So, you want to start recording and producing your own music from home. You’re full of exciting ideas that you can’t wait to get to work on, but there’s a problem – you don’t have any equipment. You need a beginner home studio setup.
It can be confusing working out what you actually need. There’s so many options to choose from and it’s not always clear what’s essential and what’s not.
That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide on building your very first home studio setup. You’ll learn what each component does and we’ve also recommended some of our top picks for beginner home studio hardware.
[Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.]
The Sound Card / Audio Interface
The sound card, or audio interface as it’s sometimes called, is the heart of your home studio set up. All of the audio going in and out of your computer passes through this device. While every computer should have a sound card of some description built into it, it’s recommended to invest in an external sound card if you’d like to start making music on your computer.
The sound card plays an important role in how your computer processes sound. But as well as this, an external sound card provides you with a hub to plug in your XLR cables (for microphones) and jacks (for headphones/monitors/guitars etc).
We recommend the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface for your beginner home studio setup. It’s great value for money and a very popular choice for home music production.
It features two inputs for either XLR or 1/4″ jack connections and has separate connections for your studio monitors and a pair of headphones. This makes switching from one to another quick and easy.
The Speakers / Monitors
Music production speakers are known as ‘monitors’ – which can be nice and confusing at times. Whereas speakers are designed to make music sound good with boosted bass and treble, monitors deliver sound in a completely flat and unaltered way.
By doing this, you are able to edit your music projects in a more accurate way because you’re only hearing the sound as it actually is. This comes in very handy when applying effects such as EQ and compression.
The KRK Rockit RP5 G3 Active Studio Monitors are an excellent choice for your beginner home studio setup. They are massively popular with beginners and seasoned music producers alike.
They are active, rather than passive, so you won’t need an external amp to make them work. And for such a reasonable price point, they offer a great deal in the way of spec. Although not the cheapest monitors on the market, the KRK Rockit RP5 G3s are great value for money and an investment you’ll be glad you made.
More specifically, the condenser microphone. Designed for studio recording, condenser microphones are highly sensitive and are able to record crisp, clear audio.
If you intend to record vocals or instruments, you will need this type of microphone. And the good news is: you don’t need to spend a fortune.
The sE X1 S Cardioid Condenser Microphone is fantastic option when it comes to affordable mics for recording at home.
It is available in the form of a studio bundle which, as well as the microphone, includes a RF-X Reflexion Filter for sound-proofing, a pop shield and an XLR cable to plug it into your sound card with.
The only other thing you will need is a mic stand – then you’re good to go!
The Midi Keyboard
Planning on creating music using digital instruments? You’re going to need a midi keyboard. This device works the same as any other keyboard except you’ll need to use virtual instruments in your music production software to get any sound out of it.
Having a midi keyboard will be a massive help when trying to lay down a melody on your track. They’re easy to use and generally just plug into your laptop via USB.
The AKAI Professional LPK25 MIDI Keyboard is our recommended midi controller for your beginner home studio setup.
It’s compact, portable, super-functional and to top it off, looks great with its sleek yet simplistic design.
Want to learn more about this midi keyboard? Read our review of the AKAI LPK25 Midi Keyboard here.