Back to blog
Audio Gear

Our 2021 Budget Home Studio Equipment Recommendations

The year 2021 will mark the 12 years anniversary since my first single release. That’s when I started recording music on my home studio equipment which I still try to keep reasonably up to date. Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning I earn a comission if you click through and make a purchase. Without further ado, here’s a list of equipment I’ve used or still using in my home studio to produce music today.

Rode NT1 Cardioid Condenser Microphone Package

Rode NT1 Condenser MicrophoneWhen it comes to recording, there’s no substitute for a nice clean sound. And of the microphones that I’ve used, my favorite has been the Norwegian built RØDE NT series, whose sound has been impressive in terms of clarity and neutralness. They also make them in neat packages that includes a shock mount, pop filter and an XLR cable. This is the first step for your audio signal in your home studio equipment.

Budget Option: Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio Microphone

Focusrite Scarlett Solo USB Audio Interface

Focusrite Scarlett Audio Interface

The second stage in your audio signal involves processing the analog audio signal coming from the microphone to a digital signal that your computer can understand. That is why an audio interface is essential in your home studio equipment setup. I personally have been very satisfied with my Scarlett 2i2, however, if you’re not planning on recording 2 XLR inputs at once, the Scarlett Solo should be more than enough. Realistically speaking, there’s not going to be a noticable qualatative difference between audio interfaces, so you’ll have to see what your needs are in terms of number and types of inputs.

Budget Option: Behringer U-PHORIA UM2

AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 MIDI Keyboard

Alesis MIDI Controller

There’s no denying the flexibility or utility of a midi interface in the modern home studio. Being a guitarist first musician myself, I still do most of my songwriting and demo recordings on a midi-keyboard. With just 25 keys, the AKAI MK3 should have all the essentials for getting started with playing and recoring music. If you’re planning to use the same keyboard for live performances, you might want to invest in something with more keys, such as the Alesis V49.

Budget Option: AKAI Professional LPK25

AKG K240 Studio Headphones

AKG K240 Studio Headphones

If you’re like me and get obsessive about every little sound and detail in your mix, then having a decent pair of headphones are another essential tool in your home studio equipment. Not to mention you need them when recording any type of audio to keep the sound isolated to your ears (and away from the microphone). I got these when I first started recording music and since then I’ve spotted the Austrian AKG K240 in even professional grade studios. Luckily, they’re quite affordable so there’s really no reason not to have them in your home studio.

If you’d like to see more budget options, check out our studio headphones under 100$ page.

Premium Option:  Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

KRK Classic 5 Professional Studio Monitor

Rokit KRK 5 Studio Monitors

When it comes to music production, you can use headphones when you’re editing, arranging and generally being detail oriented, but I always recommend using loudspeakers to get a sense of how your sound will fill a room. I’ve use the KRK 5‘s for years and besides being slightly heavy on the low end, they get the job done masterfully. Something to bear in mind is the size of the room you’re setting up your home studio equipment in, for bigger rooms, you could get the larger monitors to match. Another thing to keep in mind when buying these is a lot of times the listed price is for a single speaker, so make sure to check beforehand what’s included.

Budget Option: Presonus Eris Studio Monitor Pair

Other Home Studio Equipment Essentials

Apart from the equipment mentioned above, there are a few things you’ll need to record and produce your music. The most obvious of which is a working computer with a decent processor and memory. In the future, we’ll make a music-first PC build guide which we’ll link here. You’ll also need a DAW, which is the software used to record and produce music. There’s many to choose from with prices ranging from free to the thousands. Personally I use Ableton Live for recording & mixing, followed by iZotope Ozone for mastering.

Optionally, you might also need: XLR cables, Microphone Stand, Pop Filter, Midi Foot Pedal, Acoustic Panels.

GET IN TOUCH!

Alicante, Spain
+34 692 536 396

Getting in touch is easy! Just send an email to calvin@calvinwest.com with your project details and I’ll respond within a few hours!