To set up your own recording studio, you need at least a microphone, cables and an audio interface. For recording and mixing on a computer, digital audio workstation software, studio monitors and headphones are also essential.
The microphone is the most essential piece in the recording studio since it picks up the sound. Those with a very limited budget can purchase a USB microphone that connects directly to a computer and utilizes basic audio software. Those with a larger budget should opt for a condenser microphone, which does a better job of picking up sound than a USB microphone.
Condenser microphones require an audio interface and a source of power. The audio interface connects the microphone and possibly any instruments to the computer. An audio interface can be a relatively simple device or more complicated like a mixing board. Some audio interfaces are also able to provide the phantom power required by a condenser microphone.
To mix the sound on the computer, install digital audio workstation software, which often comes with the audio interface. Other software options are readily available online for free or inexpensively.
For listening to the sound, studio monitors are essential. Studio monitors, or speakers, allow you to hear sound as similar to the recorded product as possible; standard computer speakers alter the sound. For a cheaper option, purchase a pair of high-quality headphones. While headphones are not ideal for mixing, they provide the user with an experience similar to that of the average listener.