This buyers guide is part of a series of articles to help the home studio owner kickstart their recording journey. Each buyers guide focuses on a different type of recording setup. Look out for more buyers guides and articles on how to make your first recordings in the upcoming weeks. Subscribe to the Soundgrains newsletter to receive updates in your inbox or like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

This singer-songwriter home studio is designed for the keyboardist or guitarist who wants a simple and budget friendly setup to record a solo vocals and keyboards or guitars. This singer-songwriter home studio setup will allow for the use of one microphone for your vocals and an instrument input for your guitar with a pickup.

Here we will focus on the three main components for the singer-songwriter home studio setup. A microphone to record audio, an audio interface to connect the microphone to the computer, and a basic pair of monitor headphones to get started with recording and mixing. You can choose to upgrade each component to a better model later, but the suggestions below should get you started without spending a fortune.

1. Audio Technica AT2020

The Audio Technica AT2020 is a budget friendly large diaphragm condenser microphone for the home studio beginner. As your first microphone, you are looking for a microphone that is a good performer for your choice of instruments. A large diaphragm condenser is a good first microphone as it is versatile enough for most recording purposes from vocals, acoustic guitars, and amps. Check out our 5 budget friendly microphones for the home studio article for more microphone options for your singer-songwriter home studio.

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2. Focusrite Scarlett Solo USB Audio Interface

Focusrite is a respected pro audio manufacturer who has a long history of making world-class mic preamps, consoles, and audio interfaces. The Focusrite Scarlett Solo is their entry level audio interface that is very budget friendly for the beginnings of a home studio or hobbyist. The Focusrite Scarlett Solo will allow the simultaneous recording of one microphone and one instrument input. Perfect fit if you want to sing and record your electric guitar or acoustic guitar pickup at the same time. The Focusrite Scarlett Solo also comes with Ableton Live Lite 9 recording software, 1GB of Loopmasters sample content, the Novation Bass Station virtual instrument, and Focusrite’s Scarlett plug-in suite. Pretty much all you need to get started.

The Focusrite Scarlett Solo also comes with Ableton Live Lite 9 recording software, 1GB of Loopmasters sample content, the Novation Bass Station virtual instrument, and Focusrite’s Scarlett plug-in suite. Pretty much all you need to get started.

The downside of the Solo is that it only provides RCA unbalanced outputs which might be a problem for those who have studio monitors. However, unbalanced outputs are fine for short cable runs or connecting to your computer speakers/hi-fi speakers for the budget setup. Most people who will be using an interface of this size would also be using headphones more than speakers so it shouldn’t be a dealbreaker.

If you suppose that you might want to record two microphones simultaneously in the future, such as recording both vocals and acoustic guitar with separate microphones at the same time. You might want to consider spending a little more for the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 which features two microphone inputs instead of just one on the Scarlett Solo. The Scarlett 2i2 also feature balanced 1/4-inch outputs instead of RCA outputs.

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3. Audio Technica M30x

The M30x aren’t revered as high-end monitor headphones but they are budget friendly and the small brother of the much more famous Audio Technica M50x. These headphones are a good beginner set and you can upgrade when the budget allows. When youre starting out, it is easier to afford a good pair of headphones than a nice pair of monitor speakers and acoustic treatment.

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Connecting It All Together

Shopping List

Besides the items listed above, you will need a computer to connect your audio interface to. Your existing computer should be fine to get started with. I have always had good experiences with Macs so Ive listed an iMac below if you are looking for one. You will also need an XLR cable to connect your microphone to your audio interface. If you are connecting your electric guitar, acoustic guitar pickup, or keyboard then you would be looking for a 1/4 inch instrument cable.

Item Model Amazon Link
Computer iMac Apple
Microphone Audio Technica AT2020 Amazon
Audio Interface Focusrite Scarlett Solo Amazon
Monitor Headphones Audio Technica M30x Amazon
Microphone Cable 15-feet XLR Cable Amazon
Instrument Cable 10-feet 1/4 inch TS Cable Amazon

I hope this guide has been useful to you. Please leave a comment below to let me know what you think of it and share it using the buttons below if you like it. Look out for an upcoming tutorial on making your first recordings and more buying guides to come. You can drop me a message on our various social media accounts to let me know what other articles do you want to see.

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