Music recording studio equipment can start from a few hundred dollars and go up in the thousands and beyond very quickly. So with an investment like that to make, plus limited time to sort out the options, you might wonder where to start and how to choose recording gear that fits your needs – and your studio’s budget.
The good news is — it’s possible to get high-quality sound recordings in home or commercial studio settings.
If you’re an independent music teacher creating a starter audio tech stack or upgrading your current studio to record and teach students, now is the right time. Educators all over the world can build a professional studio to give lessons in guitar, piano, voice, recording, engineering, etc. without the consequence of breaking their budget!
However, before you start buying a bunch of equipment, it’s essential to understand what value you can get for your money. So, here are four different music studios you can build that fall into the following budgets:
All of the equipment listed in each budget is carefully selected so you shouldn’t need to spend more than your original limit. You can choose the budget which suits you the best and start setting up your recording studio immediately. However, all the budgets are prepared to assume that you already have a computer or laptop. So if you don’t, that might cost you a bit extra.
Let’s get started!
1. $500 Music Recording Studio
Now within a $500 budget, you can get started with a decent recording studio which includes all the necessary audio equipment. So, let’s begin with each category!
The first thing that you will need is a Digital Audio Workstation, and luckily there are some really great free DAWs available out there. The benefit of going for a free DAW is that not only do you get great software for recording and managing music, but you can spend more on better and higher quality audio equipment.
These two DAWs are my favourite picks for free software:
- Audacity: Audacity is a free and open-source digital audio editor and recording application software, available for all the latest operating platforms. It offers great features and a user-friendly interface.
- GarageBand: Another great free DAW is GarageBand. It offers solid features and is a perfect starter DAW solution.
I recommend the following equipment for a budget of $500 (including using a free DAW):
- Steinberg UR22MKII 2-Channel: This is an excellent audio interface for recording studios as it offers all the latest output ports and gives you the perfect bang for your buck.
- Audio Technica ATH-M40X: The Audio Technica ATH-M40X is an excellent set of headphones for studio use as they offer amazing sound isolation and are great value for the money.
- PreSonus Eris E3.5: This speaker monitor from PreSonus is a nice choice for entry-level professional recording studios.
MIDI Keyboard Controller
- Arturia Minilab MKII 25: The Arturia Minilab MKII 25 offers excellent value for the money and has a wide range of features and functionality.
- MXL 770: The MXL 770 is one of the best microphones on a budget. Being one of the bestselling microphones available, it is a perfect choice to record any vocalist.
2. $1,000 Music Recording Studio
I recommend the following equipment for a budget of $1,000:
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- Cubase Elements: The Cubase Elements is an outstanding DAW and offers an impressive and efficient workstation for recording, engineering, production, and more.
- Steinberg UR242 (4in/2out): The Steinberg UR242 is a good option for people who want high-quality audio and compatible ports to ensure a smooth and efficient work experience.
- Audio Technica ATH-M50X: The Audio Technica ATH-M50X is a professional pair of headphones that makes a great addition to many studios for the price.
- JBL LSR 305: The JBL LSR 305 is the option for people who want premium quality at an affordable price. With well-defined bass and smooth audio delivery, they are a perfect option for any recording studio.
MIDI Keyboard Controller
- Novation LaunchKey Mini mk2: The Novation LaunchKey mini is a great and efficient MIDI device that makes a fun addition to play and trigger samples from your DAW.
- Samson Meteor Mic USB Studio Microphone: This microphone is a good choice for many studios (including podcasters), as it offers detailed audio with a simple set up.
Related: Advice on getting the best piano recording results with your equipment
3. $1,500 Music Recording Studio
I recommend the following equipment for a budget of $1,500:
- Image-Line FL Studio: Many musicians’ go-to choice, the Image-Line FL Studio is a classic DAW with impressive and versatile features. It’s an excellent choice for musicians, both new and seasoned, that want to have plenty of capabilities to explore
- Focusrite Scarlett 18i8: The Focus Scarlett 18i8 works well for people with a budget of $1500 as it offers good value for the money. The 18i8 is also a nice option for teaching lessons in signal flow and audio engineering.
- Sennheiser HD6 Mix: The HD6 Mix is a wonderful and high-quality pair of headphones that can deliver stellar audio quality that’s great for mixing/mastering sessions.
- Yamaha HS5: The Yamaha HS5 is an industry-standard speaker monitor that can deliver superb audio quality and is a solid choice for any recording studio.
MIDI Keyboard Controller
- Arturia KeyStep 37: The Arturia KeyStep 37 is one of the best MIDI keyboard controllers one can buy today with a budget of $1500.
- Sennheiser MD421: The Sennheiser MD421 is one of the best-known cardioid microphones in the music industry, and it is a perfect choice for any serious singer session.
4. $2,000 Music Recording Studio
I recommend the following equipment for a budget of $2,000:
- Avid Pro Tools: Avid Pro Tools is the best DAW available in a budget of $2000. It offers outstanding recording features, smooth and efficient user experience, and in-depth production potential, all of which make great learning resources.
- Audient EVO 4: The Audient EVO 4 is a great option for recording studios as it offers vast and versatile audio options.
- Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80 Ohm: These high-quality circumaural headphones from Beyerdynamic with bass reflex are extremely popular with both professional producers and audio engineers.
- ADAM Audio T7V 7″: ADAM Audio is a household name that delivers crystal clear audio with a comprehensive range audio frequency response.
MIDI Keyboard Controller
- Behringer U-Control UMX610: This MIDI keyboard controller from Behringer is a feature-rich keyboard that can make a useful tool for piano and recording lessons.
- Rode NT1A: Rode NT1A is one of the best condenser studio microphones from Rode, and it sure does deliver the performance and quality it is famous for.
Conclusion about setting up a professional music recording studio
Now, with all the above information, you have a basis to assess what’s needed and a budget scope for your recording studio setup for teaching, course creation, and professional recording projects.
I really liked your article. You have mentioned great content and concepts. Off to share. Thank you and have a great day!
This is great information especially since it gives ideas to update different aspects gradually. Do you have something similar but for recording videos with the equipment for that?
Good question, Colin. Thank you for the topic suggestion and I agree it’s an important point to cover about video recording. I’ll get to work on that!