Investing in studio equipment is a process.
Chances are, you won’t have the initial
investment to get EVERYTHING you want
And this process can be confusing on what’s
important for your situation.
I will break this down into 3 categories with
priority from top to bottom
1. Microphone – Condenser Microphones can handle most work (vocals/instrumentation) and without a microphone, you won’t be recording anything 🙂
I started with MXL 990/991, then Neumann TLM 103, then Neumann U 87
There are TONS of microphones so find the path you like, but a decent condenser will help you most. Price generally represents quality of sound in this case.
2. Audio Interface – I am not sure of the quality of USB microphones but pre-amps/audio interfaces take the microphone signal and convert it into the digital world.
I only have experience with the Scarlett 2i2, Scarlett 18i20, UA Apollo Twin DUO, UA Apollo 8.
The only BIG difference I’ve heard was from my Scarlett 2i2 to the Scarlett 18i20. I haven’t A/B compared my UA to my Scarlett interface. BUT interface quality changes as well and the only way to tell is to hear it for yourself IN STORE. This is something you can’t buy off of recommendations.
3. Mixing Plugins – When you record, you will need to doctor up the sound a bit and this is where plugins come into play. Plugins are cheaper than hardware and help you clean up a mix easily.
1. Sampler Plugins – This is the quickest way to get the “real instrument” sound at a low cost. Since all genres have at least one piano or guitar, these will always be classic sounds. Samplers usually have these. Sampler companies record live instruments and put them into plugin form so you can use them like any other plugin.
2. One Main Synthesizer – If you don’t understand sound design, you may believe you need multiple synths to get the sounds you want. In short, you can create many similar sounds in almost all the synths. BUT I do understand that you may not know or want to know sound design, so I usually say, pick the synth which peaks your interest the most and inspires you the most because this is what will motivate you to ACTUALLY USE IT.
You will need the synth to create digital sounds which do not come from a sampler plugin.
3. Music Theory Knowledge – Music Theory will give you the ability to produce any genre. Click Here to Learn More
1. Mixing plugin Suite – Most DAWs come with mixing plugins to get you started, so really, you just need a DAW of your choice.
2. Headphones – Open back headphones are more suited for mixing engineers. I listed this first because I’m basing the list on growing income. Chances are, you won’t have the money for speaker monitors. Even then, you’d need acoustic treatment to get a more accurate sound. So, headphones are more of a priority.
3. Studio Speaker Monitors – A decent pair of reference monitors is great for “feeling” the song and getting a live feel of how it sounds. It’s okay to start with a lower end as you’re using these as reference. Most consumers don’t have lavish studio speakers when they listen to music, so we use these monitors to help understand the listener’s point of view.
Pick a Focus above and simply upgrade in that order. This way, you won’t spend money on things you don’t need.