Home Studio Audio Gear Recommendations
Building a studio at your home on a budget can be a bit overwhelming. I've put together some recommendations for gear that offers quality at an affordable price. Contact me if you would like a personal review and recommendation for your studio. I also do setup and installations to help getting all the gear connected and operating properly.
Apple MacBook Pro MD101LL/A 13.3-inch Laptop (2.5Ghz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HD) (Certified Refurbished)
I personally prefer Apple computers for their reliability and performance. These MacBook Pro models are a great choice for audio production. This line still has the USB ports which makes it easy to connect your interface and iLok key. They're easy to take on the road and the battery life is decent.
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Series Gaming Edition 7567 15.6-Inch Full HD Screen Laptop
A good computer is the core of a studio. One that has power and speed to handle the recording engine is very important. Windows 10 has been working well with the new versions of Pro Tools, so this is an excellent choice for your studio and everyday computer.
This is a great mic for recording virtually anything in your studio. It's ideal for vocals, but I've had lots of success using this mic on guitar cabs and as a room mic for the drums. It has a very clean response and doesn't put a lot of noise into the signal chain. Priced around $230, this is a great start for building your mic collection. This bundle comes with a shock mount and pop filter, so it's got everything you need to get going.
HEIL PR 77D Broadcast Bundle
I've been using Heil Microphones for some years now and they are very dependable. This year at the NAMM convention in Anaheim we got to check out the new PR 77D. This is another versatile mic that has a switch to choose between recording vocals or instruments. It does offer some flexibility to shape the sound you're recording. Plus this mic looks really cool and vintage, so you will be more inspired in the studio. The broadcast bundle includes a XLR cable and radio station style boom stand that clamps to your desk. Priced at $269 this is an excellent option for a budget studio setup.
Behringer UMC404HD U-Phoria USB Audio Interface
Record the perfect vocal right to your DAW thanks to the 4 astonishingly pure, world-class MIDAS-designed mic preamps, which include +48 Volt phantom power for condenser microphones, all going through studio-grade 24-Bit/192 kHz converters for the best possible sound quality. This little box really packs a punch for the home studio or traveling musician.
You can get the Behringer U-PHORIA UMC404HD + Accessory Bundle for $119.
Headphones are a critical part of any studio. The Shure SRH840 headphones are an affordable option that will give you a clear sound and comfort that can be worn for hours. If you're in the studio doing a lot of takes, you'll need headphones that don't cause too much fatigue. Plus, these headphones have an extra set of ear pads to swap out when the originals get worn down. These are definitely the best headphone option under $200.
Sony's Pro Audio department has a real winner on its ears with the MDR7506 foldable headphones. The excellent Sony sound quality is there and these puppies are built like a tank. Closed-ear design gives you great comfort for long sessions, exclusion of external noise, and no leakage for when you're recording. Priced under $100, these are insanely affordable for the quality that you get. Pretty much a no-brainer for the budget. Amazon currently has these headphones priced at $79.99.
Triad Orbit Mic Stand System
If you're going to be serious about your recordings, you need a microphone stand that is even more serious than you are. The Triad Orbit system is a great mic stand system to invest in for your studio. These are strong and heavy mic stands that provide the mobility and adjustments that you will need for multiple recording projects. The quick-change couplers are ideal for connecting to your shock-mounts and then being able to hot swap your mics in a matter of seconds. I use these mic stands at the studio everyday and I'll be happy to show you the benefits of having these stands in your studio.
Mogami Gold Microphone Cables
The cable is usually the most over-looked piece of the studio. A solid connection from your mic to your interface is extremely crucial. These gold cables provide the quality that you need to make sure that your audio is clean and professional. I never recommend cutting corners and using cheap cables is the fastest way to downgrade the quality of your recordings. So pony up and invest in cables that are used by the pros.
KRK RP5G3 Rokit 5 Generation 3 Powered Studio Monitors
If your tracks are going to sound good, you need to be able to hear them accurately. The KRK series of monitors is a great way to go for sound and style. The 5" cones give you a decent amount of response to gauge where your mix is with tone and balance. The monitors are space efficient and have a control panel on the back to give you the ability to adjust the sound for your room. Amazon is currently offering these monitors with a pair of 18 foot XLR cables.
Samsung 850 EVO 500GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-75E500B/AM)
When you are ready to upgrade your hard drive or add a high performance hard drive, I recommend SSD drives. These drives are fast and silent, so if you have a noisy laptop hard drive, this is your solution. The 500GB version is usually enough for most applications and at $149, it is an affordable upgrade for your system.
Here are some recommendations for those looking to expand and get more I/O for their studio.
Behringer U-Phoria UMC1820 USB Audio Interface
When you need to step up your game just a bit more, the UMC1820 is a great option that is only $299. Pair it with the ADA8200 and you have 16 channels of I/O that will be enough to sustain a home recording studio. The UMC1820 gives you 8 Midas mic preamps, coaxial S/PDIF, optical ADAT and MIDI I/O, dual headphone outs, monitor A/B and more. The 2 headphone outputs are a big plus with this interface because it allows you to monitor at levels that are comfortable.
Behringer ADA8200 Ultragain Pro A/D D/A 8-Channel Converter
I can't say enough good things about the Behringer ADA8200. This preamp gives you 8 channels of input and output signal that can greatly increase your recording and studio setup. It connects to your interface via an optical ADAT connection and provides the I/O expansion that will allow you to do more tracking and potentially add an analog summer to your mix bus.
Cable Matters Gold Plated Toslink Optical ADAT cable
Expand your system with an optical device and us a cable that is outrageously affordable and extremely dependable. A 6 foot cable for under $10 is a real deal and this cable provides quality in performance and style. I've had many cables over the years and these Cable Matters cables are still going strong. Be bold and take a chance on cables that will work and not break the bank. Buy 2 cause you'll need input and output connections.