I’m sure you’ve suffered through low-quality phone recordings that sound like an old tape machine. But with modern tech, it’s easy to get studio-quality sound at your home, and it’s more affordable than ever. The days of 480P YouTube videos are gone, and now you can get HD video and audio using a simple setup.
Whether you’re a musician, podcaster, or content creator, we’ve rounded up the 12 best home recording studio packages you can get on the market right now. From sub-$200 to over $2,000, there’s a bundle for everyone. And if you’re afraid of the technical jargon, a quick read through the buyer’s guide will help you get started.
List of the Best Studio Equipment Bundles
1. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio 3rd Gen Recording Bundle
|Audio Interface||3rd-gen Scarlett 2i2 USB audio interface|
|Microphone||Scarlett Studio CM25 MkIII condenser microphone|
|Speakers/Headphones||Scarlett Studio HP60 MkIII closed-back headphones|
|DAW Included||Ableton Live Lite|
My Review: In our opinion, the most practical home studio bundle available today is the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio Bundle, and judging by how many people own one, everyone agrees.
The mic preamps of the Scarlett 2i2 are modeled after Focusrite’s iconic ISO Console Transformer. Focusrite has added a new Air mode to the preamps, adding the same quality as an analog ISO preamp while taking up a fraction of the space.
The recording resolution is studio-grade, and the small package gives the added bonuses of portability and modest power requirements. It runs entirely on USB, and no separate power supply is required.
The bundle comes with a range of plugins and Ableton Live Lite. Everything you need to start producing music is included – just plug in the 2i2, install the software and drivers, and start jamming. It works seamlessly with both macOS and Windows.
The 2i2 comes with 2 inputs for two mics. If you require only one input, you can get the Focusrite Scarlett Solo Studio bundle, which comes with the Scarlett Solo – a single-input audio interface with most of the functionalities of the 2i2 – but at an even more affordable price.
The Scarlett Studio CM25 MkIII condenser microphone that comes with the bundle is great for any producer with a tight budget. It is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone with a cardioid recording pattern. The bundle lacks a shock mount, stand, and pop filter, so make sure you get these separately for a better recording experience.
Scarlett Studio HP60 MKII headphones are also part of the deal. The HP60 is very modest as far as headphones are concerned, lacking any unique characteristics. Still, their neutrality is what makes them helpful in judging the true nature of your production.
Who is this best suited for: This bundle is best for beginners who are testing the waters or people who want a portable studio. The included gear is solid and easy to set up.
Bottom Line: The 3rd-generation Focusrite 2i2 is a versatile, high-quality USB audio interface that can be used for recording or live streaming. It offers all the features you’d expect in a modern recording interface, including high-quality converters, balanced inputs, and great mic preamps. The bundle includes everything you’ll need to drop some sick tunes. All this at a very affordable price.
2. Audient EVO Start Recording Bundle – 2×2 USB/iOS Recording System
|Audio Interface||EVO 4 USB Audio Interface|
|Microphone||SR1 Condenser Microphone|
|DAW Included||Cubase LE and Cubase LE 2|
My Review: The Audient EVO Start Recording Bundle is one of the most popular home studio bundles today, and a major competitor to the Focusrite. It comes with the unique EVO 4 USB audio interface, a stylish mic, and headphones.
The EVO 4 is extremely compact but still squeezes in two inputs. It is entirely USB powered, meaning it does not need any external power source or extensions.
The EVO 4 comes with two transparent EVO 4 preamps, which do not color the sound too much, leaving the essence of your recordings intact. It also has a ‘Smart gain’ feature that detects and sets the level of the interface to the appropriate amount making your job much easier.
The interface has simplified controls, making it less daunting for beginners. The recording resolution is not as high as its much larger and more expensive competition. Still, it is adequate for a clear and professional tone. You likely won’t need 192kHz either, since 44.1kHz works well for most purposes.
The mic accompanying the bundle is the SR1 large-diaphragm condenser microphone. It has a super-cardioid polar pattern that helps you isolate your sound source and reduces unwanted anomalies. It comes with a compatible shock mount as well.
The included headphones are the SR2000. The SR2000 have a closed back and a snug fit to reduce bleed. They sound decent and are comfortable to wear, great for the price.
The EVO Start also includes the ARC Software Bundle. The bundle features Cubase LE, a free version of Cubase Pro, and some great plugins, such as the Steinberg Retrologue 2. It also includes three free online courses on music production.
Who is this best suited for: The EVO Start Recording Bundle is ideal for you if you want better preamps and innovative ‘smart’ features at a price cheaper than the Focusrite. It’s also great for established artists that want a powerful portable pack.
Bottom Line: The Audient EVO Start Recording Bundle is an affordable, compact, and bonafide collection. The EVO 4 can fit in any backpack. Its intelligent features save time, while the mic and headphones complete the experience. Get a mic stand and pop filter to start dropping some beats.
3. MOTU M2 and Warm Audio WA-47Jr Vocal Recording Bundle
|Audio Interface||Motu M2 2X2 USB-C Audio Interface|
|Microphone||Warm Audio WA-47Jr Condenser Microphone|
|Speakers/Headphones||Sennheiser HD 280 Pro|
|DAW Included||Ableton Live Lite|
My Review: The MOTU M2 and Warm Audio WA-47Jr Vocal Recording Bundle may not be on the cheap side, but it offers an excellent gear lineup from some of the best audio brands in the industry.
The MOTU M2 2X2 USB-C Audio Interface offers extreme precision and clarity, even compared to the most popular competitors in its range. The interface includes two excellent mic preamps; each with its own gain adjustment knob. The levels of the inputs and outputs on the MOTU M2 are displayed on an all-color LCD display, making them more intuitive, straightforward, and downright beautiful.
The WA-47Jr is one of the best mics on this list. The mic’s body is hefty and features a solid-state design. Solid-state mics are more resistant to distortion and capture all the fine details of vocals. Other than vocals, this mic is also a popular choice for percussion.
Along with the mic and interface, you also get the K&M 210/9 Boom Mic Stand and Gator GM-POP pop filter. Finally, you also get a pair of Sennheiser HD 280 Pro monitoring headphones.
The Sennheiser HD 280 headphones are renowned among recording professionals for reliability, comfort, isolation, and precision. It’s probably the best among entry-level monitoring headphones on this list.
The MOTU M2 also comes with Ableton Live Lite and several plugins, so you can get started immediately.
Who is this best suited for: This bundle is ideal for anyone looking for quality vocal or acoustic recordings. If you want sheer audio quality over everything else, this bundle has top-notch gear.
Bottom Line: The MOTU M2 and Warm Audio WA-47Jr Vocal Recording Bundle comes complete with absolutely everything you would need for excellent quality recordings without compromising. It might be pricier than other bundles on the list, but it’s worth it. You won’t have to get a mic stand or pop filter separately, and the mic and headphones have the edge over the competition.
4. PreSonus AudioBox 96 Studio USB 2.0 Hardware/Software Recording Bundle
|Audio Interface||AudioBox USB 96|
|Microphone||PreSonus M7 Condenser Microphone|
|Speakers/Headphones||PreSonus HD7 Headphones|
|DAW Included||Studio One Artist|
My Review: The PreSonus AudioBox 96 Studio Recording Bundle is one of the most affordable complete bundles you can find. The central part of the bundle is the AudioBox USB 96 audio interface.
The AudioBox USB 96 does not have the sensitivity of more expensive competitors. Still, it has decent mic preamps as long as you use condenser mics. The build quality is impressive, with PreSonus proudly driving a car over a unit of AudioBox 96 in a promotional video (try not to replicate that!).
The interface of the AudioBox 96 features gain for the two inputs, red LEDs to indicate when your sound is clipping, a central output knob, headphone volume, and a built-in mixer. Preamp noise can be an issue if you use a dynamic mic. But the accompanying M7 condenser mics work just fine with the AudioBox.
The M7 large-diaphragm condenser mic has a less than desirable frequency response. However, the recordings are still clean and totally usable. It is especially competent for streams and podcasts and a casual music producer on a tight budget.
The HD7 headphones, much like the M7, are unremarkable but functional. Along with the above three units, you get Studio One Artist (DAW) and a software package with everything you need to record your first song.
Who is this best suited for: Ideal for people with the tightest budgets. This full bundle costs as much as a single audio interface from some of the other kits on this list. It still delivers satisfactory results.
Bottom Line: The PreSonus AudioBox 96 Studio bundle has all three necessary components for a recording bundle at an insanely low price. The AudioBox delivers decent quality, and the software bundle makes it easier to get started. The mic and headphones are functional but not spectacular. All things considered, it is a considerable bargain at its price. Overall, this is one of the best studio bundle kits out there right now.
5. M-Audio AIR 192|4 Vocal Studio Pro – Complete Vocal Production Package
|Audio Interface||M-Audio AIR 192|4 Interface|
|Microphone||Nova Black Condenser Microphone|
|Speakers/Headphones||HDH40 Monitoring Headphones|
|DAW Included||Ableton Live Lite|
My Review: M-Audio AIR 192|4 Vocal Studio Pro is an entry-level bundle that features an outstanding audio interface. The M-Audio AIR 192|4 has mic preamps with unmatched clarity, aptly named Crystal preamps making sure your output has zero noise.
Aside from the usual gain knobs and main output, and headphone knobs, the AIR’s interface has an indicator for your sound level. The indicators are not as clear as a digital meter but are certainly a step up from a single red LED.
The interface also has a reliable and sturdy build with metal reinforcements. The switches are large, and the top slants at an angle, making changing settings more convenient on your desktop. Input one supports a mic, while a Hi-Z jack at the front can take input directly from an instrument like an electric guitar or bass.
The bundle comes with the Nova Black large-diaphragm Condenser Microphone. The Nova Black has a 1.1-inch gold diaphragm and a solid brass capsule; its build is all solid-state. All this ensures the lowest noise and the most precise sound possible. The mic also comes with a shock mount.
The headphones that come with the bundle are the HDH40, which are a great bargain. They offer comfort and good sound quality. Along with the above, you also get a software pack, including the Ableton Live Lite DAW and plugins such as “Avid’s Eleven Lite Guitar Suite”.
Who is this best suited for: This bundle is excellent for anyone looking to get into music production, especially if they play guitar and record vocals. It’s a great starter kit for those seeking a more affordable option.
Bottom Line: The M-Audio AIR 192|4 Vocal Studio Pro offers a very effective lineup. Featuring an audio interface that offers top-tier recording clarity, a mic that captures subtle details, and decent headphones for monitoring, it’ll get the job done neatly. However, it lacks a mic stand and pop filter.
6. Universal Audio Volt 276 Studio Pack
|Audio Interface||Universal Audio Volt 276|
|Microphone||Volt Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone|
|DAW Included||Ableton Live Lite|
My Review: The Universal Audio Volt 276 Studio Pack is a substantial bundle with an audio interface, mic, headphones, mic stand, and shock mount. The star of the show here is Universal Audio’s new Volt 276
The Volt 276 is primarily identical to the Volt 2, which is not a bad thing since the Volt 2 offers some of the best recordings in its price range. The $100 extra you pay for the Volt 276 is for the new built-in compression, which is great for vocals and guitars alike.
Aside from all the standard features of an audio interface, like level knobs and direct monitoring, the Volt 276 comes with a Vintage setting. The Vintage setting slightly distorts the sound to give it color. It also comes with 76 Compression, a feature based on the legendary UREI 1176 compressor – a staple from the analog era.
Three different settings are available for the compressor, which is not as versatile as compression in a DAW. Still, it is built into the interface, making life a bit easier for you if you like its sound.
The condenser mic has Volt’s logo but is a generic microphone with decent performance and is easy to use. It comes with a stand and mount. The headphones are also generic, with the Volt branding. They work quite well, but they can’t compete with well-known brands.
Who is this best suited for: Anyone that wants a compressor built into their audio interface. In fact, with the Volt 276, you can use a 5V power supply and forgo the use of a computer altogether to produce sound, as if it were an amplifier.
Bottom Line: The Universal Audio Volt 276 Studio Pack has a novel approach and is pushing the capabilities of audio recording software. The audio interface is one of the best we’ve seen, but sadly the microphone and headphones are a bit sub-par. However, you do get Universal Audio’s legendary branding and renowned quality.
7. Rode Complete Studio Kit with NT1 Microphone and AI-1 Audio Interface
|Audio Interface||RODE AI-1|
|DAW Included||Ableton Live Lite|
My Review: The Rode Complete Studio kit is Rode’s first attempt at making a home recording bundle. The pack includes the RODE AI-1 audio interface, the RODE NT-1 mic, the RODE SM6 shock mount, a pop filter, and a 20-foot XLR cable.
The RODE AI-1 is a compact, bus-powered audio interface with a single input. It is designed to have independent headphone and mic preamps to deliver maximum clarity. It manages to fit valuable features like direct monitoring in its small frame. This means that it can record efficiently and quickly.
The specialized headphone preamps have the effect of diverting output signals directly to the headphones when they are plugged in. This means you cannot use speakers while headphones are connected. The signal is redirected to any connected speakers as soon as you disconnect headphones.
The RODE AI-1 comes with Ableton Live Lite to help you start making music as soon as you get it plugged in. It is USB-C compatible and does not need any extra drivers to run – it’s a simple plug-and-play design.
The RODE NT-1 large-diaphragm condenser mic has an incredibly low self-noise of just 4.5dBA, but that does not make it delicate or fragile either. It can safely handle up to 137dB SPL, so you can use it for anything from soft vocals to really loud guitar cabs and metal screams.
This bundle does not come with any studio monitors or mic stand, so keep that in mind before getting the Rode Complete Studio Kit.
Who is this best suited for: This bundle is best suited for people looking to get high-quality recording capability in a portable package. It’s best for vocalists who only need one input.
Bottom Line: The Rode Complete Studio Kit may not have any speakers available with the set, but the RODE AI-1 and the RODE NT-1 make up for this with their excellent recording ability in a portable bundle. The audio quality is pristine, and can hold its own against much more expensive competitors.
8. Shure SM7B and Apollo Twin X QUAD Heritage Edition Vocal Recording Bundle
|Audio Interface||Universal Audio Apollo Twin X QUAD|
|Microphone||Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone|
|Speakers/Headphones||Shure SRH 440 Closed-Back Studio Headphones|
My Review: The Shure SM7B is a premium bundle with some exceptional contenders. The central piece is the Apollo Twin X Quad, despite the SM7B featuring first in the name. The Apollo Twin X is simply not comparable to any entry-level interfaces; it is leagues ahead of everything we’ve reviewed so far, and it alone is worth the price of admission.
The Apollo Twin X Quad is based on the well-received Apollo Twin. It comes with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity and includes backward compatibility with Thunderbolt 1 and 2 on macOS. The Twin X Quad comes with 4 processor cores, which give it an edge over all the competition.
The Apollo comes with the Analog Classics Plus Bundle and the LUNA recording system (macOS only). This software suite runs using the four cores built into the Apollo Twin X Quad. This makes it possible to run processor-heavy plugins on top of your recordings without introducing any latency into the system. The interface boasts a latency below 2ms, which is essentially imperceptible to the human ear.
The Twin X has two analog inputs at the back and a front input for guitars and bass. The controls on the Apollo are capable of handling everything in your studio, all from one spot. It’s got everything you could want from an audio interface, and then some more.
The Shure SM7B is a premium dynamic microphone with cardioid polarity. The mic comes with the durability guarantee of all Shure mics; the build is heavy and extremely sturdy. The mic noise is insignificant, so it takes an audio interface with really clear mic preamps to be noise-free. It does not need a shock mount due to its well-engineered design.
The Shure SRH 440 Closed-Back Headphones are not as top-notch as the other two components of the kit, but it is undoubtedly reliable. The SRH 440 is, in fact, quite popular among producers for comfort and clarity.
Who is this best suited for: Those who want the absolute best of the best. If you can afford to buy this bundle and use an Apple workstation, it is perfect for a world-class home studio. And it looks downright gorgeous.
Bottom Line: The Shure SM7B and Apollo Twin X QUAD Heritage Edition Vocal Recording Bundle does not compromise on any front and delivers premium quality that’s expected of its steep price. And it’s backed by a legendary brand.
9. Behringer U-Phoria Studio Pro Recording/Podcasting Bundle
|Audio Interface||Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD|
|Microphone||Behringer C-1 Condenser Mic|
My Review: The Behringer U-Phoria Studio Pro Recording Bundle is one of the most inexpensive bundles with all three components – an interface, a mic, and headphones.
The Audio interface that comes with the pack is the Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD, a quality product compared to even some of the more expensive interfaces on the market. It comes with 2 inputs, phantom power and toggling between line level and instrument inputs. You can also lower the input by 20dB by pressing the Pad button – useful for hot signals.
The UMC202HD features direct monitoring and two very clear mic preamps for noise-free recordings, even with dynamic mics. The unit is bus-powered and has an excellent build quality that’ll likely last for years.
The Behringer C-1 condenser microphone has a cardioid polarity pattern making it great for isolating the sound you want, whether it be vocals or a podcast conversation. The monitoring headphones that come with the bundle are the HPS5000.
The HPS5000 isn’t exactly special in terms of performance or build quality, but they are a good bargain and are comfortable to wear.
Who is this best suited for: This is a good budget starter kit for recording or podcasting. Just get a mic stand, a pop filter, and some free software to handle your recordings.
Bottom Line: The Behringer U-Phoria Studio Pro Recording/Podcasting Bundle is an excellent fit for any budget. The U-Phoria UMC202HD is a surprisingly effective audio interface for its low cost. At the same time, the C-1 and HPS5000 get you started as soon as you open the box.
10. Steinberg UR22C Recording Pack with USB 3.1 Audio Interface, Condenser Microphone, and Headphones
|Audio Interface||Steinberg UR22C|
|DAW Included||Cubase LE and Cubase AI|
My Review: The Steinberg UR22C Recording Pack features the successor of the legendary UR22, the Steinberg UR22C audio interface. The UR22C offers everything you would need for your home studio in a compact, modern package.
The UR22C has two inputs, which support both line level and instrument signals, meaning you can connect your mic, as well as a guitar or bass. The mono button is the new feature on the UR22C, which was not available in the UR22. The mono feature helps you switch between the outputs from input 1 or 2 or both. The interface also has direct monitoring.
The interface offers phantom power and supports USB 3.0, compatible with both macOS and Windows. It also supports a 5V power supply, in case you decide to plug it into a small device like a phone that cannot power the interface by itself. The UR22C has a unique DSP that allows you to influence the sound before it is recorded, and all in real-time.
The UR22C also has built-in guitar simulators, which use the DSP technology mentioned above; it is also calculated by the processors inside the interface, adding negligible latency to the audio. The preamp noise is significant, so it might not be a good fit for dynamic mics.
The mic that comes with the bundle is the ST-M01 condenser mic, which is perfect for recording vocals and also has a wide frequency response to make sure no sound escapes its register.
The ST-H01 headphones are also part of the kit and offer an excellent listening experience at an affordable price. The bundle also comes with some plugins and the Cubase DAW to help you start your journey.
Who is this best suited for: This bundle is best for anyone starting out with recording but does not want to compromise on features. It’s simple, easy to use, elegant, and can even work with mobile phones.
Bottom Line: The Steinberg UR22C Recording Pack features a decent mic and a pair of headphones. The UR22C interface is feature-packed and more than worth the reasonable price of the set. It’s a step forward from a brand that’s produced quality gear for decades. You will need to get your own mic stand and pop filter though. In my opinion, this is one of the best home recording studio packages right now and it’s well worth the money.
11. Mackie Studio Bundle with Big Knob Studio, Monitors, and Microphones
|Audio Interface||Mackie Big Knob Studio 3X2|
|Microphone||EM-91C and EM-89D|
|Speakers/Headphones||MC-100 Professional Headphones and Mackie CR3-X Multimedia Monitors|
|DAW Included||Pro Tools First|
My Review: The Mackie Studio Bundle may look pricey, but with the sheer volume of gear you get, it’s totally worth it. Buying all this equipment individually would cost a fortune. The bundle comes with a recording interface, two mics, studio monitors, headphones, and all the accessories, software, and cables to get going.
The central part of the package is the Mackie Big Knob Studio 3X2. Even as a standalone, it is pretty awesome. It is heftier than most other interfaces in its range and requires its own power supply, but the added size comes with loads of features.
The Big Knob 3X2 can support two pairs of studio monitors with individual volume controls, has two headphone outputs, two Onyx mic preamps, and two inputs for mics. It also has talkback functionality. All this makes the Big Knob an extremely versatile and powerful tool.
Mackie is known for producing great studio speakers, and the CR3-X Multimedia Monitors are no different. They are about as affordable as it gets for a good set of speakers that offer studio-quality sound. They are a great addition to any desktop experience and are reasonably compact.
If you need to listen to the finer details and nuances, you can use the MC-100 Professional Headphones instead of the monitors. Also, several plugins come free with the bundle. It’s filled with so many options!
The bundle comes with the EM-91C condenser microphone and the EM-89D Dynamic microphone. The EM-91C is a large-diaphragm condenser mic designed for precision and durability. The EM-89D, on the other hand, is an affordable way to record quality vocals, guitars, and just about anything else.
The bundle also comes with a shock mount and a desktop mic stand. You may have to get a full-size mic stand pop filter depending on your use. Otherwise, the bundle is a complete studio in one pack.
Who is this best suited for: Beginners looking for the whole package at once with considerable affordability would love this package. If you spend hours toiling with your sound to get it right, the studio monitors will ease the burden on your ears and prevent fatigue.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a complete set of professional recording equipment, the Mackie Studio Bundle is a great deal. It’s compact, affordable, and delivers everything you need to get started. The only thing missing is a full-sized mic stand and pop filter. Another complaint might be the limitations of free Pro Tools First, but you could easily use other DAWs like Reaper or Audacity.
12. Rode RODECaster Pro Podcasting Bundle
|Audio Interface||RODE RODECaster Pro|
|Speakers/Headphones||Shure SRH 440|
My Review: If you need a fully equipped podcasting or streaming setup, the Rode RODECaster Pro Podcasting Bundle is the best all-in-one solution. Unlike other kits on this list, it is mainly specialized for streaming and may not be ideal for music production.
The RODECaster Pro is an audio interface with some handy built-in features to make it a podcasting Swiss Knife. It has four mic inputs for you and all your guests with individual volume controls so you can dial down the loud one or amplify the soft-spoken one. The interface has seamless connectivity with phones via Bluetooth or USB.
The RODECaster Pro also has eight colorful pads which can be preprogrammed to play sound effects and jingles when pressed during recording or streaming. It works perfectly as a stand-alone device and does not need a computer to record; instead, you can connect an SD card to it to record audio. The bundle comes with a Sandisk 64GB SD card. The interface comes with a full-color display.
The bundle also comes with the Shure SM7B cardioid microphone, one of the most popular mics on the market. It is incredibly low-noise and has the typical durability of Shure products. You can mount the mic with the included Gator Frameworks Desk-mounted Broadcast/Podcast Boom Mic Stand.
Last but not least, the pack comes with the Shure SRH 440 studio headphones for precise monitoring and excellent noise isolation to reduce bleed. They’re perfect for podcasting.
Who is this best suited for: Anyone from beginner to pro who wants to set up a high-quality podcast studio can benefit from this kit. It’s an instant start to a top-notch podcast.
Bottom Line: The Rode RODECaster Pro Podcasting Bundle comes with one of the most specialized interfaces for podcasting perfection. It also comes with one mic, though you might need more depending on the show you set up. The included headphones are also effective and comfortable to wear.
Choosing The Right Home Recording Studio Package For You (Buying Guide)
Setting up a home studio can be daunting, especially since there are so many different options on the market and so many different aspects to consider before committing. You have to decide if you want to pick every piece of gear yourself, which gives you freedom, or get a bundle, which saves you a lot of money.
Bundles are more convenient because they save money and because all the gear you get is compatible with each other. Hence, you won’t run into unexpected issues. Here are some important aspects of a home studio bundle that you should consider before buying.
The audio interface that comes with any bundle is often the central piece and gets the most attention. The interface is the orchestrator of the entire recording process; it handles input from mics and instruments and gives outputs to studio monitors and your DAW. A standard desktop is not equipped for the job.
Choosing between the dozens of available studio interfaces by various brands is a confusing business. Especially with all the technical jargon like ‘resolution’, ‘sampling rate’, ‘bit rate’, and so on. So, here we have listed what your primary concerns should be:
Number of Inputs – You need to know how many instrument or mic inputs you would be using at a time. For example, you might record guitar with vocals simultaneously, so you would need at least two inputs. If you are podcasting, you might even need four or more inputs, depending on the number of guests.
Connectivity and Compatibility – Consider how the interface you are getting will connect to your workstation and how it will be powered. Some interfaces are too big to run on bus power, while others are small enough to fit into the palm of your hand. The USB type supported by the interface and your computer is also a significant consideration here.
Extra Features – Other than recording with very low latencies and noise, an audio interface may have other uses, like providing some kind of in-built processing or compression. Generally, the more expensive interfaces will have more features, but you might not need all of them, so consider your use case before you buy.
Build Quality – Good build quality ensures that your interface can go anywhere you go without losing knobs and that it continues to function for years. Consider how you’ll keep the interface, and choose accordingly.
A good mic is essential; in fact, good USB mics may work for solo streaming or web calling very well without any interface. However, for recording music, you would need studio-level mics. The primary considerations for mics are:
Type – The type of the mic – condenser or dynamic – is one of the main points to consider. Condenser mics are much more sensitive, and are perfect for vocals. Dynamic mics can handle much greater volumes and still be intact, which makes them great for guitars and percussion.
Dynamic Range – Determines the range of frequencies the mic can capture and also determines its sensitivity. If you want to record vocals, acoustic, and percussion with the same mic, it has to pick up sounds from all those different frequency ranges. Check out some reviews and video demos of the mic you’re getting so you can make an informed choice.
Self-Noise – The lower the self-noise, the clearer your recordings will be.
Polar Pattern – A mic’s polar pattern determines how much sound it picks up from different directions and alignments. You can choose a more narrow polar pattern to isolate one sound source or a broader pattern to capture a more extensive range, depending on your instrument. Cardioid patterns work well for vocals.
Durability – The durability of a mic is not just the outward structural integrity but the preservation of the same quality of the recording over years of use. And consider whether the bundle includes a proper mic stand and shock mount.
Studio monitors are the hardware you need to experience your productions in their purest form possible. They come in two shapes; headphones and speakers.
Headphones are integral to production, as they highlight the nuances of your sound and help you focus on details. A good pair of studio headphones must be:
- Comfortable for long hours of use.
- For studio headphones, there should be no added effects like bass boosts. The sound should be an accurate representation of your work.
- They must have noise cancellation to prevent disturbance from the outside. Simultaneously, they must avert sound bleeding outside the headphones to prevent them from being registered by your mic.
Studio speakers are used by pros who work on their music for most of their waking hours. This is because they do not make your head hurt, and they do not cause hearing loss or fatigue due to long hours of use. Whether you need a pair depends on how comfortable you are working with only headphones. The primary concerns while choosing them are:
- Speakers used for studio monitoring must be neutral, unlike guitar speakers, which have their own characteristic frequency response. The frequency response for any good studio monitor must be completely flat and uniform for all audible frequencies.
- The body of the cabinet must fit snugly on your desk or workstation. Bigger speakers give better results, but take up more space and cost much more.
- You should be able to get a good stereo experience with your choice of speakers. So consider where you would be placing them and how the acoustics would work. Acoustic-proofing your room is crucial for a neutral listening experience. Headphones avoid this issue.
Many studio bundles come with suites of plugins and DAWs to help you set up a studio as soon as you sit down to install all the necessary drivers for your interface. If your interface does not come with a DAW, you can use a free one like Ableton Live Lite, or Reaper, which is not free but allows artists to use it for free with some conditions.
Plugins can also be found for free; many developers start off with open source projects and make their creations available to the public. Some necessary types of plugins are:
- Multiband Compressors
- Amp Simulators
- Sample Plugins
- Synths and MIDI
A good set of software leads to better music production. So pick software that you can use comfortably for best results.
Accessories include all the cables and extensions you might need or benefit from. Most of these are standard, and you generally don’t have to worry too much about compatibility as long as you buy the right thing.
Microphone Stand: You can’t play your guitar with a mic in your hand. And holding a mic all the time while recording isn’t practical either. Some of the bundles above come with a stand, but many don’t, so consider looking into good affordable mic stands.
Pop Filter or Foam Cover: Your recordings would need protection from implosives and shrill noises. For this, pop filters and mic foam covers do an excellent job at a reasonable price.
Shock Mount: A shock mount prevents handling noise or bumps creeping into your recording by shielding the mic from stand vibrations. This is not absolutely necessary but does improve quality considerably, making it a no-brainer especially given how easily you can get a shock mount on the market.
Cables: Most of the above bundles come with all the USB and mic cables you would need for the gear that they include. However, you might be getting other components from elsewhere, so make sure they include all the required cables for plugging in your devices.
Home recording and production are on the rise, and podcasting is at an all-time high as a media format. There has never been a better time to hit record on your setup and show your talents to the world. Building a home studio is affordable and still delivers the quality needed to create chart-ranking hits.
We’ve reviewed some of the most renowned and feature-packed bundles for recording your first album or upgrading your recordings’ quality for your YouTube channel, Twitch streams, and Spotify/Apple Music releases. Hopefully, you’ll be able to pick one that suits you and create the next Billboard topper!
My name is Chris and I’ve had a passion for music and guitars for as long as I can remember. I started this website with some of my friends who are musicians, music teachers, gear heads, and music enthusiasts so we could provide high-quality guitar and music-related content.
I’ve been playing guitar since I was 13 years old and am an avid collector. Amps, pedals, guitars, bass, drums, microphones, studio, and recording gear, I love it all.
I was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania. My background is in Electrical Engineering, earning a Bachelor’s degree from Youngstown State University. With my engineering experience, I’ve developed as a designer of guitar amplifiers and effects. A true passion of mine, I’ve designed, built, and repaired a wide range of guitar amps and electronics. Here at the Guitar Lobby, our aim is to share our passion for Music and gear with the rest of the music community.