Do you have a lot of fun playing your music, but hate the expense of going to a studio? If so, you’re not alone. Recording your music at home can be difficult and expensive, especially for newcomers. That’s why I built a website that makes it very easy for musicians to buy cheap studio equipment and build their own recording studio in their homes (or garages). It’s called HomeStudio.Equipment.
This kind of resource would have been very useful to me 15 years ago when I started building my first home studio and didn’t even know what connects to what. So I’m hoping you’ll find it useful as well!
Obviously, cheap studio equipment for you might not mean cheap for the next person. The great thing about Home Studio Equipment is that I have curated a list of studio equipment based on various budget tiers. When you land on the website, you’ll be greeted with rows of “budget tiers” along with the price of each tier on their respective right sides. These are the prices for the entire home studio package, though you can see the price of each item next to it as well.
I have included the 5 essential gears that I believe every home studio needs, based on my own experience. These should be fairly standard, but your needs might vary, depending on the genre of music you’re planning to produce.
For each tier, I have picked items I have personally used in my years of experience making music at home, or if not, based on extensive research and reviews of each item. Sticking to the tier of your budget ensures you don’t overspend or underspend on any one item. e.g. It wouldn’t be a very effective distribution of your studio budget if you were to drop $600 on a microphone and $70 on headphones, at least if you’re trying to go for an all-around balanced home studio.
Note that the listed prices might fluctuate, but should stay in the same general range, so take them as estimates.
As you probably already know, the answer is going to depend on the type of music you’re producing, or to be more specific, the kind of instruments or tracks that make up your production. For this website, I thought it would be logical to assume you’ll be bringing your own instruments, and are mainly looking to get set up with the studio equipment needed to get your instrument(s) and/or voice, onto a computer so you can produce music.
Another assumption I’m making is that you already own a computer, be it a PC or a Mac, as well as a DAW, which is the software that you use to record, mix and master music. There’s no point in investing in cheap studio equpiment if without having a device that you can connect them to and work on first!
That being said, there are a number of equipment that are essential for the vast majority of home studios: A microphone, an audio interface, some headphones, studio monitors, and a MIDI controller. Let’s take a closer look at each of them!
Yes, I know you know what a microphone is, but what you may not have known is that there are different kinds of microphones, designed for different use cases.
For home studios, I would highly recommend going for a condenser microphone, as they tend to be much more sensitive, and will give you a clearer sound quality, when used in quiet environments, such as a home studio.
And of course, if you’re making the type of music that does not have any audio tracks, like vocals or recorded instruments, feel free to omit the microphone from your cheap studio equipment list.
This is what your microphone plugs into. I won’t bore you with the science, but because of reasons, but to put it briefly; your microphone will most likely need a device that converts the audio signal coming from the microphone to a digital signal your computer can understand. That’s what audio interfaces are for!
If you’ve ever recorded in a professional studio before, these would essentially be the home studio equivalent of a mixing board.
Much like microphones, headphones can come in different types designed for different uses. Primarily open-back and closed-back headphones. The best type of headphones to use while recording audio would be closed back, as they better isolate the earcups and you want to keep the backing track from bleeding into the microphone. If you won’t be doing any audio recording, then feel free to go for open headphones, since they tend to be less distortion prone and offer a slightly better sound overall.
Otherwise known as reference monitors, studio monitors are not just about being loud, but they offer a neutral sound which is essential when you’re mixing and mastering music. Your fans will be listening to your music on a wide range of devices, and counting on the neutral sound offered by studio monitors, making it easier for you to gauge what the final mix master will sound like, and offer a uniform experience across a range of phones, speakers, headphones, and so on!
MIDI has become an indispensable tool for studios everywhere. The convenience which MIDI controllers offer in recording a wide range of instruments without actually going through the headache of getting them in your studio is just a game-changer. These can either look like keyboards, or pads with buttons on it, and everything in between. Depending on the kind of instruments you’re trying to emulate, you can go for one style or the other. Or, if you’re only interested in recording real sounds, you can ignore the MIDI, but I do suggest you at least give it a try!
Now that you know which cheap studio equpiment would be best for your budget, you can start building your music production studio in your home. I hope you found this guide useful and I hope the tool I’ve created will help you get started on your way!