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Need help?

Want to pick up digital music making as a hobby

First Timer

Hey everyone,,


I'm looking to take up amateur music production as a hobby. I have a lot of questions!

Here's a little info on what I want to do:

  • Interested in this as a hobby, not as professional

  • Wanting to keep things inexpensive (it's a hobby after all), but I am willing to spend money

  • Want to keep the door open to getting more serious in the future (aka, dont want to waste time learning a program that will be worthless if I start getting more advanced in my music making)

  • Primarily interested in Hip Hop, House, and Trance

  • I live thick drums, deep bass, cool beats. That's my favorite part of any song.

1. Choosing a DAW:
I picked up Reaper because of the free trial and the cheap entry point for the full version. I'm realizing that there aren't as many good tutorials for Reaper compared to other DAWs, so I'm reconsidering my choice. I don't want to invest time learning only to be limited later by lack of tutorials or lack of features.

I was reading about Ableton Live and it sounds like a really good option, but I'm intimidated by the price tag. It's so much more expensive! What am I really getting for the increased price tag, and is it worth it for an amateur doing this as a hobby? Are there good discounts available? (I've heard Black Friday is a good time to look).

2. Finding sounds
What's the best way to find sounds and samples? I can see that there are a lot of paid sound packs out there. Are there good free packs as well, and where do I find them? If you can't find sounds you like, how difficult is it to manipulate weaker samples so that they sound better?

3. Peripherals
Can I make quality sounding music with just a mouse and keyboard? What are the advantages of getting special equipment and how important is it? How expensive is it? Is it possible to make natural sounding instrumentation without peripherals? (E.g., could you make a bass guitar sound decently natural without actually owning a bass guitar?)

4. Song making generally.
What's the best way to learn about digital song-making in general? What are some good tutorials on the meta aspects of song making outside of the technical questions of how to use a particular DAW? For example, how do you come up with a melody that sounds good and doesn't step on the beat? How do you balance the different instrument volumes? How do adjust synthesizers to make interesting sounds?

Final question: Are there other subreddits or online communities that would be a better fit for learning about the kind of music I want to make?


Thanks for all your help guys, appreciate it!