After the previous article about Affordable Equipment to Build A Mini Home Studio, on Linkedin I get some great comments about this with plenty of new tips on how to create and what to buy if you want to make a music studio, even a home recording studio.
“It really does depend on what kind of music is going to be recorded. It’s safe to assume that a person putting together a setup in this price range is most likely going to be making music of their own and not recording bands for commercial purposes. What kind of music you will be making determines where you should spend your money. If you’re going to be recording live instrumentation, I would suggest basing your rig around
If you’re going to be recording live instrumentation, I would suggest basing your rig around Pro Tools or Logic, where Ableton would be the way to go for electronic music production in my opinion. Even then, don’t expect to be able to record an entire band for $1,000, most budget interfaces usually only come with a couple of XLR inputs.
For live production, one option would be the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 that you mentioned, Logic Pro X, the SE X1, and a Shure SM-57; for about $200 more, you can buy a Mbox with Pro Tools Express. After buying monitors, this, of course, is going to use the entire budget, or slightly more in the case of Pro Tools with a Mbox, but when you are starting out, you don’t have to buy new. The picture of the recording rig at the top of your article is still a solid home rig and is based on Pro Tools utilizing a 003.
Many people are trying to sell older gear such as this, so they can purchase newer and more expensive gear. For someone starting out, buying used is a very smart option. A cheaper Pro Tools interface would be the M-Audio M-track, which also comes with Pro Tools Express and costs $150. Also, it is worth noting that Logic Pro X requires OSX, so chances are if you’re not on a Mac, it isn’t really an option.
When looking at electronic music production, functionality is possibly more important than converters and pres, and I would suggest looking for tools that help you manipulate the software. Everyone that I know who works with electronic music swears by Ableton Live and version 9 has some impressive features.
An introductory version can be purchased for $99, and a Novation Launchpad S is $170, the latter is a control device that can be used as a sequencer, but is really only limited by your creativity. Couple this with the Akai or Focusrite interfaces you mentioned, and the SE X1 for vocals, and you should be well on your way. Another cheap option is the Propellerhead Balance, which comes with Reason Essentials and costs $270.
Monitors, as I stated, are subjective; when shopping for monitors, you need to listen to them and test A/B (compare). Take a recording that you are familiar with to the store and reference it on several different speakers, and buy the ones that sound the best to you.
That being said, for someone looking to just buy monitors, say a parent shopping for a gift, the JBL LSR305s are solid monitors at $150. Also, one should bear in mind that listed prices for monitors are usually for each speaker, thus you usually have to double the price for the cost of monitors.
Other microphones to purchase will again be subjective and depends on what sound you are going for. Study various microphones and what makes them unique, this will help you determine how and why you will use them.
Like I said before, there is nothing wrong with buying used gear when you are starting out, it’s a great way to get quality on a budget. Mic stands don’t have to be fancy, and a basic pop filter (used to tame plosives) is nothing more than a ring with some nylon on it.
I think the biggest mistake I see hobbyists make is the placement of their monitors. Monitors should be at ear level, and should be spaced so they form an equilateral triangle in relation to the listening position; anyone with basic carpentry skills can build a set of cheap monitor stands. Also, learning to solder is easy and can save you a ton of money when it comes to cables; buying raw materials and making your own is a great way to save cash.”
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Also read: 5 Essentials For Your Home Recording Studio