Professional Recording Studio Equipment Essentials

The Basics of Professional Music Recording Studio Equipment

There are all types of music and professional studio recording equipment that one can purchase when getting started or building a home studio.

It's important to know which equipment is absolutely essential and what can wait you have been up and running for a while. A music producer may have been working at a top-notch studio, starting out as an intern and working his way up. He's used to the best equipment with all the bells and whistles.

The great advantage today is the sheer affordability of equipment that just a few decades ago, would have filled an entire room.

The Audio Interface

Got connections? The audio interface is what connects your other professional equipment, essentials and nonessentials, to the computer.

input sources such as a guitars or microphones have a clearer sound when connected through an audio interface.

Anyone who has ever had a number of applications open on a laptop or tablet all at the same time understands that the more that is open, the slower the other apps seem to be. It works the same way in a home production studio when there are too many items plugged into the computer.

An audio interface speeds up the production process by controlling multiple input variables.


There must be a reliable medium for which you can accurately hear the music. Headphones are not a piece of music production equipment which you should skimp on.

Perhaps more essential than monitoring systems or studio monitors, headphones are important because the sound travels directly from the DAW to your ears without interference from the acoustics in the room.

Melodic Exchange - recording basics


Unless a producer plans to solely produce instrumentals, he will need a microphone for recording live music or vocals.

Different microphones serve different purposes, but almost any condenser microphone will work.

Many top music production colleges have an entire storage cabinet for their microphones. These microphones are usually from at least two different manufacturers i.e. AKG and Shure.

When purchasing music production equipment on a budget, you can get away with spending between $100 and $200 per microphone. There are even a few excellent products for less than $100.

If we were to organize brands from the all-American team players to last pick as an example, it would look like this:

  1. Shure and AKG
  2. Rode
  3. Samson


Some of your music production equipment will come with cables, but the type of equipment you connect to an audio interface such as decent microphones, typically will not. The microphone cable will have to be purchased separately.

To save some frustration, read instructions and examine your equipment ports for in and out:

  • Check the input options on the studio monitors
  • Check the output options on the audio interface

A Computer

It goes without saying, but a producer needs a recording device, a computer, on which to actually produce (edit, mix, record, etc.) the audio.

The computer of choice for music production, whether Mac or Windows based, will tend to have certain features geared toward recording. By comparison, a computer you'd find on an office network, or a system geared towards gaming may not be the best tool for the job.

The ability to handle signal input, latency, processor speed, storage and stability are all important factors of a good machine.

When getting started, the DAW program is a good substitute for mixing boards. Likewise, headphones will do instead of speakers, but there is no substitution for a computer.

Pro Music Recording Studio On A Budget

Having your own professional recording studio allows you to experiment with current music technology, recording tools and techniques beyond the confines of the classroom.

With a very small investment, less than $500, the right gear can go a long way to producing professional results at a fraction of the cost.

Setting up a music recording studio doesn't have to break the bank, but it has to be good, and it has to be functionable.

To get you started, here's a few highly recommended pieces of music recording studio gear to get you off to a good start:

Critical Music Recording Studio Equipment:

On a tight budget? Thanks to superb resources like Recording Revolution, here's a recommended list of the most critical recording studio equipment to get you started:

1. PreSonus AudioBox USB 2x2 Audio Interface

PreSonus AudioBox USB 2x2 Audio Interface - Includes Studio One
280 Reviews
PreSonus AudioBox USB 2x2 Audio Interface - Includes Studio One
  • Bus-powered USB audio and MIDI interface
  • 24-bit resolution, 44.1 and 48 kHz sampling rate - NEW VERSION goes to 96 kHz
  • 2 combo mic/instrument inputs with high-performance, low-noise, high-headroom mic preamplifiers
  • Zero-latency analog monitoring
  • Includes free download of Studio One 3 Artist DAW software and 6+ GB of third-party resources after product registration

2. Samson C01U Pro USB Studio Condenser Microphone

Samson C01U Pro USB Studio Condenser Microphone
89 Reviews
Samson C01U Pro USB Studio Condenser Microphone
  • Large, 19mm diaphragm ensures pristine studio-quality audio
  • Headphone output for zero-latency monitoring
  • Supercardiod pickup pattern
  • Smooth, flat frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz
  • 16-bit, 44.1/48kHz resolution

3. Sennheiser HD 201 Lightweight Over Ear Headphones

Sennheiser HD 201 Lightweight Over Ear Headphones
3,305 Reviews
Sennheiser HD 201 Lightweight Over Ear Headphones
  • Connectivity Technology: Wired
  • Lightweight and comfortable economical headphones, Cord Lenght : 9.8 ft (3 m)
  • Features smooth silver design and leatherette ear pads
  • Delivers powerful, bass-driven sound

4. On Stage Stands MS7701B Tripod Boom Microphone Stand

On Stage Stands MS7701B Tripod Boom Microphone Stand
1,366 Reviews
On Stage Stands MS7701B Tripod Boom Microphone Stand
  • Solid cast end with standard 5/8-27 threads
  • Long 36" boom with molded plastic counterweight
  • Euro-Style boom with separate clutches for length and angle of boom. Allows user to make one-handed adjustments of boom angle while performing
  • Professional quality die-cast zinc clutch locks vertical shaft at any height from 36" to 63"
  • Clip-on cable holder

5. Planet Waves Classic Series XLR Microphone Cable, 25 feet

Planet Waves Classic Series XLR Microphone Cable, 25 feet
167 Reviews
Planet Waves Classic Series XLR Microphone Cable, 25 feet
  • In=Out Technology: Low capacitance for pure signal transparency
  • Nickel-plated brass connectors offer reliable contact and corrosion resistance
  • Shielding provides noise rejection for quiet operation
  • XLR Male to XLR Female plugs for balanced I/O
  • Limited lifetime guarantee

6. Dragonpad USA Pop filter Studio Microphone Mic Wind Screen Pop Filter

Dragonpad USA Pop Filter Studio Microphone Mic Wind Screen Pop Filter Swivel Mount 360 Flexible Gooseneck Holder, Black
3,907 Reviews
Dragonpad USA Pop Filter Studio Microphone Mic Wind Screen Pop Filter Swivel Mount 360 Flexible Gooseneck Holder, Black
  • Economical solution to help get your best vocal recordings
  • Wind Screen
  • Convenient and easy use. Swivel mount for easy installation
  • Protects your microphone from surplus spit caused by over eager performers
  • 360 degree flexible gooseneck holder, convenient for use