Below is a great question from Yahoo! Answers that has lots of different answers, depending on what kind of recording you want to do.
The one answer posted was pretty specific, which isn’t very helpful, if you ask me. See below for my answer.
Q: We got a quote once from a business that offered a full home recording studio package that included a desktop computer and can’t remember where it was! Can you help?
A (from Yahoo Answers, not HBA): Pro Audio Solutions has packages. Look:
This was a link to a sales page for a full computer that is supposedly optimized for audio recording. And this was VERY expensive.
The Home Brew Audio Answer:
The option in the given answer above takes you to a site where full systems cost a minimum of $2,000! That’s 2 grand! Two-large! While that would certainly buy some great stuff, it’s pretty steep. Check out some other options below.
A better way to spend your money
The only reason to buy a full package is for convenience, and if it’s cheaper than buying all the parts separately, price. Otherwise you would be better off buying each part on its own.
The reason is that there are so many different kinds of recording (voiceover, podcasting, electronic music, acoustic music, etc.) that a “package” could very well give you more than you need, not to mention COST more than you should pay.
So here are a few options, along with prices. If you have a new computer, or even or new-ish…say less than a 10 years old, you can use your existing computer and subtract $500 from the total estimate at the end!
Don’t buy a separate computer for recording
In 2020, computers are so powerful that any one will be good enough for probably 99% of people.
If you are running tons of virtual instruments and hooking up lots of external gear, then you may benefit from a more powerful computer with more processing power and speed, and more storage than an average computer.
For folks just needing to record voice narration (perhaps for video, podcasting, voice over work, audio books, pre-produced music for background, etc.) all you need is a USB mic and any basic computer – desktop or laptop.
Other stuff you’ll want
You will also need some headphones. I recommend a pair of Audio-Technica ATH-M20x headphones for about $49 to start. You can always upgrade if or as you need to.
Good quality USB mics start at about $50. Recording software starts at FREE. The open-source Audacity will do both multitrack recording, mixing and editing.
So, if you will mainly be doing voiceovers, podcasts, audiobooks, etc. that’s $49 for a decent pair of headphones and $50 for a USB mic. Total price for a new pc recording studio package mainly for voice narration – $95 (using your current computer).
For music recording
If you will be recording music, you’ll need a few things in addition to the above, namely an interface box – like a Focusrite Scarlett Solo – so you can plug in bass and electric guitars, as well as microphones. These start at around $75.
You’ll probably also need a microphone stand for about $20.
You’ll also need more recording capability than Audacity can give you, namely midi/virtual instrument functionality. I recommend Reaper, by Cockos, which has a 30-day trial that will never cease to work (see the article Why Reaper Rocks as a DAW).
The license then is only $60! And trust me when I say that this is one unbelievable value. Audacity can still be your audio editor for the great price of FREE. Total price for a full home recording studio package you can use for recording music – $200 (again, using your computer).
You can get all the stuff I mentioned (though for the computer I recommend your local electronics/computer store) from B&H Pro Audio.
Check out our mini-course How to Create a Home Recording Studio for more detail on specific gear for multiple budget levels.