10 Brilliant Home Recording Gadgets For Under $100

Recording gear can be expensive. Although it doesn’t need to be. Over the years we have tried and tested lots of recording equipment and have decided to create a list with the top afford recording gear.

This gear may be inexpensive when compared to the equipment professional artists use, but the gear on this list sure does pack a punch. The equipment on this list is affordable and has given us great results.

2TB Seagate Portable USB Hard Drive

Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive HDD —...
199,830 Reviews
Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive HDD —...
  • Easily store and access 2TB to content on the go with the Seagate Portable Drive, a...
  • Designed to work with Windows or Mac computers, this external hard drive makes backup...
  • To get set up, connect the portable hard drive to a computer for automatic...

Extra storage to store all your instrumentals and music files is a great gift for any recording studio.

Any recording studio could do with extra hard drive storage space to store all their files, or as a backup drive. Every home recording studio should make sure they back up their files on a separate drive or cloud storage such as Dropbox or google drive.

We feel like 2TB is a good amount of storage space to last a while. If you can afford it, flash memory such as a solid-state drive has much faster read and write speeds compared to a traditional hard drive.

Perhaps having a flash drive for your main drive and a slower hard disc drive for your raid backup drive would be a good idea.

If you’re having issues backing up your files, you can set up a ‘Raid 1’ configuration with 2 storage devices. This ensures that if one of your drives was to stop working (it failed) or was made redundant, then you will always have a backup as a Raid 1 configuration uses data mirroring. Meaning as soon as you write something to the disc, it is copied to the other drive.

Although this shouldn’t be seen as a backup because as soon as you delete a file, even if it was an accident, that file will be deleted from both drives. In hindsight, this is enough to make sure all your data is safe, but we would recommend also saving it to a cloud storage or on another computer. If your computer was to get lost or break in a fire or another incident that is local to your computer, then you will have a backup in a different location.

The 2TB version, as well as the 1TB and 4TB version, can be found on Amazon.

Monoprice Acoustic Microphone Isolation Shield

Monoprice Microphone Stand, Desktop Adjustable...
2,640 Reviews
Monoprice Microphone Stand, Desktop Adjustable...
  • Includes all assembly and mounting hardware | Branding/Logo on Product May Differ
  • Dual clamp mount attaches to mic stands or booms up to 1.25" diameter.
  • Features a standard 3/8" microphone threaded mount and includes a 3/8" to 5/8" thread...

The monoprice acoustic microphone isolation shield attaches onto your microphone stand and reduces the amount of sound that gets reflected back into your microphone. It isn’t a necessity when recording and producing music, but it certainly can improve your sound quality.

The monoprice uses a high density absorbing acoustic foam with a metal backplate that is vented. It can mount onto your microphone stand using a dual clamp mount. It can mount onto any microphone stand or boom stand that are up to 1.25″ in diameter. It also has a standard 3/8″ microphone threaded mount which should mount onto any microphone stand as it uses a standard universal microphone thread. It also includes a thread adapter that can fit 3/8″ to 5/8″, so it can pretty much mount onto any microphone stand.

The reason we’re recommending isolation shields is that these shields do an excellent job of stopping sounds getting reflected into the back of the microphone. It doesn’t protect sounds waves from the front of the microphone as much, that’s why it’s best to use acoustic sound treatment as well, but these shields can make a big difference in the recording quality depending on the scenario. They are worth testing.

This product has a vast amount of great feedback and will be useful in any home music studio, it can be found on Amazon.

Sennheiser HD280PRO

Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphones (old model)
4,148 Reviews
Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphones (old model)
  • Dynamic, closed ear headphones with up to 32 dB attenuation of outside sound
  • Lightweight and comfortable, ergonomic design, Cord Length 3.3 9.8 feet Coiled
  • Extended frequency response and warm, natural sound reproduction

Sennheiser is a worldwide reputable brand and these headphones certainly don’t let them down. The Sennheiser HD280PRO are very well known in home recording studios and are very popular. They make great recording headphones due to their closed back. This means no (or very little) sound can leak from the headphones and get picked up by the microphone.

The headphone’s cushions and the audio cable can be easily replaced, which means they don’t need to be thrown away or replaced when the earpads get worn or when the cable gets damaged. According to their product description, these headphones have an extended frequency response and warm, natural and linear sound reproduction with high sound pressure levels capabilities.

If you can’t afford the Pro version you can always get the Sennheiser HD200 that is priced around $69.95 and also offer an excellent cheaper alternative with great sounding audio. The HD280 is described as “Professional Monitoring Headphones” and can carry a powerful punchy bass with outstanding stereo.

The HD200 also has excellent feedback and are widely known as good closed back monitoring headphones. However, unlike the HD280Pro version, the cable cannot be removed or replaced.

At the end of the day, the Sennheiser HD280PRO make ideal home studio headphones for when you are recording into your microphone.

I was surprised to see how affordable these headphones were on Amazon.

RØDE PSA1 Swivel Mount Studio Microphone Boom Arm

Rode PSA1
12,236 Reviews
Rode PSA1
  • Broadcast-style Professional Studio Desk Boom Arm with Stard Microphone Threading
  • Over 3' Hizontal Vertical Reach
  • 360-degree Rotation

The Rode PSA1 swivel mount is a microphone stand that clips or mounts onto a desk or table. These type of microphone stands are great for home recording artists, podcasters, and voice over actors.

The reason I choose the Rode PSA1 swivel mount for this list is that it’s a very sturdy stand that is capable of holding up the weight of all microphones (unlike some suspension arms). I’ve written a complete review of the Rode NT1-A that can be used on this mount, I have listed the pros and cons and why this microphone is a must buy.

Rode is another worldwide reputable brand that has never let me down in the past or failed to impress. This swivel microphone desk mount can reach 820mm inches horizontally and 840mm vertically with a 360-degree swivel rotation. This means that the microphone can easily be adjusted and reach the source of the sound.

The PSA1 comes with two mounting options. It comes with a provided temporarily desk mount clamp that is easy to adjust the location and move when needed. The other options are the desk insert attachment that is supposed to be a performant option. The PSA1 also has built-in cable management and provides you with velcro cable straps that can be used to tidy up your cables.

Rode provides you with a 1-year warranty from the date you bought the product, although it should outlast the 1-year warranty.

I was surprised to see how inexpensive Rode is selling their PSA1 swivel Mount on Amazon. The quality of these boom arms renowned for being very good.

AKAI Professional Mpk Mini Mk2

Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII – 25 Key USB...
12,849 Reviews
Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII – 25 Key USB...
  • Compact keyboard controller easily fits backpack and studio production desk (12.4"...
  • Powered by USB connection to computer, with free virtual-instrument download packages
  • Crammed full of all the features you need to play and edit musical ideas

This midi keyboard controller has a spot in any recording studio and can make producing music much more enjoyable. Plus it’s very portable, which makes it great for producing music on the move. It has 25 synth-action keys that are velocity-sensitive, four-way thumbsticks that can control the dynamic pitch and modulation control, and it is also SB powered and has a very sturdy robust design. (as well as many more features).

What makes this MIDI control so great is that the software that is required can run on both Mac OS X 10.7+ and Windows 7+ so pretty much any music studio will be able to use this midi controller.

Instead of using your daw’s inbuilt keyboard functionality to create sounds, you can now use a physical midi controller. The pros of this is that you’re much less likely to mess up and if anything it only increases your creativity, making the end result sound much better. When I use my DAWs music keyboard functionality it always limits me to what I can and can’t do since I can only press a limited amount of keys.

Overall this is a great device for newer musicians and musicians with a vast amount of experience. It can make producing music much more interesting and enjoyable. There’s a slight learning curve to using the device, but once you’ve used it for a couple of hours it becomes pretty simple to use. More or less plug and play.

The AKAI Professional Mpk Mini MK2 can be found on Amazon.

Focusrite Scarlett Solo (2nd Gen)

Focusrite Scarlett Solo (2nd Gen) USB Audio...
3,558 Reviews
Focusrite Scarlett Solo (2nd Gen) USB Audio...
  • One natural-sounding Scarlett mic preamp with plenty of even gain; one instrument...
  • Class-leading conversion and sample rates up to 192kHz / 24 bit; super-low latency...
  • LIMITED TIME OFFER: FREE Venomode DeeQ, Maximal 2, and Pivot, plug-ins upon...

This Focusrite interface is another widely used device from another reputable brand. This must have to be the most used interface for beginner musicians and it always seems to be recommended by so many people online.

This is a great interface for musicians with all types of experience.

Although it’s a great interface it does only have 1 input channel, therefore I would recommend spending about $20 more and getting it’s bigger brother. The Scarlett 2i2 Second Generation. This has 2 inputs making it a much better solution for home recording studios. You might not need that extra input, but when you do it does save a lot of hassle. (and it is likely in the future you will have more than 1 device that you may want to plug into your studio.)

The Focusrite Scarlett Solo (2nd Gen) comes in a studio bundle with a free version of Pro Tools and Ableton Live. It also has Focusrite Control, Softube Time, Tone bundle, Focusrite’s Red plug-in Suite and 2GB of Loopmasters samples. These free programs can really increase your music protection when used and learned properly. Especially Pro Tools and Ableton Live.

This interface can be used to hook up all sorts of instruments, such as guitars, violins, and drums and it can also be used to hook up all your different types of microphone. An interface is an essential part of a home recording studio as its job is to take the analog signals of the microphone or instruments and turn them into a digital signal that the computer can understand, recognize and use.

And lastly, this audio interface can handle sample rates of up to 192KHz with a 24-bit resolution and a frequency response of 20Hz to 20 KHz.

We have an in-depth guide/review on the Focusrite and why we’ve started to use it in our home recording studios.

This focusrite interface can be found on Amazon for a reasonable price.

Audio-Technica AT2020

Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio...
15,702 Reviews
Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio...
  • The price/performance standard in side address studio condenser microphone technology
  • Ideal for project/home studio applications; The noise level is 20 dB SPL
  • High SPL handling and wide dynamic range provide unmatched versatility

The Audio Technica AT2020 is extremely well known in the industry as a budget recording microphone. Preferably for the slightly newer recording artists.

This device is an inexpensive XLR microphone that is known for its excellent sound recording quality for a very reasonable price.

It has a 16mm low mass diaphragm that can provide a wide frequency response with excellent high sound pressure levels.

Another bonus to this microphone is that it has a very low operating noise. Which means that when your recording, the microphone itself shouldn’t produce any self-noise. (although ALL microphones produce some self-noise, it will be very difficult to hear it with the Audio Technica AT2020). This also means it is suitable for sophisticated recording equipment.

Although I wouldn’t recommend using a condenser microphone for recording certain instruments, it actually sounds reasonably good for recording instruments. If you’re on a budget or just started out and want to test out the waters. This condenser microphone is a perfect choice. It’s an XLR microphone so that does mean you’re going to need an audio interface, and in my opinion, this is a good thing, certainly for beginners. Since it will let you test out and get used to using an audio interface.

The Audio-Technica At2020 also has the industry standard mounting screw fixture that will let you attach it to pretty much all microphone stands and mounts.

This microphone has some fantastic reviews on Amazon as well as being very well priced.

Pro Studio Acoustics Acoustic Wedge Foam Absorption Tiles

Pro Studio Acoustics - Charcoal - 12'x12'x2'...
100 Reviews
Pro Studio Acoustics - Charcoal - 12"x12"x2"...
  • PREMIUM QUALITY ACOUSTIC STUDIO FOAM - Each piece of foam comes uncompressed and in...
  • PACKAGE IS NOT COMPRESSED!!! - Unlike other brands, this foam will not be warped or...

Absorption form can stop sounds reflecting off the walls in your home recording studio and can increase the recording quality. Acoustic absorption foam can also be very expensive.

One of the reasons we chose the Pro Studio acoustic foam tiles is because it is fairly inexpensive and does a great job of sound treating your room.

The titles come in a pack of 12 which is more than enough for the majority of home recording studios. The general rule of thumb is to cover 30 – 55% of your walls in absorption tiles, in locations that your studio monitors or voice will bounce off.

Pro Studio are selling these acoustic wedges on Amazon.

Pop Filters

Aokeo Professional Microphone Pop Filter Mask...
9,099 Reviews
Aokeo Professional Microphone Pop Filter Mask...
  • Double Layered Screen Pop Filters: The first screen blocks air blasts as any pop...
  • Universally Compatible: Adjustable screw rotating clamp with scratch-proof gripper...
  • Adjustable Gooseneck: The steel metal gooseneck holder fully supports the filter's...

Pop filters are a big essential for home music studios and will be found in almost any studio. They stop the microphone from picking up hissing noises for the S and Ps.

Pop filters are fairly cheap and are always needed in a studio. Pop filters break from now and then so it is always nice to have an extra pop filter lying around for when you need it.

There’s plenty of inexpensive (and more expensive) pop filters on Amazon that are priced reasonably well.

XLR, Aux and Midi Cables – Under $10

Although you may not need any of these cables currently, that doesn’t mean you won’t need them in the future. Having extra cables lying around is always a good idea, you never know when you might need them.

The most common cables used in a home recording studio or music studio are XLR Cables, Aux Cables, and Midi Cables.

  • XLR cables are used for instruments and microphones to connect to an audio interface. An audio interface converts the analog signals to digital signals so that your computer and use the device.
  • Aux Cables are used for audio connections such as headphones and speakers, allowing you to input sound.
  • Midi Cables are data transfer cables and are used for printers, keyboards, audio interfaces and mainly midi controllers.

Lots of brands and companies sell different types of cables so it is always a good idea to check out the different cables and prices on Amazon. They all more or less do the exact same thing. You can find gold-plated cables, but after tried and testing these cables I haven’t noticed any big differences in terms of quality and durability.

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