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Best Beginner Music Production Setup for [2023]

Best Beginner Music Production Setup for [2023]

Being able to record music at home is amazing for any musician or recording engineer. Knowing the bare essentials for making music at home can be overwhelming for most. Knowing what you should buy is something you should know if you’re looking to build a home studio. This article will help narrow down what you need for your home studio. You may also find some tips you might’ve not realized are important for a home studio.

Beginner Recording Studio: - Dell XPS7760-7213BLK-PUS XPS 7760 DesktopBest Beginner Music Production Setup for Making Music at Home

A Computer

Believe it or not, the most important beginning aspect of any home studio is the computer behind it. First, you need to decide if you want a laptop or a desktop for your studio. Both have their advantages, and it’s important to decide which type of computer you want.

The advantage of having a laptop is that you’re able to bring it anywhere. Having a laptop makes it possible to record music whenever and wherever you need to.

The disadvantage of having a laptop is it’s hard to find a laptop that is as powerful as a desktop. The need to be able to record wherever isn’t as essential as one might think. If you create a great enough place to record and make music, people will come to where you are to make music.

Best Beginner Music Production Setup for 2023

The advantage of having a desktop is being able to build it to your liking. If you don’t want to build a computer, you can buy pre-built desktops as well. Most desktops tend to be more powerful than laptops. Professional studios tend to use desktops over laptops.

The only real disadvantage of having a desktop is that it’s not portable. However, as noted before, portability isn’t something that is as necessary as one might think.

With regards to the computer you need for creating music, know that the amount of money you put in, is what you’ll get out. If you have a large budget, definitely invest a lot of money into your computer. If you don’t have a large budget, try to save money over time until you have enough for a decent computer. You can also look into monthly payment options for your computer.

You definitely don’t want to cheap out on your computer. If your computer runs slow, then your entire creative process could be at a standstill.

For more information on Computers for Music Production. Read our reviews for the Best PC’s for Music Production and Best Laptops for Music Production.


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Beginner Recording Studio: Line FL Studio 20 Producer Edition

A DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) Software

After you buy the right computer for you, the next step would be to figure out what DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software is best for you.

The decision behind picking a DAW software depends on your budget, and whether you use a PC or Mac. Like the decision on what computer you should buy, know that the amount of money you put towards DAW software is what you’ll get back in return.

There is plenty of free DAW software that is very easy to use and gets the job done. However, once you learn more about recording, you’ll realize you’ll want to have the ability to do more. If you plan on recording bare-bones demos for fun, then definitely look into the free options for DAW software.

Best Beginner Music Production Setup: Ableton Multitrack Recording Software

A lot of computers already come with DAW software, so keep that in mind when you’re looking at computers to buy. Besides computers, a lot of audio interfaces come with DAW software to use. You can also look at free versions of industry-standard DAW software, to get a taste of that specific DAW software and if it’ll work for you.

DAW software that is more expensive is more beneficial to someone who is looking to create an amazing studio. Expensive DAW software is for not just creating demos, but also recording and releasing music. All the industry standard DAW software tends to be a bit pricey. However, once you pay for the software, you’ll always own the newest version of that specific software.

It’s important to know what you want to accomplish with your own home studio, and how much you’re willing to spend on something as essential as DAW software. If you want to make an incredible home studio, the answer is to never cheap out.

Read our reviews for the Best DAW for Beginners Review & Buyer’s Guide and DAW vs DAW – How Do They All Compare?.


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Beginner Recording Studio: BEHRINGER Audio Interface
Audio Interface and a MIDI Keyboard

An audio interface is an important aspect of a home studio because it’s what you’ll use to record an instrument and vocals. You need an audio interface to make sure you can record the best possible sound from something.

If you’re only looking for casual record music, definitely look into the cheaper audio interfaces that are available. A lot of the cheaper audio interfaces are just direct-in audio interfaces, that go directly from a cable to your computer. The direct-in audio interfaces are very easy to use, and great for people who aren’t looking to make a world-renowned studio.

The more expensive audio interfaces are a necessity for people looking to create a professional home studio. Almost all the professional studios in the world have multiple audio interfaces, so keep that in mind when you plan out your home studio. It’s definitely something you’ll want to continually invest in.

Best Beginner Music Production Setup: Akai Professional MPK249 | 49 Key Semi Weighted USB MIDI Keyboard Controller

MIDI keyboards are a must for people who write or record rap, pop, or lo-fi music. They’re also great for people who don’t have a big enough space to record drums and want to use something that can emulate a drum kit very easily.

Just like everything else, you can find a wide variety of prices on MIDI keyboards. Even if you have a big enough space to record drums, definitely get some sort of MIDI keyboard just to have. You never know when you might want to use it, and how useful it can end up being.

A MIDI keyboard is especially useful if you have an idea for a drum part, and don’t have access to a drum kit. When building a home studio, the more variety of things you have to record with, the better.

For more information on Audio Interfaces and Keyboard Controllers.  Read our reviews for the Best Budget Audio Interface Review & Buyer’s Guide and Best Keyboard Controller Review & Buyer’s Guide.


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Beginner Recording Studio: OneOdio Adapter-Free Closed Back Over-Ear DJ Stereo Monitor Headphones

Headphones and/or Studio Monitors

When I say headphones are necessary for a home studio, I don’t mean a cheap pair of earbuds. Although they’ll technically get the job done, noise-canceling headphones will make you be able to fine-tune a song to perfection.

The better quality headphones will give you the exact sound you’re creating and will make it easier on your ears to figure out what you need to adjust. It might seem like shelling out a few hundred bucks on headphones seems like the least of your worries when making a home studio. But, you’ll soon realize how big of a difference headphones will make in your recording experience.

Besides listening back to mixes, you’ll need headphones to actually record. If you’re recording vocals or drums, then you’ll need a pair of headphones for the person who is actually doing the recording. Having multiple pairs of headphones is a must for any type of studio.

Besides headphones, you’ll also need studio monitors for recording. Studio monitors are great for recording an instrument like a guitar. The studio monitors make it so every person in the room can hear exactly what’s going on.

Best Beginner Music Production Setup: Edifier R1010BT 4" Active Bluetooth Bookshelf Monitor Speakers

You don’t necessarily need to shell out a ton of money on studio monitors, but having a pair will make your entire recording process a lot easier.

Besides the actual recording, studio monitors help emulate how a lot of people will end up hearing the music you record. If the music you record ends up being released, then a lot of people will listen to it in their car. The range of studio monitors will make it easy to demonstrate a recording to multiple people at once and what you need to do to that song to perfect it.

Having headphones and monitors will help your studio have both options available for yourself and others who want to record.

For more information on Studio Monitoring. Read our reviews for Best Headphones for Music Production Review & Buyer’s Guide and Best Studio Monitors Review & Buyer’s Guide.


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Q & As

Beginner Recording Studio: Q&A

Do I need a mixer for a home studio?

Almost all DAW software has a built-in mixer so a mixer isn’t necessary for beginners or even more professional-style studios. However, having a mixer definitely makes it a lot easier for you. Think of it as an addition that you don’t really need, but will make your life a little easier.

You can find a wide range of mixers ranging in price, and make sure you get a mixer that will fix nicely on your set-up. You don’t want to drop a ton of money on a mixer, just for it to be too big for the space that you have for it.

How can I make my studio sound better?

Once you get a lot of the other aspects of a home studio complete, make sure you look into how to properly treat the sound of your rooms for recording.

Since a home studio is in a smaller space, a lot of people tend to have problems with the lower end in their rooms. This is due to bass frequencies not being more powerful than treble frequencies. Bass traps are a must to correct this issue with the lower end. You can make bass traps yourself or order them online.

To make your home studio sound more spacious, utilizing diffuser panels will transform the sound of your home studio. Just like bass traps, you can either build diffuser panels yourself or order them online.

If you find that you have too much echo, and ambient noise in a room, acoustic panels are great to remove sound issues. Acoustic panels help remove sound issues from sound waves reflecting off the wall. You can also utilize acoustic panels for soundproofing. Just like diffuser panels, and bass traps, you can either build acoustic panels yourself or buy them online.

Of the three, acoustic panels are generally the most important sound enhancement you can have in a room. However, you’ll definitely want to invest in all three in order to perfect the sound of your room.

Once you end up perfecting the sound of your room, you’ll realize what a difference it can make on your recordings. However, if you’re casually making music for fun, then obviously you don’t need to shell out money and time on different types of panels. Use your money to enhance other parts of your studio, unless you’re trying to make a perfect studio.

Best Beginner Music Production Setup: Wireless Microphone How many microphones do I need for a studio?

One of the most expensive aspects of a studio is microphones. There are a ton of different microphones you’ll need for recording, and once you begin purchasing all of them, you’ll realize how fast they can add up.

First and foremost, you’ll need a microphone to record vocals. If you only want to record demos, and casually record music, you can get away with just having a microphone for vocals. You can use a MIDI keyboard for drums, and DI for everything else, but you’ll still need some sort of microphone for vocals.

Just like everything else on this list, the more expensive the microphone, the better it’ll be. If you’re looking to save a few bucks on a simple home studio, you can find some cheap recording packages that come with a microphone and pop filter. These packages are great for simple home studios. However, you cannot cheap out if you’re looking to build an amazing home studio.

Besides a microphone for vocals, you’ll need microphones for drums, amplifiers, acoustic instruments, and much more. Condenser mics work better with high-frequency instruments such as cymbals and pianos. Dynamic mics work better on drums, and electric guitars because of how well they work with low-mid frequency instruments.

Microphones tend to be one of the most expensive aspects of a studio, but they’re something that can turn your home studio from decent to great. The more microphones you have, the better. Start out small by buying just a decent vocal microphone, and branch off into buying a few other microphones for drums and amplifiers.

What kind of cables do I need for a studio?

One of the cheaper necessities for a home studio is cables. It’s important to not only have what you need cable-wise for your own equipment but also cables for the people who might use your home studio with you.

For your own equipment, having an abundance of XLR cables and ¼” jack cables are better than not having enough cables. If a person has a crazy idea that requires a lot of XLR cables, it’ll be great to have all of the necessary cables, to begin with. Plus, you’ll never know when a cable breaks, and you need to quickly replace it.

Relying on the exact number of cables you need will only cause unnecessary stress on yourself when you need another cable or a cable breaks.

¼” cables are great to have since they’ll you’ll use them anytime you record an electric guitar or bass. If someone you’re recording forgot something, it’s great to be able to relax them with the assurance that you got them covered.

Besides XLR cables, and standard ¼” jack cables, having ¼” patch cables is also great to have in case you or someone you’re recording needs them. You’ll never when you might want to experiment and hook up twenty guitar pedals together. Or if a musician forgot their patch cables for their pedal board.

Besides the cables listed above, definitely look into getting some speaker cables and other odd cables you might end up needing. Having an abundance of cables will make you better off in the long run, compared to not having enough cables.

What do I need to make my studio more comfortable?

Furniture might seem like the last thing you’ll need to think of when you’re building your home studio. But, having the right furniture is an extremely important part of a studio.

First and foremost, you’ll need a desk for your computer. Think of your desk as your main hub, and where you’ll be spending most of your time at your studio. You’ll want a desk that is not only comfortable but big enough to fulfill the space you need.

Besides a desk, having a comfortable chair is definitely something you’ll need. Since the majority of your time at your studio is in front of your computer, having a comfortable chair is a must. It’ll help with any discomfort you may get from sitting down for a long period of time.

Swivel chairs are great because it makes it easier for you to move around without having to get up. As useless as that sounds, it’s actually a lot more convenient than you might realize.

Buying a few chairs without arms is great for musicians who want to sit down and play. A chair with arms is horrible for recording since the arms get in the way of your playing. Buy a few cheap chairs without arms so that any musician can record easily while sitting down.

Besides a desk, and a chair, having a decent couch is a nice touch in a studio. Although this isn’t a bare essential for a home studio, it’s definitely something that is more useful than you’ll realize. If you have a musician who is recording all night and is too tired to drive home, you can have a place for them to crash. You can also utilize the couch to relax while you take breaks from recording. Being able to stay in the hub of your studio, and relax on a couch is something that can come in handy.

You don’t have to go crazy on buying top-tier furniture, but make sure you get good enough furniture that works for your studio set-up.

What else should I buy for a home studio?

Besides everything I listed above, you should look into specific gear that can enhance the quality of your studio. For example, you should look into top-tier amplifiers and guitar pedals if you record a lot of music around that type of sound. Also, look into having gear that you might not necessarily utilize for your own music, but in case another person can utilize it in your studio.

Basically, the more equipment you have, the better. It’s always great to have a wide range of equipment to use for your studio, just as long as you have the space for it.

More “Beginner Music Production Setup” Videos

HOW TO: Setup a Home Music Studio for Beginners (2023)

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Final Thoughts

Everything I listed in this article should give you a general idea about the bare essentials of a home studio. Before you buy anything, always give yourself a budget and plan out the space you have for your studio.

Realize what you want to do with your home studio. Whether you want to build a studio that is equivalent to a professional studio, or just want something you can use to casually record music.

Remember to follow the correct steps in building the studio, and not jump too far ahead. For example, you shouldn’t buy an audio interface if you don’t own a computer. Buying equipment that you can’t even use will only delay you from building the best studio for you. Start out small, and make monthly goals for yourself.

Knowing your goal from the beginning will help plan out what necessities you need for your studio. No matter what type of studio you end up creating, always think of it as an ongoing project. Even if you already invested thousands of dollars into it, there’s always a better piece of equipment that can improve your studio.

Most importantly, make sure you’re happy with what you’ve created. If the technical side of things is causing you to not able to create music, then fix the issue. Not being able to record or create because of a technical issue should never occur in your home studio.


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About the Author

Michael-B
Michael-B

Michael-B is a Music Producer, Musician, and Formally Trained (and was Certified by the Recording Institute of Detroit in 1986) Recording Engineer. As of to date, He's built 3 home recording studios go back to 1987, where he wrote, played all the instruments, and recorded his music. Michael B is also a Writer, Chief Editor and SEO of TrackinSolo.com