Your Bare Essential List of Home Recording Equipment

Control Room in a Home Recording Studio

If you want to jump-start your home recording studio but don’t really have the budget for a ton of home recording equipment there are a few things more important than others.

Given that we don’t want to go overboard with the budget and only need the bare minimums for your home recording studio, these are the things that you absolutely need. Just get started with the bare essentials and later down the line you can pick up all the extra music recording equipment you desire.

And what are the bare essentials anyway?

A recording computer

There is no need for any home recording equipment if you can’t record and save your songs somewhere. In the short-run you can get away with most computers, whether desktop or laptop. Get some free recording software off the internet and you can check this item off your list.

Studio Monitors

You don’t need ultra expensive monitors to start a little home studio. There are a bunch of really nice sounding monitors at budget prices that can get you started and will get the job done perfectly. Later on you might want Focal’s $3500 Flagship Sm9’s but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

An alternative option would be to get really good headphones, but it is always better to listen to mixes in a room instead of on headphones. But if you have to put off buying monitors for a later date, headphones can totally work in the short-run.

A trusty microphone

A nice sounding condenser is a great bet for the home recording enthusiast. Get a workhorse microphone that works equally well on vocals and acoustic instruments. You would be amazed at the sound coming out of some condensers under $100.

An interface

Now you need to plug it all in and start recording. The last little thing you will need is an interface to patch it all together. In order for you to connect the headphones, microphone and monitors to your computer you need some sort of audio interface. Prices vary depending on how many inputs and features you want, but there are certainly plenty of audio interfaces out there for people on a budget.


And one more thing, be sure to get all the necessary cables to connect everything together. Now with your bare bones home recording equipment there is no reason to delay the production of your next smash hit.

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  • Myloamillab

    what I was looking for, thanks

  • Jimmy

    To add to the microphone tip I got myself an ART tube preamp (actually bundled with my low cost condenser microphone) and it makes a big difference to use before the audio interface. Also most condenser need 48V and some interfaces don’t provide it. The ART preamp is also great for other things such as bass and guitar recordings. When I started out at home I only had an Shure SM58 microphone which is a good thing to have around for almost any recordings. I have never got into the talk about the praise for SM57, it’s good and standard, but I like SM58 better. The difference is very small but it’s there. With one condenser and one SM58/57 type microphone you get a long way (except for perhaps recording drums…which you might not do at home anyway).
    From the page on Studio monitors I saw the ones I use listed, M-audio Studiopro 3. They are alright and fitted my wallet at the time. I use them in combo with my AKG K240 headphones for mixing. It’s good enough for the type of recordings I do.
    As for the part on recording software I started out using Ardour which I liked (since I’m a linux user). However when upgrading to a new laptop and audio interface I ran into trouble to get it working with 24 bit. Disappointed I reverted to Windows and found Reaper, , which I like very much. It is not free, but you can try it for 30 days and after that the license is very reasonable and well worth it.

  • Björgvin Benediktsson

    That’s a great comment. You are absolutely right that you can go far with only a condenser and a dynamic. I’m an Audix i5 lover and prefer that over the Sm57, but whatever works for you is great.

    And those cheap monitors are great for starting out, and whenever you are ready to upgrade you can always look for more expensive(and better) monitors to complement your setup.

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