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The $1000 Industry-Level Studio

By Slantize

Who say’s only Mac users can have a professional studio? A PC studio can be just as good, and in fact, can be even more affordable. Do you already have a PC that’s fast with plenty of hard drive space? Are you looking to create a full-capability professional studio on a budget? If so, then you can set up an extremely professional sounding studio for only $1000.

These days, alot of people recommend too much overpriced or over-exaggerated equipment. There is absolutely no need to drop $25,000 on a full blown set up with mixers, preamps, control stations, four different mics, etc. This studio will offer you results that sound like professional industry level recordings at the most efficient price. Sure, you can set up a studio for $500, or even less, and it may sound decent — but this $1000 setup is the best bang for the buck. Don’t skimp on the money — but don’t spend too much. This is the perfect balance of budget and quality for home-based musicians. It’s guaranteed that with the proper engineering and installation of this setup, even professionals will not be able to tell the result from a multi-millionaire dollar studio. Okay, so let’s just cut to the chase:

Emu 1820MThe Foundation:

1. Emu 1820M - PCI Audio Interface. We are eliminating the need for a mixer. Mixers nowadays run a lot of cash, and ones that are below $500 are below industry-level sounds. The PCI cards act as preamps with an additional breakout box that allows you to work farther than where your actual PC is. 

Cost - $499.95

Wharefedale DP82a2. Wharefedale DP82a - Studio Monitors. The sound is unrivaled for this kind of price. Crystal clear, smooth to the ears. The monitors are well built, heavy framed, and sturdy. It has the most accurate levels of sounds, with well adjusted bass and treble. They are also known to have a “sweet spot” where proper placement depending on the acoustics of the room will allow the crispest sounding frequencies.

Cost - $339.95 per pair

For Recording:

Studio Projects C13. Studio Projects C1 - Condenser Microphone. This is the most powerful microphone for under $200. It literally sounds like a $1000 piece of equipment. It is known to have duped many professional and experienced engineers, as it has been compared many times to Neuman mics (these are the mics used for mainstream rap and pop songs today) and have been known to sound nearly the same. It has an extremely warm sound and picks up only vocals, eliminating all ambient noises and even ignores the sounds of surrounding air currents if you are not in a soundproof booth.

Cost - $199.95

For Beat-Making:

Emu Xboard 49-Key4. Emu Xboard 49-Key - Midi Controller. Extremely reliable controller, affordable, aesthetically pleasing and professional looking. Real-time control and programmability to use with your software synthesizers such as Fruity Loops and Reason. 49 keys offers four octaves of playable notes, which allows full flexibility for complete compositions. Furthermore, this is one of the only reliable midi controller keyboards under $200 that offers full-sized keys with four octaves. There is no need to drop $1500 on a Triton or Motif when you have an Xboard rigged to this setup through VSTi software synthesizers. The instrument expansion possibilities are limitless.

Cost - $169.95

Total Cost = $1039.85 (Recording) or $1009.85 (Beat-making)


Suggested Add-on’s:
If you are looking to expand this studio, here are also additional features you can add to turn it into a conventional hip hop set up:Gemini TT03 Direct Drive TurntableAkai MPD16Headphones of Choice

Headphones of Choice
Akai MPD16 Drum Pad
Gemini TT03 Direct Drive Turntable


The Emu 1820m makes a wonderful core for a PC desktop system. It’s PCI which will give you maximum audio throughput and it has a breakout box which allows you to move the computer farther away from where you sit–you’ll enjoy the quiet. Connections are balanced and the converters are good too — this will allow you to achieve unrivaled sound quality. You can add hardware synths and modules if you want as you have 6 line inputs. Plus you get 8 channel digital ADAT i/o for adding more preamps, a digital mixer, or syncing a multi track recorder if you want. And if you want to add a standard analog mixer you can with the 8 line level outs. You can add the Emulator X software, connect your turntable, connect an MPD16 and get similar functionality as the hip hop guys using the MPC series samplers.

Next to the great flexibility, this system offers is that is a real space saver. You could put it in a bedroom and still have room for the bed!


Some Recommended Software:
Beat-making: Fruity Loops or Reason + Sony Soundforge or Izotope Ozone
Recording: Pro Tools, Sonar Studio, or Cubase SL