Virtual Music Studio - Tutorial

This Tutorial is sponsored by the San Diego Music By Computer Group
revised for Mulab 3 - 12/27/2010


There are several Tutorials that follow. These tutorials will attempt to educate anyone interested in making music on the computer to the basics of making music and will include, Installation of software, Setup of software, Recording of Midi tracks, Recording of audio tracks, Use of VST Plugins, Effects, and rendering of Audio files.

We will be using software that is freely available on the internet, so that cost is kept to a minimum. The Tutorials have been setup to support both the MAC OSX operating system and the PC Windows operating system. A typical system for creating music would have at least the following minimum requirements:

1000 MHZ processor speed
1GB RAM main memory
250GB hard disk drive

CDRW drive
A midi keyboard/controller
a USB/MIDI interface or a MIDI Sound card interface

These requirements are adequate, but as you develop more detailed audio processing needs, you may need additional hardware resources.

Most computers today have an audio interface that consists of three audio jacks:
- LINE IN (blue jack)
- MIC IN (red jack)

For these lessons, the above audio interface will be adequate. However, if you acquire additional audio equipment, you will need a much faster interface to pass audio data to this equipment, e.g. pre-amps, recording equipment, mixers, etc. You will find that this equipment requires Firewire or USB 2.0 protocols to communicate with the computer. The computer may also need to be beefed up to handle additional loads with more RAM memory, faster and larger disk drives and a faster processor. For lots more info on setting up a music production studio, try Tweakheadz.

For this tutorial we will use a Virtual Studio called MU.LAB 3 (This tutorial has been upgraded to use Mu.Lab 3) to create music arrangements. On the PC, this system uses an internal sound communication protocol named ASIO, so your PC soundcard must have an ASIO interface installed. If your computer is not equipped with this protocol, it may be obtained at The MAC is pretty much optimized for audio and MU.LAB should run on OSX (10.4 and above) using the built in Core Audio System.

Tutorials (MULAB):


MULAB is one of the most straight forward approaches to creating a computer based Virtual Studio. The software offers simplicity and multi-platform support. Therefore, it is a good tool to teach electronic music concepts. And we must mention that it is free. If you want to get started in electronic music, it is an excellent place to start before you shell out a lot of dough and spend hours and hours learning the more sophisticated features that can cause you to have to negotiate a very steep learning curve. By learning the basics with these tutorials, you will have a good foundation to be able to adapt to more sophisticated music software at a faster rate. Try it, you won't be disappointed. 

If you have questions or find some difficulties with the tutorial, please feel free to send your comments and suggestions to MusicByComputer


Occasionally we post the latest Computer Music Magazine index of Samples that have been issued (royalty free). To peruse the list click here. None of the actual samples have been stored on this web site. The actual samples can be found on the CM disks as indicated.