To create your own trance tracks you first of all will need to choose a DAW. This stands for Digital Audio Workstation and this will be the software in which you will make your tracks. I recommend Logic Pro (Only available for the mac) as it is easy to get started yet very professional and there are many tutorials available for it online
If you do not have a mac or do not want to use Logic then some of the other options that are available are Ableton Live, FL Studio, Pro Tools or Reason.
Next let's take a look at some of the other equipment you will need to produce high quality trance before we go on to look at how to actually produce trance.
A good sound card is an important element of any home studio.
Your computer's sound card transfers in sound from microphones or keyboards, so it can have a big effect on the sound quality of your recordings. The standard sound cards fitted in home computers are fine for normal use, but often they're not designed to cope with complex recording jobs as they can often result in latency issues.
To avoid this, it's best to choose sound cards that are specially designed for recording such as midi or audio interfaces). These have a number of advantages:
They run quickly and smoothly, they are available with a range of inputs that will allow you to connect guitars, microphones, keyboards etc. directly and often you can record multiple instruments at the same time.
Sound cards can be fitted internally, or you can connect external cards to your computer via USB or Firewire. Before you buy, think carefully about what you want to record, and what inputs you'll need. A good sound card doesn't necessarily need loads of inputs unless you want to record a lot of instruments at the same time, but a good range of different types of inputs is always useful. Producing Trance won't require as many inputs an in other types of music as you don't need to record instruments simultaneously as you would if you were recording a live band.
Here are some examples of sound cards. I recommend the Apogee One due to it's premium sound quality (priced about £170) or if your willing to spend more money, the duet or the ensemble. Other good sound cards include M-Audio's Fast Track Pro and RME Fireface.
If you are serious about music then you really need a hardware controller. There are different types of controllers such as pads for creating drum patterns and midi keyboards.These controllers can make it easier and quicker to record and mix music in Logic and any other sequencer. Also, most of these controllers contain Presets which allow them to link up with your DAW straight out of the box. They also come with a huge range of features, some just plain keys and others contain transport controls, faders and rotary encoders. Midi Keyboards can usually be purchased in 25, 49 or 61 key versions. I would recommend the basic M-audio Keystudio or, if you are willing to spend more money, the M- Audio Axiom or the Novation SL MK2.
*NOTE* A Midi Keyboard or Hardware Controller is different to a Synthesizer. This means that it will only work if connected to a computer and does not contain any inbuilt sounds.
Headphones and Monitors:
If you are producing any type of music then you need proper monitors to listen to the sound. Cheap Computer Speakers just aren't good enough when it comes to listening to a mix. This is because studio monitors are designed to flatten the sound, therefore giving a more accurate representation of how the music actually sounds. Computer Speakers don't do this however and therefore what you're actually hearing could be distorted and false. You therefore have two options: to buy a pair of studio headphones or to invest in a more expensive but more accurate pair of Studio Monitors.
Headphones are usually cheaper and can do the job effectively however they aren't nearly as accurate as a good pair of monitors. A pair of headphones should be light and comfortable to wear for long periods of time, as well as providing great sound quality. Closed-back headphones help to reduce the amount of noise that spills out into the outside world, which makes them useful for recording as this reduces the chance of sound from the headphones being picked up by a microphone.
A good set of Studio Monitors can improve the quality of your mixes considerably – if you can hear an accurate representation of what you've recorded, you can choose the right effects and set levels correctly. Studio Monitors come in two different varieties: Active and Passive. Passive monitors need to be connected to an amp, whereas active monitors already have an amp built in. The advantage of active ones is that you don't have to spend extra money on an amp but if you have Passive monitors then you can buy a new amp and automatically upgrade your monitors whenever you want without buying a whole new pair. If a mix sounds good on studio monitors then, due to their flat response, it is more than likely to transfer well onto other systems.
Headphones tend to be a lot cheaper than monitors, only costing around £100, whereas monitors, of a much higher quality, tend to carry a premium price tag too (up to £1000 for a very good pair).
Headphones which I would recommend would be any AKG's or Sennheiser's and Monitors which I would recommend would be the KRK RP6 G2 or the more “luxury” Mackie HR824's.
That's the basic equipment, of course you could get loads of other things like hardware synths, VSTs, compressors, effects and mics etc.
To actually get started producing there are numerous tutorials available on the web and there is a guide tailor made to producing trance music in logic located here in the resource box.
In the guide you will find step by step tutorials to getting started in producing trance in Logic Pro. Other places to look include YouTube tutorials, searching forums and reading the logic manual