Recording on a Budget: How to Get the Most of What You Have


Every musician wants to get their music out there. The easiest way to do so is by recording songs and putting them out on the internet. Thing is, that’s not nearly as easy as it sounds. Renting a recording room and getting a producer is insanely expensive, especially for those just starting out.

It makes much more sense to set up a home recording studio. But then, another problem arises: how can you set up your own recording studio on a budget? Well, it’s all about planning ahead, knowing why you’re recording, and keeping the eye on the ball.

Know What You’re Recording

Before you even reach for your wallet, you need to define what exactly you’ll be recording. A budget for recording an entire live band will not be the same as the one you should set for a solo artist that requires minimal arrangements.

It also helps to have an end goal. Recording an album will be decidedly more expensive and time-consuming than recording samples… and recording a live presentation is an entirely different animal. Bands that are just starting out should focus on recording the best version they can of their songs so that they can establish a digital presence, so the quality shouldn’t be complete trash, but it doesn’t need to be Beyoncé quality either.

You Will Need a Budget

Once you know the why and the what, you can decide how much you’re willing to spend. And here’s a really important thing you need to remember: the entirety of the band’s budget can’t go to setting up a recording studio. Don’t spend the entire budget like there’s no tomorrow. Recording a song just to save it on your desktop will get you nowhere. After the recording is done, you’ll need to invest in promoting the songs. That will likely mean putting up a vanity website, paying for ads on your favourite social media, or handing out flyers.

Invest in the Essentials

How simple or complicated the setting gets will depend on what you need. But generally speaking, there are a couple of things that every recording musician will need regardless of the complexity of the project. Even the simplest home recording studio will need the following:

  • A Good Mic: your best bet is going with a USB mic so that you won’t need a preamp or an audio interface which can quickly tip you over the budget. You’ll notice that many mics nowadays are advertised to be for podcasters, most of them are still good enough for recording music. Make sure to read the reviews.
  • The Software: you’ll need to do the mixing. Depending on your operating system you can find starter options for as little as $16 or around $60. Though these will be basic, there are a lot of things you can learn from them. Besides, if you don’t have that much experience, more complicated software will be too much anyway.
  • Headphones or Studio Monitors: this will come down to how much money you have. Most home studios can work just fine with good headphones, but they’ll never substitute the quality you get from good studio monitors.

At the end of the day, these are the basics to get you started, but as you move on, and start getting more money, you can add whatever you need or update your first purchases. What should be of the utmost importance is getting your music out there with an enjoyable quality, everything else you’ll get in time.