Desperate to get started on a new career/hobby/side-hustle as an audio creator? Then you’ll need to invest in a few bits first, because while you can simply hook up a cheap USB mic to your laptop and start chatting into it, you’re not going to sound truly professional unless you put some more effort into things .
Thankfully, you don’t have to shell out thousands and thousands for a good quality home recording setup. Assuming you already own a computer (even an iPad will do) and some basic digital audio recording software (Garage Band or Audacity are both free and fine for first timers), a few simple items are all you need to start out. As for finding something compelling to talk about? That’s all on you, we’re afraid.
Audio Technica AT2020
A great buy for anyone taking their first steps into home audio recording, the AT2020 is a highly sensitive condenser mic that’ll readily pick up subtle details in your voice (which makes pairing it with a pop filter highly recommended) and can handle loud sounds without distortion. It connects to your audio interface via a high-quality XLR cable (which you’ll need to buy separately, unfortunately) and has a hardy, durable design that means it should last you a lifetime – or at least until your creative career takes off and you can invest in a pricier replacement.
£89 | audio-technica.com
Because condenser mics are super sensitive, it pays to whack them on a stable, high-quality stand. Like this one, designed to sit on a desk or tabletop. Height adjustable between 260mm and 405mm, it’s all-metal with a heavy, solid base to ensure it won’t shift around when you’re in full flow.
£25 | rode.com
Shure PS-6 popper stopper
Nobody wants to have your plosives puncturing their eardrums when they listen to your voice, so a decent pop filter is a must. There are cheaper ones around the PS-6 Popper Stopper, but its high-quality construction and performance won’t let you down. It clamps on to most stands, sitting between your mouth and the mic, and cuts out both unwanted breath noise and plosives.
£40 | shure.com
CAD Acousti Shield
Recording crisp, uncoloured and pro-quality vocal or voiceover work requires control over the acoustics – and this miniature foam shield does a great job for its size. It’ll fit on most microphone stands, with its high-density 38mm-thick foam helping to deaden reflections and give you a clean take every time. You can easily spend hundreds or even thousands of pounds on more effective treatment or a vocal booth that’ll contain your entire body, but we reckon this is a lot easier to live with if you’re just starting out on your audio creator journey.
£49 | reverb.com
Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen
Dinky enough to sit on a small desk or coffee table, this entry-level audio interface represents a step up from recording direct to your computer with a USB microphone. With connectivity for XLR mics and a USB-C output, it can hook up to your PC, Mac or iPad with ease (and be powered by them to boot). While perhaps a little light on features compared to some interfaces, it’s ideal for recording your voice with clarity and precision and small enough to take with you on trips.
£115 | focusrite.com
Compact and flexible, this portable powered monitor speaker can be used to check the quality of your recordings – but thanks to a direct XLR microphone input it can double up as a small PA system for live events. The 30W speaker, which weighs just 2.1kg, can be used solo for monaural work or paired up for stereo monitoring.
£150 | uk.yamaha.com
Sennheiser HD 206
If you’re looking for some bargain ear goggles that deliver, these brilliantly budget-friendly over-ear headphones from Sennheiser should be top of your shopping list. Lightweight, comfy and costing less than a steak dinner, these closed-back cans are great for studio use thanks to a lengthy 3m cable and accurate performance that punches above their weight.
£34 | en-uk.sennheiser.com