Thanks for watching my interview with Sarah; I had a blast chatting with her. She's such a great gal, isn't she?

As I mentioned in the video, I've got a few goodies for you. Use the code JOY for a 15% discount on all services

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Cheap home studio setup

  • Laptop

This is probably going to be the most expensive tool in your studio for a while.

If you can afford it, it's investing in a high powered computer. What you're looking for are a good cpu and plenty of ram. For recording one channel and processing that, even a 2011 Macbook Pro would do.

Here are 3 suggestions:

Dell XPS 9560 15.6" i5 (up to 3.5ghz), 8gb ram, 256gb ssd

Dell XPS 9570 15.6" i7 32gb ram, 1tb ssd

Macbook Pro 15" 2018 i7 6-core 2.6ghz, 16gb ram, 512gb ssd

  • Interface

The best bang for the buck interfaces currently come from Audient. They're a UK company that makes great sounding gear. I've got 2 different interfaces in mind for you:

Audient ID4 - 1 microphone preamp; you can record anything with it, as long as one microphone does the job (hint:one microphone is usually all you need to get a great sound)

Audient ID14 - 2 microphone preamps and digital input which allows for 8 additional tracks via an external preamp, connected using ADAT.

  • Microphone

There are different opinions as to what type of microphone to go with. I suggest you go with the Shure SM57 because its a dynamic microphone, which means that it’ll reject sound you don’t want recorded, such as the laptop fans or an AC unit. The SM57 is also an industry standard mic; lastly, it’s virtually indestructible.

  • Headphones

When it comes to headphones for recording, you can't really go wrong with the Audio Tehnica ATH-M50x They're closed back, which means sound coming in and going out of the headphones is greatly reduced. You can record with a loud click in your ears without it bleeding into the microphone.
You can also mix late at night without disturbing anyone around you. If you have kids, you can mix without being disturbed by them. :D

Harsh recordings are terrible. They're tiring to listen to, they distract from everything else and, if you're subjected to them for an extended period of time, you'll probably get a headache. The cheap earbuds I recommend that help in combating this are the Sennheiser CX300ii. They're fairly cheap, they sound somewhat okay, but, most importantly, they have a huge boost at around 4-6Khz.
This enables you to hear sibilance or harshness very easily, which leads to better microphone placement when recording.

Last but not least, here are 2 more suggestions:

The Sennheiser HD650 are what I use every day while working. They're open-back, so all outside noise gets in. They're not good for tracking, since all inside noise gets out. They're great for mixing and mastering, audio restoration, editing...basically, everything you need to hear in great detail.

The Adam Audio Studio Pro SP-5 closed-back headphones are next on my 'to buy' list. I haven't listened to them, but apparently they're taking the industry by storm, so that's a good sign.

  • Pop filter

A simple pop filter is enough for most use cases. Get this one and you'll be fine. It helps reduce or eliminate popping sounds caused by the impact of air on the microphone during recording. It also helps with sibilance a tiny bit.

  • Sonarworks Reference 4

The Sonarworks Speakers and Headphones Calibration system is bonkers. According to their website, "Reference 4 removes unwanted coloration from studio speakers and headphones". I agree.

They help you make your recordings and mixes sound very similar wherever you listen to them. This used to be a huge time-waster back in the dark days pre-Sonarworks.
Now you can mix your track, bounce it, listen to it in the car, listen to it on your mom's stereo and it'll sound very consistent.