Got all these new tunes ready to go, but perhaps you’ve not got a way to get them recorded? If you’re a musician who feels hindered by this, the solution is easy. Why not assemble your home recording studio?
First of all, building your own home studio is not as hard as you think it’ll be. Many of your favourite artists recorded a lot of their materials from the comfort of their home studio. Billie Eilish, Misha Mansoor, and Singapore’s very own Charlie Lim are just some of the prime examples. But you don’t have to be a pro to aspire to record your music at home.
There are so many good reasons to record your music at home, whether professionally or not. Right off the bat, you’ll save money on studio bookings, which can be really pricey. And you’ll have constant access to recording equipment without having to cut an inspiring session short either.
Not having to work around these constraints, you’ll be able to better indulge your creativity. But most importantly, as Charlie mentioned, “It’s the equivalent of singing in the shower, there’s no judgement.”
All you need now is a computer, a few pieces of key equipment, and some square inches on your table. Just refer to the handy gear we’ve included to see what your budget will get you, and go from there. If you’re unfamiliar with the equipment you need for your studio, check out our guide on home recording studio essentials.
P.S. None of our selections include a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), but if you’re looking for a free alternative, you might want to consider checking out BandLab. They’ve got a suite of cool features added to their community-based platform for sound recording and audio production.
Home Recording Studio Under $1,000
Here’s a simple setup we put together that will be a great starting point for a musician who’s learning the recording ropes. It includes all the essentials you need to start recording vocals and instruments. And you still have spare change for a MIDI keyboard controller and accessories!
A little goes a long way, and a few handpicked studio essentials are all you need to get started. A great microphone is key to get things rolling and the Aston Origin is our pick. Its cardioid condenser capsule will pick up subtle nuances of whatever you’re recording. Dynamic ranges are also no issue, thanks to its low-mass diaphragm.
Price: $219 for a pair
There’s much to adore about the Alesis Elevate 4 Studio Monitors. Instead of having an EQ curve like many of the typical speakers out there, they’re designed to provide an accurate, consistent sound. The boost switch still lets you pump up the bass if you think the track needs it. This tiny pair of monitors won’t carve out much space on your desktop, so that’s an added plus.
The Alesis V49 Mk2 49-Key Keyboard Controller is perfect for the composer on the go. 49 responsive synth-action keys and right velocity-sensitive pads assist in editing endeavours.
Four MIDI knobs dial into DAW and a whole array of virtual instruments. It’s plug-and-play too, thanks to the USB input. With MPC beats and seven expansion packs waiting in the wings, you’ll be creating beats in no time.
Audio interfaces are an absolutely essential cog in your studio setup. It converts microphone and instrument signals into a format your computer and software can recognise. Without one, you don’t have the right tool to begin recording your instrument.
The Arturia MiniFuse 1 USB-C Audio Interface features a professional-grade mic/line/instrument preamp, with top-notch fidelity. Supporting sample rates up to 192kHz, the interface has a direct monitor switch that allows for zero-latency monitoring. Best of all is the virtual stereo loopback channel, which lets you control and record computer audio while also utilising analogue input.
Home Recording Studio Under $3,000
Let’s move up a level. Here’s a setup that will be great for the recording musician who’s looking for a little more polish. This collection features more studio gear that will take your quality up a notch without burning a giant hole through your wallet. Value is key here!
When you’re willing to fork out a little more for variety, a dynamic mic is a worthwhile addition to your ensemble, and the Shure SM7B is one of the best in its field. The Grammy-nominated Black Pumas are a fan, as is Conan O’Brien. Initially designed as a boom mic, the SM7B’s shape ensures maximum low-end capture. This results in vocals that take on a rich, honeyed tone when filtered through this bad boy.
Note the mic’s large windscreen and air pocket, cleverly crafted to curtail snaps, cracks, and unwanted background noise without an added pop filter. If you like thunderous and booming music, the SM7B practically drinks in louder sounds and reverbs with relish. So turn your guitar amplifiers up and bash away at your drums!
Price: $499 per unit
Studio monitors are always a subjective affair. Thankfully, the IK Multimedia iLoud MTM Powered Studio Monitor duo was made to focus on conditioning and accuracy.
Built-in ARC room calibration tech makes up for any acoustic deficiencies in the space around it. Sound translates wonderfully, due to the phase coherency within +/- 15° from 200Hz to 20kHz. From music production to voice work, this studio monitor will go the distance.
Proof that good things come to those who wait, the Focusrite Clarett+ 2Pre USB-C Audio rewards anyone who masters it with two mic/instrument/line preamps, super low round-trip latency, and upgraded 192kHz/24-bit digital conversion.
It’s been designed to deliver next to no noise and distortion, so rest assured your mixes will sound just like you wanted. They also included the acclaimed Air circuit, an analogue model of the mic pre that keeps sound open, sparkling, and ultra-clean.
Pair it with the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol A49 Smart Keyboard Controller – its semi-weighted key bed resists fingertips just enough that it feels like a real piano. The Smart Play function keeps you in check with over 100 modes.
Home Recording Studio Under $7,000
Here is where things get serious! This setup is all about sheer sound quality with no compromises.
We’re taking out the big guns here but don’t worry we’re still picking gear that stretches your dollar. Throw in acoustic treatment and soundproofing to your music recording studio and you’ll be set. In fact, you’ll have a setup that can keep up with some professional studios!
If you’re working with a larger studio fund, these upgraded basics will round out your arsenal quite nicely. Start with an Audio-Technica AT4047MP Multi-pattern Condenser Microphone. The condenser microphone is the industry standard for a reason – owing to their detail-oriented performance.
The AT4047MP lets you choose your preference, with three switchable polar patterns (cardioid, omni, and figure-8). Whether you’re crooning out a smooth tune or styling out an intricate riff on the guitar, the high SPL handling and solid construction will take it all in stride.
Now that you’re playing in the big leagues, you’ll need a setup that can keep up with your lofty ambitions. Enter the Focusrite Clarett+ 4Pre USB-C Audio Interface. This meticulous 18-in/8-out cube employs a quad of Clarett+ mic preamps for performance magic.
With low round-trip audio latency via its USB-C connection, you can pair this interface with DAW plug-ins. You won’t even require any extra processing or DSP here. And if after all this, you still need more? The ADAT input lets you tag on eight extra digital mic preamp channels.
While you’re at it, don’t forget the Arturia Keylab 88 MkII Weighted Keyboard Controller. For sheer control over your music-making experience, this one is hard to beat. Take in its Fatar TP100LR 88-note hammer-action keys that respond flawlessly to the fastest trills and repetitions. While 16 velocity-sensitive pads glow as you tap out a beat for your synth compositions.
Modulate with the 9-fader,/9-encoder strong control bank, and turn to the Analog Lab software for more than 6,500 synth and keyboard sounds. The sturdy aluminium chassis with wooden side panels is rugged enough to survive days on the road. Def take this one if you’re going on a tour.
Price: $1,199 per unit
The iLoud Precision 5 Studio Monitors are one of the best you’ll find for mixing and mastering at this price point. This 150W beauty undergoes a stringent calibration and inspection process at the Modena factory before being shipped out.
It uses an ARC room connection to personally turn its sound to your surrounding acoustics. X-Monitor software goes a step further, enabling the iLoud to emulate industry-grade studio monitors in real time. Sound is time-accurate and linear-phased, translating mixes accurately and preventing ear fatigue.
Give your ears another treat with the Rode NTH-100 closed-back headphones. This pair of cans accurately reproduces the sonic output of your trusty monitor speakers. 40mm custom-matched drivers build a sound stage that’s pristine and true-to-life, with the barest hint of distortion. Its locking cable design keeps accidental disconnections from occurring.
A bonus feature is undoubtedly the memory foam cups and earbands with CoolTech capabilities. These are comfortable enough to wear for hours at a time. So kick back and listen to the fruits of your labour in comfort and style.
As you can see, a few key devices should be all you need to start your recording journey. At the end of the day, remember that you’re the one who determines your musical potential. So don’t let your budget become a limiting factor!
Read more: Studio Microphones for Beginners