Recording music on your computer is a fun way to express yourself and create something worth sharing. If you are really serious about music production you will need these items from this article and you should also read how to build a recording studio.
Evaluating Your Computer
Your computer needs to be fairly fast and not bogged down by spam or spyware. If you are not sure if your computer is ready for use of big music programs then take it to a computer store and see if they can increase the speed.
Once you know what hardware you are getting you can look at the minimum system requirements and make sure that your computer has enough power to run the program.
The only software you need is a music production program. There are many popular options and I recommend that you find a cheaper program to start learning from first. Listing a few off the top of my head: Pro Tools (HD and LE), Cakewalk, Propeller, Reason, Cubase, Ableton, and so on.
Once again make sure that your computer can run the software you want before you spend some cold hard cash buying a new program.
Recording music with a computer is not as straight forward as you believe. There are many hardware items that you will need outside of your computer.
An audio interface basically takes audio and microphone signals and converts them to digital so your computer can understand and process those files. There are lots of audio interfaces to choose from but when you are starting off I recommend a cheaper one that uses a USB connection. Some audio interfaces have a FireWire connection that is faster but not all computers use FireWire.
The next thing you need is to buy cables to connect your various equipment. This is the last thing you buy since you do not know exactly what you will need until you get all your other equipment. My only recommendation is to buy cables for quality and not price. More expensive cables are often backed by companies that will send you a replacement if the cable stops working.
Credit: sxc.huMicrophones are only really necessary if you want to record some vocals or instruments for your music. There are two main types (there are several more): Dynamic and Condenser. Dynamic mics like the Shure 58 (picture left) are great for recording instruments or straining vocals. Condenser mics have a much warmer sound quality and fit every genre as a vocal microphone. I recommend that you look up more articles to learn more about microphones before you make any purchases.
Instruments (Or Not)
Decide if you want to record instruments or not. If you don't then you will save yourself hundreds of dollars but be without any organic sounds.
The Producer Mindset
The producer mindset is to always be working and improving. If you looked at all your favorite DJ artists I know that they would tell you to keep writing new songs and you will eventually get better. Music production gets better with practice, always remember that.