5 Essential Home Recording Studio Equipments for Beginners

By Tim Wilson •  Updated: 03/13/23 •  6 min read

When building your home recording studio, you’ll have different priorities based on your budget, the type of music you want to record, your workspace, and many other variables. After you soundproof, apply acoustic treatment and get the different studio furnishings, you’ll need very little studio equipment and gear.

Getting the basic recording equipment will kickstart your recording studio if you’re on a tight budget. Afterwards, you can upgrade your different gear slowly depending on your needs. This post will examine the essential home recording studio equipment a beginner needs. Enjoy.


The computer is the backbone of your home recording studio. It will serve as your storage medium, mixer, the source of most digital signal processing (DSP) work, playback machine, editing station, and much more. Chances are you already have a computer; however, is it the best for home recording? Nothing is frustrating like editing and mixing on a laggy/slow computer.

Because the computer is one of the critical pieces of gear, you want to make the best choice. The minimum recommended system requirement for a music production computer is at least 16 GB of RAM and running Core i5 or higher. Whether you get a PC or laptop, MAC or Windows will depend on your needs and preferences.

Laptops are great if you plan to make music on the go, while desktops are cheaper, easier to upgrade, and work well if you have a stationed recording studio. Choose MAC or Windows based on your preferences in each platform and the software you intend to run. For example, Logic Pro X is only available for MAC users, while others like Sound Forge and Sonar are available for Windows users.

MAC remains a favorite for most recording studios because of its reliability, security, and ease of use. However, Windows is way more affordable and compatible with more software, and you can custom-make/upgrade yours to fit your needs. Weight the pros and cons of each against your preferences to help you make a better decision.

Audio Interface

An audio interface is a primary gear that connects your microphones and other instruments to your computer. The interface converts analog signals from your instruments into digital audio signals that your computer can process. The interface connects to your computer via USB, Thunderbolt, FireWire, or other connections. The same audio interface also connects to your studio monitors or headphones for playback audio.

When choosing an audio interface, decide on the number of inputs and outputs you’ll need. If you’re starting, two inputs are enough, and the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is one of the best beginner options. If you want to record more instruments simultaneously, choose an audio interface that will allow you to do that, like the Focusrite Scarlett 18i8.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

How you connect the audio interface to your computer is also important. Different connectivity options are available, and each has pros and cons. Thunderbolt is preferred for high speed and low latency. FireWire transfers data more consistently than USB, better for recording several channels simultaneously. USB is a popular option and compatible with most of our computers. There are also other available connections; make sure to choose the right one.

There are also other tech specs like bit depth, sample rate, and much more that you can check out to help you choose a good audio interface. Check out our in-depth audio interface buying guide for more tips.


The microphone is one of the important links in a recording chain, and it converts sound waves into electrical signals. A good microphone makes a significant impact on the quality of your recordings. For a beginner, an all-purpose versatile microphone is enough. However, in the long run, you should upgrade to different microphones that work well for recording different instruments.

Rode NT1a and Shure SM57 Mics

Rode NT1a and Shure SM57 Mics

Dynamic and condenser mics are the two most popular studio microphone types. Dynamic microphones are cheaper, durable, and best suited for recording drums, guitar amps, auxiliary percussion, and snare or toms. The Shure SM57 and Sennheiser MD421 are popular industry standard dynamic mics you can check out. Condenser mics are another popular option frequently used for voice and acoustic instruments, like bass, guitar, and piano. The Rode NT1A and AKG Perception 170 are good options to check out.

Apart from these two studio microphones, there are also ribbon and USB mics. Understanding the different microphone polar patterns and diaphragm sizes is also beneficial in helping you choose the right one for you. Check out our Studio mics buying guide for an informative read.

Studio Monitors

Studio monitors are an essential part of your home recording for mixing and mastering most of your work. Unlike your normal home speaker, studio monitors accurately represent the music you are recording and mixing. Studio monitors, also known as reference monitors, and give you what your music sounds like, not what you’d like it to sound like.

Reference monitors fail into three main categories: near-field, mid-field, and far-field. Mid- and far-field monitors have no business in a home recording studio. Near-field studio monitors are what you’ll use in your home recording studio. They are great for listening in a range of about 3 to 5 feet away, which is perfect for a home studio.

Rokit 5 G3-5” Studio Monitor

Rokit 5 G3-5” Studio Monitor

Studio monitors can also be active or passive. Active monitors have an in-built amplifier designed to power them. Passive monitors require an external amplifier, which is a hassle if you’re starting. Always choose active studio monitors unless there is a specific reason to go with passive studio monitors. They are easier to set up, you don’t need extra gear, and they sound more accurate because the amplification matches the speakers.

While they can be pricey, there are cheaper options you can check out. The KRK Rokit 5 G3 are cheaper and quality studio monitors that sound good. Check out our studio monitor buying guide for an in-depth post on choosing studio monitors.

Studio Headphones

While it is possible to mix solely on your studio monitors, headphones are also helpful in the studio.

Open-back headphones are great when mixing, and they can help you identify problems in your mix and hone in on the details. They are also great for checking the position of instruments in a mix (pan) and checking the amount of reverb or other effects. You can also use semi-open-back headphones for mixing and mastering. Check out the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro for a great mixing and monitoring headphone.

Beyerdynamic DT 880

Beyerdynamic DT 880

Closed-back headphones are great for an overdub or playing a click track. Because the earcup is closed, there is little or no sound leakage from the headphones, which a microphone might pick up. Check out the Sennheiser HD280 Pro or Sony MDR 7506, both of which are good tracking headphones.

Apart from the headphone earcup design, there are other specs to check out when choosing a studio headphone. Read our studio headphones buying guide to learn how to pick the best headphones for studio use.

Tim Wilson