If you're just getting started in music production and wondering what equipment to buy, it's difficult to know where to begin. Opinionated music-makers will have you believe that you need all sorts of expensive gear, from high-priced studio monitors to costly plugins and software packages.
We're here to clear up that misconception, and show you that it's entirely possible to build a respectable home studio set-up for a reasonable outlay. What's more, we've put together a holy trinity of Cyber Monday music deals that'll help you get started making music for less than £500 - £469, to be exact, with a Cyber Monday saving of £190.
- Explore more Black Friday studio monitor deals
1. Universal Audio Volt 2 Studio Pack (£195/€222)
Universal Audio Volt 2 Studio Pack (was £217, now £195)
This generously priced bundle gives you almost everything you need to get started with home recording for under £200. At its core is the Universal Audio Volt 2, a 2x2 USB audio interface that incorporates UA's decades of expertise in recording hardware into a budget-friendly, visually appealing design. UA have also thrown in a condenser microphone, a pair of headphones and an XLR cable, so you can start laying down some vocals pronto.
- Read more: Best budget audio interfaces 2022: start recording today for less than $100/£100
2. AKAI Professional MPK 249 (£195/€222)
AKAI Professional MPK 249 (was £345, now £195)
AKAI are a legendary brand in the music tech game, and their feature-packed MPK 249 controller has enough functionality to uphold that reputation. Most importantly, it's a solidly built, reliable unit that's equipped with knobs, faders, pads and keys, all designed to help you control your computer music in real time. The MPK comes bundled with a ton of free software too, including Ableton Live Lite, Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech, SONiVOX Twist 2.0 and MPC Beats.
- Read more: Best cheap MIDI keyboards 2022: including options under $100/£100
3. Presonus Eris E3.5 (£97/€98)
Presonus Eris E3.5 (was £97, now £79)
The best budget studio monitors you'll find for under £100, Presonus' Eris E3.5 will blow your laptop speakers out of the water. They're equipped with a variety of connections, and offer onboard EQ correction, meaning you can tailor their sound to match the acoustics of your home studio. Don't let the size put you off, either - these little puppies deliver a respectable amount of low-end punch for 3.5" monitors.
- Read more: Best budget studio monitors 2022: pocket-friendly home studio speakers, most pairs under $200/£200
If you've already got a laptop or PC handy (and who doesn't?) then the three deals we've detailed above could easily form the basis of a home studio based around your computer.
At the core of our £500 rig is the Universal Audio Volt 2 Studio Pack, a blindingly budget-friendly bundle that'll get you a Volt 2 audio interface, condenser microphone, closed-back headphones and an impressive collection of software (including the DAW Ableton Live Lite) for less than £200.
That alone could get you started recording vocals and making beats, but if you're after a more comprehensive set-up, we'd recommend picking up a MIDI controller that'll let you play software instruments within your DAW.
The AKAI Professional MPK 249 is a reputable option that'll enable you to play melodies and chords on a keyboard, finger-drum rhythms on a 4x4 grid of pads, and even manipulate the levels in your mix using the onboard faders. It's been discounted by almost 50% for Cyber Monday, too.
Of course, you'll need a way to listen to your music while you're working on it. The Volt 2 bundle comes with a pair of headphones that could suffice, but we'd suggest you bolster your rig with the addition of a pair of studio monitors. Recording and mixing on headphones is certainly possible, but many producers prefer to use monitors, as they provide the most authentic and natural-sounding representation of your tracks. For this purpose, we recommend the Presonus Eris E3.5, a worthy pair of monitors that top off our collective budget with a not unreasonable price of £79.