Professional Recording Studio Equipment List: The Essential 33 Items

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All good things take time. Building a professional recording studio is no different. You need to be patient and willing to put in the work and resources required to turn your home studio into a world-class recording environment.

A major piece of this massive puzzle involves getting the right equipment. You always need to be thinking about stepping up your game and taking things to the next level. A large part of that involves investing in high-quality devices that are built to last a lifetime.

You probably have the vision of what a professional recording studio looks like. But you might be confused about the steps you need to take to turn it into a reality.

Well, you’ve come to the right place to get the information you seek. Without further ado, here’s the ultimate professional recording studio equipment list to get you started.

1. Professional Recording Studio Equipment List 101 – Computer

At the risk of stating the obvious, recording studios are digital. So, you’re going to need a computer. And, a powerful one at that!

2. DAW

This is short for a digital audio workstation. It is essentially the software you’ll use to record, mix, edit, and master the audio recordings on your computer.

3. Audio Interface

Next, you’ll need a device – an audio interface – to input the recorded signals into your computer and out of it during playback.

4. Microphones

Well, these are standard for all recording studios. You’ll need high-quality microphones to pick up the sound of vocals and instruments.

5. Headphones

You’re also going to need a pair of open back or closed-back headphones to listen to the recording playback.

6. Studio Monitors

These are special speakers designed to provide a perfectly flat frequency response. That’s how you’ll be able to identify flaws and all sorts of nuances in your recordings.

7. Cables

So, cables are how you connect all the different pieces of equipment. You’ll need an XLR cable to connect the microphones to the audio interface and two additional cables to connect your monitors to the interface as well.

8. Microphone Stands

Microphone stands are exactly what they sound like. They’re mounts for your microphones. Two or three, to begin with, should suffice.

9. Pop Filter

Pop filters are essential for catching the blasts of air that form when you enunciate “b” and “p” sounds before they hit the mic.

10. Workstation

This can be a desk or specially designed studio workstation to place your computer, audio interface, studio monitors, and any other equipment you’ll use for editing, mixing, and mastering your recordings.

11. Studio Chairs

Well, you’ll spend an awful lot of time working. So, you might as well get a comfortable studio chair to give you the back support you need.

12. Bass Traps

If you want to record decent sounds, you’ll need some level of acoustic treatment in your recording space. Bass traps work like a charm to absorb lower frequency sounds.

13. Acoustic Panels

Acoustic panels are like bass traps except that they absorb frequencies in the lower-mid to high range.

14. Sound Diffusers

If you have a bigger budget to play around with, sound diffusers offer a great acoustic treatment plan for larger recording spaces. They scatter all forms of sound energy that may be present in a room.

15. Isolation Shields

If treating your entire studio feels like too much of a hassle, get isolation shields instead. These are ideal for smaller spaces.

16. Monitor Isolation Pads

Place your studio monitors on isolation pads to create a vibration buffer between them and the surface of the workstation.

17. Studio Monitor Stands

You could skip the isolation pads altogether and just get monitor stands instead. That way, you can place them anywhere you like on or away from your desk.

18. Rack Stand

If you want to record a larger number of concurrent tracks and need more channels, you’ll need to set up a rack stand to do it.

19. Power Conditioner

Power conditioners consolidate all the different cables sticking out of the back of your rack mount. They also regulate voltage levels, protect against power surges that could damage your equipment, and are excellent noise filters.

20. Microphone Preamp

You’ll need extra input channels for your mics. That’s where a microphone preamp comes in.

21. Headphone Amp

A headphone amp provides additional output channels for your headphones.

22. Monitor Management System

Your studio monitors will eventually need multiple output channels as well. A monitor management system allows you to switch between the speakers with the simple touch of a button.

23. Virtual Instruments

You don’t need to use real instruments to make music. There’s virtual instrument software that can do this for you.

24. MIDI Controller

Rather than play the virtual instruments on your keyboard and mouse, a MIDI controller offers a better and more convenient way to make music.

25. Electronic Drum Set

Virtual instruments work for some equipment. Drums – not so much. Electrical drum sets provide the perfect balance between the real and virtual worlds.

26. Control Surface

Mixing music recordings is usually done on a computer keyboard and mouse. But, if you want that old-school feel, a control surface works just as well.

27. Software/Plugins

These usually come with the DAWs. But there are a ton of free and premium ones available for download if you want.

28. Snake Cable Cord

Instead of having so many cables lying around your studio floor and workstation, get a snake cable cord to combine all of them into one and clean-up your studio.

29. Uninterruptible Power Supply

If the power goes out, you could potentially lose several hours of hard work. Getting a UPS is a no-brainer.

30. Direct Box

Direct boxes convert unbalanced instrument-level signals into balanced microphone-level signals to eliminate noise distortion.

31. Digital Converters

Most audio interfaces come with built-in digital converters. But, on the off chance you need a standalone one to convert analog audio into digital audio signals, and vice versa, there are several high-quality devices available in the market.

32. Master Clocks

These are usually hidden within most recording devices. Nonetheless, you can get a standalone master clock to perfectly align individual digital samples to ensure they’re in sync.

33. Analog Devices

Last but not least, if the idea of using a software plugin to mix and master your recordings doesn’t sound too appealing, analog hardware can give you that old-school studio feeling you crave.

Take It One Step at a Time

That’s everything you need to set up a working studio. You don’t need to get everything at a go. Buy what your budget allows and check each item off the professional recording studio equipment list detailed in this guide.

It will all have been worth it in the end. And, whatever you do, don’t skimp on quality!

Are you interested in recording music on the go? Check out our blog for everything you need to know about getting a portable recording studio.

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