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I would go for monitors first, simply because $$$ hardware synths are worth nothing if you can't hear what they're playing. If you use near field monitors well treated room isn't that important anymore.

Afterwards go for a professional audio interface (on-board audio chips all suck big times)

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Panoptes    45

I'd say learn how to listen is most important. Learn to hear the difference between waveforms, filters, resonances, and such. Dissecting sound and just having a good ear that can recognize patterns and techniques used in your favorite recordings. Having a nice playback system doesn't mean much if you can't appreciate it.

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Veracohr    115

This is in the Music Making subforum, I assume the OP is referring to production rather than appreciation.

 

I personally wouldn't answer the question without first hearing what the OP already has to work with.

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Panoptes    45

perhaps. what i said still has a big effect on production capabilities

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Djuna    77

That sounds decent enough to 'hear what you're playing'. There's no right answer that someone else can give to you I think, the main question that you'll have to ask yourself is: am I going to have fun with my new investment? Will it boost my creativity? For some it's better monitors, for others it's new synths.

 

My personal opinion: what are good monitors for if you don't have good ears? :) That's an ongoing process you'll need to go through. I agree with Panoptes; first you need to find your own creative direction and workflow, after that there's time to finetune everything (something that's going to take a couple of lifetimes probbably, haha). Either way, you'll need good gear and good monitors, so if you're serious about your hobby then there's a future for whatever you can't afford right now!

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Agneton    91

I have to say I still work with the same gear that I started using 8 years ago, being a laptop and decent headphones. Don't believe all the people that tell you you can only make good music after you got your hands on all that expensive gear, it's really not a priority_at_all!!

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Djuna    77

Nobody said that, but this is a topic for people working or wanting to work with hardware. :) By the way, that software you make your tunes with, didn't that cost you anything..? Because you wouldn't DOWNLOAD a CAR, would you?!! :ph34r:

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Agneton    91

Oh I'm sorry :P, I just read the OP post and replied straight away...it was meant to be a moral booster ('you just have to unlock the potential that can be found within yourself!') and not as some kind of negativism ('music produced with hardware is bad' :P that would make no sense').

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Djuna    77

('you just have to unlock the potential that can be found within yourself!')

 

True that! And for some it's buying gear, and then later one realising they get more things done without it. :D

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Amygdala    14

After almost 20 years of producing, I recently got me some decent monitors (Dynaudio BM5 mkIII). Before that I have had the same HIFI speakers since the beginning. It was quite the game changer. It is much easier to create a decent mix now, and after mastering there is juust a bit more bite in there.

 

Until the drastic move, I have gradually improved my space by filling it with absorbing materials - mineral wool mostly. It works wonders, and after each round of building basstraps, the accoustics improve. I would probably rate this effort the most important, especially if your outset is a concrete basement like mine was.

 

The above is about the production environment. It is hugely important for your work conditions. The instruments are a different story, and they are hugely important for what you want-to / are-going-to create. Decent gear sounds better than crappy gear. Talented and creative people can get interesting results from what other people call crappy gear - but only if their production environment is at least decent.

I use mostly software these days (almost exclusively) and I am perfectly happy with it.

 

To summarize, for me: room treatment, monitors, then all the rest - that would be the priority. But the best advice is probably to do a little of everything, all the time, lest you block on the treatment, and then never actually get to writing anything. Right, this just turned yarn... Have fun :)

 

- A

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Cynos    20

Good ear.

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Negrosex    1

Monitors and room. Then one piece of hardware equipment that sound's better than software and is meaningful to the music you want to make, not alot of stuff that only sounds different but one that actually sounds better, then you will be happy for a while. Then you buy another one. Take your time and find the sweetspots of your equipment.

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Balance    61

Well there's no point treating the room if you don't have some reasonable quality speakers to make sure it's been treated well duh.

 

So I'd say get some quality monitors (I'm not saying like $20k ones, but I'd say at least around $1-2k for a pair is reasonable if your serious), the treat the room. I highly recommend getting someone who's a pro to at least design the treatment, the either pay a pro to install it well or install yourself.

 

Also check out the web, some beautiful looking boutique treatment stuff being out there that works well.

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