What do you need to record a demo at home? A lot of equipment if you want your recording to turn out good. But this doesn’t mean that you have to think expensive. Some of the best home recording studio packages are quite affordable and can help you get a satisfying recording.
Of course, not all packages are complete, and not all the tech pairs well with each other. That’s why I’ll give you a rundown of some of the top preassembled packages out there.
6 Best Home Recording Studio Packages
Table of Contents
- 6 Best Home Recording Studio Packages
- What Makes a Complete Home Recording Studio Package?
- Hardware Quality vs Software Choices
- Will You Need the Highest Sample Rates?
The Presonus AudioBox 96 contains one of the best audio interfaces for a home studio. It can handle sample rates of up to 96kHz, which will allow you to record vocals, drums, guitars, and pretty much any instrument.
It also comes with the PreSonus M7 condenser microphone, Eris 3.5 studio monitors, and the HD7 studio headphones. Both are quite good and will serve their purpose well. However, the audio interface is the centerpiece of this package.
The interface looks classy and is built to last. It features multiple instrument inputs and phantom power. I also like the separate volume controllers for headphones, main volume, mic, and playback.
It also comes with a useful software suite, headlined by the Studio One DAW. You also get the Studio Magic plugin suite, which offers plenty of popular plugins from brands like Arturia, Maag Audio and Lexicon.
The third generation of the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio interface is capable of much higher sample rates and also comes with tools such as the Ableton Live Lite, Focusrite Creative Pack, your choice of an XLN Addictive Keys virtual instrument, and a few other software perks.
It’s really nice that this interface can achieve sample rates of up to 192kHz.
The power of the Scarlett 2i2 Studio 3rd Gen interface and its resilience are also impressive. It can do more than just record solos and can even handle hot guitar pickups too.
A condenser microphone and a pair of headphones are also in the box. Sure, they’re not the absolute best. But, they get the job done reliably, and what they lack is compensated by the versatile audio interface.
The Presonus Studio One Recording Bundle is perhaps the most advanced option I’ve found so far in the affordable price range. It can support Capture Duo software on iOS, and it has a sophisticated recording and production software, making it an exciting choice.
The Presonus Studio One is not particularly beginner-friendly. However, it can still cater to both amateurs and pros and their respective recording demands.
The sample rates won’t go higher than 94kHz, but that’s hardly insufficient unless you’re a purist. The Studio One Artist DAW software is cross-platform compatible and can do everything from recording to mixing.
I find that the two-combo mic inputs are a very smart choice as they allow the audio interface to cater to bands as well as individual artists. And, what I like most is the internal mixer which serves for zero-latency monitoring.
You may think that a wireless recorder won’t do your voice justice. But, don’t let this Amazon Echo-like recorder fool you. Together with its Spire mobile app, this portable recorder is a complete recording and mixing platform for traveling musicians and amateurs.
iZotope’s groundbreaking sound processing technology can record quality audio. The battery life is well over four hours, which gives the device decent autonomy.
I also like the automated custom EQ feature. It works by identifying the type of instrument you’re using and applying a specific EQ curve to enhance the audio quality of that particular track. It recognizes vocals too.
There are two versions of this M-Audio home recording studio, the old model and new model, and I will always recommend the latter. This USB audio interface is affordable, easy to use, and can deliver 192kHz sample rates.
It can record impressively detailed sound and the super-low latency of the USB/USB-C connection cable is a big plus in my book.
I also like the selection of accessories, which include a microphone with a shock mount, cables, headphones, and a complete AIR 192 Vocal Studio Pro software suite. While the microphone might not be the best out there, the included headphones are comfortable and well isolated.
Another thing that should come in handy is the simple interface with just four control knobs, a master controller, and easy to follow color-coded volume indicators.
Although it may look slightly intimidating at first, the Tascam DP-008EX is still an entry-level to intermediate home studio recording package. It comes with an omnidirectional condenser microphone, two XLR inputs, 1/4" TS inputs, switchable 48v phantom power, and a wide range of onboard effects.
The price range should reflect the versatility of this audio interface and its accessories. When it comes to recording WAV files, you will be able to achieve up to 16-bit/44.1 kHz resolutions.
The two-band shelving EQ, compressor, and many mastering effects are also nice to have. What’s more, you can adjust all channels individually, allowing you to set up dedicated channels for instruments and vocals.
I’m not a big fan of USB 2.0 ports as 3.0/3.1 has pretty much become the standard across the board. However, latency will only be a problem if you try to use too many instruments at the same time.
What Makes a Complete Home Recording Studio Package?
To record something, you’ll almost always need an audio interface, a microphone, a pair of headphones, and cables. Recording software goes without saying, but they deserve a different article altogether.
While most home recording studio packages come with all the basics, it’s essential to manage your expectations. While you will get more than decent quality, it will be nowhere near the professional level.
The microphone will almost always be a condenser microphone, which is what you want for recording purposes. However, your mileage may vary, as not all mics featured I home recording bundles are equally suitable for recording vocals and instruments.
Of course, once you have your mic, interface, and headphones, you’ll also need a tablet, laptop, or computer to the ball rolling.
Hardware Quality vs Software Choices
This one is a tricky subject. Of course, the hardware quality and audio processing technology are super important when it comes to home recording packages. They are the bread and the butter of the entire process.
But software often gets overlooked. While minimalistic software can help you record, no questions asked, you should ask yourself what you want to get as a result.
Do you want a raw recording that you can send to someone for mixing or review? Do you want to make your songs from scratch and then monetize them? If you’re not looking for much, then the software complexity shouldn’t factor in too much into the price you’re willing to pay.
However, if you want a broad scope of options, then I suggest taking a close look at the DAW software included to see if it meets your demands. Not all DAWs are have editing and mixing capabilities. Finally, some of them are pretty hard to understand and use.
Will You Need the Highest Sample Rates?
Not all the time. Many beginners get caught up with the 192 kHz sample rate because they apply the “bigger is better” logic. While 192 kHz is pretty advanced, one could argue that if you know what you’re doing, you can wow your listeners at 96 kHz.
You will find that a higher sample rate is not often enough to elevate the quality of your recording. The capturing properties of the microphone, the studio acoustics, the adjustments you make through the EQ, are more important than the sample rate.
Start Monetizing Your Creativity Today
It’s not easy to make it as an artist. But, at the end of the day, it’s impossible to make it if you don’t get at least some exposure. If you don’t have anything recorded, no one can hear you. That’s where having one of the best home recording studio kits or bundles can help you.
Working with a professional audio interface will help you understand instruments even better. It will also eventually help you to put a finished product out there. So, what are you waiting for?