Home recording studio packages have become so affordable that it’s now possible to get professional level results from the comfort of your bedroom!
In this guide, we’ll take a look at the 7 best packages available in 2021.
To ensure a fair comparison, we judged each set by what the package includes, the overall build and sound quality of those contents, whether any software was included, and the overall ease of setup.
- Our Top Three Picks
- Home Recording Studio Package Reviews
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen Recording Bundle – Our Top Pick
- Behringer U-Phoria Studio Recording Bundle – Best Budget Option
- Mackie Big Knob Studio Bundle – KGR Editor’s Choice
- PreSonus AudioBox 96 Ultimate Hardware & Software Recording Bundle
- Audient Evo Start Recording Bundle
- TASCAM Trackpack Recording Interface Package
- M-Audio Air 129 Recording Bundle
- Buyer’s guide
- Final Thoughts:
Our Top Three Picks
This Focusrite bundle checks all of the boxes – it comes loaded with all of the hardware and software that you need to get started in home recording. The equipment itself is studio quality, which will really help you to get a professional sounding result, and the included software is far more comprehensive than typical bundled programs. This set really is the perfect starting point, and if you like, you’ll definitely have the ability to add onto this gear without having to replace anything if your needs change.
This set from Behringer represents insane value. For an extremely low price, you’ll get everything you need to start making high quality recordings, whether it’s for podcasting, single artists, or full bands, it will help you commit your work to tape. It offers a simple setup, and gives budget conscious producers and beginners alike a great tool to either teach the next generation, or get started in music production themselves.
Editor’s Choice – Mackie Big Knob Studio Bundle
If money is no object, be sure to check out the Mackie Big Knob Studio bundle. This is a full featured setup with multiple mics, monitors and cans, a top class interface, and some of the best software out there. If you’re semi-pro, or even if you make your whole living from music, having this bundle as your home studio setup will ensure you’re making the best possible recordings.
Home Recording Studio Package Reviews
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen Recording Bundle – Our Top Pick
Legendary studio quality in an affordable portable package
Focusrite are one of the foremost names in the pro audio recording arena, and with the Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen recording bundle, you can have that same quality at home at an affordable price point. This bundle comes with everything you need to get started, including closed back studio headphones, the legendary Scarlett 2i2 3rdgen interface, a Scarlett CM25 condenser mic, and USB and XLR cables.
The audio interface is the real attraction in this set, with the 3rd gen Scarlett being famous for offering studio quality audio in a pocket sized package. It looks fantastic with its red aluminum housing, and it boasts intuitive halo lighting, a system that will light up red when your audio is clipping, amber when you’re approaching the limits, or green as it recognizes that you’re within the ideal gain range.
The included condenser mic is good, especially for vocals. It does also come with a mic stand adapter designed for this unit, ensuring you’re able to set it up properly for vocals, or any instrument you need to record. In order to get you recording right away, this package comes with all the software you need to get started, including Ableton Live Lite, Pro Tools, and an exclusive suite of Focusrite plugins. The headphones in this set aren’t quite up to the same standard as the interface, but they’re definitely good enough to record with – just be conscious of volume as they can bleed a little.
Verdict: Considering that with the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen Recording Bundle you’re getting one of the best quality audio interfaces on the market bundled with a mic, headphones, the necessary cables, and software for not much more than the price of a standalone interface, you’ll realize what a steal this setup is. It offers insane recording quality, close to zero latency when playing live with native plugins, and it looks great in any home studio rig.
Behringer U-Phoria Studio Recording Bundle – Best Budget Option
Everything you need to get started and a wallet friendly price
The Behringer U-Phoria is a great little bundle that is absolutely perfect for budget conscious musicians or engineers looking to start recording. Behringer recognize that this product isn’t aimed at pros, and because of that fact most of their target market struggle with limited desk space – the U-Phoria UM2 USB audio interface included in this bundle is tiny! Don’t let the size fool you, though – it has an XLR input for a mic and an instrument line in, and they’ve managed to pack in a studio grade mic preamp to boost the signal with more gain and headroom, but less noise, and less distortion. It’s compatible with most DAWs, and
Also included in the bundle is a Behringer C-1 cardioid condenser microphone and mic stand adapter. The mic is good quality, and because it’s a cardioid pattern, this assists in the rejection of unwanted background noise, something that often plagues home recording setups.
Finally, you’ll get a pair of Behringer HPS5000 headphones, complete with soft ear cups that keep things comfortable even during lengthy sessions. The audio quality of these headphones is certainly acceptable given the low cost of entry, but this will likely be the first part of the bundle you upgrade in the future.
Verdict: If the perceived cost of studio equipment is something that’s stopped you from getting involved in the past, this Behringer U-Phoria bundle is certainly the answer. If the perceived cost of studio equipment is something that’s stopped you from getting involved in the past, this Behringer U-Phoria bundle is certainly the answer. You’ll get great quality recordings and all the gear you need to get started at a price that you probably won’t believe is true.
Mackie Big Knob Studio Bundle – KGR Editor’s Choice
A full featured bundle of unparalleled quality
If you’re looking for something a little more professional and you have dedicated home studio space, the Mackie Big Knob studio bundle is probably the perfect setup for you! This is the kind of rig you want to recommend to everybody, and if it weren’t for the higher price tag, we would be. It comes with absolutely everything you need to create pro level recordings, starting with the awesome Big Knob USB audio interface. It boasts 2 mic preamps for adding clarity to the low voltage mic signal, and even features a built in mic for direct contact with your recording artists through their headset. Each of the three inputs also has a dedicated selector switch, allowing you to flick through to the channel you want to hear quickly.
As far as the rest of the gear goes, there is a lot of it, and it’s all of the highest quality, too! Not only do you get comfortable Mackie closed back headphones, but you also get a pair of studio monitors, enabling you to set up a true home recording studio. Both the monitors and the headphones give colorless, accurate representation of the sound, giving you the opportunity to hear any imperfections that may require editing.
The list of included components continues with the brace of microphones, including an EM-91C large diaphragm condenser and an EM-89 live vocal mic. As you’d expect from a setup this comprehensive, the condenser does come with a stand and even a shock mount, so it really is ready to go right out of the box. This mic will capture every vocal nuance and also performs beautifully with acoustic instruments. As for the dynamic vocal mic, you’ll get a real live performance feel when recording through this – it’s also excellent for miking up tube amps to capture the authentic tones that only a genuine valve amp can provide.
Verdict: I could go on about the Mackie Big Knob Bundle all day, but to give you a run down in a nutshell, this is perfect for anybody from novices to professional studio engineers for home recording. It’s a true turn key package that contains everything you need and more, including software and plugins. The recording quality is astonishing, and the gear is clearly built to last.
A great starter package featuring all the basics done right
This bundle from PreSonus is well equipped, and while it’s not the most advanced on test, it does everything that you would need a home recording bundle to do. It comes with Studio One Artist, which is a brilliant DAW that will satisfy even the most demanding producers. The interface itself is the AudioBox USB 96. It features 2 channel recording, input controls and a mixer on the front of the unit. To keep recordings clean, everything is captured in industry standard 24 bit, with 96 kHz resolution. It features built in 48v phantom power to supply condenser microphones, and it’s pretty much universally compatible with Mac and PC.
You’re sure to love the wonderful studio monitors that come bundled in this set. They represent the lows beautifully, with almost imperceptible distortion, and thanks to the silk dome tweeters, the high end is smooth and balanced. Also included, are the HD7 studio monitoring headphones. As with the speakers, they are designed for accuracy, not sound improvement, so you’ll get the clearest possible picture of what’s happening in your mix.
The bundled microphone is a large diaphragm studio condenser, also made by PreSonus. The large diaphragm ensures a warm and balanced response to a wide range of input sounds, be it acoustic or amplified instruments, and especially vocals.
Verdict: The Presonus AudioBox 96 bundle is a real contender. Price wise, it’s just right, and offers great value for money considering the fact that it does include your interface, condenser mic, headphones and monitors, as well as all of the supporting cables and storage bags. It’s a compact kit that will fit right at home in any bedroom recording studio, and it also happens to come with one of the best software packages of any bundle.
A truly portable recording bundle for the artist on the move
This set from Audient, who aren’t one of the better known brands, absolutely exceeded expectations while on test. It’s by far the most simplistic USB interface on the market, but in many cases, that’s all some people want. Rather than pack a budget interface with features that the beginner producer won’t use, Audient have focused on making a quality product that is so straight forward, a complete novice can set it up with minimal help. Everything about this unit is rock solid, the large center knob has a nice weight to it, and the buttons all engage very nicely. The interface itself is absolutely tiny, but despite this, it’s loaded with 2 channels, 2 preamps, automatic level setting, 24 bit/96kHz resolution, and incredibly low latency.
The interface also features 48v phantom power to supply your mic without the need for additional power sources, which is very handy if access to outlets is limited. Within the bundle you also get a large diaphragm condenser with a supercardioid pattern to help reject off axis sound. Another big surprise with this superb value bundle was that it comes with a shock mount and XLR cable for the mic, too.
You’ll also get a pair of Audient’s SR2000 studio monitor headphones. They are closed back which helps massively with sound bleed, and they’re fitted with 40mm neodymium drivers for excellent response and fidelity. I found them to be comfortable, and the extra long (3m) cord provided excellent range of motion
Verdict: If portability is a dealbreaker for you, then you may just have found your setup in the Audient EVO Start Recording bundle. Of course, it’s got all the hardware you need, as well as bundled software, including Cubase LE. If you’re looking to record using your iPad, this set also happens to be iOS compatible.
A solid starter set from a well known brand
TASCAM is a big player in the recording equipment field. They produce reliable gear at affordable prices, which is part of what makes the TASCAM Trackpack recording interface package so appealing. In the bundle you get a solid performer of an interface, with 2 recording channels, built in phantom power for microphones, as well as gain and monitor balance control knobs. The built in microphone preamps are especially effective, providing a clarity not often experienced for gear at this price point. Recordings with this interface are crystal clear, especially when set to the maximum 24 bit 96 kHz resolution.
Also in the bundle is. Pair of TASCAM’s TH-02 closed back headphones. They are fitted with huge 50mm drivers and offer superb fidelity, plus, they do a great job of controlling bleed, keeping unwanted sound away from hot mics. They are padded just about everywhere they can be, too, making them very comfortable for extended periods of use. The included condenser mic is truly outstanding. It’s 18mm aluminum diaphragm offers an enormous range, handling both whispers and belts with grace, and also providing exceptional response to acoustic and mic’d instruments. The kit also includes a desk stand and shock mount for the mic, which further assists in the prevention of unwanted noise.
The setup is compatible with both Mac and PC and includes a suite of software to get you started, including Ableton Live Lite and Cakewalk’s SONAR X3 DAW.
Verdict: The TASCAM Trackpack package is a superb mid range bundle, ideal for intermediate users looking to either upgrade their existing gear, or even for newcomers who want to spend a bit more and start with better quality equipment. This kit is simple to set up, and recordings sound genuinely great.
An ideal beginner bundle for singer-songwriters looking to record
The M-Audio Air is primarily a vocal recording package, but it’s also extremely well suited to singer songwriter style recording, too. This is one of the cooler looking interfaces, standing out from the crowd with its top mounted controls. This model offers straight forward setup and simple controls. It can accommodate both a mic and an instrument input, and records with incredible clarity and focus thanks to the 24 bit 192 kHz resolution. Further improving clarity is the Crystal preamp/TRS input, which massively boosts headroom, letting you crank up the gain without limiting.
Included in the bundle is a nice pair of studio headphones – they are comfortable, and sound representation is accurate, but they are possibly the biggest giveaway that you’re working with a value recording setup. They will certainly work, but you do need to be conscious of sound bleed, especially on more delicate recordings.
The set also includes a large diaphragm condenser mic, with a 1.1” gold diaphragm. The quality of the microphone in this bundle was definitely a surprise – because it is powered by class A solid state electronics, tonal accuracy is dead on, and coloration and distortion are completely removed, resulting in one of the truest possible recordings at this price point.
Verdict: If you’re looking to dip your toes into the world of home recording, this M-Audio Air 192 package is a great way to get started. It comes with a range of software, including Eleven Lite FX, which includes virtual amps, cabs and stomp boxes to help liven up your tracks. Build quality is good, and recording quality is superb – overall a great setup!
When building your home studio, you’ve really got two choices:
- Build your own, component by component
- Buy a pre-packaged bundle
While personally curating each element of your home studio does lend a lot of freedom, it can be extremely cost prohibitive, especially when many manufacturers offer significant savings for buying their bundles. Additionally, those just getting started in the world of home recording may find it much easier to buy a turn key package that is pretty much ready to go out of the box.
Home recording bundles and packages vary wildly in content and quality. At a minimum, they should come with the following:
Microphones are an essential piece of equipment in any studio package. You’ll need one or more to record vocals, acoustic guitar, drums, or mic up an amplifier. Most sets come with studio condenser mics – these are essential in any studio for capturing the full tonal range of vocals and mic’d up instruments. They offer a much higher ceiling than a directional cardioid, so they can handle a wider range of tones and volumes before distorting.
Studio headphones are another must have piece of equipment. Unlike standard headphones, studio reference headphones are sonically neutral – they are not designed for bass boost, or treble performance, they are designed to give the truest possible representation of the sound that was recorded. This allows you to really hear what’s going on when it comes to editing.
In addition to a neutral audio performance, they also offer reduced “bleed”. Bleed is the escape of sound from the headphone cans to the outside environment, and having less, or no bleed, will reduce the chances of headphone noise being picked up on hot mics.
The audio interface is the tech that will transform whatever it is you’re recording into something readable by your computer and its DAW software. Interfaces should ideally have multiple inputs for both microphones and instruments, but if you’re limited to a simple setup, yours may only have one – this isn’t a major problem as you can record each track individually and layer them.
The interfaces you should be looking for will also have controls for input, gain and bias, allowing you to take control of the dry sound before it hits the software. At a bare minimum, your audio interface should have 24 bit audio, and 96 kHz resolution to ensure recordings are clean and distortion free.
Be aware, if you’re buying a bundle, and it’s labeled as having a Thunderbolt connection, this means it require a Mac as Thunderbolt is an Apple specific connection. If it’s USB, then it will work on both Mac and PC.
In order to connect your mics and instruments to your interface you will need XLR cables and ¼” jack cables. You may already have these, but it’s great when a bundle comes with them as you can keep them in top condition specifically for recording.
Nice to Have
Some sets may also come with some extras that really help to set them apart. For example, they may come with studio monitors as well as headphones. This is great if you’re engineering for prolonged periods and don’t want to be stuck with headphones on. Additionally, if you’re engineering while someone else is playing or singing, the performer will need the headphones, but having monitors will allow you to set up the workstation in a different room if needs be in order to listen in live.
Additional mics are also a nice feature. You should be able to record pretty much everything with a large diaphragm condenser, but there’s definitely no harm in having the flexibility of a dynamic cardioid in the bundle, too.
Home recording studio setups are a great way to get you or your band’s name out there on the various social media channels. By investing as little as $120 in a bundle, you’ll be able to create quality recordings good enough to stream and sell. These kits are all extremely user friendly and can be operated with little to no experience in recording or production. Especially for those newer to recording, the key is to just play around, record a lot, experiment with settings, and see what you like.