I can recall some of my very first, very fresh, electronic drum beats that I made with my Yamaha DD-6 Digital Percussion Generator that I got as a gift one bountiful Christmas long ago.
It wasn’t until several years later that my family got our first PC and I was able for the first time to get online and download some early (free) beat making software like Hammerhead Rhythm Station. Please keep in mind that the secrets of music production and the idea of having something like an actual DAW were unknown. Also consider that we were transitioning out of the cassette era and the ability to “burn a CD” at home seemed like magic. Millennials, swipe left here.
If I wanted to lay down some vocals over a beat that I had made, the process at that time looked like me playing a burned CD in the background on a boombox while I rapped into a cassette recorder at varying distances in an attempt to mix the two together. That workflow resulted in several exclusive, extremely underground, mixtapes that I will personally dub for you if you have any idea what I am talking about.
I felt quite accomplished when I was able to upgrade to a small older verion of this Behringer mixer and a new, shiny Gateway 486. Armed with a cracked version of Fruitloops 3.1 and hundreds of hours of downloaded audio samples via a dial-up connection and early torrenting sites, I was in beat making paradise. For a few years this was my process and I have a couple of early, self-released albums from this era to prove it.
It is hard to fathom how much has changed since then. I can’t help but to be envious of the multitude of high quality home recording studio solutions that are now so easily accessible and I sometimes wonder how different my life might have be if I had been able to Google the 7 Home Recording Studio Essentials for Beginners back then. Thankfully, I have managed to upgrade my workflow/gear since those days and this is a little of what it sounds/looks like these days. Still perplexed after all these years!
You can follow my audio at Soundcloud and comment below to let me know how you got to your current audio rig/process/workflow!