Last time we discussed the basics that you need for recording professionally. This time, we will go into depth about how you can achieve a professional home studio for under $2,500.00. We will be purchasing the following items for our studio:

  1. Microphone
  2. XLR (Microphone Cable)
  3. Mixer with XLR Input/Phantom power/USB
  4. Computer
  5. Soundcard
  6. Monitors
  7. Software

I. Microphone – There are basically 3 types of microphones. Dynamic, Condenser, and Ribbon microphones. Dynamic microphones require no phantom power, and are usually used for live performances as opposed to recording. There are exceptions, of course, depending on what you are recording. For this exercise we will be recording vocals, therefore we will be shopping for condenser microphones. You can use dynamic or ribbon microphones for recording vocals, however, condenser microphones are the most popular for recording vocals, and ribbon microphones are expensive.

In researching condenser mics, I have found the most bang for the buck is in Audio Technica. The AT3035 or the large diaphragm AT4033 is in our price range at around $399. The rack mount is needed, and is another $79.

II. XLR (Microphone Cable) – The microphone cable is called an XLR, and is affordable at around $5-$10.

III. Mixer with XLR Input/Phantom power/USB – Behringer mixers to me are the most affordable with the highest quality. M-Audio offers great mixers as well, but you will pay more due to the fact that Pro Tools software comes with every M-Audio mixer. An affordable mixer can cost between $399 and $599.

IV. Computer – This is the most expensive item in the chain. Desktop or Laptop will do. Just make sure you have a fast processor, and lots of memory!! Also, if you are going with Pro Tools for your software, then make sure your computer is up to Digidesign's specifications, or you will have problems. A fast desktop computer runs around $499 – $699 depending on the features.

V. Soundcard – Many people don't realize that the soundcard is very important to your sound. The soundcard usually has a/d converters, and the better this conversion, the better your sound. I say that to say this…don't skimp on the soundcard. Try to the get the best soundcard you can afford. A nice soundcard can run $399-$799.

VI. Monitors – Monitors help you monitor the playback. If you want to get a good mix, then you will want to spend extra on your monitors. A good set of monitors will run $299 – $899.

VII. Software – There are many recording software manufacturers. The biggest are Digidesign Pro Tools, Steinberg Nuendo, Steinberg Cakewalk, and Sonar. The choice is yours, however, even though I am certified in Pro Tools, I find myself using Nuendo much more because it is less DSP intensive than Pro Tools, and I can use many more plug ins per session in Nuendo than in Pro Tools. This depends on your processor, so you will have to make that decision. Nuendo is a little bit pricey at $1500.00, but you can get a basic Pro Tools system for between $299 and $599.

So there you have it. Let's calculate the pricing:

  1. Microphone $499.00
  2. XLR (Microphone Cable) $ 10.00
  3. Mixer $399.00
  4. Computer $499.00
  5. Soundcard $399.00
  6. Monitors $299.99

7. Software $299.99 Subtotal: $2,404.00

That's the hard part! Next time we will go into depth of putting our studio together. Now…Let's go shopping!

Source by Cedric Buard