Starting a budget home studio for less than $500

home studio
Setting up a home studio for $500, with daw software, an audio interface and a microphone

Are you a singer, songwriter or electronic musician looking to create your own home studio? You don't need a ton of money to get started! With just $500, you can set up a functional home studio that will allow you to create, record, and mix  your music in the comfort of your own space.

Here are some tips on how to get started:


Keep it simple

Don't feel like you need to buy every piece of equipment that you'll ever need just to get started. Instead, focus on the essentials. First and foremost, you'll need to choose a digital audio workstation (DAW) to record, edit, and mix your music. There are many options available, but some popular ones include Ableton Live, Logic Pro X, and FL Studio. Next, you'll need an audio interface to connect your microphone and headphones to your computer. A basic interface with two inputs and two outputs will suffice for most home studios. For headphones, you'll want to invest in a good pair that accurately reproduces sound. Look for headphones with a flat frequency response, which means they won't artificially boost certain frequencies and skew your perception of your recordings. Finally, a good quality microphone is important for capturing sounds like your voice or an acoustic instrument if that's required for your setup. A condenser microphone is a great choice for home studios, as it's sensitive and captures a wide range of frequencies. Focus on quality over quantity, and invest in the best microphone and audio interface you can afford. By keeping your setup simple and focusing on these key pieces of equipment, you can create high-quality recordings from the comfort of your own home.


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Shop around for deals

You don't need to buy everything brand new. Look for deals on used equipment or check out sales at your local music store. Craigslist is a popular online marketplace where you can find used equipment for sale in your local area. Just be sure to meet in a public place and test out the equipment before making a purchase. eBay is another great option, as it allows you to search for deals from sellers all over the world. You can often find used equipment in great condition at a fraction of the cost of buying new. is also a great resource for musicians, as it specializes in buying and selling musical instruments and equipment. It's a trusted platform that provides a safe and secure way to purchase used gear from sellers all over the world. By taking advantage of these options, you can save money on your home studio setup without sacrificing quality.


Read more about How to Start a Home Studio on a Small Budget from $200 to $1500


Take advantage of free software

When it comes to recording software, there are many options available, including some that are completely free. Take advantage of these to save money on your home studio setup. In addition to popular free software like Audacity and GarageBand, there are a variety of plugins and tools available that can help you create high-quality recordings. For example, TBPro Audio MV Meter and ISOL8 are great plugins for monitoring your mix and ensuring that your levels are balanced. Boz Labs Panipulator is another useful tool that lets you listen to your mix in mono or stereo, which can help you identify phase issues and ensure that your mix sounds good on different playback systems. Youlean Loudness meter is a great tool for monitoring loudness and ensuring that your recordings are at a consistent volume. Softube's Saturation Knob is a free plugin that adds warmth and character to your recordings, while Techivation's T-De-Esser helps you control sibilance and achieve a smooth vocal sound. By taking advantage of these free tools, you can create high-quality recordings without spending a dime on software.


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DIY soundproofing

Creating a soundproofed environment for your home studio can be expensive, but there are some DIY solutions that can help improve the acoustics of your space without breaking the bank. Acoustic diffusors can help reduce echo and improve the clarity of your recordings. You can always find them on Craigslist or Amazon. Decoupling your speakers from the surface they're on using foam or isolation pads can also help reduce unwanted vibrations and improve the accuracy of your sound. Area rugs, drapes, and other soft furnishings can help absorb sound and reduce echoes in your room. Finally, adding plants to your space can also help improve acoustics by absorbing sound and providing a natural touch to your space. These DIY solutions won't create a completely soundproof environment, but they can help improve the acoustics of your space and create a more professional-sounding recording environment.


Remember, starting a home studio doesn't have to be expensive. With just $500, you can create a functional and high-quality space for recording your music. Keep it simple, prioritize quality over quantity, and take advantage of free software and DIY options to save money. With a little creativity and resourcefulness, you'll be well on your way to creating and recording your own music from home.


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