If you're thinking of setting up a home studio, there's no better time than right now, as Sweetwater has cut prices across hundreds of music-making products, with everything from microphones and monitors to MIDI keyboards, audio interfaces and music production software heavily discounted for Cyber Monday.
With that in mind, we've hand-picked five products that could form the basis of a very respectable home studio set-up: a DAW, a microphone, an audio interface, a MIDI keyboard and a pair of monitors. These aren't the most budget options available and nor are they the top-of-the-line - instead, this is a selection of reliable mid-range gear from trusted manufacturers that you could use to get started on recording and producing your own music.
On top of these five products, all you'll need is a computer and a few cables, and you will have everything you need to record vocals and guitars, play melodies and chords, and arrange and mix tracks at home. And when your mixes are ready to be mastered, there's a deal for that too...
Avid Pro Tools Artist:
was $99, now $79/year
First things first: the DAW. A digital audio workstation sits at the heart of pretty much every modern studio, and Pro Tools is the DAW of choice for many professional producers and audio engineers. While the most full-featured versions might set you back a pretty penny, Pro Tools Artist gives you an impressively comprehensive set of tools for only $10/month (or $79 for a year in this Cyber Monday deal) and offers more than enough firepower to get stuck into making beats and recording studio-quality tunes.
- Here's an alternative that's great for electronic music production: Bitwig Studio 5.1 Essentials for $79
AKG C214 Condenser Microphone:
was $379, now $299
This isn't the cheapest microphone you'll be able to buy on Cyber Monday, but it certainly is one of the best deals. Sweetwater have knocked $180 off the price of this incredible mic, which uses the same one-inch dual-capsule as the legendary AKG C414, its big brother. A premium vocal microphone that delivers detailed, up-front sound and 143db of dynamic range, the C214 will perform equally well on guitar amps, drum overheads or pretty much any sound source you need to capture: as we noted in our review, its a great studio all-rounder.
- Here's an alternative that's a bit more affordable: Shure SM58 for $89
Universal Audio Volt 2 Audio Interface:
was $189, now $169
Universal Audio have some serious skin in the recording game; they're known for producing some of the world's most coveted studio gear and some pretty incredible plugins too. UA's most affordable line of audio interfaces, the Volt series leverages the brand's decades of expertise to create a reliable interface equipped with class-leading 24-bit/192kHz AD/DA converters, two custom-designed analogue mic/line preamps and a software bundle that includes some fantastic plugins you can run in Pro Tools Artist.
- Here's an alternative that's a little bit cheaper: Focusrite Scarlett Solo 4th Gen for $139
M-Audio Oxygen Pro 25 25-key Keyboard Controller:
was $199, now $129
This powerful MIDI controller offers a huge amount of versatility for something that's priced at just north of $100. The star is the velocity-sensitive, semi-weighted keyboard, equipped with aftertouch (something typically only found on high-end controllers), but you'll also benefit from 16 backlit pads and eight assignable knobs, all of which can be mapped to various parameters in your DAW. All of that in a compact form factor slim enough to slip into a backpack.
- Here's an alternative that'll cost you $30 less: Akai MPK Mini MK III 25-key Keyboard Controller for $99
Yamaha HS5 5-inch Powered Studio Monitor (Single):
was $199, now $149
The HS5s are some of the most trusted studio monitors in music production. Outfitted in an iconic white-and-black design, their 5" woofer and 1" dome tweeter produce crisp, transparent and accurate sound that'll make for precise and honest referencing. In our review, we praised the HS5's tight upper-bass and open mid-range reproduction, going so far as to state that these were the best-sounding monitors we'd heard in their price range, by a country mile.
- Here's another budget alternative: PreSonus Eris E4.5 4.5-inch Powered Studio Monitors for $119.99