Every music lover dreams of having their recording studio at home. If you are into composing and writing songs or you just love singing, or maybe even both, it would be nice to have the necessary tools and equipment to record songs whenever you want in the comforts of your own home. And in this day and age, when you could upload the content you create on a wide variety of platforms, it’s easier for you to share it and even monetize it.
A home recording studio can cost you anywhere from $300 to $30,000 to set up. You can keep the costs at a minimum with a simple and basic setup, where you just have a computer, a microphone, and an audio interface. The better the equipment and the more add-ons you throw in, the larger the costs.
In this article, we’ll talk about the various equipment you will need to build an at-home studio. You will also learn more about what each piece of recording equipment does and how much it costs.
Setting Up a Home Recording Studio: What Do You Need?
According to E-Home Recording Studio, the home recording studio essentials for newbies are:
- a computer
- studio monitors
- DAW/Audio interface combo
- one or two microphones
- XLR cables
- mic stand
- pop filter
- ear training software
All this equipment makes up a simple working studio, perfect for those just getting started with recording. And starting simple is the best way to go because you can begin working on recordings as soon as you have the equipment at minimal investment. You have the ideal foundation on to build your skills on.
Check out our complete guide to building a home recording studio here!
A computer makes it possible for your music recording to go digital. Your recordings will be stored here so you could retrieve them any time for review, editing, mixing, and even uploading.
A computer will account for the bulk of the cost if you build your home recording studio from scratch. That is if you don’t already have a computer. But you probably already have one, so you can always use that first and upgrade later on.
So how much does a recording studio computer cost? Computer prices vary greatly depending on the specifications and brand. For a studio recording computer, it’s best to have at least 16GB of RAM and an Intel Core i7 processor. Prices range from $800-$4000 for this type of computer alone.
Excellent computers, like Apple iMac, can cost you well over $1,000, depending on the model. However, there are computer options that would cost you way less than this. Laptops also typically cost less than a desktop computer, but the high-end ones can be more expensive than an iMac. You can also expect to spend more on accessories like a mouse and keyboard.
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- 1.6 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 2.7 GHz) with 3 MB shared L3 cache,
- 11.6-Inch Widescreen display with 1366 x 768 native resolution, Intel HD Graphics 6000, 4GB LPDDR3, 128GB SSD
Studio monitors, also known as nearfield monitors, have a much flatter frequency response than ordinary speakers. This gives the sound a more neutral and uncolored quality to judge your mix objectively.
So how much do studio monitors cost? The price ranges from $50-1000 depending on the brand, size, and features. The average cost for a pair of these is $280-$350 per monitor, and this price can range depending on features such as size or frequency response range.
You can get good budget studio monitors for anywhere from $100 to $300.
DAW and Audio Interface
DAW or Digital Audio Workstation is the software you use to record, mix, and edit music with your computer. Meanwhile, the audio interface is the hardware you use to connect all your other recording equipment with your computer.
You can get the audio interface and the DAW separately, but you can also get them together as one lump item.
So how much does a digital audio workstation cost? Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software mostly ranges in price from $200 – $1000 depending on the features offered by the company. There are many different DAWs out there these days, like Logic Pro X or Ableton Live 9 Suite. There are also open-source DAWs that are free to download.
So how much does an audio interface cost? The audio interface prices vary widely depending on the number of inputs available, but they typically range between $100-$500.
You will need one or two microphones to get your recording studio off the ground. You need to be very selective when picking out a mic, even if you are on a tight budget. A good mic will take you a long way and can help guarantee clear recordings!
Moreover, the mic you will get will depend on what instruments you are planning to use. For example, most people start by just recording vocals. In this case, a large-diaphragm condenser vocal mic is ideal. If you plan on using high-frequency instruments like a piano, cymbals, and acoustic guitar, a small diaphragm mic would be a better call.
So how much does a microphone cost? A good quality mic can range from $50-$5000 depending on the type and quality of your purchase. The more expensive microphones will have higher fidelity, durability, and sound reproduction qualities. You can get a dynamic mic for $400 or a condenser mic for $5,000.
So how much are XLR cables? The average price for an XLR cable is roughly $2.00, the cheapest being around $1.25 and the most expensive being about $80.00. The difference in prices comes from the length, the quality of materials used, how well it is made, and what features are included with the cable, e.g., gold plating.
It would be best if you had a pair of headphones because you would typically be recording yourself most of the time. Studios usually use either closed-back headphones for tracking or open-back headphones for mixing. The closed-back headphones offer optimal isolation but have lesser sound quality. Meanwhile, the open-back headphones offer optical sound quality but lesser isolation.
For a first home studio, closed-back headphones are essential.
So how much do studio headphones cost? Studio headphones range from $200 to $1000+ depending on brand and quality level. Quality headphones allow you to hear the nuances in your music and listen for potential errors or sounds, but they can come at a high cost from $500.
You can get away with up to $600 for excellent studio headphones.
Mic Accessories: Stand and Pop Filter
Getting a cheap and reliable mic stand is essential as this makes it possible for you to record yourself hands-free, especially if you are playing an instrument. It also helps ensure that the distance between your mic and your instrument or your mouth is stable and steady.
So how much do microphone stands cost? A quality microphone stand can cost up to $400, but this depends on your budget and what you’re looking for. The best microphone stands for live performances are those that can be easily transported and assembled. Good mic stands are priced at around $70 on average.
Meanwhile, a pop filter is the mesh screen covering your microphone to filter out unpleasant vocal effects called popping. Popping is that low-frequency blast of air you produce when you pronounce your B and P sounds.
So how much do pop filters cost? The average pop filter costs about $10-$40, depending on where you buy it and what type of filter you want. Good pop filter options exist for as cheap as $15.
Ear Training Software
Ear training software is something you don’t technically need if you’re starting with the bare minimum. But this software will make a big difference for your end-product. It will help your ear learn to get a basic grasp of the bands of frequencies and eventually recognize them, just as you know how to recognize chords, notes, and intervals.
You can look for a free ear training app online.
Home Recording Studio: Breaking Down the Costs
Setting up your recording studio is no longer as bank-breaking as before. However, costs can still vary greatly, depending on which expert you ask.
For example, according to Rick Camp of RC1 Productions & Master Mix Live, a home studio can cost anywhere from $300 to $30,000 to build. Meanwhile, Donny Baker of ES Audio Services and Open Call Productions said you could create a simple home studio consisting of a computer, a microphone, and an audio interface for less than $500. For Mike Johnson of Clear Track Recording Studios, it’s $10,000 to $20,000.
Home Studio Source wrote that there are many things you need to consider before you put a particular price tag on setting up a recording studio at home. These considerations include the hardware and the acoustic treatments like soundproofing and bass traps.
In other words, there is various recording equipment you can get, and the concept of which ones are genuinely essential varies from person to person. So, while the basics like a computer, microphone, audio interface, and speakers remain the same, the importance of add-ons like headphones, pop filters, microphone stands, and ear training software is a matter of preference, opinion, and experience.
Another factor for the vast price range is that different brands are priced differently, and you will have to weigh out which brands work best for you.
For instance, the Samson C01 Large-Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser Microphone costs about $80. Another microphone, the Neumann TLM 102 Black Cardioid Condenser Microphone Studio Set, is priced at about $800. The price discrepancy is enormous.
- Multi-purpose studio condenser microphone with large 19mm diaphragm
- Cardioid pickup pattern with excellent off-axis rejection
- Perfect for vocals, guitars, stringed-instruments, drums and more
- Large-diaphragm microphone with cardioid directional characteristic
- Pressure-gradient transducer
- Compact, smaller-scale body
Your choice of a computer or laptop also makes a huge difference in your total home studio cost. An Apple iMac, for example, is way pricier than a PC. But if you consider a more expensive computer an investment, then the gap wouldn’t matter.
Getting Studio Recording Equipment: What’s the Best Practice?
When you are setting up a home recording studio, the best practice is always to buy what you can currently afford. Even if your budget is at the lower end of the price range, know that you can continually expand and upgrade as you go. So you can start with the cheapest of the bare essentials, then add more of the rest of the hardware and software continuously as funds become available.
The most important thing, though, is that even if you go for the cheaper options, you still don’t sacrifice quality. Sure, the more expensive brands are top-notch, but there are still good ones that don’t cost an arm and a leg.
A home recording studio can cost you anywhere from $300 to $30,000 to set up. This range is based on the lowest price mentioned by the experts in the field and the highest. Ultimately, however, your home recording studio should cost whatever you can afford.
If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll have to get low-priced equipment that is not necessarily low-quality. And if you have the money, you can get the best hardware without minding the price and add all the bells and whistles.
- E-Home Recording Studio: The 9 Home Recording Studio Essentials for Beginners
- Home Studio Source: How Much Does It Cost to Build a Home Recording Studio?
- Recording Connection: Have You Ever Wondered How Much It Might Cost to Build Your Own Recording Studio?
- Amazon: Samson C01 Large-Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser Microphone
- Amazon: Neumann TLM 102 Black Cardioid Condenser Microphone Studio Set w/ Shock Mount
- Apple.com: iMac
- Music Radar: Best Budget Studio Monitors
- Produce Like a Pro: Digital Audio Workstations: Everything You Need to Know About Choosing a DAW in 2020
- Music Radar: The 9 Best Budget Audio Interfaces 2021
- Music Radar: 11 Best Studio Headphones
- Music Critic: 10 Best Microphone Stands of 2020
- E-Home Recording Studio: Types of Microphones
- E-Home Recording Studio: The 7 Best Pop Filters for Recording Vocals
Last update on 2021-07-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API