Choosing a mixer for home recording studio could get you to spend lots of hundreds of dollars, so if you are on a tight budget, you should just go with a mixer that is cheap, reliable, and that has great reviews. I am going to recommend few such products that cost under $200. I guess that’s affordable for anyone who has a passion for music, right?
This mixer is called Behringer XENYX X1222USB Premium (4/5 stars) and it features ultra-low noise, 6-Input 2/2-Bus, neo-classic “British” 3-band EQs, XENYX Mic Preamps & Compressors. You’ll also get 16 editable presets including reverb, chorus, flanger, delay, pitch shifter (…etc)
As we go down the price line, we meet Yamaha MG102C 10 (4.5/5 stars), a 10 input stereo mixer, 2-bus design, 3-band EQ on inputs and 48V Phantom Power. The buyers say that this mixer is the best in it’s price range ($100). No USB connection though…
Mackie 402-VLZ3 has the same price as the previous mixer, but there are two main differences: it’s smaller and it has 5/5 stars on Amazon. Mackie 402 features XDR 2 preamps, Phantom Power, 2-Band Active EQ Knobs and many professional features. The users say that it has a low background noise, amazing pre-amps and crystal clear sound.
This list was missing something – the USB mixer. After going through few USB mixers on Amazon, I settled on Peavey PV6 USB Mixing Console, a 4/5 star mixer if we are to believe the buyers. The first thing you will notice about this mixer are the low noise mic inputs. You’ll also love the 3-band EQ, and 1 stereo effects returns, Phantom Power, great monitoring options. Some users said they had problems when recording via USB. You have to look into that before buying this one.
image source: Amazon.com
I’m into home studios for some time, and over the years, I’ve worked with many audio interfaces like: M-Audio, Audio Kontrol, Tascam. I can honestly say that I found the best audio interface under $200. This audio interface is dependable, very easy to use and most important, is cheap! You will never hear pops or clicks. If you record on two channels simultaneously, you will get perfect synchronized recordings. Another cool feature of this audio interface is that it comes with Focusrite plugin suite (quality plugins) that you can use in your recordings.
The first thing you must know before getting a condenser microphone is that it requires a preamp with phantom power. Let’s say your budget is under £50 and you plan to buy a nice preamp for your home studio setup.
Art Tube Mp Original – Valve Mic Preamp With 48V Phantom Power
This was my first preamp that I used with my AT2020. It was great because it was cheap and it delivered crystal clear and warm vocals.
features (via Amazon)
- Provides Superior Preamplification for: Microphones, Instruments and Line Level Sources
- Analog VU Meter
- OPL™ Output Protection Limiter
- Hand-Selected 12AX7A Vacuum Tube
- Variable Input and Output Gain Controls
- Provides over 60 dB of Gain
- +48 Phantom Power Switch
- Phase Reversal Switch
- XLR and 1/4″ Inputs and Outputs
- Portable, All-Steel Construction
- Excellent as Tube DI
Click the image for more info and prices
This video shows how you can treat your room or your closed in order to transform it into a recording booth. Remember that buying a home studio setup is not necessarily enough in order to get high quality recordings. Cheap acoustic foam can be found online or you can search at your local music store. Or you can improvise your own acoustic foam with egg crates:
Just go to any store and see if you ca get some. If you are lucky, you can get them for free. Check this blog. It contains a complete tutorial on how to install acoustic foam in your home studio.
This video contains the best free recording studio software that you’ll find online. Many folks commented that Audacity is not that good, so I think you should not think of it as the best, but definitely in that list. If you want to opt for a paid and more pro recording studio software, I recommend Cubase 6. I know it’s not cheap, but with this one and a decent setup you’ll make music like a pro!
As you already know, putting together a home recording studio in UK is a tricky job. My best bet is to buy all your gear for an online store, because you’ll get discounts, you can compare prices and most important, you will do all these really fast.
USB vs Standard Condenser Microphone
This is a tough question. If you want to create a really nice UK home studio, you need to choose a standard condenser microphone. But remember that you’ll need to buy extra studio equipment along with it.
If you are on a tight budget (around $100) then you should skip the audio interface and everything else and buy a nice USB condenser microphone. AT2020 USB is the best choice on that budget. But if you really want quality, you should really get a standard condenser microphone with a proper audio interface. That will really boost the quality of your recordings. Rode NT2-A is a really good choice in that regard.
Remember to get a pop filter and a mic stand along with it. Just connect it to your laptop and start your recordings.
Being an upcoming artist is difficult, specially if you are on a tight budget. I will provide a list with the most important equipment that you need to have in your home recording studio, and I will provide the best UK online deals. I recommend an online store because it contains all the stuff in one place, and most of them have really cheap or free shipping.
Home recording studio equipment
- audio interface or soundcard+preamp
- laptop or pc
- recording and mixing software
- accessories: mic stand, pop filter, cables, closed headphones
- acoustic foam
- optional: mixer
These are the basics for a home recording studio. Considering the UK online store deals and a budget around £300.
Rode NT1a is the perfect setup for an UK Home Studio. Better than that, this condenser mic can be used on a semi-pro recording studio. The best thing about this package is that NT1a comes with a studio pop shield and shock mount. In the package you’ll find a premium cable, dust cover, an instructional DVD with recording tips, and 10 years warranty. Click the link for more info and prices
Fast Track 2 USB Audio Interface with dual input and mic preamp + Pro Tools Software is the perfect audio interface for Rode NT1a mic.It comes with nice preamps and Phantom Power (remember that any condenser mic requires 48V phantom power). See best prices and a proper setup on studio setups blog.
You’re almost done. The audio interface and condenser mic are really important in your UK home studio. Most of accessories are already included (cable, pop filter, recording software). You need to get a mic stand, a pair of closed headphones and improvise some sort of acoustic foam (you can use egg crates).