Ryan Harrell, Editor, MIDINation

In his influential TED Talk, Simon Sinek had a single prescription for leadership: Start With ‘Why'.

This ‘why' is the reason for your product or business' existence.

In my case, it was a website, and it was similarly driven by a ‘why' – why start yet another music website?

The answer was clear: I wanted to help musicians make better decisions. And I wanted to create content and explore ideas I hadn't yet seen on the internet.

There has been a massive explosion of interest in music production in the last half decade. The biggest music stars today don't carry around a guitar; they pack a laptop and a DJ unit.

Things weren't always like this. When I was growing up, rock dominated the music scene. Rap was coming up in a big way, but if you wanted to be a musician, you still drove over to the nearest Guitar Center and bought a $100 guitar. Music production software was either too under-powered or too expensive for most people.

Besides, who even hard computers powerful enough to run production-grade music software?

That's not the case anymore, as so many of you would attest.

Computers are more powerful than ever. My 3 year old i5 laptop has enough juice to run 40 tracks in Ableton and still have enough room for 8 Google Chrome tabs.

Music production equipment is similarly accessible. A beginner MIDI keyboard is as cheap as $50. Studio headphones start at $30. Soundcards are similarly cheap. You can even download a free copy of Ableton.

For a little over $100, you can start producing music from your computer.

That's a far cry from the $1,000+ minimums of a decade ago.

More Options Means More Decisions

Having more options is great.

At least on paper.

You're now suddenly faced with more decisions than you can fathom. Should I choose a cheap Akai keyboard or splurge for a Nektar? Can I make do with a $50 pair of headphones or do I need to invest in a $150 set of AudioTechnicas? Which is better for my genre of music – Ableton or Logic?

These are tough questions with no straight answer. Every person's situation is unique. What works for Tim might not work for Tom.

But that's not all.

There is a similar explosion in the number of blogs, videos, courses and sample sites online.

Which of these are good, which are not – it's hard to figure things out. Especially when you're a beginner.

This is my ‘why' – the reason for this site's existence.

Make Making Music Easier

As a musician, one of my biggest complaints when I was starting out was all the distractions that stopped me from doing what I wanted to do:

Make music.

hated dealing with engineering issues (at least until I understood what they were). I could never understand now New York compression worked or how transient shapers added more punch to my drums.

I similarly hated digging through thousands and thousands of samples to find the one drum sound that didn't actually sound terrible.

Or spending $500 on a piece of equipment only to have it break on me a day before a gig.

I just wanted to make music, not deal with all these problems.

What would make my life easier was a simple website where I could find reliable, timely and trusted advice on what equipment to choose, which samples to use and what courses to buy.

This is exactly the reason why I built this website.

My mission with MIDINation is simple:

To help you find the best resources so that you can make the best music you can.

Here's what I'll cover on this site:

  • Music equipment reviews and analysis
  • Music production course reviews
  • Sample pack reviews
  • Audio plugins reviews

But that's not all. I'll also share tons of useful resources, such as this list of blogs you can submit your music to.

At the same time, there are some content ideas I'm interested in creating because they're just plain fun and insightful.

For instance, I made this giant infographic on how average salaries compare to top musicians' incomes (turns out, Taylor Swift makes minimum wage in just 47 minutes!).

So to wrap it up: you'll find resources. You'll find useful reviews. And you'll see a ton of fun content.

About Me

My name is Ryan Harrell. I'm a producer, recording engineer, and sometimes, even a DJ. I got my start playing the guitar in a nu-metal band (sorry – the 2000s made me do it), but I soon discovered Daft Punk and electronic music and Cubase and things have never been the same.

I've been producing music in some form since the earliest days of Cubase 3.0, and I can safely say that there has never been a better time to make music than now.

Other Writers, Advisors and Contributors

MIDINation is a self-funded, solo endeavor. As such, it is difficult for me to review and create all the content you see on this site. Consequently, I work with a number of other enthusiasts, engineers, artists, and producers to help me review gear and advise on the right path to take for each article.

Here are some of the people who help make MIDINation possible:

David Andrew Wiebe

David Andrew Wiebe

David Andrew Wiebe, or DAW for short (ha) is a lifelong producer, guitarist and singer. Having worked in the music industry in various capacities for a number of years, he has a great understanding of many music production related topics.

Henry Huff

Henry is a wizard in the studio. A freelance audio engineer with decades of experience, Henry has worked with some of the most iconic artists from Atlanta, Chicago, and Seattle. He currently calls Seattle his home and works out of his own incredible home made studio.

Jack Dressler

Jack is an Atlanta-based producer, performer, and entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of Thumbtack Studios and works primarily with hip-hop artists. Jack is a self-taught producer and DJ who started on vinyl and can still kick it, old school. In his spare time, he dreams of surfing – something he doesn't quite get to do enough.

Jorge Madera

Jorge Madera is a San Diego-based rapper and producer. Equally inspired by reggaeton, west coast hip-hop, some jazz, and even narcocorrido music, Jorge has created his own signature style that blends jazz rhythms with reggaeton beats. He loves San Diego and believes it, and not LA, should be the home of all music on the west coast.