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Music & Entertainment

Building Your Home Studio


Lesson time 13:35 min

Ready to start building out your home studio and making tracks of your own? Here's Joel's advice for what gear you need and what you don't.

Teaches Electronic Music Production
6 hours of instructions, 23 video lessons, and a downloadable course workbook.
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You could do this in your fucking bedroom. You really could. I have heard absolutely disgusting shit come out of some really high end studios, and I've heard some amazing shit come off some little kid's laptop in LA. I think I signed one. Ultimately, you're going to end up in the digital realm. No matter what. Whether you're a guitarist, a cellist, you play the fucking jazz flute, doesn't matter. You're going to end up on a computer at some point in digital format. Not just because digital format's better-- well I mean, in terms of portability, yeah it is better. Because you know-- how were you planning on distributing your music? On cassette? This whole argument about, oh, we record in analog, oh, we record in digital, oh, we record on gramophone-- doesn't matter. Because at the end of the day, your delivery method is digital. That's just the way it is. Now it might not be the ultimate, most fidelic thing-- like 24 inch tape could provide sonically-- but I mean, if you want your stuff on a TV show, or synced in a film, or rebroadcasted else on other radio shows, or uploaded on the internet, or on iTunes, it's going to be digital. So capturing that sound is going to be locked to the digital domain no matter what. So you might as well become nice and cozy with that whether you're a pianist, or a computer Synth guru kind of thing. First things first, you've got to get a good little computer. And that could be anything from a cheap laptop to a decent sized Mac or PC, either, or. All these apps are all cross-platform. So Mac, PC, whatever. You know? I just prefer PC because I don't know, I like it. I can get in under the hood a lot more often on a PC than I could on a Mac. But then when you kind of start to get a little more serious into it, you're going to need a good DAC, which is Digital Audio Converter. I've been using RME DACs forever. I think investment wise, it was like the best thing I ever bought-- was like a good ASIO PCI card from RME. And it just had eight ins, eight outs, which was more than enough because I only-- even to this day-- really only need one stereo set of inputs at a time. Unless you start patching crazy amounts of gear, and then you're going to need sick I/O for that. But to get started, like a four by four-- four ins, four outs-- or even two in, two out like the Echo MIA-- which I think is discontinued-- but there's a whole bunch of similar products out there. The point, is that it should be a dedicated audio processing card and not the one built into your motherboard and stuff like that. Just because that's not-- the drivers for it and all that stuff just aren't up to par to handle the throughput of having all these VSTs and running them in really low latency. That's the first thing you need to get started. To start producing music on your own-- I mean, yeah, you're going to need a digital au...

Make better music

Before he was deadmau5, all Joel Zimmerman wanted for Christmas was old toasters to take apart. Now, you can watch him take his music apart. In his first-ever online class, Joel teaches you how he approaches melodies, mixing and mastering to make unique sounds you can't find in a cookie cutter sample pack. You'll not only get his lessons, you'll learn how to create your own music without spending money on million dollar gear.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I'm actually pretty sad this is over. I really like how brutally honest Joel is and I get the language he I get where he's coming from. I could watch an entire new set of videos by him. I'm also from the same are as him and was in a Tim Hortons 17 years ago and someone pointed him out to me. I wish I had said hi........

I have learned some insights of Deadmouse and how he handles everything. It was interesting to compare it with my own experience

Eye opener. It's priceless to have a view into the world of electronic sound design.

This was the reason I got master class. It is so euphoric to learn from the guy behind the mask without the mask!


Suzanne W.

Excellent advice and so refreshing to hear that it is the musical ideas that matter, not the equipment.


Does anyone know where I can get a similar synth to the Sh101? Amazing tool

A fellow student

holy crap this is a huge breath of fresh air. not only because it's nice to hear someone talking about cubase and live and PC builds and stuff (all of which makes me feel better too about having looked around and decided those were the things I preferred too) but more so because of his perspective on like... where the value lies in the process. It's less about buying the next new piece of gear, and more about creating something unique and interesting, however and whatever that may be. And the way he's like, segmenting the process, so you can really focus on what's important first (melody or groove or what have you) and then once you have that, move on to progression or other layers or what not, then move on to finalizing sounds, then mixing. And at any point taking a thing you might be stuck with and filing it away in a folder of shenanigans for later use if you like. That kind of work flow is key. It's like you're making a system that takes advantage of any and all parts of the creative process. Even the times you think it might be a shit idea lol. You never know when you could draw on that thing later :-D When I talk to other cats I call it wearing hats. Like, you wanna wear one hat at a time. Be it your composition hat, your arrangement hat, your engineer hat, whatever. It's important to know which hat you have on at any given time, and not accidentally slip the wrong hat on and get sucked into some engineering nitpicking when you haven't even finalized the sounds yet. So stoked on this class, thank you so much for sharing it!

Sean M.

I like that he's not here just pimpin' gear. Bottom line: If you can't create something with a melodic groove with minimal gear, having $1m worth of it isn't going to do you any good. Perfect for my budget.

A fellow student

When it comes to monitoring, back when I used to have no option besides using headphones, I would go in my car and park somewhere I could turn it up and produce in my car. I had great audio system in my car, didn't want to disturb my neighbors, and figured I liked how music sounded in my car, and would test tracks out in my car anyways so sometimes would just go and produce it in my car. Lol.


Great to watch and realy funny to see how he does it all with his down to earth mentality.

Shannon N.

He laughs at making 700 a week and I'm like "Wow, $700! I need that!" Feeling broke.

A fellow student

Lots of acronyms at one point so I did a little bit of research. Would be nice if they were built into the downloadable PDF. I need flash cards for all of this! DAWS - Digital Audio Work Station I/O - Input / Output DTS - Digital Theater System DAC - Digital-Analog Converter RME - Brand of Audio Interface ASIO PCI - Audio Steam Input / Output Peripheral Component Interconnect VST - Virtual Studio Technology 4 by 4 - 4×4TM is a high accuracy 4-in, 4-out audio interface

A fellow student

How do you save snippets into a folder? I'm using Logic Pro X, and all I can find is to save the whole project or save as a template.

Bren P.

So if I don't have an audio processing card or a PCI card, what does that do for my sound quality? I'm having trouble grasping the concept of what it does exactly. Can I use one with my laptop? Any recommendations on models?