Best Home Studio Gear

The Ultimate Guide To Choosing Gear For Your Startup Home Studio

Recommendations to fit any budget!

Updated July 2021

When it comes to buying gear for your first home studio or upgrading your current setup, the choices can be overwhelming.

Great-sounding (and affordable) gear is abundant, which is great! But the truth is, it can be hard to sift through options and find the right fit.

In this gear guide I want to help point you in the right direction. Having worked in both a big pro studio, and small home studios for 10+ years, I’ve been around a lot of gear. I’ve also bought my share of kit over the past decade to know what I like and trust.

I’ve made gear recommendations for all the main home studio components, and in different price points. At the end I’ve even mapped out complete studio bundles that I think would be a great fit for you. These recommendations are the same ones I would give my friends and family.

After all, you are an Orpheus Audio Academy Sononaut, and I want to make sure you are equipped well on your sonic journey.


Before we dive in, a few words of preface...

Preface #1: There are other great brands that I don't mention here.

Preface #2: If you're going to upgrade, then upgrade.

Don't waste your money buying something that is marginally better. You're better off just improving your skills with that equipment. When you are ready to upgrade, really do it, and upgrade to gear that can last you a long time.

Preface #3: This guide includes affiliate links. 

Some of the links in this guide are affiliate links, which means I'll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you do buy a piece of gear by clicking on a link in this guide.

However, I only recommend gear I have used personally, or know from others is very reputable. I'm also not sponsored by any of these brands, so I haven't been paid to make any of these recommendations.

You are free to purchase these items without clicking on my links, but if you do, that would go a long way in helping to support Orpheus Audio Academy, which I deeply appreciate!

Best Audio Interfaces

Around $200

Super cheap, but gets the job done with quality pre-amps.

focusrite scarlett solo

Pro-quality sound at an affordable price. There's a reason why this is the go-to for many beginner recording artists and producers.

iRig Pro Duo

This is the interface I currently use, and it's fantastic! Great quality audio in a very compact package makes it great for mobile recording, or saving space on your desk.

Around $500

Superb recording front end for musicians and producers who need just a little bit more connectivity, letting you record up to four mono sources or two stereo line sources such as synths or drum machines.

Also a great if you need to record multiple instruments at once as it has four inputs.

Around $900

Widely recognized as one of the best interfaces in this price range. 

We used an earlier iteration of this interface exclusively when recording songs for a band I'm in called "Lines". Super slick design, legendary sound quality, and portable, it's hard to beat this interface. 

Best Microphones

Around $100

These mics are pretty much legendary, and they are some of the most popular microphones of all time. These are durable dynamic microphones, with the SM57 being mainly designed for instruments, whereas the 58 is designed for vocals. 

Since the SM58 is a dynamic microphone, it isn't going to pick up quite as much detail, and in my experience with it, it can sound a little thin, and is probably best for more aggressive vocals.

This is most similar to the mic I currently use (the MXL mic I have is no longer in production). Really great quality, clear, and detailed. 

Around $400

A staple for radio and podcasts, this dynamic mic is actually great on vocals as well, and is very versatile. It's a mic I've used in both home and pro studios, and it gets the job done very well. 

Its ultra-low self-noise means you'll effortlessly capture clean, clear audio.


Sounds absolutely stunning, especially when you put it on vocalists

This was the mic I recorded vocalists with the most as part of my college audio engineering program. This is used in a lot of pro studios, and is considered one of THE BEST microphones on the market.

Best Monitors

Under $300 (a pair)

A lot of people will recommend the KRK Rokit 5s in this price range (which are actually more expensive), but I traded out my Rokits in exchange for the iLoud Micro Monitors that I currently use. Why?

Because if you have a bedroom studio, or otherwise mix in a smaller room (like a room in your house) then the Rokits are probably just too boomy for your space. 

Though they may look small, the iLouds pack a punch without overwhelming your room. They are laser-focused as well, which makes them the best monitors for less-than-ideal rooms. Even if you have a well-treated room, they are still great, linear monitors that even the pros will use. 

Also, since they're small, they're also very portable. Definitely THE BEST monitors in this price range.

Under $700 (a pair)

The pro studio I spent a lot of time recording and mixing in used the legendary Yahmaha NS-10s. THese HS7s are a home studio version and are very popular.

Best Headphones

Under $100

Comfortable, closed-back critical listening headphones with a good sound. They don't leak much, which makes them a good option for recording.

Under $300

The Sennheiser HD 600 are good critical listening headphones with excellent detail and clarity, perfect for mixing. They do lack a little low-end bass though, so you might find yourself adding into just a tad too much bass when mixing. 

With that in mind, just back off the bass boosting when mixing with these.

These are open-backed headphones, which makes them better for mixing as they attempt to mimic the effect of monitors by allowing bleed. 


Which DAW is the best? 

Well, it turns out DAWs are like cars, they all have basically the same features, they just might look a little different and be called different names. 

So choosing a DAW really just comes down to workflow preference, and which one comes more intuitively to you. I've personally used 5 different DAWs, but only used 3 regularly. That said, I've found Logic Pro X suites my needs the best, and has a fantastic workflow. Plus, it's like half the price of a lot of the other DAWs out there. 

That said, here some of the really good DAWs I've either used or seen a lot of electronic music artists using...

(Note: Don't get Pro Tools. It's actually one of the worst DAWs, but has cleverly maneuvered itself over the years into being the go-to DAW for the pros. The pro studio I learned at used Digital Performer by MOTU for the most part, and also Logic Pro X) 

Best DAWs For Mac Only

Yes, this is actually a great DAW for beginners to use

The Pro version of GarageBand, and one of the BEST DAWs in my opinion. It's what I use almost exclusively right now.

Best DAWs For Mac & PC

This is what I got started on and used for years before I finally switched to an iMac computer.

This has some of the best audio editing tools I've seen in a DAW, and can work magic, but it can be very overwhelming, even for professionals, which is why you don't hear much about it.

A favorite of electronic artists, I've only used it once myself, but a lot of producers will swear by it. 

Also a favorite of electronic artists, it seems to have a lot of built-in short-cuts for electronic music production, so much so, that actually has a bit of a reputation for not being a real DAW. 

That partly stems from its history when it was once called "Fruity Loops", and was understood to mostly just be placing loops.

But it has really come into its own in recent years, and a lot of big electronic artists adore it. 

Startup Home Studio Packages