What you will need
In total you will be needing 4 things… Oddly enough that 4 could become only 2 depending on the type of setup you are going for.
- An Audio Interface
- Mic Stand & Pop Filter
Audio Interface Bundle
You can get an audio interface from Focusrite that includes a microphone, headphones and the cables you will need as well as a free copy of Protools which will in turn mean you do not need item 3 on this list anymore, or you can also get a bundle that includes a mic stand and pop filter which will mean you won’t be needing items 3 and 4 on this list. I already investigated all these things so here are the links to each bundle.
Scarlett Solo Bundle: Check on Amazon
Scarlett Solo Bundle with Mic Stand & Pop Filter: Check on Amazon
These are of course budget options that work fantastic, you must know that the headphones included in the box are almost nearly useless for anything aside monitoring audio for your talent. If you would like to spend a little more money you could splurge a little more but I suppose it doesn’t need to be said that the law of diminishing returns comes into play with things like this.
If you love music so much you want to start producing it I would assume you already own headphones, but you may still need new ones regardless. If you have been using popular brand name headphones like Beats or Shure and maybe even 50 Cents SMS Audio, you may have missed the mark a little bit. Most of those headphones are designed to enhance the listening experience of a consumer as opposed to monitoring flat audio for mixing and mastering. On the off chance that you are in the market for new studio monitoring headphones here are a few options you may want to consider:
Needless to say, you can probably get these headphones for slightly less money if you are willing to buy used or slightly used… which I wouldn’t recommend as I wouldn’t do it myself. I also would not expect you to mix or master audio with a pair of bluetooth cans or anything ridiculous like that. That would be a really bad joke if you tried.. but please don’t.
Now speaking about software, your options are not limited at all, to each his own like I always say. I have friends who swear by ProTools, me personally I have used FL Studio, Adobe Audition and Cubase in my time but there is really no one way to do it. Watch videos and tutorials and figure out what works for your style and production then pick that. Better still, try multiple softwares or learn how to use them all. No knowledge is a waste.
Here are some top of the line softwares if you would like a comprehensive list:
Pro Tools: Check on Amazon
FL Studio: Check on Amazon
Ableton Live: Check on Amazon
Reason 10: Check on Amazon
Here is a more in-depth comparison table in case you need one:
Again this is a category you will not need to even worry about if say you buy a Scarlett Solo bundle recommended above or you already had a software you have been practicing or playing with on your computer.
Mic Stand & Pop Filter
This part is pretty much self explanatory, your mic will need to stand on something and you will need a pop filter to reduce/avoid plosives if you did not go with the bundle that comes with both items recommended above. Here are some products we recommend for your convenience:
- Compatible with Nikon D7500/D800/D810D/D700/D750/D7000/D7100/D90/D600/D610/D4 Camera; Built-in 2.4G Receiver with 8 Channels. Trigger included. USB firmware upgrade helps keep pace with the latest technology. 1-Year Neewer Warranty and lifetime email support
- With Li-ion Battery, TTL function, High GN68, High Speed Sync, this Germany Engineered flash meets all Location Shooting demands whether shoot fast-moving objects or shoot in different lighting environments
- 400W Full Power even at 1/8000s High Speed Sync Mode. 13W Dimmable energy-saving LED Modeling bulb. Stable color temperature at 5600+/-200K over the entire power range
- Large capacity lithium battery pack to provide 500 full power flashes and fast recycle time (0.01-2.8 seconds)
- Extremely short flash duration: from 1/650 to 1/10000 seconds. 7 steps of power adjustment (1/128 to 1/1)
- Rotates 360 degrees with a maximum reach of 32.5 inches horizontally and 33 inches vertically
- 3/8 inch thread adaptor
- Holds up to 4.4 lbs
- Includes two desk mounting options
- 2-axis swivel mount for accurate positioning
- ENSURE YOU BUY GENIUNE RØDE PRODUCTS! Products from sellers which say 'fulfilled by Amazon' under the price are NOT authorized resellers, and may not be selling genuine product.
- Buy only from Amazon.com (labelled 'shipped and sold by Amazon.com')
- The perfect suspension shock mount for the Procaster or Podcaster
- Provides isolation from external vibrations which can translate as low frequency noise or manipulate the microphone position
- Rotates 360 degrees with a maximum reach of 820mm (32.5 inches) horizontally and 840mm (33 inches) vertically
- Double Layered Screen Pop Filters: The first screen blocks air blasts as any pop filter normally would; The gap in between then disperses any remaining air pressure, so by the time it passes the second screen, the blast is easily contained to produce great quality recordings.
- Universally Compatible: Adjustable screw rotating clamp with scratch-proof gripper can secure variety tubular mounting booms or microphone stands. Eliminates anyone's extra elements that prevents them from recording/projecting their best vocals to the public or their audience.
- Adjustable Gooseneck: The steel metal gooseneck holder fully supports the filter's weight and keep it in place. You can adjust the angle and distance between the screen and the microphone to best fit your needs for yours lovely voice.
- Functions: Banish the dreaded hissing and lisping sounds that come when pronouncing the letter "S" and blocks those ugly "plosives" that follows "B" and "P". It is a great item for singers, streamers and actors alike who want help achieving the best possible performance and help protect the spitting all over your personal microphone.
- Easy To Use: Swivel mount for easy installation, removal and location adjustment. Aokeo Professional High Standard Microphones and Aokeo Premium Quality Stands are sold separately (NOT INCLUDED)
Whatever variety or combination you choose to go with, understand that when you are beginning it is totally OK to skip the expensive stuff and stick to the functional basics. And when you begin to make some money from your music production you can begin to buy the more niche popular and nice to have equipments that make your rig a lot more professional.
We have completely avoided recommending studio monitors and speakers of any kind as those can be quite expensive to start and they are not totally a MUST HAVE if you can master how to use your studio monitoring headphones. We will however compile a guide for studio monitors at a later date and connect that to this section of this post.
While that is in the works though, here is a list of the best selling studio monitors out there right now:
- The reviews speak for themselves!
- The only true studio monitor for multimedia, gaming, watching movies, or producing your next hit
- Studio-quality industrial design. They look as great as they sound. Protection: RF interference, output-current limiting, over-temperature, turn-on/off transient
- 3.5-Inch woven composite drivers produce a more powerful bass response with a more accurate overall sound
- The only monitors in their class with acoustic tuning. This enables you to get pristine sound quality in any room. Crossover frequency: 2.8 kHz
- 2 x AUX INPUT - Convenient connection to any device that has a 3.5mm headphone output or dual RCA output. Connect to two devices via AUX at the same time, no plugging and switching needed.
- STUDIO SOUND QUALITY - Natural sound reproduction from 13mm silk dome tweeter and 4 inch full range unit
- REMOTE CONTROL - Adjust volume at your figure tips. Bass and treble control located on the side of main speaker.
- CLASSIC WOOD FINISH - High quality MDF wood build finished with wood effect vinyl serves as a great compliment to any home decor.
- 2 YEAR WARRANTY - Guaranteed high quality and reliability with hassle-free parts and labor warranty for two years in USA and Canada.
- The original first generation of the legendary JBL Professional 3 series Studio Monitors
- The impressive performance of the 3 Series Reference Monitors is the result of JBL's development of its flagship M2 Master Reference Monitor
- Increased HF Detail: You'll experience greater depth and ambience in recordings, and subtle details can be heard, even in a dense mix
- Room-Friendly: This means you don't have to be right in front of the speakers to make accurate adjustments to your mix
- Broad Sweet Spot: 3-Series speakers deliver neutral sound across an unusually large working space regardless of room acoustics
- Discontinued Model - Now replaced by the new and improved KRK ROKIT G4 Series
- The KRK 5" Studio Monitor has a soft-dome tweeter provides clarity and extended response up to 35kHz
- Also has a proprietary waveguide technology optimized for superior stereo imaging
- Lightweight glass-aramid composite woofer delivers clear midrange and tight bass
- The bi-amped, class A/B amplifier offering maximum headroom with minimal distortion
- Front-loaded bass reflex system, The dm-40 S 4-inch fiberglass woofers output a strong punchy bass from the front, while grooves on the ducts reduce air friction
- The DM-40 ¾-inch soft dome tweeters are fitted with Deco convex diffusers that channel High frequencies in every direction so you can enjoy 3D stereo sound wherever you sit or stand
- Class AB amplifiers deliver a crisp sound with low distortion, the tweeter and woofer are perfectly aligned to eliminate crossover and ensure a well-balanced response across the frequencies
- Rca and stereo mini jack inputs are located on the back to easily connect to your DJ or production kit
- The headphone output and volume knob on the front panel gives you flexibility and control
Now with this guide showing you how to build a home music studio for less than $300 you are able to to spend more or less than that budget with informed choices and very smart purchases. If you played your cards right in fact there is a chance that some of the equipment you pick up from the very beginning could stay with you forever. Save for wear and tear. I am still using my wooden Onkyo Studio Monitors from so many years ago and not only are they no longer being produced by the company, they are no longer available to buy used on any website anywhere. Crazy!
I really do hope this post has helped you apply some frugality to your setup – more than that I hope it has actually helped you acquire some quality audio gear – albeit at a very frugal price.
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