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.

Well worth the money spent. Great content (both video and material along the way). Thank you, Masterclass!

This is an amazing class for anyone who's trying to get into any type of EDM

To the point, honest and type of confessive courses by D5! Loads of true and practical advices ; )

Well done, well shot, linear audio so I don't need to wake everyone up doing the lessons late. Lots of very useful info. The fat is cut! Thanks!


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?

J. Z.

I spent the last week getting familiar with Fl studio and made a couple of melodies along the way that isn't half bad. (At least for a beginner.) Since I built my custom pc prior to this, I'm now very proud of my decision of actually getting a good PCI card. (I mean that paid off right away!) Ideas seem to be flowing towards me sometimes, and I learn to sit down and plot those melodies down then drop it in that potato folder. I'm now ready to turn those melodies into something greater, which is very exciting, to say the least!


Wow....... Best lesson so far for me. I know what I'm doing wrong now. Thank You Joel!!!! Can't wait for the next lesson.


Somewhat mixed on how I feel about the studio monitor portion. I get the headphone comments (too loud!), especially for mixing/mastering and aural fatigue/hearing loss. However, not many people listen to music on amazing sound systems, except at big live shows and festivals. My mixing litmus test is to listen to the track in my car. If it sounds good there, chances are it will sound good elsewhere.

A fellow student

Was definitely an opportunity to have more detailed notes for this chapter.

A fellow student

I dig how this is the second time he's said if you don't have a good ear for what sounds good together, you're screwed. I'm not being sarcastic either. Straight talk.

Chase M.

Can someone explain to me what a DAC is and what it does? And how does it change the audio from converting to your speakers/headphones?

John C.

Ultimately, you end up in the Analogue realm, dude. Unless your brain is directly wired into your DAW, obviating the need for your ears. That time may come! Until then, audio is still fuxing analogue. 8:-)