Home Recording Studio Equipment List

Home recording isn’t a walk in the park, that’s for sure. A professional studio will provide you with all the tools you need to make some great sounds. In your home studio, you’re the master of your seas.

You can consider that an advantage or a disadvantage, but one thing for sure: you have a lot of work to do!

Nowadays, almost anyone can set up a recording studio in their house. If you have a computer that can power your gear, you have everything you need, except for one thing: the gear.

There’s a lot of home recording studio equipment you’ll need, up from a DAW and down to a pair of headphones you put on for mixing.

If you have enough money and knowledge to build your home recording studio, keep scrolling to see a list of all the essential things you need!

The First Step – Understanding Signal Chain

The signal chain of a home recording studio is the path your audio takes to reach the headphones or speakers. The audio passes through a complicated chain of stages and devices in this path before it finds its way to the studio monitor.

For example, when the microphone receives the audio, it travels through the preamp, converter, audio interface, computer, headphone amp, and then re-emerges from the headphones. This, my friend, is a signal chain.

Being well-aware of your signal chain and thinking about it thoroughly is essential for a lot of reasons. For starters, if you’re getting no signal, you’ll be able to locate the source of the issue immediately because you know what devices in the chain to check. 

Similarly, knowing your signal chain will help you reach the optimal sound quality when mixing your audio. 

The way you arrange your devices and plug-ins can make a world of difference in your mix’s quality. By learning about signal chains, you’ll be able to make better decisions, such as when to add EQ. Not to mention, it saves a lot of time, and it helps you get more creative because you have a fixed chain, so you don’t boggle your mind trying to constantly rearrange your devices.

A List of the Essential Equipment You’ll Need

This list includes all the essential recording equipment you’ll need for your home studio. Whether you’re still building your studio or upgrading, here’s everything you’ll need.

Recording Deck

The recording deck of your home recording studio can be either a multitrack or DAW or both. DAW is a software you run on your computer that helps you record, edit, and produce your audio files. It gives you more flexibility when mixing your audio and allows for some creativity.

On the other hand, a multitrack recorder is an all-in-one device that enables you to record more than one source of sound at the same time. Then, it allows you to mix these recorded tracks separately.

You can use a multitrack recorder with DAW software for more options. This way, you’ll be able to mix your music in either. Or, you can start with the multitrack and move on to the DAW to complete.

Good Options to Consider

When choosing your multitrack, make sure it has two-channel stereo out and import/export capability. The Tascam is a pretty solid option to consider.

Choosing your DAW mainly depends on your style of music and computer specifications. Before you choose it, make sure your computer will be able to run it without any problems. 

You can try your luck with a free DAW at first; some of the best free ones are Audacity, Pro Tools, and Garageband, though the last one only works for Mac. 

If you’re already a pro and don’t mind getting a paid DAW, you can go for Pro Tools 10. Some audio interfaces also come with featured free versions of popular DAW software. These will eliminate the need to pay for one.

Listening Back


If you’re recording vocals with a microphone in the same room that has your studio monitors, you’ll inevitably need a pair of headphones. Otherwise, the microphone will produce feedback, and you’ll find some unwanted noise in your music.

Recording headphones are either designed with a closed back or open back. Closed-back headphones are used for recording because they offer excellent sound isolation, but their sound quality isn’t the best. Open-back headphones are used for the mixing phase because their sound quality is great, but they don’t offer much isolation.

Good Options to Consider

To give you the verdict, a pair of closed-back headphones is necessary for home recording. Of course, open-back headphones are a nice luxury to have, but they’re not a necessity.

We recommend the Sony MDR7506 for a closed black pair. It may be more expensive than the average pair, but it gives considerate value in return. In addition, it features 40mm drivers and neodymium magnets for exceptional sound quality. 

The Sony’s closed-back design is highly comfortable to wear for long hours, and it reduces external noises significantly.

On the other hand, the Beyerdynamic 459038 is a great option if you want an open-back pair. It’s made in Germany, so you can make sure you’re getting high quality. Additionally, it offers transparent, strong bass and treble sounds.

Studio Monitors

Studio monitors have been long used in home recording because of their high accuracy. If you record with regular speakers, there’s a high chance you’ll end up with an imbalanced mix due to any detail you missed in the sound.

Additionally, studio monitors produce a flat sound—much flatter than commercial speakers or headphones. This way, you have a completely uncolored sound, allowing you to judge the quality of your mix better.

So even if you have a pair of headphones for recording, you’ll still need a solid studio monitor to get the optimal quality out of your audio. 

Good Options to Consider

The Yamaha HS7 is a great option to get you started. It comes at a moderate price, and its response controls help it adapt to the acoustics of any room easily. Its frequency response goes from 43Hz to 30kHz, and it comes with both TRS and XLR jack inputs.

Gain Staging & Signal Processing

Audio Interface

If you’re building a home recording studio, an audio interface is one of the essential devices to get. It’s the piece of hardware that connects your computer to all your equipment.

It converts your instrument signals into a format your DAW and computer can support. Additionally, it adds a gain stage from your mixing board to your recording deck, and it raises the input signal for the multitrack.

If you want to record any audio, such as guitar, your own voice, or any other instrument, you’ll need an audio interface. It’ll provide you with all the output connections you need for your headphones, studio monitors, etc.

Good Options to Consider

If you’re on a tight budget, the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is a great audio interface to consider. It comes with a switchable Air Mode, accounting for brighter, more open sounds of your recordings. Additionally, it features two balanced line inputs, allowing you to connect line-level sources.

Mixing Board

You can record without a mixing board if you have an audio interface. However, it gives you the opportunity to add additional EQ to a signal before recording. On top of that, it adds a gain stage and allows you to mix separate input signals.

Other than that, most people mix using DAW software and only use mixing boards for plugging in more input into the speaker system.

Good Options to Consider

If you’re looking for a mixer that won’t cost you a fortune, the Alesis MultiMix 4 would be wise to consider. It’s fully equipped with a built-in USB interface, enabling you to record your mix directly onto the computer without using an interface.

Recording Vocals

Microphone Preamp

Microphone preamps are essential for processing your microphone signals through the other equipment. 

Microphone signals require a lot of gain because they’re below the average operating level. They’re mostly around 30–60 dB or more. Meanwhile, the standard for home studio gear is around +4 dBu, so you need a preamp for any audio source you intend to use.

Whether you need a microphone preamp for home recording is a bit of a controversial topic among musicians. Some people aren’t convinced you need one, and their argument mainly revolves around audio interfaces.

If your audio interface already has a built-in preamp, why do you need a separate one?

It’s true; some high-end audio interfaces eliminate the need for a preamp, but an external preamp allows you to add more gain. Built-in preamps usually offer a maximum of 60dB gain. If you have a low-output dynamic mic, you’ll need at least 70dB. In this case, an audio interface alone won’t suffice.

Good Options to Consider

The Rolls MP13 Mini is a nice, affordable choice for home recording. It features an easy-to-use single-channel design, and it delivers single gain control with a clip indicator.


You’ll need a microphone for any type of recording, whether it’s at home or in a studio. The mic is responsible for delivering the audio clearly and brightly, so it’s the essence of the recording process.

If you’re getting started, it’d be wise to get a versatile microphone that’s able to record different frequencies. Afterward, you can get different types to fit all your uses. 

There are two main types of microphones on the market: condenser and dynamic microphones. 

Dynamic microphones are often used for live performances, while condenser ones are suitable for studio and home recording.

That’s because dynamic mics capture the loud, strong sounds that condenser mics don’t. These include loud vocals, drums, and other instruments that are usually used in concerts. On the other hand, condenser mics capture the higher frequencies and delicate audios, which include studio vocals.

When buying your condenser mic, bear in mind that it’ll probably need phantom power, which is provided by your audio interface or microphone preamp. If you already have those, read the specs of your microphone carefully before buying it, so you’re sure it’s compatible.

Good Options to Consider

Condenser mics cost more than dynamic ones, so expect to pay a lot to get a decent one. However, if you’re on a tight budget, the XLR Condenser Microphone is one of the best options on the market. It comes fully equipped with a pop filter, a suspension stand, and a shock mount.

If you’re ready to pay some more, the Audio-Technica AT2020 and AT2035 are both reliable and reputable.

Mic Stand

Mic stands allow you to mount your microphone in the right position to record your vocals or instruments. They’re vital for home recording because they prevent the mic from touching or hitting against the instrument you’re using.

Most beginners think all mic stands are the same, and any stand will do. However, that couldn’t be more wrong. 

Remember that mic stands protect your mic, so they’re a worthy investment. Watching your expensive condenser mic collide against the hard floor because the stand is flimsy isn’t a sight you’d like to see. That’s why it’s essential to choose a sturdy stand with a suitable design.

There are tripod stands, which are used for general purposes, and tripod boom stands, which deliver the same purpose but have a longer reach. There are also low-profile stands for guitar cabs and kick drums, and desktop stands that are more suitable for recording and podcasting.

Good Options to Consider

As you can see, there are multiple types on the market, so doing thorough research is in order. The NEEWER Adjustable Microphone is one of the best boom stands on the market. It has a foldable design, and it’s quite sturdy. If you’re going for a desktop stand, the LyxPro Desktop Microphone Stand is also a nice budget option to consider.

Pop Filter

Pop filters are mainly responsible for reducing the popping sounds that result from audio devices. These sounds mostly come from your own mouth if you’re recording your voice. 

In letters like B and P, some popping or plosive sounds occur naturally as a part of speech because the air comes out fast. If you put a candle in front of your mouth while talking, the flame will flicker due to these sounds. Here, the pop filter becomes essential to keep the voice bright and clear. In addition, it keeps the microphone sound clear of clipping or distortion.

It also prevents saliva from reaching the mic if that’s a cause of concern to you.

Good Options to Consider

If you’re aiming at a pro-level pop filter, you can go for the Stedman Proscreen XL. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out it costs more than your average filter. But it’s worth every dollar paid. It has a patented design that directs the air downward instead of diffusing it. As a result, the voice reaches the microphone completely clear of any noise.

The filter’s gooseneck is also pretty sturdy.

If you want an entry-level pop filter, the Professional Metallic Mic Pop Filter is a pretty solid option, and it comes at a great price.

Recording Instruments

Guitar Tone Modeler

Guitar tone modelers, or as they’re commonly called, modeling amps, are essential for home recording using a guitar. A modeling amp is called that because it literally models itself on other amplifiers, but it costs way less.

For example, some renowned guitar amps, like the Marshall JCM800, sound great because of how their valves are wired. Modeling amps emulate these amps by replacing the valves with digital technology, and they deliver the closest sound possible. So if you want to get the same distortion or clean sparkle of a famous amp, a modeling amp will do that for you.

A lot of modeling amps also provide some effects on board, including phaser, chorus, flange, delay, and reverb. They eliminate the need to buy a separate pedal to add these effects to your sounds.

Good Options to Consider

If you want to explore your options, you can take a look at the Fender Mustang GT 200 and the Fender Champion 50XL

The Mustang is on the expensive side of the market, but that’s only because of its incredible capabilities. It provides an ⅛-inch aux-in and an ⅛-inch headphone out, along with a balanced stereo XLR line output. 

It’s a bit big, but it offers considerable output power.

On the other hand, the Champion is the more affordable option. It offers a dozen classic effects, up from delays and reverbs and down to vibratones. It’s an ideal amp for experimenting with different styles.

Drum Machine

A lot of beginners to home recording aren’t familiar with drum machines—mainly because you don’t need them unless you want to imitate the loud sound of drums. Drum machines are pieces of hardware that add the sound of percussive instruments and electronic drums to your audio.

They’re box-shaped, and they come with a keypad that looks like the one on computers.

Aside from their main purpose, drum machines also allow musicians to mix and program the percussive sounds they add. This way, they don’t need a live drummer to record a variety of sounds.

With some music genres, such as rock, musicians use drum machines to record quick-sounding demos without the need for a full kit. Typically, this means fewer costs.

Good Options to Consider

If you want a reliable, durable drum machine with high-quality sounds, the Korg Volca Drum Machine is worth a thought. It comes fully equipped with a 6-part DSP synth engine that results in bright drum tones. 

On top of that, it has a 16-step sequencer that provides powerful tactile control and top-notch sound. Paired with the Active Step function, both features allow you to create intricate polyrhythms without a hassle.

MIDI Keyboard

If you’re using MIDI on your DAW software, you’ll inevitably need a MIDI keyboard in your home recording studio. Some musicians opt for computer keyboards instead, but MIDI keyboards typically result in more expressive sounds, and they’re much easier to use.

MIDi keyboards aren’t audio devices, so they’re unable to produce sounds on their own. You’ll need to plug your keyboard into the computer via a USB cable. Alternatively, you can connect it via a MIDI cable, but you’ll need your audio interface for that.

The way they work, these keyboards send the MIDI signals to the DAW software you’re using for recording. When the DAW receives the sound, it generates it into the speakers. This means you’ll be able to add as many effects as you want using the DAW.

Good Options to Consider

If you’re on a tight budget, the Alesis Q25 25-Key would be a wise option to consider. It’s versatile, small, and easy to use. Plus, its moderate price compared to competitors is a bonus.

The keyboard comes with both 5-pin MIDI and USB-MIDI out, along with USB bus power, sustain pedal input, and pitch and mod wheels.

Along with the 25-key option, there are 49-key and 61-key options available from it as well.

If you’re upgrading your already-existing MIDI controller, you may want to consider the AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3.

The keyboard is designed for mobile musicians. It comes in a portable size for musicians who move around and change studios a lot. If your home recording studio isn’t large, it’d be ideal for it.

But aside from the size, the AKAI keyboard packs some great features. For example, it includes a thumbstick that pairs mod functions and pitch functions in one control. Plus, it has an onboard arpeggiator, explicitly designed for synth users.

Wrap Up

As you see, creating a home recording studio is no piece of cake. There’s an endless list of equipment to consider, and the variety of options on the market don’t make it any easier.

Luckily for you, the list of essential home recording studio equipment above covers everything you may need—at least for your starting phase. 

There is some equipment you may not need, like drum machines, but it’s still better to be all-inclusive of everything before you start.

Good luck with creating that home recording studio of yours!