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 speaks to those of us working with budget home recording studios.
The Author (Mike Senior) goes into great detail about monitors and sound treatment. This was boring at 1st, but I now understand why. 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.
Focusrite VRM Box – $99.95
The best piece of gear I’ve purchased in years. You see, a lot of us are running around with mobile setups. The problem with the mobile setup is I can only take what fits in my backpack and that means no studio monitors.
So, when I saw Focusrite’s VRM BOX I was more than excited. What it does is simulate monitors and mixing environments. It comes with 15 speaker models as well as 3 mixing environments making it one sick GROT BOX.
Having the ability to do this without physically moving from studio to studio or hooking up different pairs of monitors is a lifesaver. Well worth the money.
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 or portability (they fold up). No fancy features, just a good pair of inexpensive headphones.
Seagate External HD (2 TB USB 3) – $74.95
I believe that we as audio heads can never have too many backups. We’re all susceptible to losing our data in a crash. I’m not sure if you’ve ever lost project files, but it’s not fun, it’s a very stressful event.
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
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 own both the Lpk25 and the Lp8 and both are great controllers, but this is the best of both worlds. Both controllers pack into one and for a cheaper price. I don’t know a better controller in its price range.
If you’re looking to save space or even another piece of gear to throw in the backpack studio, this definitely a must-have. Hey, even if you don’t need it, it’s always good to have a backup.
Sound Dampening Blankets 12 Pack – $77.99
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.
Behringer Mic200 Vacuum Tube Preamp – $49.99
Great little tube preamp for anyone looking to add a little something extra character to their recordings without breaking the bank. It also serves well alongside single channel audio interfaces.
Keep in mind, this is not a class A preamp, and it can get a little noisy, but still produces good results if you pay attention to your gain staging. Noise removal plugin isn’t a bad option either.
Smartphone Tripod Clip – $9.95
Turn your smartphone into a powerful video camera. Video is a powerful marketing tool. For a while, 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 – $25.00
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 – $53.24
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 frequencies, cell phone conversations, and whenever the microwave was turned on my audio would crackle. I was told to get a power conditioner and I did → problem solved.
Oh, and it fits in your rack, allowing you to keep everything neat and organized.
Now It’s Your Turn