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What is it we actually need?

So what is it we actually need to start a home studio?


The desire and passion to create is where it starts and budget should be the least of your concerns. Let me explain:


A Computer

Most people have a a computer or a laptop today and there are many options for you to simply capture a song idea with just that piece of gear. I started out in GarageBand on a Mac many years ago and I have been hooked ever since.

Digital Audio Workstation(DAW)

There are many free versions of DAW available that let you use VST plugins (Virtual Studio Technology or Virtual Instruments). Here are a few:


Audio Interface

The Audio Interface is the hardware that you use to connect to your computer to the rest of your gear(input signal). 

I would highly recommend a Presonus Audio Interface


Presonus offers a free copy of their Studio One Artist DAW with the following popular interfaces:

  • PreSonus AudioBox USB 

  • PreSonus AudioBox iOne (iOS compatible) 

  • Presonus AudioBox iTwo (iOS compatible) 

  • Presonus Audiobox 44VSL



Microphones are a huge subject based on personal preferences that can be overwhelming for a beginner. I would suggest that you go with a large diaphragm microphone that works within your budget. You can get a decent microphone for around the $100.00 mark. In my opinion I would try to stay away from anything USB and go with an XLR.



When you’re just starting out, most of your time is spent recording by yourself so you really only need just 1 pair of good closed back headphones.


Studio Monitors

Today a lot of people are seeming to do everything on headphones but I would highly recommend that you grab yourself a pair of dedicated studio monitors. Studio monitors have a much flatter frequency response, which provides a more neutral, uncolored sound to objectively judge your mix.



One day you will have more cables than you know what to do with… but for now you need 1 XLR cable to plug your mic into.


Mic Stand

Preferably a boom mic stand with an isolation cage for your microphone and a pop filter.

Gear That I Use

These are my Canadian affiliate links to where you can buy this gear:

These are my American affiliate links to where you can buy this gear:

  • Tape recorders were one of the ways that you could store digital data. Those with TTL control interface could be handled by special devices and data could be recorded as a sequence of tones of certain frequency. Nowadays, this method is not very good, because the capacity of a reel is usually low.

  • I do not own or use a Reel to Reel.

  • Do we actually need a mixer?

  • You can get by with using just an audio interface and yielding the same results in the end.

  • I use a Presonus Studio Live 24:4:2 for a many different reasons.

  • You want to give preference to cardioid microphones when recording at home. They reject sound from the rear, so are useful for less-than-perfect rooms.

  • And the perfect type of microphone for your home recording studio is a large diaphragm condenser.

  • Outboard gear is still relevant and useful in certain applications such as preamps, compressors, EQ's etc.

  • Most DAW's come with some pretty good stock plug-ins these days and I find that for the most part I try to stick to the digital space and use what is in my DAW.

  • It’s difficult to learn how to mix without a set of proper studio monitors.

  • Studio speakers have a flat response, so you hear the mix as it really is. Normal hi-fi speakers color the sound are not recommended as a listening source for mixing.

  • You can mix on headphones alone. Ear fatigue is a real thing when you do this.

  • It’s always good practice to mix on studio monitors.

  • Instruments are a matter of personal preference.

  • The more instruments you can play yourself, the less you will have to rely on other musicians to finish a song or project.

  • Let's not forget about all the VST instruments available to us in our DAW's.

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