It's time to see which affordable equipment you need to buy in order to build a full recording studio setup on a budget of $1000. I assume you already own a laptop or a computer, so we'll get that out of our shopping list.  I will start with the microphone, continue with the audio interface and finish with additional items.  With these items, you can make music like a rockstar, and  with a proper mix and master, your song can and will compete with the ones recorded in professional studios.

Rode NT1A is probably the most praised microphone for entry-level recording studio owners and it's affordable. It combines classic technology with great features and high-def performances. Over the years, Rode mics became a standard in the music industry, and every music artist worked with a Rode mic at least once in his/her lifetime.

The mic features wide dynamic range and has an ultra low noise like no other in its price range.  The package contains the microphone, the shock mount, cables and the pop filter.  In other words, Rode is a premium mic for a low price.

Focusrite Scarlett 18i6 18 in/6 out USB 2.0 features two award wining preamps that allow you record vocals and instruments in high-quality @ 24-bit/96kHz. The interface has 6 quite analog inputs and an ultra-low-latency DSP mixer/router. The knobs are perfectly, and you'll also get a switchable button for Phantom Power.

A home recording studio is not complete without a mixer.  The Yamaha MG102C 10 Input Stereo Mixer provides 10 inputs, EQs and 2 bus designs. Yamaha has a long history of creating top-notch audio equipment, they are all about quality, and this mixer is a proof that sometimes cheap can be of great value.

This affordable mixer was created with care, the knobs works just like you would expect, and everything is combined to give you great sound, total control over your inputs and superior reliability.

Studio Monitors
The audio monitors are really important in a home studio, especially if you plan to mix your own songs. You need to hear your recordings at maximum quality in order to make your track modification properly. KRK Rokit 5 Studio Monitor Speakers are probably the best choice you can make. For an affordable price of $299, you will get the best speakers money can buy. They are rated 5 out 5 stars on Amazon.

Other accessories
You will need a mic stand for your microphone, some cables (for the mixer), and acoustic foam panels

If only need to record vocals, you can skip the mixer. The audio interface is enough to power your mic. Also, if you do not plan to mix your song (someone else will take care of that), you should also skip the studio monitors, and buy something cheaper. Remember, I was proposing the best equipment money can buy for a budget of $1000.
If the laptop or the computer is the brain of your home studio, the microphone is definitely a big part of the sensorial system of your setup. The mic is used to record vocals or instruments, and you need to buy the best mic you can afford, because it is the first piece of your recording chain.
If you watch the video above, you will see the best microphones money can buy. Ok, they are not the best of the best, because a top-notch mic can go up to $20,000. I guess your budget is around $500, so we should stick to that and buy the best of whatever we can afford. After getting the microphone, remember to get the microphone stand and some cables. If your recording booth/area is away from the computer, buy a longer cable. Another important piece is the pop filter. Be sure to get one.

Here are the affordable (but not cheap!) microphones presented in the video above, along with prices and links (info, pictures and features). Every each one has great reviews, so don't worry about getting a lame product.
There is no perfect audio interface for your home setup, because everything is as good as your budget allow it to be. So, you can end up paying thousands of dollars for a perfect audio interface, or an affordable price of hundred of dollars for a perfect audio interface. In a home studio, everything gravitates around your budget. But this does not mean you should buy any recording interface.

A good and affordable recording interface needs to have at least a preamp for the microphone, preamp knob, and some sort of Phantom Power. Most condenser microphones used in recording studios need 48V Phantom Power to work. Without it, your mic is dead. Also, be sure to check the connection of your audio interface. If you're using a Firewire Interface but your laptop do not feature a Firewire port (only USB), you are in big trouble, because you will not be able to use it. Check the connection of the audio interface.

If you ask me, you should go for M-Audio Interfaces or Focusrite Interfaces. Those are of great value, and they can be found at affordable prices.  Make sure to read the reviews before you buy.

You can't have a home studio without some sort of acoustic foam. It's important to insulate the walls of your recording space for two reasons.
  • You really don't want your neighbors to hear what you are doing in your home studio, and in the same time you don't want your microphone to capture any sounds from neighbors.
  • When you record and mix a song, it's better to have a minimum echo from the room. You need to work with clear sound. If you want echo or reverb, you can add it in the mixing process, but when you record, you need to record clear sounds.

How to setup acoustic foam in a home studio

The main area of interest when you attempt to  insulate a recording and mixing area, are the area around the microphone and around the speakers. In the microphone area, you should insulate the wall behind the microphone, and the sidewalls.  An alternative scenario is to use an acoustic foam especially made for the microphone, just like in the picture above.

Insulating the mixing room is not that difficult. Place the foam panels on the sidewalls in the pattern you see above, especially on the year level of the sidewall. Also, be sure to place two panels behind the speakers, you will fix the sound cancellation reflections. If you have a budget for it, buy a pack of bass trappers and place them in the upper corners of the room. Those will definitely reduce the bass reflections in the room.

You're good to go now.
Music is everywhere these days, and one way or another, it is a part of our life. Listening to music all day, make us wanna express ourselves through it. And, we ask ourselves this questions:
  • Can I make music in my own home?
  • What do I need to make music at home?
Before finding the answers to these questions, you should know that making music has changed a lot through the last decades. If making music before 2000 was going to big recording studios and paying large amounts of money for studio time, nowadays almost every artist has their own recording studio in their own home. So, having a home studio at home is not that awkward like it used to be. Now, it's time to answer those two questions.

Can I make music in my own home?
Yes, you can make music in your own home at reasonable prices. The advantages of making music in your own home is the budget. You will pay only once for the recording equipment, and you can use it forever (you get the idea!).

What do I need to make music at home?
In order to make music at home you need to buy an affordable recording setup. The first piece of any home recording setup is the computer/laptop. Everyone owns a laptop these days, so I guess you don't need to buy this. I will get into more details of the other pieces of your home recording studios in a further post, but for now you should know that you need to buy at least these items:
Click any of these affordable items to learn more about them, and how you should choose them. Also, don't forget to check my home studio setup under $1000.