Cheap Recording Studio Gear (Can’t go wrong here)
Here’s a list of 10 cheap upgrades you should get for your recording studio. All recording gear and accessories are under $100.00
warning: I do make a small commission from items purchased through the links below
Mixing Secrets For The Small Studio – $26.00
If you’re looking for magical mixing presets – Push Button Magic, this book isn’t for you. On the other hand, if you’re looking to understand mixing and how to get the most out of your home recording studio, then this book is all you need.
I’ve purchased my share of “Mixing” books, but this caught my eye for 2 reasons.
- It was recommended by a close friend of mine
- Mike (the author) speaks to those of us working with budget home recording studios.
Mike Senior goes into great detail about monitors and sound treatment. This was boring at 1st, but I now understand why it’s important to understand. How can you expect to achieve a good mix if you can’t hear everything properly?
Another thing I like about Mike is he doesn’t rattle off a huge list of monitors, he sticks with a select few (with good explanation) and shows you how to get the most from your home studio.
Lastly, the icing on the cake. Mike leaves links to songs and stems of multiple genres you can use to practice mixing with.
Focusrite VRM Box – $99.95
The best piece of gear I’ve purchased in years. A lot of music creators are running around with mobile setups these days. The problem with the mobile setup is you can only take what fits in a backpack. There are some smaller monitors you can bring within another bag, but that’s a pain at times.
So, when I saw Focusrite’s VRM BOX I was excited. What it does is simulate 15 speaker models as well as 3 mixing environments making it a pretty good GROT BOX. I used this heavily through my music licensing challenge
Having the ability to make and mix music without physically moving from studio to studio or hooking up different pairs of monitors is a lifesaver. Well worth the money. Check eBay for it as it’s been discontinued.
Sony MDR 7506 – $97.00
Everywhere I turn I see these headphones: Professional recording studios, field recorders, recordists, boom operators. The 7506’s are loved, they’re trusted. I like them because of their sound and ease of portability (they fold up). No fancy features, just a good pair of inexpensive headphones.
Seagate External HD (2 TB USB 3) – $59.99
With the range of prices and multiple storage options today, there’s no excuse for not having your music backed up. Unfortunately, no matter how often this is said, people don’t learn until they lose their music. no excuse for.
Be smart, stay stocked up on these, backup your material as often possible. There’s a rule of thumb to go by and that is → if it’s not backed up on at least 3 devices, it doesn’t exist.
Some things to keep in mind
- USB 3 transfers faster than USB 2
- Fast transfers
- Can run a bit hot
- Hard drives, can’t ever have enough of them.
Akai MPK Mini – $113.00
Akai makes some of my favorite midi controllers. I owned both the Lpk25 and the Lp8. Both were nice, but the mpk mini is the best of both worlds. Granted, it is a little over $100, but it’s worth it.
If you’re looking to save space or even another piece of gear to throw in the backpack studio, this will definitely fit the bill. Even if you don’t need it, a backup midi controller is always good to have.
Sound Dampening Blankets 12 Pack – $89.49
Working in a room with reflections sucks, and I’ve found a good inexpensive way to control them. Some people use foam, sound panels, or diffusers. I like to use mover’s blankets. They’re cheap, easy to move around and they cover more area than foam.
I’ve caught a lot of shit for recommending these, but you know what? I’ve seen them used in lots of studios and they do a pretty good job – better than nothing IMO. Grab some!
Behringer Tube Ultra Gain Mic 500 USB Preamp – $89.99
Nice little tube preamp for anyone looking to add a little something extra (character) to their recordings without breaking the bank. The Ultra Gain Mic 500 is basically the MIC200s little brother with USB connectivity. It also serves well alongside single-channel audio interfaces. Good sound for its price
Smartphone Tripod Clip – $9.95
Video has been a powerful marketing tool for a number of years. Everyone has a smartphone, with a good camera. Use it to make IG Live and TikTok videos or videos for ads. There was a time when you had to have a DSLR, camcorder, or a small pocket cam (flip/zi10, etc) in order to take advantage of video-based marketing.
These days, smartphones are very powerful. They’re capable of shooting high-quality images as well as videos. All you need is stabilization, a mic, good lighting and you’re in business.
Powered USB Hub – $39.99
Mouse, midi controller, microphone, audio interface… A lot of these devices hook up to your computer via USB. If you’re using a laptop (like a MacBook Pro) it’ll drain your machine’s resources. “But I need my USB DEVICES” The answer → GET A POWERED HUB!
You can survive with a regular hub, but getting a powered hub draws power from the outlet which frees up your computer’s resources – a better option.
Furman M-8x Merit 8 Power Conditioner – $69.99
This is a must-have in every studio. My 1st studio was raided with dirty energy. There we all sorts of odd noises coming through my speakers.
- Phone interference
- Smartphone crosstalk
- Hiss and static
- Audio would crackle when the microwave was turned on
I was told to get a power conditioner and I did → problem solved.
- Surge Protection
- Noise Filteration
Oh, and it fits in your rack, allowing you to keep everything neat and organized.
Now It’s Your Turn