Best Music Production Resources: 
Equipment, Books, Podcasts, Blogs, and More

This is a collection of my favorite music production equipment and software that I regularly use. It's been field tested and proven it's worth.
Please note, we use affiliate links throughout this site. That means that we make a small profit from each purchase made through these links below, but it does not cost you anything extra.

Headphones

Audio-Technicha ATH-M50X headphones ($149)

I've had my pair since December 2020. Excellent sound dampening, strong bass presence, good for tracking vocals (although there can be some small headphone bleed), and they're also very loud headphones, so they don't require an amp or interface in order to boost the volume significantly. The main downside to these is that they get uncomfortable much faster than my Beyerdynamic 770's. Learn more or buy it here.

Beyerdynamics DT-770 80 Ohm headphones($139)

The Beyerdynamic DT-770's are excellent closed-back over-ear headphones for tracking vocals and mixing. I personally use them for mixing 90% of the time, since I don't currently have studio monitors. These headphones are comfortable on my ears for multi-hour sessions. The main downside of these headphones is that they are very quiet and require an audio interface to boost the volume to a good level. Learn more or buy it here.

Audio Interfaces

Focusrite 2i2 ($169)

This is my go-to audio interface for tracking vocals or electric guitar direct-in. It's compact, lightweight, very simple to use, and it's as easy as plugging into my Mac and changing the input/output in Ableton before I'm ready to record. It's the cheapest analog/digital converter I've found on the market that's cheap, easy to use, and sounds high-quality. Learn more or buy it here.

Universal Apollo Twin MKII Duo ($1,099)

Full transparency, I don't currently own an Apollo Twin, but I've used this in multiple studio sessions with excellent results. The only reason I don't have this interface at my current home studio setup is to save some money. This interface has some beautiful-sounding preamps built in, up to 4 inputs, includes plugins for adding compression/eq/reverb while you're tracking, and doesn't create the occasional digital glitches like the Focusrite 2i2 occasionally does. Learn more or buy it here.

Microphones

Shure SM7B ($399)

The SM7B is my go-to mic for recording lead vocals, backing vocals, dialogue, podcasts, and everything else. It's a beautiful, warm-sounding microphone that captures a very clean sound. The only problem of this mic is that it requires a gain-lifter to boost the signal coming in: I use the Cloudlifter CL-1 to do that. But it does well at recording warm, dry, and very crisp vocals. Oh, it's also a dynamic mic (not a condenser) which means it picks up a lot less background noise which is ideal if you're recording vocals in your home studio. Learn more or buy it here.

Rode NT1 ($265)

The Rode NT1 is a simple and affordable condenser mic that is great for recording singing vocals for pop and hip-hop if you're on a tight budget. I relied on this mic heavily when I was tracking at my college studio a few years ago, and it delivered a crisp result for me. Because it's a condenser it's going to pick up a lot more background noise, but it's also going to sound more energetic and pick up on the smaller subtleties in a vocal performance as well. Learn more or buy it here.

Waves Gold Bundle

Software and Services

Ableton Live

Ableton Live is my DAW (digital audio workstation) of choice. This is where I make all of my beats, track vocals and instruments, and mix and master songs. It's a very powerful DAW that's most popular in the electronic, dance, and pop production worlds. But it's continuing to grow in popularity and is used by legendary producers like Jon Bellion, Skrillex, and many others. Currently I use Ableton Live 10, but Live 11 looks very promising and you can't go wrong with either. Learn more or buy it here.

Splice

Splice offers a sample, loop, and preset library that gives you access to thousands of sounds for less than $10/mo. It's an amazing tool to find inspiration or grab that perfect drum sound you need within minutes. It also gives you access to presets for their virtual instruments (like Serum). The only downside of Splice is that it can cause decision fatigue. Sometimes having access to thousands of sounds just becomes overwhelming and makes it harder to pick 1 sound. But I still love it. Learn more or buy it here.

Antares AutoTune Unlimited Subscription ($24.99/mo) 

I use Antare's monthly Autotune Pro subscription to get access to all of the AutoTune plugins for a small price. Autotune's tools are very flexible, allowing you to create all kinds of tuning effects from harsh t-pain tuning to a subtle cleanup on some live vocals. It's an incredible tool I couldn't live without. Learn more or buy it here.
The Waves Gold Bundle gives you access to 40 of the best plugins. Personally my favorite plugins are the C4 multi-band compressor, the S1 stereo-widener, the Renaissance Reverb, and the doubler. I lean on these plugins in nearly every single production. Get 10% off your purchase when you use my unique link here. Just click the link, search for the Gold Bundle, and you'll get 10% off.

Kontakt 6 by Native Instruments

Kontakt is one of the latest editions to my sound library. It's an incredibly powerful virtual instrument that allows you to load in hundreds of different instruments and sounds. You can even buy third-party sounds like Spitfires virtual string and brass instruments and play them in Kontakt. Learn more or buy it here.

Guitar Rig 6 by Native Instruments

Another new edition to my library, Guitar Rig 6 is a set of virtual guitar pedals that unlocks thousands of unique guitar sounds for quickly creating an immersive production. Many guitarists may shake their head at me for recommending digital plugins/amp simulators, but I really believe that you can learn to make these sounds very real and excellent. So much of modern music is made exclusively in the box, so i'm happy to be apart of the future in this space. Learn more or buy it here.

Distrokid

Distrokid makes it incredibly easy to distribute my music to the world on Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and everywhere else. They make it easy to publish, easy to split song ownership between multiple artists/songwriters/producers, automate the payout process, connect to PayPal, and also have very entertaining marketing which I love. Get 7% off when you use my link to sign up here.

Accessories

Cloudlifter CL-1 ($149)

The Cloudlifter is a gain-lifting device that I use to increase the input signal of my Shure SM7B microphone so that I can get a cleaner loud recording without the loud noise floor (hiss sound). No buttons, no knobs, it just works very well. Learn more or buy it here.

Behringer 4-Channel Headphone Amp ($29)

I decided to stop having a janky recording setup and finally bought myself a headphone amp so that everyone in the room could listen to the production at the same time. This is thirty dollars that you won't regret spending. Learn more or buy it here.

Books

Steal Like an Artist

How do the greatest artists throughout history get their ideas? How do they stay inspired for the long haul? Austin Kleon provides 10 clear and simple ideas you need to know to be a successful creative in the modern world. It's not a clickbait book. It's really simple and actionable advice that has encouraged me greatly. Learn more or buy it here.

The War of Art

There is a silent battle that wages inside of our minds every time we sit down in front of a blank session. It's a psychological battle that wants to keep us from creating. It's fear of failure, fear of not being good enough, fear of "what if." This book is about learning how to face those voices of fear, doubt, and insecurity to create your best art. Learn more or buy it here.

The Great Mental Models: Volume 1: General Thinking Concepts

Mental Models are frameworks for thinking. They're guiding principles that help us distill complex information into simple and meaningful ideas. Some of the most popular mental models include first-principles, Pareto's Principle, and the Eisenhower Matrix. Learning the great mental models has helped bring mental clarity to many different areas of my life, including music production. I highly recommend this simple book from Shane Parrish of Farnam Street. Learn more or buy it here.

Zen and the Art of Mixing

A short and simple book about the art of mixing music and the pyschology of how mixing impacts your listeners. Learn more or buy it here.

Podcasts

Simply Recording Podcast with Joe Gilder and Graham Cochrane

I listened to every episode of this show while folding clothes at a retail job in the mall from 5:30-11 every morning one summer… Such a great resource!Listen and subscribe here.

BLAPChat

From !llmind and his tribe, this podcast talks about beat making, the creative process, the business of music, and a lot more. A must listen for producers getting acclimated to the industry. Listen and subscribe here.

And the Writer Is…

Hear conversations from songwriters behind some of the biggest hits in the world with host Ross Golan. Listen and subscribe here.

Producer Grind

Hear interviews with the top producers, primarily in the world of hip hop, and get insights into how to become a better producer in the studio and in the conference room. Listen and subscribe here.

The Curtis King Podcast

Hear trustworthy advice from a producer who has walked the walk, produced for legends like Kendrick, and runs a profitable business in the industry. Listen and subscribe here.

Learn Sound Design

Izotope Blog

Izotope is best known for their audio cleanup tools like Izotope RX9, but they write some incredibly thorough blogs about mixing, sound design, and a lot more! If you wanna learn something technical in a quick and easy way, go here. Learn more here.

Splice Blog

Splice is an online sound library where you can get royalty free samples, presets, and even rent-to-own plugins like the virtual instrument Serum. Highly recommend their blog and YouTube channel. Learn more here.

Soul Surplus

These guys craft the best samples in the world so I recommend buying them. They also have a blog and a couple podcasts that dive into the process as well. Learn more here.

Learn Mastering

Ian Shepherd / Production Advice

Ian is a highly regarded mastering engineer with simple but highly detailed blogs and YouTube videos to learn how to do a lot of mastering techniques in the home studio. Learn more here.

Landr Blog

Landr is an automated mastering tool online that also writes incredible blogs about the entire production process. Highly recommend. They’re also on YouTube. Learn more here.

Songmaps Newsletter

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