Looking for a recording studio equipment list to build your home studio?
Want to make broadcast quality music without spending tens of thousands of your hard earned money?
Well then, this one’s for you 😉
This post is all about:
(a) demonstrating that you don’t need a lot of expensive recording equipment to produce music that’s good enough to land on TV
(b) helping you focus on the essentials to build your own home studio without spending a fortune
Let’s get started.
When you’re making music, more often than not, less is more.
Less time = no time to second-guess yourself = work done
Less gear = less choices = quicker decision making = work done
Less gear = expert at that gear = great sound
Less gear = need to find solutions outside the box = more creative
The bottom line is: you don’t need fancy equipment to make professional-sounding music.
Don’t believe me?
Here’s the proof:
More examples coming your way throughout this post….
So, now we’ve established you can do it yourself, let’s look at what you actually need (and don’t need).
Here are the only 6 things you need to start making radio-quality music. There’s a bonus #7 in case you’re really addicted to new gear and have money to spare 😉
Recording Studio Equipment List, the Essentials
1. You need a good computer
I’m an Apple fangirl when it comes to computers but Microsoft is fine as well. Whatever you’re comfortable with.
The best computer for music production:
- has lots of RAM, minimum 8GB. 16 or 32 if you can afford it and you’re committed (music softwares are hungry for RAM)
- the fastest processor you can afford (music softwares need lots of power)
This, by the way, is where you will be spending most of the money. If you’ve got money burning your pockets, it’s also where it make sense to go a little crazy and indulge yourself if you feel like it.
Since I travel a lot and generally like working in a horizontal position from my bed, I’ve invested in a laptop for recording music but a desktop is a fine choice as well.
In fact, many music producers prefer having a dedicated desktop in their studio. Just make sure you don’t purchase a desktop if you’re going to be lazy about going to the studio!
2. Own a DAW that you’re comfortable with
DAW stands for Digital Audio Workstation. Your DAW is the software on your computer where you make the music.
Choosing a DAW is not unlike choosing a partner:
Best DAW Software to Choose From
GarageBand should be your first stop if you’re a Mac user because it’s pre-installed on your Mac (Yey!) and it’s very good (Double Yey!)
If you’re comfortable with GarageBand, there may come a time when you’ll want to graduate to big sister Logic Pro but GarageBand really is a great start and can get you a radio quality recording.
Ableton Live is another DAW I like because it gives you the option to compose horizontally (from left to right) like any traditional DAW or composer would. BUT it also has the option of composing VERTICALLY. So you can work with loops that you kind of layer in and out (we’ll talk about loops a little more later!). It was made for electronic producers but can be used for any type of music really.
Historically, Pro Tools is the industry standard but it’s way more expensive than the music production softwares mentioned above and, in my opinion, other top DAWs like Ableton Live and Logic Pro do the job just as well.
Other notable DAWs that you may want to check out: Cakewalk (free!), Cubase, Reaper, Studio One.
Action item: Try a few, pick one and embrace it until you master it.
3. Decent Monitors and/or Headphones
There’s a lot of debate around studio monitors. It’s a debate that can become real technical real soon. I’m not so sure those arguments