Must-Have Guitar Recording Equipment for Your Home Studio
By Jon Hom
Did you grow up watching your favorite musicians tear it up in the recording studio, hoping you could one day do the same?
Throughout most of modern history, recording demos and tracks at home on a limited budget was as rudimentary as holding a tape deck up to your amp (or maybe a mini-disc player if you were lucky!). Just the thought of having an affordable recording setup would be a dream come true. Lucky enough for us, that dream can easily be achieved today. What a time to be alive!
Looking to deck out an affordable home recording studio? Let this be your guide.
Must Have Guitar Recording Equipment For Your Home Studio
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen)
Last time we checked, computers don’t come standard with guitar inputs (but one can dream). Therefore, the one piece of equipment that you absolutely need to get your home studio up and running is a decent audio interface which serves as the bridge between your guitar and your computer. That being said, we’re huge fans of the Scarlett 2i2 by Focusrite. It features two inputs for all you singer-songwriters out there, plus all the basic fix’ns you’d expect from an interface such as gain control and input monitoring.
Buy here: www.amazon.com/Focusrite-Scarlett-Audio-Interface-Tools/dp/B07QR73T66
Positive Grid Spark Amp
May we also remind you that our Spark practice amp can also double as an audio interface? There’s a USB output on the back of the cabinet that you can easily plug into your computer. Enjoy all the world-class tone and awesome features that Spark has to offer while also having the ability to lay down your tracks. If you already own an interface with mic inputs (hint, the Focusrite mentioned above), you could even mic your Spark to capture the more natural and organic room acoustics with a studio microphone.
Buy here: www.positivegrid.com/spark/
PreSonus Eris E8 XT Studio Monitors
Remember the good old days when computer speakers were basically 2 tin cans encased in cheap plastic? Or maybe two tiny speakers accompanied by a giant subwoofer that your downstairs neighbors were huge fans of. Anyway, back to the point – you can’t properly record and mix your songs without an accurate representation of your sound. That’s what monitor speakers are for, and the PreSonus Eris E8 XT Studio Monitors fit that bill perfectly. When you're ready to set up your very own music studio at home, these are the monitors for you.
Buy here: www.presonus.com/products/Eris-E8-XT
Sennheiser HD300 Pro Headphones
Studio headphones are a good option for those who have roommates, neighbors, or anyone else that doesn't want to be subjected to all the amazing tone coming out of your home studio. Sennheiser has been in the headphone game for so long that its name has become synonymous with the market. Simply put, you can’t go wrong with a good pair of Sennheisers. We’ve found that the HD300 Pro’s are the perfect mix of amazing sound quality and affordability.
Buy here: en-us.sennheiser.com/hd-300-pro
Shure SM57 Microphone
To many recording artists out there, the one and only way to really capture the true sound of a guitar is to mic the actual guitar amp. The Shure SM57 has been the gold standard for studio and touring musicians and sound engineers alike. Not only does it sound great, but it’s built like a tank. It’s basically the Nokia 3310 of microphones.
Buy here: www.guitarcenter.com/Shure/SM57-Stand-Cable-Package-1352132361074.gc?cntry=us&source=4SOS0DRBA
Studio Projects B3 Microphone
We understand that some of you reading this might not be electric guitar players, so now it’s time to show some love to all you unplugged people out there. The B3 condenser mic from Studio Projects is a great way to get the best recording out of your acoustic guitar. This is assuming that your acoustic doesn’t already have an output! It perfectly captures all the highs, mids, and deep lows that you need to cut through a mix with ease. Plus there’s a bonus; you can record vocals with it, too!
Buy here: www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/B3Mic--studio-projects-b3-large-diaphragm-condenser-microphone
Monster Rock Instrument Cable
A good quality guitar cable not only needs to have optimal sound quality, but also be able to take a beating. Sure, you could pick up a generic cable for a cheaper price, but why risk it? As musicians ourselves, we’re no stranger to spotty connections, unwanted feedback, and unexplained interference. This instrument cable from Monster gets none of that. Besides, it’s often worth it to spend an extra couple of bucks on something that will last you in the long run.
Buy here: www.amazon.com/Monster-Performer-Instrument-Cable-Straight-Angle/dp/B00K8E9VZI
Behringer X-Touch One Universal Control Surface
To really get the feel of being in a professional recording studio, sometimes using a keyboard and mouse just doesn’t cut it. The Behringer X-Touch One Universal Control Surface is a great tool to pair together with your favorite DAW, or digital audio workstation. All the knobs, controls, display, and various indicators are intuitive enough to make any adjustments on the fly.
Buy here: www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/XTouchOne--behringer-by-touch-one
PreSonus Studio One Sphere DAW
Now that we have the hardware out of the way, next you’ll need digital audio workstation software or a DAW to record your music. Of all the great DAW’s to choose from out there, we prefer Sphere from PreSonus for both its ease of use and price. Included in its monthly (or yearly) subscription, you get professional production, composition and notation features, on top of a library of different add-ons to choose from. Masterclass videos and live streams are also added every month!
Price: $14.95/month or $164.95/year
Buy here: shop.presonus.com/PreSonus-Sphere
Positive Grid BIAS FX 2 Standard
Can’t find the guitar tone you’re looking for? Well, BIAS FX 2 is here to save the day. While it can be used as standalone guitar software, it can also be used as a plugin that you can load into your DAW of choice. The standard license comes packed with 40+ amps & pedals with 60+ presets to choose from. You can also discover, share and download custom presets from ToneCloud, which is a global community of guitarists who love to create custom tones.
Buy here: www.positivegrid.com/bias-fx/
Final Thoughts: Must Have Guitar Recording Equipment For Your Home Studio
There you have it - our quick start guide to crafting the ultimate home recording setup. Follow the above guide and you'll be the envy of all your guitar-playing peers. Now go out there and build the home studio of your dreams!
Born and raised in Los Angeles on a healthy mix of punk rock and skateboarding, Jon brings his talents in both music and writing to Positive Grid as Marketing Content Manager. He is also currently the lead singer & guitarist of punk band DESTROYERS and baritone saxophonist of traditional ska band SKARAOKE, both based in Taipei, Taiwan.