Build your home recording studio with less than $600

Build your home recording studio with less than $600

A complete home studio guide for a beginner with all the necessary tools to start music production

From the age when a recording studio would cost as much as your house to the age where with a minimum wage you are able to afford the basics to start. Music instruments, audio effects, track arrangement, mixing and mastering and dozens more stuff can now happen in your computer.

The investment you will have to do for a home recording studio now compare to the one needed few years ago is incomparable low.

The sector of recording studio equipment changes rapidly. When i started to build my own home recording studio, i wanted to buy all possible equipment that i could afford. High-end PC, the best DAW, and the MIDI controllers that famous music producers were using. Even synthesizers, great quality recording devices and later on a room with premium sound isolation. the point is that i had more that i can afford and i don’t mean financially. 

 

The number of studio relative products in the market is large, resulting big competition, great quality and at very good prices.

The good story here is that you don’t need to spend big to get what you want. Unless you are semi-pro or pro music producers you do not need analog synths, expensive sound cards or other studio tools.

Especially at the beginning when you haven’t start make money yet, you don’t want to spend big bucks on some tools that you ill not be able to take full advantage of yet.

Let’s start with what you will need to start record your ideas, mix them, edit them and create a full track.

home recording studio under $600

  1. Computer PC
  2. DAW (music production software)
  3. Studio Headphones 
  4. Monitor speakers
  5. MIDI keyboard controller
  6. Audio interface (sound card)

Reminder that those are just the basics but still enough to create a Massive Top Track!

 

 

1. Computer PC (desktop or laptop)

I guess that most of you already own at least one PC in your household.
Windows or MAC? there is no right or wrong answer! Each choice has it’s good and bad, and since it’s not an old PC that cannot handle a “soft” daw and some plug-ins you will be good to start.  Desktop would be ideal to work with as are more powerful than laptops for the same amount of money and also have bigger display. A laptop however is not a bad option especially if you have some money to invest on a good but cheap monitor TV in order to better view your work/project.

In case you are searching for a new computer for your home recording studio, check out our latest article with the best options.

 

2. DAW (digital audio workstation)

Our first purchase should be the music production software that we will work our tracks. (later on, you will learn to use many daw’s and use the best one for each job). 

If we avoid the expensive but premium daw’s such as Ableton Live, Cubase and Pro Tools there are still some very good, cheap or even free softwares to start music production. 
note: When you will purchase a MIDI keyboard controller there are many possibilities that it will include a daw software, such as Ableton Live Lite. 

  1. Logic Pro X – $199.99
    Musicians who use it: Hardwell, Avicii, Armin Van Buuren, Carl Cox, Above&Beyond, Adele, Kygo, Hot Since 82
    Logic Pro is a MAC running digital audio workstation. It is a complete platform that you can record/edit/mix and get from the first idea to final mastering of the track. It is no mistake that the biggest names of music industry use this software to produce their songs.
  2. Image-Line FL studio  (check price on Amazon.com) 
    Musicians who use it: Avicii, Martin Garrix, David Guetta, Bassjackers, Gesaffelstein
    FL studio is the best seller daw on Amazon store and very common software among EDM and Big Room producers.
    The daw by Image-Line has a great collection of loops and sounds. In addition, a big number of virtual instruments, plug-ins, sampling and natural beat-making.
  3. GarageBand (free)
    GarageBand is the most popular free DAW available, it is however available only for MAC OS users.

  4. Audacity (free)
    Audacity is close second (free daw) but both MAC AND WIN users can enjoy it.

Approximately money spent = $0

Find here the best daw’s in the market. 

 

3. Studio headphones

For under $100 you can get some of the best studio headphones in the market. Including the Sony MDR 7506 that was used by legend Mick Jagger. Even with that budget you can purchase a pair of studio headphones that offer durability, comfort and great sound response.
What to look for before you buy one?
Your biggest concern here is what type of headphones you will pick. Closed-back type of headphones that provide excellent isolation and won’t pick-up background noises. Open-back type of headphones that will offer better sound quality but will not provide an ideal isolation. 

Our pick for the best 4 studio headphones under $100:

  1. Sony MDR 7506
    Musicians who use it: Mick Jagger, Linkin Park, Paul Van Dyk, Helios
    If the artist’s names above didn’t convince you, visit Amazon.com store and you will be surprised of the amount of excellent reviews by users around the globe. 

  2. Audio Technica ATH-M40X
    The sound quality is very good (close to ATH-M50X), the isolation is outstanding and in total is an excellent value for money choice. 

  3. Shure SRH 440
    Shure SRH 440 is very comfortable pair of studio headphones. The headband it might be a little bit tough but you can attach one of your own. The ear-cups are replaceable to ensure long product life.

  4. Sennheiser HD 280 Pro
    Sennheiser HD 280 PRO is a very popular pair of studio headphones. It’s built-quality, the very good isolation and price range make it a great option for any home recording studio.

Approximately money spent = under $100

Find more about the best studio headphones under $100

 

4. Studio monitor speakers

Here is where most of our money will be spent (half of our $600 budget). Well, first of all we buy two products, instead of one. And second, these are our main output source when we will do mixing & mastering.
You cannot complete a track with only your studio headphones. 

You cannot rely on any hi-fi or computer speakers in your home recording studio. Those devices are designed to make the sound more attractive to your ears. Studio monitor speakers are essential. We will forget the expensive choices of Genelec, Yamaha or Focal Alpha and let’s check choices under $150.

Prices vary and new offers appear from time to time, so here are our choices under $300 for a pair:

  1. JBL LSR 305 
    The model by JBL offers a great sound with well defined bass and smooth the mids and highs. The very low price tag make it an excellent “value for money” purchase.

  2. KRK Rokit 6
    In many home recording studios you will notice the yellow feature woofer by KRK. The deep bass response and clear highs make it an ideal choice for all electronic music genres.

Approximately money spent = under $300

For more about the best studio monitor speakers check our article

 

5. MIDI keyboard controller

The tool that will make your room look more like a music studio is more affordable than you think. You still won’t have to sacrifice on quality and features as they are made by top brands in the music industry. (Novation, Arturia, Alesis and M-audio!) 

What to look for before you buy one?
Keys count, action-type of the keys and most importantly to integrate with your daw software. For our budget our choices stay at 25 keys and one with 32. Action type we will go with “synth-action” which is the most common on MIDI keyboards. In addition many models come with a daw for free. Most of the packages out there offer virtual instruments / plug-ins to start making music from day one.

Choices here are plenty but our top 4 picks are:

  1. Novation Launchkey Mini 25-Note MK2
    Amazingly this small tool has a pretty good range of features. Except the 25 synth-action keys, 8 dedicated knobs and control buttons it offers 16 velocity sensitive multicolor launch-pads. It lacks of a proper pitch and mod wheel but Launchkey mini mk2 is an extremely compact tool.

  2. Alesis V25
    This 25-key keyboard features 8 velocity pads with a nice “spacey” blue LED illumination and 4 assignable pots and buttons. Pitch bend and modulation wheel are not missing here. It comes with Ableton Live Lite, SONiVOX Twist and AIR Music Tech Xpand!2. 

  3. Arturia Minilab MKII 25
    This tiny and totally white tool offers more than it looks and the included softwares make it another excellent value-for-money purchase. The 2 banks of 8 velocity sensitive RGB backlit performance pads and the 16 full-size rotary encoders make it a hard to resist tool.

  4. M-Audio Axiom AIR Mini 32
    The only 32 key-count keyboard controller you will probably find in the market around our budget. You will find 
    8 velocity-sensitive trigger pads and 8 assignable knobs. It also includes Ableton Live Lite.

Approximately money spent = under $100

For more about the best daw softwares check our article

 

6. Audio interface (sound card)

  1. Steinberg UR22MKII 2-Channel 
    The ratings of this interface are nearly excellent. With one instrument input & one microphone input with low-noise is an ideal option for beginners. If, however you manage just a few extra bucks from your purchases before and go for the 
    AudioBox iTwo 2×2 would be ideal. It comes with one extra mic input and one more instrument input.

  2. Focusrite Scarlett Solo (2nd Gen)
    One more tool that offers a mic preamp with plenty of even gain and one newly-designed instrument input. It will handle seriously hot guitar pick-ups.

Approximately money spent = under $100

For more informations check the best audio interfaces under $200

 

I still find it amazing you can start music production with such a small budget of $600. The is a perfect beginner home recording studio that later on you can invest on studio microphone, drum machine and synths.

Do not hesitate to post your comments and questions. Me and my team would be happy to help!

Have fun shopping…

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 4
  • comment-avatar

    Thanks man!!! I wish I had read that before I buy my home recording studio equipment!! Do you believe Yamaha HS was a good choice???

  • comment-avatar
    Alex Kane 3 months ago

    Hi! Cool website you have here!! I follow everything you post!! Great Instagram account!!!!
    Do you believe the free music production softwares you mention above can do a decent job o produce techno and deep house?? 

  • comment-avatar

    Nice article! Thanks for sharing! … I would like to add that if you plan on recording vocals or instruments and struggle with problematic echoes or standing waves in your recording room then you might benefit from acoustic treatment like foam panels or bass traps. We offer great pricing on these and other recording supplies as well. Feel free to use the 10% off code SAVEMONEY at our website. http://www.soundassured.com … Take care and be well 🙂

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