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Purchase The Best Studio Equipment Without Your Wallet Suffering

When you think of what it takes to create a great song, you probably picture an artist standing in a studio booth, clutching their headphones, and belting out a note before a microphone. In today’s technology age, we have the tools to develop that album or EP right from home. There is no need to always pay for a studio when you can do the same in the comfort of your house. To best record, mix, and master your music, for an independent or emerging artist you need to assure you have the right tools. However, it doesn’t always come cheap.

When you’re making music and stamping who you are into the music industry, you don’t have to buy the most expensive equipment. There are ways to find what works for you without hurting your wallet. Something to always consider is the musical project you are seeking to create. This will influence how much money you need to carve out of your budget and whether you need to level up the audio equipment you already have. In this list, you can find the ideal equipment for music production with the best price tag for an artist on a budget.

Never Underestimate Used Equipment

First and foremost, don’t be afraid to use the second-hand equipment. If you are looking for Sony mics or Shure headphones, you’d be surprised what brands you could get from musicians that are willing to sell their equipment. If you know other artists, ask how they bought their gear or if they’re selling. Therefore, places like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Amazon, even Craigslist are great resources for finding the equipment you need with a price tag you like.

1. Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

If you have a computer and you are building up a small home studio, then a Digital Audio Workstation is vital. Music production software like a DAW has forever changed the way artists’ make music by allowing the whole process to be more accessible. You can compose, record, produce, mix and edit audio with this tool. You will also have a wide range of virtual instruments at your fingertips.

Audacity and Garageband (Free) – The learning curve for these options are considerably trouble-free so that you can get started faster.

Reaper ($0 to $60) – You can download it free for 60 days. If you decide that Reaper is the DAW of your choice, you can purchase it for $60. This is one of the most affordable workstations on the market.

Logic Pro X ($200) – If you have used Garageband and you are ready to graduate to a system with more functionality- Logic Pro X.

Pro Tools ($299) – An industry standard for professional productions. The supplier Sweetwater offers payment plan options to purchase this tool.

2. Audio Interface

An audio interface goes hand-in-hand with a Digital Audio Workstation. It is an excellent addition, especially if you don’t want to rely on virtual instruments. You can record high-quality audio such as your vocals, an acoustic guitar, etc., with a microphone and instrument cable. Many audio Interfaces include a USB for compatibility with most computers and other devices.

BEHRINGER U-PHORIA UM ($29 to $53) – Price increase with the number of channels.

PreSonus AudioBox ($99) – Comes with Studio One 3 DAW.

Focusrite Scarlett Solo (2nd Generation) ($99) – Includes DAW system.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 ($148 to $200) – A trendy option and includes a DAW system. The supplier Sweetwater offers payment plan options to purchase this tool.

P.S. for the artist on a budget: Some audio interfaces include a free DAW system.

Photo by Diego Magno via Flickr

3. Headphones

Even though earbuds are the favorite item nowadays when it comes to mixing and producing, monitoring headphones are essential for richer sound and precise editing.

First, know your headphone types: closed-back headphones are best for creating isolation while recording and typically used for tracking. While open-back headphones have optimal sound quality, it needs to be used in quiet spaces, and usually best for mixing.

Status Audio CB-1 ($38 to $60) – Close-back.
AKG K240 ($59) – Semi-open.
Sony MDR7506 ($80) – Closed-back.
Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 250 ohm ($160) – Closed-back. These are pricey, yet they are one of the industry standards for mixing. The supplier, Sweetwater, offers a monthly payment plan.

4. Microphones

When recording vocals or acoustic instruments, a microphone is necessary to the curation of music. Though there are many kinds, the two most important to consider are dynamic and condenser types. This is something to consider especially if you’re an artist on a budget.

Dynamic mics are durable and perfect for stage performances. Condenser mics are better for the studio, being more sensitive to sound and having a louder output. They range from the small diaphragm to large diaphragm sizes, which affect the what audio frequency.

Shure SM48-LC ($32) – Dynamic
MXL 990 ($69) Condenser
Audio-Technica AT2020 ($79) – Condenser
Rode NT1A ($299) – Large diaphragm condenser

5. Studio Monitors/Speakers

Studio monitors are the next step after headphones, especially if you have a curated space ideal for recording audio. They are perfect additions when you are ready to take producing further. Studio Monitors are different from speakers since they are flat and don’t enhance sound; therefore, these monitors assist with a final hearing and editing your music. FYI, most of them require an external USB audio interface.

Markie CR3 (Pair – $79 to $143)
M-Audio AV42 (Pair – $149) – One of the more affordable monitors and easy to use. Guitar Center and Sweetwater offer payment options.
KRK Rokit Powered 6″ Generation 3 (Single – $199) – These monitors are growing in popularity.
Yamaha HS5 (Pair $400) – Perfect option for investing in high-quality monitors, they are used in many professional studios.

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If you are an artist on a budget, you no longer have to feel limited by what’s in your bank account. In music production, there are so many equipment options to choose from and thereby different prices on the market. The essential music equipment listed above are some of the most affordable choices in bringing your music to eager ears of your fans and followers.

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Editor In Chief of The Pulse; A creative gal living in the City of Angels conquering the world with inspired writing about music.