with synthesis, software synths are definitely worth considering. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best options currently available…


A sampler is an electronic musical instrument that uses a sound recording of an instrument or voice as its basis for creating new sounds. Samplers can be either standalone devices or they can be built into other electronic music instruments such as synthesizers, drum machines, and DJ turntables.

Hardware Samplers

A hardware sampler is an electronic musical instrument similar in function to a digital audio recorder, and usually operated via MIDI. These devices vary widely in price and features, with some expensive models offering advanced sequencing and synthesis capabilities in addition to basic sampling.

The term “sampler” is now strictly used to describe instruments that play back pre-recorded samples (often stored on ROM chips), but originally it referred to the ability of early digital instruments to record (“sample”) and playback sounds of any waveform, not just pre-recorded ones. The first samplers were introduced in the mid-1970s by Japanese consumer electronics companies such as Nakamichi and Roland.

Software Samplers

Software samplers are programs that allow the user to load in audio files (usually WAV or AIFF format) and play them back at a variety of pitches via MIDI. Samplers typically have a variety of other features as well, such as the ability to loop sounds, add effects, and so on.

While most software samplers can be used for a variety of purposes, they’re particularly well-suited for creating electronic music, as they make it easy to create new sounds by combining and manipulating existing ones. They also tend to be very affordable, as they don’t require any special hardware to use (beyond a computer and a MIDI controller).

There are a variety of software samplers available, ranging from simple and easy-to-use programs to more complex ones with a wider range of features. Some of the most popular software samplers include Ableton Live Sampler, FL Studio Sampler, Kontakt Sampler, and Reason Refill Player.

Drum Machines

If you’re looking to get into electronic music, one of the essential pieces of equipment you’ll need is a drum machine. A drum machine can provide the rhythm and beats for your tracks, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Let’s take a look at some of the best drum machines on the market.

Hardware Drum Machines

If you’re serious about making electronic music, you’re going to need a hardware drum machine. A drum machine is an electronic musical instrument that creates percussion sounds, basslines, and other rhythmic accompaniments.

There are two main types of hardware drum machines: samplers and synthesisers. Samplers use recorded or programmed samples of real instruments or sounds, while synthesisers generate their own sounds using oscillators and filters.

Both types of drum machines have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the one that’s right for you. If you’re not sure which type of machine is best for your needs, we’ve put together a brief guide to help you make your decision.

Advantages of Samplers:
-They offer a wider range of sounds because they can mimic any sound that can be recorded.
-They tend to be more versatile because they can be used for more than just percussion.
-They’re often more affordable than synthesisers.

Advantages of Synthesisers:
-They offer a greater degree of control over the sound because you can adjust the individual parameters.
-They tend to be more compact than samplers.
-They use less power than samplers.

Software Drum Machines

Software drum machines are basically drum samplers that run as a plugin inside your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). As the name suggests, they allow you to create drum beats and rhythms using your computer.

There are a few different ways to make electronic music, but one of the most popular is using a drum machine. Drum machines can be either hardware or software, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we’re going to focus on software drum machines.

Software drum machines are great for a few reasons. First, they’re usually very affordable (or even free). Second, they’re extremely versatile – you can usually tweak every little detail of the sound, making them perfect for creating custom sounds. Finally, they often come with a large library of sounds and samples that you can use in your tracks.

The downside of software drum machines is that they can be harder to use than hardware units. They also tend to be a bit more CPU-intensive, so if you’re working on an older computer, you might run into some performance issues.

Nonetheless, if you’re looking to get into making electronic music, a software drum machine is a great place to start. In this article, we’ll recommend some of the best software drum machines on the market and give you a few tips on how to get started with them.

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