Budget-Based Equipment Guide


1. Mac vs. PC: By default, Macs are generally more reliable with handling audio. However, it all depends on what’s inside of your system. I actually use PC because I prefer the Windows operating system. I just made sure I put in it what it takes to process audio proficiently (24 GB RAM, Intel Core i-7, 500 GB SSD System Drive, 4TB worth of extra space). You don’t need all of that to get started though.

2. Vocal Booth/Recording Environment: Your recording environment (vocal booth) cannot be assessed/treated through a general studio setup checklist. However, it is vital to having a clean sound. While I do recommend “Reflxion Filters” from Se Electronics to help, they are only supplements to your environment and do not completely take care of your acoustic space.

Be sure that you are recording in an area that is isolated from outside noise (insulated and padded with ‘studio foam’ preferably).

For complete vocal booth systems (pricey), I highly suggest vocalbooth.com.

3. Plug: All links are to Sweetwater.com. I don’t make anything off of this. They just have AWESOME customer service and I swear by them. I would be remiss if I did not send you there as well!

Small Budget

1. DAW – Pro Tools ($600)

2. Interface – Focusrite Scarlett Solo ($110)

3. MicrophoneAudio Technica AT2020 ($99)

4. MonitorsJBL LSR305 5″ ($300)

5. Sound IsolatorSe Electronics Reflxion Filter X ($120)

6. Computer – Anything with 4 GB RAM+, 500 GB+ HD, 7200 RPM Speed on HD (preferably SSD instead of HDD), Core i-7 processor+ (~$700 – $1,200)

7. HeadphonesM-Audio MTH 50 ($100)

Total Investment: ~$2,150

$1,210 without computer

Medium Budget

1. DAW – Pro Tools ($600)

2. Interface – PreSonus Studio 192 Mobile ($600)

3. MicrophoneWarm Audio WA-251 ($800)

4. MonitorsKRK Rokit 6’s ($400)

5. Sound IsolatorAston Microphones Halo Reflection Filter ($300)

6. Computer – Anything with 6 GB RAM+, 750 GB+ HD, 7200 RPM Speed on HD (preferably SSD instead of HDD), Core i-7 processor+ (~$1,000 – $1,500)

7. Headphones Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro ($230)

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$2,730 without computer

Large Budget

1. DAW: Pro Tools ($600)

2. Interface: RME Fireface UCX ($1,600)

3. Preamp/Compressor: Universal Audio 6176 ($2,500)

4. MicrophoneNeumann U87 ($3,600)

5. MonitorsFocal Solo6 Be ($1,350)

6. Sound Isolator – Aston Microphones Halo Reflection Filter ($300)

7. Computer – Anything with 8 GB RAM+, 1 TB+ HD (SSD), 7200 RPM Speed on HD, Core i-7 processor+ ($1,500+)

8. Headphones AKG K812’s ($1,500)

Total Investment: ~$12,950

$11,450 without computer

Questions? Comment below so that others can see the answers as well. Thanks!


Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • Michael says:

    Yo, hope all is well bro, I’m currently using a Pc and Adobe Audition I actually really like the setup, also running a Universal Audio Apollo twin duo, with a studio projects mic, I’m also currently using a waves bundle and the UA plugins as well to mix and compress, just wondering if you’re familiar with the waves and UA plugins I’ve had some great success mixing and I know things could always sound better, any of those plugins you recommend or prefer to use that I should know about ?? Either UA or waves ?

    • Fivestar Beats says:

      We are avid users of WAVES products. However, the few times I have used UA software, I’ve been completely amazed. They’re both amazing. Some of our favorite plugins for vocals using WAVES are (1) CLA Vocals [the compressor is to die for] (2) CLA-2A (3) R-Verb (4) Vocal Rider [using this at the end of your vocal chain keeps things nice & steady] (5) The Puigtech EQs [once you learn how to use these, they’re perfect for just about anything].

      Hope this helps bro!

      Co-Owner, Fivestar Beats

  • Brandon says:

    I’ve gone to several different beat making websites, listen to several artists, reviewed their Bio’s and found out what it is they used, and even watched several videos from several different sources on Youtube. What I’ve gathered is that about 80% are all using Pro Tools and Fruity Loops.

    I use Studio One Professional 3, their most recent release. It’s an amazing software, been using Studio One a few years now. However, the most people I even see use it are the people who are actually A PART of studio one. I’ve still seen a lot of average people and even professionals use Studio One sure, but I’ve seen 3X as many use Fruity Loops and Pro Tools like I stated before.

    So I was curious as to what makes Pro Tools worth $1000, and Fruity Loops $600, Compared to Studio One for $430?

    • Fivestar Beats says:

      Hi Brandon,

      Honestly, all 3 platforms are different in their own ways. While FL Studio is catered more to music production, Pro Tools is catered more to recording & mixing. On the tracking and mixing front, there are things that There are tasks that are dauntingly hard to do on FL Studio, while they’re done instantly on Pro Tools.

      Studio One is more of a Hybrid of both (similar to Logic). It all depends on your personal taste. I use FL Studio for production, and use Pro Tools for recording & mixing/mastering (to me, in those departments, Pro Tools is unrivaled).

      So again, it’s all about your personal taste and what you’re trying to achieve. All of them basically do the same things, just in different ways (some more proficient than others in certain areas). If you want to get techincal, we really controls your sound is usually the third-party plugins you install into your DAW. I “never” use stock FL Studio sounds (not saying they’re all bad), but I just don’t use them. All of my sounds come from third-party plugin developers (which 99% of the time can be used cross-platform [Pro Tools, Logic, Studio One, Cubase, FL Studio, etc]).

      The software is about 20% of your sound – your talent and skill is the other 80%. Hope this clears some things up Brandon!


  • shottye says:

    I’m using a PC by the way windows 8

  • shottye says:

    Hi I have a foucusrite sarclette studio bundle but when I use any software I’m not getting no right input or out put on mix craft 5 or audacity… Please help thanks

  • Shawndreka Steward says:

    Hi Donovan
    I just got a Mac computer and I wanted to know if you thought garageband was a good program to record music over the beats and mix and master? I about a year ago I purchased a focus rite interface. Do I have to use the focus rite software, because it is hard for me to understand, or can I just use the interface with garageband program?

    Thank you
    Happy New Year

    • Fivestar Beats says:

      Hello Shawndreka,

      You can definitely use Garageband for what you’re doing. T-Pain solely used garageband for one of his albums.

      As for the Focusrite, I have one as well (the Saffire Pro 26). You do not have to use the software it comes with. That’s just for individual monitoring settings (will not affect that sound that is printed).

      Don’t forget, we offer mixing and mastering as well, should you need it.

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