Ray Mak is one of the earliest content creators on YouTube Malaysia and one of the most prolific creators of musical covers on YouTube. He shares his passion by making piano covers of songs requested by his fans and his favourite radio tunes, all played purely by ear.
“From a content creator’s perspective, learning piano and investing in these essentials is important not only to keep track of your progress while entertaining your audience, but the result of your music production could be your main source of income too! Drop ma monneh, droppin’ all ma monneh.” - Ray Mak
So, we all know what essentials we need to improve our piano playing performance. But have you ever wanted to document your musical journey, either for personal record or to create content online, but don’t know where to start? We can help.
Whether you’re starting a YouTube channel and looking for the best camera for vlogging, or a music content creators looking for the best audio interface for your content, here’s a list of everything you need!
And the best part of all, they are all handpicked and recommended by Malaysia’s No. 1 pianist on Youtube, Ray Mak!
To be a great musical content creator, you don’t only need good musical instruments. A great laptop is a must so that you can edit your content and show it the way you want it to be shown. So, if you're looking for a desktop but don't want to give up portability, the Illegear Ares X is a good option. The Ares X, which is dubbed as a desktop PC replacement, has the portability and elegance of a laptop but the power and capacity of a desktop.
With its modular CPU design, the ARES X can run Intel desktop CPUs ranging from the i5 to the i9, providing for future upgradability. The ARES X's memory can be expanded up to 128GB.
Aside from that, the Ares X's GPU can be upgraded to an overclockable NVIDIA GeForce GPU with a maximum performance of RTX 2080 SUPER 8GB. In terms of storage, the Ares X includes four M.2 slots with a total capacity of 8TB.
Users love the device for its maximum versatility and speed. With this laptop, they can connect to external peripherals like GPUs and SSD drives from the ease of a single adaptable connecting point, expand their view to external displays, and transfer data at high speed.
The iD4 (MKII) is designed to take your recordings to the next level, with professional audio performance in a compact and modern desktop package. With its ability to convert microphone and instrument signals into your computer, this device is all you need to make studio-quality recordings at home!
The Audient iD4 MKII fortifies your studio with one of Audient's acclaimed Class-A console mic preamps, as well as an analogue JFET DI stage to truly capture the depth and dimension of your guitar or any accompaniment instrument.
The latest version of Audient's iD4 has improved audio conversion, faster USB 3.0 transmission speeds, and a USB-C connection for increased compatibility with modern laptops and tablets. Track monitoring and music reproduction quality are made easier thanks to two studio-grade headphone outputs and console-style monitor control.
Also, this device comes with Audient's intuitive ScrollControl virtual scroll wheel, which lets you tweak DAW and plug-in parameters, and even decrease your monitor output on command using the iD4 MKII's large volume knob.
According to recording engineers, the Audient iD4 added significant value to the home and mobile studio because of its user-assignable function, monitor mix, and monitor panning feature among other features!
If you’re in music production, you probably already know that you need a decent pair of headphones that are sturdy yet comfortable. The Iinvictor Soturi gaming headphones provide a comfortable fit that makes using them for long periods a breeze. And with the Spatial Awareness Audio design, you’ll be able to hear everything that matters precisely.
These headphones are lightweight at only 295g, which is something you will be thankful for if you plan on working for long periods of time. Moreover, the 50mm drivers produce bright tones with a slight focus on the highs for additional clarity. They also include a V Command Detachable Boom Mic, which allows users to speak clearly and brightly.
The Iinvictor Soturi is a fantastic alternative for PC gamers and intermediate music producers wishing to increase their audio quality without spending extra money on a separate mic. It may not be ideal for isolation, it’s a decent choice because of its lightweight design, handy controls and comfort.
A camera is, of course, another critical item you'll need to begin your career as a music content creator. You could use a smartphone with a decent camera, but ideally, you'd want a camera with more features that can provide you with the video quality you need. According to Ray Mak, nothing beats the Sony ZV-E10 with interchangeable lenses.
This device is a vlogger-friendly 24MP APS-C mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. It has an articulating selfie screen with touch capability, 4K video capture, headphone and microphone ports, and a variety of add-on accessories for videography, such as the handgrip (sold separately) and sophisticated microphones.
Specification-wise, the ZV-E10 features a 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor, a highly dependable AF system with face and eye detection, 4K/24p video capture with no crop, 1080/120p slow-motion video capture, a built-in directional 3-capsule microphone with windscreen, a fully articulating touch-sensitive display, and more!
The Sony ZV-E10 is a good camera for new vloggers. It supports 4K video, Sony's excellent autofocus system, a vari-angle screen, and a wind-cutting clip-on muffler. Best of all, it provides constant value in the face of continually rising prices.
Is piano hard to learn?
There is no easy answer to this. However, according to Ray Mak, having a solid foundation is essential, since it ensures that we understand how a piano works, as well as the notes, keys, fingering, and scales. Hence, he encourages newcomers to enrol in music or piano lessons with enthusiastic instructors.
These instructors should be able to at least get your fundamentals straight before gradually assisting you in mastering your skills and progressing from there. As Ray Mak received his piano lessons at Pianoforte School of Music in Taman Midah, he recommends that beginners look into the organization if their approaches fit your goal.
How much does a good piano cost?
Pianos are highly subjective, as various people prefer different sounds: brighter, mellower, softer, harder, louder. However, Ray Mak advises that everyone chooses something that fits their budget. It's also critical to try things out before making a purchase.
New upright acoustic pianos can cost well over RM10,000, while used upright acoustic pianos can cost anywhere between RM5,000 and RM10,000.
But because there are so many fantastic digital keyboards and pianos on the market currently, digital keyboards or pianos that cost RM3,000 and up are also a great option.
And if you want to go big, you have choices ranging from a new grand piano that costs around RM30,000 or a used piano of a similar brand that costs more than RM15,000. Shop wisely!
Which piano brands do you recommend to beginners?
Ray Mak urges beginners to look for something that they enjoy, particularly the sound. He remarked that he was fortunate to have had the opportunity to train his ears on a fine Knight upright piano, which was handcrafted and imported from England. In Asia, he usually recommends Yamaha or Kawai to new pianists.
Despite this, he does not limit his choices to the brands indicated above. Many Chinese pianos are improving at a rapid rate, especially since they have been collaborating with German and European brands. He advises newcomers to do their homework before making a purchase, as this will most likely be a long-term investment.
What is your #No.1 tip to improve performance?
As Tony Robbins says, “Repetition is the mother of all skills.” Ray Mak agrees that the more times you do something, the more likely it will become a habit. He is a firm believer in the theory that habits lead to actions, which lead to outcomes, and eventually success. What’s more important is to never give up and to keep on chasing your dreams!