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Best CHEAP setup for home studio?

Hey tuners and tweakers,

I've been having fun playing music for most of my adult life, and I want to get started recording a bit. What is the bare minimum setup I will need to do EVERYTHING that I will want to do for a little while?

I have a PC and a guitar.

I think I want to get a Mic, a mixer, and a midi keyboard, is that about all the hardware that I'll need, assuming that I will just be sequencing all of the stuff that I'm not directly sampling?

I figure guitar and mic will just go into the mixer which will go into my soundcard, and midi keyboard will connect through USB.

So, I want to do a $20 NADY mic and a $30 Behringer Eurorack, and a m-audio keyboard for about $60.
Am I covered?

I want to get all of this from

Do any of you produce your own music?

Please describe your own home setups to me, and give me ideas for a super budget setup.

Also, what is SPDIF?

Will I need to have a good soundcard or will any soundcard do the job?

Thanks everybody.

Say hi to your mom for me, Love,

I record some music at home (don't have any good equipment though).

A free and very good editing/recording/mixing program is Audacity. It's Open Source =)
I don't record much but I do sometimes. My whole setup probably costs much more than yours, though, mainly because its shared with my siblings. I don't have a mixer but it would probably be helpful. All I know is that a quarter inch to eighth inch adapter has been very useful for getting my music into the computer. Depending on what equipment you already have, this may or may not be something you will want to get. It shouldn't be more than a few dollars anyway.
I think the sound card only matters unless its really bad or you want really good quality but I'm no expert on that.
I use Audacity as well because its free but there are many other low cost programs that might work a little better.
The Mitchell
it depends entirely on how far you wanna go. basically mixer wise you dont need one if your working from pc. I personally use a native instruments 2in 4 out soundcard called the audio kontrol 1. It cost me about 150 and has a midi in too. but if you do want a mixer id go with sumat like the alesis usb mixers. i think theyre about 250 ish for an 8 channel down to stereo usb or you can input with 8 channels on firewire.

mic wise anything will do as long as it works. again it depends on quality tho. you could spend anything between 20 and 5000 on a mic. Id say sumat like the shure range. Very useable and tough. will last you a lifetime and its industry standard stuff which you can get for about 70ish.

finally keyboard wise i have found maudio to be a bit shit in the past recently tho it appears they have cleaned up their act and are sorting themselves out. i believe its prob the oxygen v2 you are buying. its ok. i find my v1 to be a little small but the axioms are very very nice.
The Mitchell
also spdif is a wierd one. I know what it does vaguely. (i should know properly cos im a sound student) but yeah everyone i know seems the same. no one really entrely knows what it does. basically im very sketchy with my knowledge. but heres a link.

either way if you dont know what it is you more than likely dont need it. I have spdif and never use it and i record and produce well pretty much every single day.
I would personally go for a USB sound card (like the Edirol UA-25) not only because they are generally purpose built for the home-studio, but also because they are extremely versitile.

As far as mics, i would probably just go pick up a shure SM-58 and possibly a couple of SM-57s if money allows.

Buying cheaper gear at the moment may seem to suit your needs better at the moment, but I suggest going out and buying industry standard gear .Even if you are just starting out and dont wanna invest too much it will really help you out a lot down the road if/when you decide to expand. If you already have top quality mics and leads etc. then your not having to go out and buy new ones. Just remember - buying good mics now will mean you dont have to upgrade later. Also, by buying industry standard gear it makes them heaps easier to sell if you ever choose to do so.
yeah you need a sound card. if youre out for a keyboard as well try getting the maudio ozone.
i would start with the m audio ozone and a microphone and that's all you need for basics, the software im assuming you have. then if you're serious about making music you'll eventualy get some monitors and a better mic and soundcard.

Solid advice so far. To extend the point regarding the need for a mixer, definitely make sure you're not paying for duplicate functionality in different pieces of hardware. is a good place to start your research on studio setups.

As a note I would avoid investing in a phenomenal microphone if your room isn't treated and if your preamps aren't fantastic quality.

My setup has cost me a total of $1,500 over a span of three years. It's worked fairly well but some upgrades are due. I'm thinking of switching out my Oxygen8 (want something with a bit more weight in the keys), picking up an MPD24 (MPD32 just dropped, price should be driven down soon), and switching my Tascam US-428 (the MP has all the transport control I need) for either a better quality soundcard or a compact mixer, or both.

I'd list my setup but I don't have any material recorded with it intact (yet), so it wouldn't give you any benchmark as far as quality goes.
uuuuuu wrote:

So, I want to do a $20 NADY mic and a $30 Behringer Eurorack, and a m-audio keyboard for about $60.

Arrow Don't buy a Behringer, it's big sh**, for a mic buy a sennheiser Exclamation

You need too a soundcard who accept the "line in" and not just "mic in", look E-mu card Wink
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