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What Is The Best Desk To Use For A Home Recording Studio?

Desk For Recording Studio

You already did extensive researched and made sure you get the best possible equipment for your home recording studio. You also made sure that the right acoustic treatment has been applied to you studio to take care of any reverberation. Have you given enough thought to the desktop surface you will place your equipment on though?

We all fall into this trap. We focus so much on the right equipment and acoustic treatment for our home recording studio, that we neglect to realize the importance of the surface all our equipment will be placed on and where we will be doing the vast majority of our work.

Even after all our equipment is purchased, we still avoid looking at more suitable options for a suitable surface. Instead we rather try and find ways and means of using our existing desks to accommodate everything, sometimes resulting an a very uncomfortable and unproductive working environment. In turn, this uncomfortable working space can negativity influence our productivity and whole working experience.

(I have to admit I am guilty of exactly what I just mentioned. Only after taking the time to purchase the appropriate desks to correctly & practically place my equipment on, while creating enough space to do some actual work at the same time, did I realize its importance.)

Choosing the right working surface will not only help you ensure you have enough space to place your equipment while still leaving enough space for you to do some work on. It will also greatly improve your whole working experience and productivity as a result.

But which desk will be the best one for you? This will largely be determined by the maximum amount of space you need, as well the size of your studio. We take a closer look. 

To be able to assist you in the best way possible, I am going to look at the most appropriate desk according the size you will be needing. (I will be looking into a few other factors as well that may be important considerations for you when in comes to a desk appropriate for a recording studio.)

The desks will be divided into 3 categories according to size:

  1. The Compact Desk
  2. The Right Desk For More Space
  3. The Desktop Solution For Maximum Space

The Compact Desk

As I already mentioned in another article, you can use a very small room and still turn it into an effective studio environment. (You can read more about it in this article.) With it come some restrictions though.

One of these restrictions is the size of the desk you can fit into such a small space. This need not be too big a problem if you do some planning.

If you think about it, you only really need space for a computer screen or two and an audio interface. The best place to put your speakers/studio monitors will be on sturdy pair of stands, not on a desk up against a wall. (More on the reason why in this article.)

The computer desktop can be placed next or under the desk. This will not only free up space on the desk, but also remove potential noise from the computer fans away from a sensitive condenser microphone.

The microphone can be placed on a microphone boom clamped to the side of the desk. There is no need to place it on the desk. In fact, placing a microphone on the desk make it more prone to picking up vibrations from bumps and shocks against the desk, as well as picking up noise from the keyboard and other noises emitting from the desktop.

With that said, I had a look at 2 compact desks that will be ideal for the smaller home recording studio: 

1) Z-Line Claremont Desk

Z-Line Claremont Desk

If you are looking for a compact desk, you may as well do it with some style. The compact  Z-Line Claremont desk gives you both. From the accompanying image alone you can see that some care and effort went into designing this simple but elegant desk.

Yes, it is compact, but it still has more than enough space for all the essential gear a home studio needs. (It can easily accommodate a computer workstation with 2 screens and keyboard, as well as your audio interface.)

Your studio monitors/speakers are not meant to be placed on your desk anyway, and can easily be accommodated using a pair of quality speaker stands.  (You can read more about speaker placement in this article.)

Your microphone should also not be placed on the desk for practical and acoustic reasons. Rather use a microphone boom bolted to the side of your desk to free up space and allow easy moving of the microphone into the right position.

So it provides enough space and looks great. But what about probably the most important requirement: Build quality and sturdiness. Don't let you eyes deceive you. This desk has a very solid build quality and is just as sturdy. Just by touching the surfaces you really get the impression of quality, which is reinforced when trying to move the desk around, just to find out how sturdy this solidly made desk actually is.

If you are worried about the glass top, don't be. It's made from heavy duty tempered glass and able to safely carry a surprising amount of weight. All your equipment can safely be placed on this surface.

You can use a simple solid wooden desk that will do just as good a job, but the Z-Line Claremont comes in at a surprisingly affordable price. I can really recommend this compact stylish desk and will be more than happy to pay a little extra for the joy of working on such an inviting surface. You can decide for yourself.

Get more information and pricing on the Z-Line Claremont Desk here.

2) Argosy Halo.G Workstation

Argosy-Halo.G Desk

I was a bit hesitant including this desk in this article, but I feel its new modern design and fresh approach to recording desks should be recognized and worth letting you know about.

The Halo.G is the entry level desk in Argosy's line of recording desks. This not an inexpensive desk and you can find a number of more affordable desks that will do just as good a job.

If you have big enough budget, the Halo.G desk is very modern and ergonomically designed desk with a number of features that make it stand out from the rest.

The grey unit has an exceptional build quality and the signature grey look makes it stand out immediately from other desks. The attention to detail and overall finish is very evident from the moment you first see it and everything feels high-end to the touch.

More specific details and highlights includes angled shapes on each side of the desk, making it very ideal for multiple computer screen use. (The desk gives the impression of conveniently wrapping around you, putting you at the center of the workstation.)

Another future is the padded arm rest that runs the full length of the desk along the front edge. This provides a very welcome support for resting your arms during extended hours of work. It's strong aluminium chassis and powder-coated steel legs reinforce the premium look and feel. 

It can also be accessorized with many extras. I will not go into more detail, as I know this is a premium product that is out of reach for most us home users. But the whole point of including the Halo.G desk in this post, is to give you a taste of what is available if you have the financial means and desire. And this model is just the entry level model in the Argosy range of desks!

Get more information and pricing on the Argosy Halo.G Workstation here.

The Right Desk For More Space

With a larger studio, you can afford to start thinking about a desk with a slightly bigger footprint. You will probably still not have unlimited space to add any size desk, but there are plenty of options available in this category to provide you with more usable desk space in a variety of ways.  

Very large flat horizontal surface can cause reverberation and not be very beneficial for your studio's acoustics as a result. Unnecessary large flat desks will therefore potentially cause more problems than it will solve.

I found the following 2 desks to address the issue of space in a variety of different ways:  

1) Calico Designs 55123 Study Corner Desk

Calico Designs 55123 Desk

Although being called a corner desk, the Calico will happily stand against any surface. I would really recommend placing it in the the center between the corners of a wall for sound symmetry & monitoring. (The sides of the desk do not form a 90 degree angle anyway, so I see no reason why it must be placed in a corner.)

The Calico is a solidly designed desk with laminated dark wood surfaces and a powder-coated steel frame. The sturdy construction ensures stability and minimizes vibrations and disturbances to the microphone.

At 46 inches wide, the desk provides enough space for working while still remaining compact enough to comfortably fit in a moderate size room. With 2 additional full-length shelves, you have ample room for all your equipment and leave you some space to work on as well.

The bottom shelf near your feet will be ideal to place your computer desktop on, freeing up work space and moving the noise from the computer fans away from the microphone. The top shelf can easily accommodate a pair of compact studio monitors and your audio interface. (I would recommend rather placing the studio monitors/speakers on separate pair of stands for accurate sound monitoring though.)

Both the top and bottom shelves' edges are angled to conveniently "wrap" around you, very much like the Argosy Halo.G desk. The middle shelf has a full width and depth however, providing you with the maximum amount of workable space.

I also feel its worth mentioning that the Calico has 4 floor levelers that provides the desk with exceptional overall stability. This is one desk you are going to battle to knock over or move when bumped into.

In summary, I can really recommend this desk as a solid and attractive step up if you need the extra space and have a slightly bigger room that will accommodate it comfortably. It still remains fairly compact and will look good in any studio.

Get more information and pricing on the Calico Designs 55123 Study Corner Desk here.

2) Z-Line Cyrus Workstation

Z-Line Designs Cyrus Workstation

For all intents and purposes this desk can be seen as the big brother of the Z-Line Claremont Desk. Sitting slightly higher up in Z-Line's range of desks, the biggest advantage of the Cyrus Workstation over its smaller sibling is a substantial increase in the amount of usable space.

The design and construction of the Cyprus Workstation is based on the same style as the Claremont Desk, providing the same quality materials and solid design. The cherry colored finish with black accents comes in a contemporary style, with the main shelf consisting of a strong tempered glass able to safely handle substantial weights.

Apart from the 48 inch desk width (compared to the Claremont's slightly smaller 47 inches), the real difference comes in the form of 2 additional shelves. Both are full-length with the top shelf at about head height and the bottom shelf just above the feet of the desk.

The top shelf has a smaller depth than the others, but will still be able to accommodate an audio interface and compact pair of studio studio monitors (which you already know by know I don't like to recommend). As with other desks in this category, the bottom shelf is ideal for placing your computer desktop on for the same reasons.

The only negative feedback that I got (although not personally experienced), is that the keyboard slide-out started causing some problems for a few users, so care should be taken when handling this mechanism. I am not sure whether this is a general problem or isolated to a few individual cases, but it seems to be the exception and not the rule.

All in all, another solid and attractive desk with plenty of usable space form the Z-Line range of desks. From personal experience I can recommend this desk, and being a best seller on many online stores confirms this conclusion. (Just be aware of the potential reliability issue of the keyboard slide-out reported by a few users.)

Get more information and pricing on the Z-Line Cyrus Workstation here.

The Desktop Solution For Maximum Space

If you are lucky enough to have a large studio at your disposal, you are really spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing your desk. Just remember, simply because you have big enough room to accommodate a big desk does not mean you have to go for the biggest solution possible.

There are still quite a few reasons why keeping your desk's dimensions fairly compact can be beneficial.  I already mentioned the effect large flat horizontal surfaces can have on your room's acoustics. Not having your speakers on your desk also have very clear benefits. (You can read more about speaker placement in this article.)

1) Studio RTA Producer Station

Studio RTA Producer Station

If you are looking for big workstation desk with enough space to fit almost any possible piece of equipment and accessory you can think of, look no further than the Studio RTA Producer Station. This is a complete recording desktop solution in almost possible every way. 

To be honest, you almost feel intimidated by the amount of space and features presented to you when standing in front of this unit. 

Just to give you an indication, the main work space measures a massive 77 inches in width, providing you with enough room to fit a full-size 88 key digital piano or synthesizer with space to spare. Adding to that a total of 48 rack-spaces to use, you start to get the picture.

Extra features include 8-space CD/DVD holders, two slide-out keyboard shelves and casters to assist with mobility. 

A solid steel construction with maple-colored solid desk surfaces makes up a very solid and sturdy unit. Weighing in at 140 pounds, this unit will not be easily pushed or moved around, making it very resilient to unwelcome knocks and bumps.   

Further note has to be taken that this unit is mobile and has 4 casters to assist with mobility. In general I am not a fan of recording desks with "wheels", as it normally makes the desk less stable and sturdy. In the case of the Studio RTA Producer Station however, the sheer weight of the desk, combined with the fact that the casters can be locked, render this concern basically completely irrelevant.

In conclusion, I really find very little to criticize this big and versatile workstation, apart from the fact that you will require a fairly big studio to comfortably fit a "desk" of this size without taking up most of the room.

A great addition to any mid to large studio with ample room to fit almost anything you will need space to fit on a desk.

Get more information and pricing on the Studio RTA Producer Station here.

2) HOMCOM 64" L-Shaped Office Workstation

HOMCOM 64 L-Shaped Desk

Sometimes you do need a fair amount of horizontal desk space. You may be allocating some space for your digital piano, do some writing or making notes, and still need some additional space for the occasional odd job. (And don't forget doing some actual work on your computer keyboard.) The size and space the Homcom l-shaped desk provide, may just be what you are looking for.

First things first. Yes, this is a corner desk, which obviously means you normally will put it in the corner. As you probably already know the corner of a studio is probably the worst place for monitoring your sound.

Your studio monitors are probably positioned to produce the best listening position somewhere near the middle of the room. However, you can easily get around this problem by placing a pair of smaller desktop speakers/studio monitors on the desk at the right distance and height while monitoring your sound while doing your mixing. You can read all about correct speaker placement in this article.)   

Now for the big shocker. There is NO rule that tells you NOT to place your L-shaped desk in the middle of the room. In this bigger studio setup this will be the perfect solution. (And please don't be concerned about looks. It may look out of place in the beginning, but the beautiful design of the Homcom will quickly fit in with the rest of the room in no time at all.)

As a result you can put the desk in the middle of the room or anywhere where you will be able to best monitor your sound while still getting all the advantages of this L-shaped desk. 

The pleasing combination of steel, MDF and dark steel top is very inviting and a pleasure to work on. The glass is tempered and extremely strong, so you don't have to worry about placing heavy objects on it.

Two last advantages I would like to highlight:

  1. The L-shape: If you need a big horizontal working space, using the Homcom's L-shape configuration is much easier and practical for you, as it allows you to reach more space by just turning your chair. On a long straight desk you would have had to constantly move around to reach everything. The more compact dimension of this shape desk is also a lot more acoustically friendly than a long flat desk that will cause a lot more sound reverberation.
  2. A small but very handy feature of the desk, is the portable computer cart, enabling you to put your computer desktop out of the way and place it in any convenient spot. This not only allows you to free up more desk space, but more importantly remove the noise from the computer's desktop fans away from your condenser microphone (which picks up EVERYTHING).

As you can see, I am clearly very excited about this desk. To be honest, if I ever get access to a bigger studio, this will probably be one of my first investments.

But all bias aside, the solid design, amount of usable space, and the beautiful contemporary design of the Homcom 64 is really hard to fault. Yes, it's definitely not your typical big recording desk, but provides you with everything you need while doing it in a style.

I can therefore give this desk a big thumbs up and can really strongly recommend it. 

Get more information and pricing on the Homcom 64" L-Shaped Desk here.


You now have at 2 desk options for each of a small, medium and large studio size. I also made sure to highlight each desk's pros and cons to help you understand what is important in a desk and what to look for when choosing one.

Off course there are dozens of more desks to choose from that will do just as good a job. Using these desks in this article as a guideline however, will help make the decision making process easier for you when it comes to deciding on the best desk for your studio size.  

As always, feel free to leave me any comments or suggestions you may have, and I will respond and try and get to them as soon as I can.

Remember to join my  Mailing List  to be informed whenever a new article is released, and share new developments and helpful hints & tips.

Catch you in the next article and happy recording!



Once The Basics Are In Place – Five Additional Tools And Accessories To Add To Your Home Recording Studio

Additional Tools And Accessories For Your Studio

You finally finished setting up your home recording studio. The basics are all in place. You now find yourself ready to start adding to your studio, but are not sure what is available and what will be the best addition to add first.

To help you invest in accessories that will add real value to your home recording studio, we chose five products that will benefit and enhance your whole recording experience. It is clearly not an extensive list, but just an indication of what is available to make your life in the studio a bit easier.

1. Back Up Your Audio Files On An External Hard Drive

western-digital elements hard drive

Whether you are recording you audio in 16-bit or 24-bit depth, you will be surprised how quickly you audio files will fill up you computer's hard drive. Luckily hard drives with bigger capacities at affordable prices are widely available to consumers. When you are working on a desktop computer with additional expansion slots, you now have the option to upgrade your hard drive to a bigger capacity one, or simply add a second hard drive to your system.

But what if something happens to your computer? We don't think of backing up our data nearly enough. You may be sitting with months or years of work on your computer, and only realize the consequences of not backing up when an electrical power surge or computer virus destroys all the data on you hard drive. When your hard drive is destroyed, there is no way of ever getting your years of hard work back.

For this reason, I would not just recommend, but plead with you to invest in a separate external hard drive where you can keep a copy of all your data files. USB connected hard drives are affordable and you can come in capacities of up to 4Tb (terabyte).

A good example is the Western Digital 4Tb Elements Portable External Hard Drive. It is pre-formatted and powered by the USB port. You simply plug the hard drive into your USB port and you are ready to go.

You can get more information and pricing on the Western Digital 4TB  Hard Drive here.

2. SPL Meter For The Right Volume Level

BAFX Products Decibel Meter

Have you stopped and considered the volume at which you are listening to and monitoring your recording? There actually is a volume level that is considered by sound engineers in the recording industry to be the sweet spot when it comes to monitoring your recording to get the most accurate feedback.

In most recording studios, 85dB (decibels) is the magic number used to listen to recordings and monitor sound. It provides you with the flattest hearing curve, meaning "the listener perceives a constant loudness when presented with pure steady sounds" (also called equal loudness contour).

This is a general standard used in commercial studios. It is not set in stone though, and may vary according to the size of the studio. Some smaller studios may use a much lower volume setting of 70dB to achieve optimal results.

In order to achieve this volume, you need a measuring device, called a SPL Meter. This a handheld device with a microphone on top. The diaphragm in the microphone measures the air pressure produced by sound waves and display the result in decibels.

The best place to measure the volume, is the position in the studio where you are seated to monitor your sound. (Obviously with the studio monitors and acoustic treatment correctly set up. You can read more about optimal speaker placement in this article.) It will also be useful to take additional measurements in other relevant spots in your studio to get a balanced indication of the overall sound volume in the room. 

A good example of a good SPL meter is the BAFX Products - Decibel Meter. It is accurate and affordable. You can get more information and pricing on the  BAFX Products  meter here.

3. Headphones Holder For An Uncluttered Desk

Headphone Holder

You probably know the frustration of finish monitoring your recording and you take your headphones off and try to find a place on your already cluttered work desk to put it down. Not to mention the irritation of constantly moving it around the desk to access other equipment it was left on.

Some people use the microphone and its boom arm to hang the headphone over, but this is not ideal and can have its own share of problems. Luckily, enough users all over the world are battling with this problem, which led manufacturers to start developing headphone holders.

A simple but extremely helpful accessory that you can hang your headphones over. It comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be fixed against a wall or, my personal favorite, bolted onto the side of a desk where you can easily hang and retrieve it. Your desk remains less cluttered and your headphones hangs safely out of the way on the side of the desk.   

The K&M Stands Headphone holder with table clamp is just on of a wide variety of different headphone holders available in different forms and shapes. What I like about the K&K holder, is that it clamps directly to the side of your desk, keeping your headphones within reach and neatly secured against the side of you desk.

You can get more information and pricing on the K&M Stands Headphone holder here.

4. Isolation Pads When Speaker Stands Are Not An Option

ultimate support MS80

A good pair of studio monitor/speaker stands remain the ideal place to put you speakers on. There may be a few reasons though, that you simply are not able to place your speakers on separate stands. From budget restrictions, limited room space to just a strong personal preference to place your speakers on your desk or other surface, stands are just not working for you.

Luckily this is not a train smash, largely due to the availability of iso-pads (isolation pads). These firm but absorbent foam pads are the ideal alternatives to place your studio monitors on. They can be used on your desk, shelve, the floor or other solid horizontal surfaces.

They mainly serve to two purposes. The most important one being the ability to absorb vibrations and shocks effectively from the surface it is standing on. The foam used in iso-pads is still firm and flat enough to provide a stable surface for the speakers to safely stand on.

The second purpose and advantage is the ability of many iso-pads to to be tilted at an angle (or multiple angles) to allow the speaker to directly face your head. As a result, floor or desk standing speakers not at ear level, can easily tilted to directly face in the right direction.

Not all iso-pads provide a lot of flexibility when it comes to angling studio monitors in exactly the right direction. This is part reason why I am such a huge fan of the Ultimate Support MS-80 isolation pads. They may be a bit overkill and are not the most affordable options available to you. If a specific angle is not a priority for you, there are certainly much more affordable quality iso-pads available.

You can get more information and pricing on the Ultimate Support MS-80 isolation pads here.

5. Studio Case For Safe Equipment Storage

Casematic studio case

As your studio grows, you will start building up quite a collection of equipment, like multiple microphones and specialty cables. Many of these components and cables will not be actively used for extended periods of time, and need to be safely stored.

This is where a studio case with protective foam interior comes in very handy. Most condenser microphones and some cables are sensitive and needs to be stored in a protective environment.

A sturdy studio case are able to safely store multiple microphones and other equipment, holding them in place, and protecting them from knocks, dust and other external forces. They also come in very handy if you need to transport your equipment safely.

A good example is the Casematix Studio Case. It comes in a hard shell case with a foam interior that can be customized by removing foam blocks in order to make space for the specific piece of equipment you are planning on storing. It also come with a built-in handle and the sleek design makes it ideal for travel and storage. 

You can get more information and pricing on the Casematix Studio Case here.


I just discussed 5 accessories that will benefit your home studio. They are just five of hundreds of accessories you can add to you home studio. They are also not essential, but may just be that extra piece of equipment you need to make your life a bit easier.

Let me know in the comment section if you would like more options when it comes to adding additional extras to your studio. I will make sure to expand this current article or add a separate one with a much more comprehensive list.

Remember to join my  Mailing List  to be informed whenever a new article is released, and share new developments and helpful hints & tips.

Catch you in the next article and happy recording!


15 Best Products For Starting Your Home Recording Studio

15 Best Products review

This my not be your current situation or that of anyone else starting or expanding their home recording studio for that matter. Just bear with me for a minute. What we will be doing in this article is sketching a fictional scenario that will actually help you find out what exactly you need for your studio setup next.

The following scenario takes place where you have an empty room and a fixed budget. You are allowed to choose 15 objects with which to start building your own home recording studio. But, you are limited to $200. Every component, object or piece of furniture must cost less than $200.

The whole idea is to help realize how much more affordable a studio can be than you thought. Not only will you find out how much quality you can actually get from an inexpensive piece of equipment, but also how important the cheaper parts of your recording studio actually may be. (A $20 piece of material may contribute more to the sound quality of your studio than $200 component.)

The 15 Best Products

Now lets get to the 15 products. They were chosen in no particular order of importance and may play a critical of completely significant part in the success of your studio setup. Each component is also ushered in by a "tongue in cheek" heading, not to be funny, but just to try and make you think a little differently about its importance and the role it plays in your studio.

1. Your Command Post - Boss Office LeatherPlus Chair


If you are a serious home studio artist or user, chances are pretty good that you spend hundreds of hours per month in your studio, and more specifically in your chair.

Just taking the amount of time you spend sitting into consideration, the importance of a good supportive chair cannot be emphasized enough.

Not only is it supposed to be comfortable and help you keep you active and productive, it must also support you in all the correct areas to promote a healthy body and good posture.

The Boss Leatherplus provides you with a durable and comfortable seating position. At the same time it provides excellent back support, and "waterfall seat design" to eliminate leg fatigue. Don't forget to invest in a good quality chair when starting or expanding your studio.

Get more information and pricing on the Boss Office LeatherPlus Chair here.

2. Let Your Voice Be Heard - Audio-Technica AT2035 Microphone

Audio-Technica AT2035

If you have read some of the other articles on this website, you will know that I regard the microphone by far the most important piece of equipment for any recording studio.

What you may not know is that you do not need to spend a small fortune to get a really high quality microphone. The Audio-Technica really impresses with not just a very solid and high quality feel. It delivers professional studio quality sound, matching microphones more than double its prize.

(This maybe one of the reasons I use this microphone as my own personal microphone for home use.)  

Read more about the Audio-Technica AT2035 here.

3. The Brains Of Your Operation - The Desktop Computer


The heading is no metaphor. The computer is literally the brain and heart of your whole setup. It houses all your recordings, its your Digital Audio Workstation that you do most of your work on, and also acts as the interface with your various input and devices.

There are many reasons why I feel so strongly about using a desktop computer over any other computer or mobile device. So many in fact that a whole article is dedicated to it. Simply follow the link below to find out more.

Read more about the advantages of desktop computers here.

4.  Equipment Placement In Style - Z-Line Claremont Desk


It is safe to assume we all have a desk we work from and place our equipment on. I don't recommend placing your speakers/studio monitors and microphone directly on it for reasons already well documented in other articles on this website.

This leaves you with fairly compact but sturdy space requirements necessary to fit everything. Your desk needs to be stable and contain as little as possible multiple flat surfaces. (More flat surfaces equal more areas to reflect and distort sound.)

The Z-Line Claremont Desk is compact and very sturdily build, with quality material used throughout the design. Don't let the glass surface fool you. It is made of a highly durable 6mm thick tempered glass. This solid surface is able to absorb sound and vibrations far better than many wooden surfaces.

As a bonus the Claremont Desk has a very aesthetically pleasing look and design. When you go for a quality desk, why not include some style and good looks while you're at it?

Get more information and pricing on the Z-Line Claremont Desk here.

5. Make The Connection - Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface

Focusrite Audio Interface

Your audio interface provides the vital link between your microphone/instruments and your computer and Digital Audio Interface. It accepts XLR, TSR balanced and other connections, and output it normally via high speed a USB2 interface to the computer and  your DAW software.

It also provides the amplification of signals through its build-in preamps, as well as providing phantom power to condenser microphones and DI Boxes to name a few.

The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 provides all these necessary features. It is also made of a high quality steel construction with a solid feel to all its knobs and switches. Sound quality is also exceptional with the well known Scarlett preamps delivering accurate, crisp and clear sound.

Read more about the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd Gen here.

6. Stop The Shaking - TMS Mass Loaded Vinyl Acoustic Barrier


It is not just your speakers and microphones that are sensitive to vibrations and shocks. Vibrations and knocks to your desk can be disruptive and interfere with your computer and audio interface situated on your desk.

Whether you have a carpeted, tiled or wooden floor, you are still going to experience some knocks and bumps from sources inside and outside your studio. One way of making sure you isolate it as much as possible, is by using a thick sound-and-shock-absorbing material like TMS Mass Loaded Vinyl.

This 1/8 inch thick vinyl comes in roles of multiple lengths that you can cut to size and place underneath your desk and other work spaces. The thick vinyl absorbs almost any notable vibrations that may be emitted through the floor, while providing some added stability and sturdiness to your desk as well.

It is a very affordable material that can make the world of difference to your recordings. 

Get more information and pricing on TMS Mass Loaded Vinyl Acoustic Barrier here.

7. Your Digital Producer - DAW Software

digital mixer

This is the heart of your recording setup. Your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) is responsible for capturing your recordings, edit and process it, and finally output the final production to digital media.

You get a variety of choices when it comes to DAW software. From premiere fully-featured packages, to limited editions and free versions, you will always be able to have access to DAW software.

I would just urge you to get started as soon as possible. It doesn't need to be the final software you end up with. The important thing is that you start gaining experience as soon as possible. The one asset you simply cannot put any price on, is experience.

The principles among most DAW software are the same, and the more time you spend working with the software, the easier it will be when it comes to actually start producing recording in your home recording studio. 

Read more about DAW software here.

8. Stretch And Adjust - RODE PSA1 Microphone Boom Arm

studio boom arm

I already touched on the subject of not placing a microphone directly on your desk or any other flat, hard work space due to surface vibrations and knocks. You would legitimately be wondering how to place and position your microphone if your desk is not an option.

This is where your microphone boom arm comes in this. This adjustable arm can be bolted to your desk or even against an object against the wall. The microphone is attached to the end of this arm and suspended in mid-air without any direct contact with the desk.

This make a boom arm, like the Rode PSA1, ideal to place the microphone in the correct position in front of your mouth or instrument. The arm absorbs most of the vibrations from the desk, and can even hold a shockmount to further eliminate any remaining shocks.     

Get more information and pricing on the RODE PSA1 Microphone Boom Arm here.

9. Take A Stand - On-Stage SMS6000 Speaker Stands

On-Stage SMS6000

You will only really appreciate the importance of studio monitor stands once you used them and realized just what a difference they can make. Freed from the reverberation and sound distortion caused by a desk or any flat hard surface, placed optimally at ear level and properly angled at the user/microphone - your speakers/studio monitors will really shine when properly placed on a pair of stands.

The On-Stage SMS6000 stands has all the attributes that is required. Providing a sturdy and solid base, the stands are also height-adjustable while the platform has a non-slip pad that prevents the speakers from moving around. All these features also at a very palatable price.

Read more about speaker placement and the On-Stage SMS6000 stands here.

10. Save The Mic - Harlan Hogan Pop Microphone Filter


Chances are pretty good the microphone you are using in your studio is a condenser microphone. With its ability to pick up the smallest detail due to its sensitive diaphragm, the microphone is especially prone to loud sounds, especially explosive ones like pops and cracks. Not only can these pops and cracks overload the mic and distort the sound quality, it can actually lead to microphone damage over the long term.

One effective and affordable way of preventing this is by using a pop filter. This mesh covered circular filter helps to protect the microphone in more than just one way. The thin mesh material filters out the loud popping sounds while letting through almost all other sound frequencies, not degrading the sound quality in any way.

A condenser microphone is not only prone to loud sounds, but also the environment, especially moisture. And as much as some of us hate to admit it, we all produce some form of saliva or moisture when speaking or singing. A pop filter shields the microphone from any saliva or other airborne objects.

The Harlan Hogan Pop filter is a good example of a pop filter doing exactly what is asked of it. Providing good insulation from harsh sounds and moisture, while not interfering with the sound it needs for a quality recording.   

Get more information and pricing on the Harlan Hogan Microphone Filter here

11. Silence The Echo - Acoustic Room Treatment

acoustic panel

I covered the importance of proper acoustic treatment in quite a few other articles already. I need to emphasize it again however. It has the ability make all the difference in the world to sound quality by eliminating reverberation from a studio and neutralize the unfavorable dimensions of small square studio.

The best part about acoustic treatment, is that its one of the most affordable parts of a studio. This allows you to add all the acoustic materials you need to sufficiently cover your studio in one go. In a small studio it doesn't even take that much acoustic material to begin with, but its nice knowing that you will run out of material before running out of money.

Knowing just what a vital role it plays and taking its affordability into account, you really don't have any excuse not to make your studio acoustically sound.

All you need is the know-how, some of which you can get from the linked article below.   

You can read an in-depth article about acoustic and its importance right here.

12. Catching Every Little Detail - Sennheiser RS120 Headphones

Sennheiser Headphones

This was a revelation for me personally. I must be honest and admit that I am not the biggest fan of headphones. As long as they provided me with enough feedback on the detail and quality of the audio, I was happy.

That was until a "spur of the moment" purchase of the Sennheiser RS120 headphones after spending some time in the music department of a store. It didn't take me long to realize what a difference a high quality pair of headphones make. After hooking it up to my setup I was literally taken into a new world of rich sound quality and clarity with a level of detail I never experienced before. 

Even though you can pick up all the detail you need on a normal set of headphones, like my generic Sony headphones I used in the past, the level of detail and the small nuances in sound that can be picked up by high-end headphones are invaluable to help you fine-tune and streamline your audio production.

As a user who almost always put more trust on the feedback of speakers/studio monitors than headphones, I now make sure my audio are completely acceptable through both monitoring devices.

Get more information and pricing on the Sennheiser RS120 Wireless Headphones here.

13. A Golden Connection - Monoprice Premier Gold Plated Cable

Gold Plated Cable

"A chain is as strong as its weakest link". We all know the saying and what it means. This is especially true in your recording studio. You spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on the best equipment to record the best possible sound. Yet, when I ask you how they are connected, the chances are pretty good you used the nearest cable available. (Or the one that came bundled with your device.)

The loss in sound quality from a poor cable connection can be more costly than the value of your equipment. That doesn't mean you need the best pair of cables money can buy, but you need a good enough cable to make sure your signal makes it all the way from one device to the other without any significant loss in quality.

The Monoprice Premier XLR cables make sure this quality transfer of signal happens by using cold plated connectors alongside other quality components. No, the use of gold is not a status symbol of any kind. It's a mere fact that gold promotes the transfer of a signal with the least amount of resistance. The use of gold is just one of many components used in a quality cable to ensure the best possible connection between devices. 

Get more information and pricing on the Monoprice Premier Gold Plated XLR Cable here.

14. Make Some Noise - Kanto YU2 Powered Desktop Speakers

Kanto YU2 Speaker

One of the most important aspects of recording and editing your audio, is the ability to monitor it at all times. Using your headphones simply isn't enough. You need a pair of high quality speakers/studio monitors to hear what it sounds like to an audience in an open space.

The sound from the speakers filling the space in a studio will give you an accurate indication of what your audience will experience. And especially in a small studio, this is exactly what the compact Kanto YU2 speakers will do.

It packs a pretty big punch, and the clarity and precision with which mid-and-high tones are reproduced really impress. It is important to note that the bass is not sub-par and more than good enough for studio use. (Only when pushed really hard may the lack in physical size become really apparent in the low frequencies, but that's not an important function for a recording studio.)

Get more information and pricing on the Kanto YU2 Powered Desktop Speakers here.

15. Untangle That Nest Of Cables - Spiral Cable Wire Wrap Tube

Spiral Tube

If you look behind your computer work desk right now, chances are pretty good you will find a nest of tangled cables that build over the years. In a recording studio you build and expanded over years, the situation might be a lot worse.

These cable are not only dangerous as it can cause electrical short-circuits and even result in an electrical fire. It also becomes a headache when it come to changing equipment and its cables. The time and effort wasted on this seemingly endless process, takes its toll on productivity. And even though it may be hidden behind a desk or another object, it doesn't make the problem disappear and will only get worse when not addressed.

Using a cable organizer like the Spiral Cable Wire Wrap Tube, is a simple but very effective way of keeping your cable together, neat and tidy without any tangling. It also also allows different cables in the "tube" to exit at any point to be directed to the appropriate device.

It is never too late to start, and once you have your cables lined up next to each other neatly in a single tube, it will be much easier to add and remove cables at any point. And simply from a aesthetic point of view, you will be forever grateful for not having to look at an unsightly nest of unorganized cables ever again.   

Get more information and pricing on Spiral Cable Wire Wrap Tube here.


And there you have it. 15 Products or components in no specific order that will make a difference in your home recording studio.

The whole idea was to kick-start your though process around the needs of your studio, and help you look at your priorities in a different and maybe more productive point of view.

At the very least, you may discover a valuable piece of equipment or material that may just make that difference you needed in your studio.

Remember to join my  Mailing List  to be informed whenever a new article is released, and share new developments and helpful hints & tips.

Catch you in the next article and happy recording!



Taking The Next Step: 2 Advanced Audio Interfaces Worth Looking At

Advanced Audio Interface Review

You finally reached the point where your needs outgrew your audio interface. It served you well for many years, but it might have gotten damaged or simply outlived its usefulness. Now you need an interface with more input sources, a faster connection or simply better audio quality and overall performance. 

We take a look at two more advanced audio interfaces that will not disappoint.

The First Choice

Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (2nd Gen)

Focusrite Scarlett 18i20

You are probably already very familiar with the the 18i20's little and very well-known brother, the Focusrite Scarlet 2i2. This compact and budget friendly audio interface with its eye-catching red surface and solid build and quality sound, has literally been flying off the shelves of retailers over the past year. Even many consumers not even remotely involved in the recording industry are familiar with this little rock star. 

All this attention and popularity are not without merit. This attractive compact red box really delivers exceptional value for money with its quality build, range of features and high audio quality. But as good as it is, it has its limitations.

The 18i20 is not just bigger version of the Scarlett 2i2 with new features. It really is a worthwhile step up with much more to offer.


If you are familiar with the Scarlett series of audio interfaces, the 18i20 will have a very familiar look and feel to you. It comes in the high quality scarlett red brushed aluminium casing. It has a black front panel that also houses all of the controls.  The buttons and knobs are made of a high quality hard rubber with a very sturdy feel to them.

This unit comes with brackets to slide into a 19 inch rack, but it can just as easily be placed on your desk and will not look out of place as a stand alone unit. At almost 7 pounds it is definitely not made to be carried around and should be placed in a fixed position.


Unlike its smaller brother, the 18i20 is not powered by USB and comes with its own power supply, so make sure you have an open power socket available. 

The the digital out is via a USB2 port which should provide enough speed to prevent any significant latency. (Focusrite wisely decided to steer clear from using the faster Firewire technology that started appearing in devices in this price bracket a few years ago. This technology did not survive very long is no longer supported by most laptop and desktop computers.)

The Scarlett 18i20 has a total of 18 total inputs and 20 total outputs on the device. On the front of the interface you will find 2 combo inputs (for line, mic and instruments), making it easy to quickly add add and remove devices without having to dig behind the interface, especially when rack-mounted.

Phantom power comes standard as expected, but what makes it so unique in this case, is that you have 2 switches to activate phantom power. One for inputs 1-4, and one for inputs 5-8. This is very handy if you use a combination of devices that do not all require phantom power.

Below the gain controls of the 2 front-facing combo inputs, you will find 2 switches for each input. One for switching to instruments, as well as a pad switch (to reduce the input volume by 10 decibels).

The remaining 6 combo inputs at the back have 6 corresponding gain controls on the front panel. To the right of it you will find LED indicators representing and monitoring the levels of all eight audio inputs. 

Next to the LED you will find the master gain control switch. Below it you find a handy a Dim switch and Mute switch to respectively lower or completely cut out the audio if needed.

A standout feature of the Scarlett 18i20 is the inclusion of dual microphone outputs, each with its own gain control. This especially useful if you have more than one recording artist who need to directly monitor the recorded sound live.

Another useful features is LED lights on the front panel indicating input signals. One drawback however is that there are no LED lights indicating output signals. 

The power switch can also be found on the front panel.

On the back you will find the majority of input and output ports. This includes the 6 remaining combo inputs. You also have eight 1/4 inch TRS line outs as well as 2 monitor line outs. 

You will also find an optical input and output, as well as a S/PDIF input and output. You also have a MIDI input and output port for your virtual instruments, as well as world clock.

Finally the USB2 connection as well as the power adapter is also located on the rear panel.

As you can see, there is not much that the Scarlett 18i20 doesn't have covered in terms of input and output functionality. As a home user you will probably never need to use all the connections available, but it is reassuring that it is there if you need it.

On the software side, the 18i20 really come with a wealth of tools. Pro Tools / First Focusrite Creative Pack and Ableton Live Lite are included with the interface. It also includes Softube Time and Tone Bundle, Focusrite’s Red Plug-in Suite, and 2GB of Loopmasters samples.

With so many software tools at your disposal, you will probably never need to upgrade to the full or next version of the DAW software included with the device. Especially if your needs are limited to home use, the bundled software will most probably keep you occupied and happy for the lifespan of the Scarlett 18i20.


The world-class Scarlett preamps produce a warm and crystal clear sound. You are really going to find it hard to find anything in this price range to come close to matching the quality of these preamps.

(In fact, after some tests were done with preamps turned up to full volume to compensate for a microphone with an extremely low sensitivity, the base noise was so low when no sound was recorded that it was completely inaudible. This is something almost unheard of for an audio interface under 500 dollars.)  

One of the most important features of the 18i20 however, is the reduction in latency. Focusrite claims a latency of 2.74 milliseconds which will be welcoming news to any serious end user. (A recording artist or sound engineer knows exactly how important it is to hear the sound your audio interface captures in real-time.)  

Instructions for installation of the software comes on the back of the lid of the box. They are really simple and straight-forward to follow, and installation went smoothly and without a hitch on both PC and Mac platforms.

With software like Pro Tools/First Focusrite Creative Pack and Ableton Live Lite included with the audio interface, you are all set to go right from the start. The software add so much value to the Scarlett 18i20, that it really makes it an almost irresistible offer.

As with most proper DAW software, these tools come with a rather steep learning curve, but will prove invaluable once you've mastered the basics. (Chances are pretty good you are already familiar with most of these software if you upgraded from an existing audio interface.)


Needless to say I am extremely impressed with the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20. From the build quality, the amount of features available to the exceptional sound quality, it really is hard to fault this device. Especially coming in at under $500, this audio interface can easily compete with devices more than double its price.

The wealth of software included only adds to what is already a very attractive package.

One small piece of criticism that can be leveled against the Scarlett, is the lack of LED indicators on the front panel for output devices. But it really is a minor complaint and pales in comparison to all its strengths and features.

You can get more information and pricing on the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (2nd Gen) here.

A Worthy Alternative

PreSonus AudioBox1818 VSL

PreSonus AudioBox1818 VSL

I am not going to delve to deeply into the AudioBox1818 VSL, as it is pretty much on par with the Focurite Scarlett 18i20. I will highlight a few features and differences. In general though, if the Scarlett does not suit your style or fit in with the rest of your audio equipment, the Presonus is really worth taking a serious look at.  


With an all-steel design, the PreSonus is solidly build and has a real durable feel to it. Just like the Focusrite, it also has the same look and feel of smaller members of the Presonus family, with the same blue finish and diagonally displaced controls. 

Designed to be rack-mountable, the PreSonus can also be placed separately on a desk, but does not have the standalone appeal that the Focusrite has. If looks aren't that important to you, this shouldn't be a problem.


It also feature eight combo ports, but unlike the Focusrite, all of them are placed on the front panel. Each port has its own gain control with a clipping indicator next to each knob. 

Phantom power, like the Focusrite can be operated in two banks. You can activate/deactivate phantom power for banks 1-4 and 5-8 respectively.

A master gain control, a headphone output with its own gain control and LED level indicators, as well as a USB sync indicator rounds off the functions and features on the front panel.

Ten 1/4 inch balanced TRS outputs are situated on the back panel, of which 2 are main monitor outputs.

Three more input and output ports include MIDI, S/PDIF and optical interfaces, also located on the back panel. A world clock, USB2 port, power adapter and power switch round off the the functions located on the back panel.

Software to get you started includes PreSonus Virtual Studio Live and Studio One Artist 2.


As with other models in the PreSonus series, sound quality is excellent, thanks to the AudioBox1818's high-quality preamps and coverters.

A standout feature of the interface, is the consistency with which it delivers quality performance.  

Software also install and work seamlessly on both Windows and Apple Macintosh platforms.


Without visually standing out and "showing off", the PreSonus AudioBox1818 goes about its business quietly and efficiently. It really is a workhorse that can be used for long periods of time, delivering consistent and quality results.

You can get more information and pricing on the PreSonus AudioBox1818 VSL here.


When the time comes and you need to upgrade your device, the good news is that there are some very good audio devices offering you all the advanced features and performance you require from a more advanced audio interface. More features and better performance in the  form of the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (2nd Gen) and PreSonus AudioBox1818 VSL, can be obtained without breaking the bank. At the time writing both audio interfaces were available for less than $500.

Feel free to leave me any comments or suggestions you may have. Remember to join my  Mailing List  to be informed whenever a new article is released, and share new developments and helpful hints & tips.

Catch you in the next article and happy recording!


Giving Your Sound A Leg To Stand On: Choosing The Right Stands For Your Speakers/Studio Monitors

Studio-monitor and speaker stand

Choosing a pair of quality stands to put your speakers/studio monitors on is not only practical but also necessary. Many people still make the mistake of placing their speakers on desks or other flat hard surfaces, especially in the sound critical recording studio environment.

First, we first need to understand why speaker stands are the best choice when it comes to the placement of your studio monitors

We then take a closer look at the qualities that make a high quality speaker stand while using the On-Stage SMS6000 studio monitor stands as the perfect example.

Why Choose Speaker Stands

In a previous article, we already discussed sound wave behavior and speaker placement in detail, and how crucial the placement is for optimal sound quality. Lets summarize quickly.

As we don't have the luxury of choosing the shape of the room we will be using as a home studio, we are pretty much stuck with a rectangular room with directly opposing walls parallel to each other, the worst case scenario. There is a lot you can do to minimize the unwanted negative effects of such an setup though. Read more about it in this article.

Lets focus for now on why speaker/monitor stands are the best choice for speaker placement in a home studio.  

Using the dimensions of your room, placing your speakers against the short wall to travel the full length of the room and bounce off the back wall, will allow it to travel the maximum distance to allow the signal to weaken as much as possible before its reflected sound reach the microphone.

On-Stage SMS6000

With speaker/studio monitor stands its easy to place and move the speakers around until exactly the right spot is found. It can also be accurately placed the right distance from the back wall to minimize the bass reflected from the back of the speakers.

A desk placed against a wall may sound like an easy solution, especially if you just happen to already have your desk and setup placed in this fashion. If you are in any way serious about the quality of your sound and recording, you may want to reconsider this decision very quickly.

(If things sound a bit confusing at this point, you can go through this article again, and things will become clear.)

Ok, back to the desk. If you don't have a desk or table in the correct position to start with, it would be inconvenient and impractical to move such a large object, apart from the fact that its other attributes makes it unsuitable to place speaker on.

The problem with desks and all other flat hard surfaces, is the sound reflection (reverberation) it cause. Sound from your speakers do not travel in a straight line to you. They also reach the surface of the desk they are standing on, which is then reflected and amplified. The result is that the sound reaching the listener/microphone is slightly distorted. (The original sound combined with the reflected sound.)

For this very reason, placing speakers on the floor or close to the ceiling will have the same negative effect. The right speaker height is actually at the listener/microphone's ear level. This also happens to be at the correct height not to cause any reverberation. (Less than halfway between the floor and the ceiling.)

To sum up, there are 4 main reasons why speaker stands are preferable to other surfaces or objects to place your speakers on for optimal performance.

  1. The ability to elevate speakers to the correct height for optimal sound quality.
  2. Avoiding reflective horizontal surfaces in the process which will cause reverberation and a resulting distorted sound.
  3. The small footprint of a stand saves valuable floor space, as well as freeing up desk space that would have been occupied by the speakers/studio monitor.
  4. The compact size also provides freedom of movement to allow the speakers to be placed in the optimal position and pointed in the correct direction.

In the relatively confined space of a home recording studio these are valuable attributes that will help make the setting up process a lot easier. Even after you already set up your studio, adding a pair of stands may help with quite a few existing problems, from setup to audio quality.

Armed with hopefully enough information to convince you of the importance of using speaker/studio monitor stands, its time to look at what makes a good quality pair of stands, and use the OnStage SMS6000 studio monitor stands as the perfect example.

What Makes Good Studio Monitor Stands

As with most products available to us today, not all audio hardware are created equal. This applies to speaker/studio monitor stands as well. To best understand what to look for in a quality stand, we look at the different attributes that make a good stand and use the On-Stage SMS6000 studio monitors as a reference. 

Build Quality

The materials used and how well they are put together in a stand, play the biggest part in determining the build quality. Build quality is crucial, as the stands are carrying a pair of speakers worth hundreds of dollars or more, and also need to last for many years.

The SMS6000 Stands already looks like solid piece of equipment, before even touching it. It is solid piece of kit, made from steel, and able to hold speakers with a weight up to 90 pounds. The Black Powder Coat finish adds to the perceived quality, while the solid feel of the stands confirms this impression. These stands are made to last. 

Small attentions to detail like adding adding a few cable guides/hooks to keep your cables need and tidy, also help with the impression of a quality component.


Sturdiness is a must for any speaker stand, as vibrations and small knocks needs to be absorbed without interfering with the sound.

leveling carpet spikes

Self Leveling Carpet Spikes

The SMS6000 stands have an all steel construction that gives an impression of sturdiness. This perceived sturdiness is reinforced by its actual feel and moving the stands around. Even without speakers on top, the stands feel grounded and steady without loose parts or any hint of wobbliness. 

The addition of self leveling carpet spikes to be screwed into the bottom of the stands, allows the speaker to sit solidly and balanced on any surface, even when placed on carpeted surfaces.


Weight is important as it adds to the balance and sturdiness of a stand. A very light stand may not only feel unsteady, but will be unbalanced when carrying a heavy speaker/studio monitor. The top-heavy result is prone to be easily knocked over, even from the slightest touch.

With a substantial weight of 24.2 pounds per stand, combined with a sturdy build quality, the SMS6000 are rock solid and feels like it is able to carry more than the stated 90 pounds.


The ability to adjust the height of a speaker/studio monitor stand is a crucial, but often overlooked by many beginners not familiar with the importance of height when setting up your speakers in a recording studio.

(Interestingly, many users go for aesthetics when it comes to choosing their stands. Unfortunately many of your most aesthetically pleasing speaker stands are fixed height units without the much needed adjustability and sometimes build quality. I guess this is one case of "looks aren't everything")

Luckily the On-Stage SMS6000 stands come fully height-adjustable. Height is adjustable from 36.5 - 54 inches, using a security pin to keep it in place as well as clutch to fasten it and ensure a secure and tight hold. This height range allows you yo find the ideal speaker height no matter what your seated position.

With the addition of self leveling carpet spikes, the stands can be further adjusted to enable it to stand sturdily on any surface, whether carpeted or hard floor. 

All these adjustable features available on a pair of SMS6000 stands, makes them one of the most versatile speakers available.


Earlier in this post I touched on balance when I pointed towards the imbalance of a top-heavy speaker/stand combination. Here the substantial weight of the On-Stage stands contributes to a very good overall balance, regardless of the weight of the speaker.

But it's not just the weight of the stand that have an influence on balance. The actual base of the stand plays a vital role, and is not as easy to get right easy to get as one might think. Too big and heavy, and you end up with a sturdy, but rather clumsy and aesthetically displeasing look. Too light, and you end with the now familiar top-heavy scenario.

The On-Stage stands manage to strike a good balance between the two. With a triangular base of  18 inches, it provides the right size and shape for optimal balance without going over the top.

One factor that very seldom gets mentioned or considered, is the sturdiness with which the speakers are  held on top of the stands. As is the case with the normal smooth surface on top of many stands, speakers can be knocked off position very easily from the slightest bump. In the worst case scenario this can result in the speakers tipping over with potentially devastating consequences.

Again, the SMS6000 stands avoid this from happening by adhering a non-slip pad to the top of the stand, preventing speakers placed on top of it from moving around.

Get more information and pricing on the On-Stage SMS6000.


This has been quite an in-depth look at something seemingly so insignificant. To be honest, the first time I was looking for a pair of stands for my speakers, I only wanted something to place them on. It was only after I started looking online and stumbled across a few guidelines, that I realized things may not be as simple I thought.

Only after a making an informed purchase and then experimenting with placement and a few other small adjustments, can one appreciate what a big difference the features described in this article can make to your overall experience and sound quality.

The On-Stage SMS6000 speaker/studio monitors are by no means perfect or the most attractive stands available. They just do exactly what they need to do and do it well.

The biggest take-away from this article is two-fold. The first being that the smallest thing can make a big difference in your recording studio setup. Secondly, there is always something you can do to improve on your recording setup, no matter how small.

I hope all this information has been helpful and encourage you to also pay attention to the smaller details and realize what a big difference it can make.

Feel free to leave me any comments or suggestions you may have. Remember to join my  Mailing List  to be informed whenever a new article is released, and share new developments and helpful hints & tips.

Catch you in the next article and happy recording!


Flattery Vs Honesty: The Right Desktop Speakers Or Studio Monitors For You

Studio monitor and speaker comparison

I know, the title is confusing. It will soon make sense though. Desktop speakers and studio monitors look the same but sound very different for a reason. They serve 2 very different purposes.

In this article we will first take a look at the similarities and differences  between the two types of speakers. We will then have a look at 2 examples I consider to be the best solution for your specific needs.


Design: It is basically impossible to tell tell the difference between a pair of desktop speakers and studio monitors. The box-like design looks identical and variations in design can be applied to both type of speakers.

Sound Creation: Both speakers use a woofer and tweeter to create sound at low and high frequencies respectively. The composition, placement and housing, as well as the distribution of power to these two main components, play a crucial role in the quality of sound they produce.

Power: Both desktop speakers and studio monitors can be either active (powered with a build-in amplifier) or passive (unpowered). Passive speakers require an external power source like an amplifier/stereo receiver in order to function at all. (Some low-powered inexpensive computer speakers use the power supplied by the USB cable to operate. The quality and sound is just completely unacceptable to even consider them for any serious use.)    


Sound Quality: Now we reached the most important feature that divides desktop speakers and studio monitors, which will also clarify the heading of this post.

Desktop/Hi-Fi speakers' main aim is to flatter your audio. In other words it makes it sound as good as possible by adding its own "color and warmth", and enough bass to fill a room. This way it hides flaws and possible weaknesses in the recorded audio and provides you with a pleasant overall listening experience.

Studio monitors' aim is the opposite. Its aim is to provide you with a brutally honest and unflattering reflection of your recorded sound. It provides a flat and neutral sound, with plenty of detail of all aspects of your recording. It does not always provide a pleasant listening experience. But once you're satisfied with the way your recording sounds on a good pair of studio monitors, you are almost certainly guaranteed it will sound great on any other type of speaker.

Room Preparation: Desktop speakers are designed to sound great in any room. By simply moving it around in the room, you should be able to find a suitable spot where they sound just right.

Studio monitors are are much more particular and finicky about the room they are placed in. They may sound horrible and produce a completely inaccurate sound in an unprepared room. However, placed in an acoustically prepared room with the right positioning and  proper reverberation reducing materials in place, they perform optimally giving you the a clear and accurate sound you require.

Distance: The final big difference between desktop speakers and studio monitors. You will find that desktop speakers sound great when listening from quite a few feet or more away, revealing more detail as the volume are increased.

Studio monitors on the other hand, sometimes called "nearfield" monitors, are build to provide a clear and accurate sound from a very close distance. The sound is also not meant to travel very far and fill a large room. As a result a sound engineer can sit right next to a pair of nearfield studio monitors and get a very accurate impression of the sound produced without turning up the volume.

(Form more information on the difference between desktop speakers and studio monitors, I address them in more detail in this article.)

Now that the differences are clarified and the title less of a mystery, you will most probably wonder which of the two you should choose.

For this very reason I propose 2 options. The first is a compromise between accurate sound quality and a pleasant listening experience in the form of the Audioengine A5+ desktop speakers. The second is a much more focused and detailed sound for the serious recording artist, in the form of the KRK Rokit 5 studio monitors.

Please not that both the Audioengine and KRK are active speakers. (Meaning they are powered by their own build-in amplifiers and do not require an external powers source.) Lets have a closer look at both.

Audioengine A5+

AudioEngine Speakers

If you are looking for a speaker that will provide you with great overall sound, yet preserve enough detail and balance to be used in the recording studio, the Audioengine A5+ is the answer. It may be on the pricey side for a desktop PC speaker but as you will soon see, you get more than your money's worth.


The A5+ has fairly simple but elegant and attractive design. To fit in with your setup, it come with a choice of black, white and maple wood color.

Made of MDF wood, these speakers have a very good build quality and sturdy feel to it. As a result, these speakers tend to be on the heavy side. (Respectively weighting 15.4 pounds for the left and 9.6 pounds for the right speaker.) Some critics points to a lack of portability due to the substantial weight.

Most people who are purchasing these speakers though, almost surely have no intention of moving them around. On the contrary, the added weight and sturdiness help reinforce the impression of perceived build quality, as well as reducing susceptibility to vibrations and other outside interference. 

With dimensions of approximately 11 (height) x 7 (width) x 9 (depth) inches, these medium sized speakers are small enough to be placed on a desk, but also big enough to not look out of place when put on separate stands. 


The dimensions of the cabinets allow the housing of kevlar made 5 inch woofers, with 0.75 inch silk dome tweeters situated above them.

The build-in amplifier enables the speakers to produce 50 watts per channel, with peak power rated at 150 watts for the set. This is more than enough to fill a studio or large room (This power output is mostly stated for academic purposes, as the quality of sound plays a much more important role than volume.)  

The speaker receives its input signals through ⅛" stereo mini-jack and RCA ports. (The presence of RCA ports leave little doubt that these speakers are build to be used for more than just casual listening, as RCA input ports are normally associated with professional studio monitors.)

Output ports include RCA ports, passive speakers output and a USB port.

One thing it lacks though,is more extensive controls for adjusting the sound, such as an equalizer and balance control. Instead, it is limited to single volume control at the front and power switch at the rear. 

I don't see this as a drawback however, as its important to leave the sound in its original form to preserve the recorded tone and balance. You can produce optimal sound quality by rather moving the speakers around in the room/studio to obtain the best position for the best performance.


This section is by far the most important feature of any speaker, and it is here that the Audioengine A5+ really shines. 

The speakers are able to produce a natural and crisp sound that can be attributed to both the performance of its high quality tweeters and woofers, as well as the integrated amplifier.

The silk dome tweeters are able to produce very crisp and bright trebles, providing a lot of detail and variation on the high end.

The 5 inch woofers do not fall into the trap of many other computer/desktop speakers by producing a generic base heavy sound. Instead, the base is responsive and also provide a lot of variation and just the right amount of saturation.

Mid-tones may come across as a bit generic and neutral, but this do not distract at all from the overall sound quality.

As a result the speakers provide a natural and pleasant sound, while still able to preserve almost every recorded detail by steering away from adding too much base and adding unnatural color to "spice" up the sound experience.


It is not hard to see why Audioengine A5+ speakers are so highly rated. Although not the cheapest speakers available in category, it provides certainly provides the best value for money.

The mid-sized speakers produce audio quality that is comparable to components a lot more expensive. The natural and pleasant, yet detailed sound it produces, makes it very versatile as well. It can be enjoyed as a desktop speaker, but will be just as suitable to be used in a home recording studio to provide accurate feedback during the production process.

All in all a great quality speaker that does everything that is asked from it very well and exceeds most expectations. It comes highly recommended.

Get more information and pricing on the Audioengine A5+.

KRK Rokit 5 G3

KRK Speakers

Anyone who has had some experience in professional recording studios or has seen videos and pictures of recording studios, will be very familiar with KRK studio monitors. With its distinctive yellow  woofers, KRK studio monitors are well known for providing professional yet affordable components to the recording industry.

The Rokit 5 series of monitors are even more budget friendly without compromising on quality. 


The cabinets are made of good quality MDF, while the baffle is made of high quality composite materials. By moving away from the more traditional boxy design, the monitors have an aesthetically pleasing look. (Some purists are critical of the design, but it probably comes down to a matter of personal taste.)

The size are considered to be above average for a studio monitor in this category. Still, with dimensions of 11.10 (height) x 9.06 (depth) x 7.28 (width) inches, they are compact enough to be placed on a desktop.

With a substantial weight, coming in at 14.1 pounds per unit, the monitors stand firmly on any surface, and the added stability helps to making it less prone to vibrations and surface movements. 


The speaker houses a  5 inch glass-Aramid composite woofer and 1 inch soft dome tweeter. These quality components housed in a sturdy housing creates the perfect environment for delivering optimal performance.

Signals can be received via RCA,  ¼ inch TRS or XLR input ports, enabling basically any professional audio device to be connected to it.

You will also find acoustic controls on the back of the unit. They include controls for HF trim, LF trim and volume control. 

The build-in amplifier in each speaker are able to deliver 50 watts per channel, which is more than adequate for any home studio.


The sound quality is exactly what you would demand and expect and from a good pair of studio monitors. It produces a flat, crisp and detailed sound throughout the frequency range. Trebles are tight and bass have enough range at the lower end. 

Don't expect a warm sound sound with a booming bass that fills the room, masking any flaws in audio and provide a pleasant listening experience all round. What you get a is a very honest and realistic reflection of your recorded sound, exposing any recording errors or flaws that desktop or hi-fi speakers sill hide.

And that is exactly what you want from a good pair of studio monitors.   


If you are a serious home recording studio user that requires an accurate and honest reflection of your recorded audio, you cannot go wrong with the KRK  Rokit 5.

Not only does it provide a very accurate and crisp sound quality, it is also surprisingly affordable for a serious studio monitor.

A top and highly recommended piece of hardware for the serious home recording studio.

Get more information and pricing on the KRK Rokit 5 G3.


We have never been so spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing audio hardware than we are today. Desktop speakers and studio monitors are no exception.

As with many other audio components, these two speakers are by no means the only quality options available. But depending on your needs, you will definitely not be disappointed by any of these 2 options.

Feel free to leave me any comments or suggestions you may have. Remember to join my  Mailing List  to be informed whenever a new article is released, and share new developments and helpful hints & tips.

Catch you in the next article and happy recording!


Finding The Right Audio Interface For Your Needs – Quality On A Budget

Audio Interface Under 200 heading

Next to your microphone,  the audio interface is probably the second most important part of a recording studio. It provides the critical link between your voice/instruments and your recording device. We take a look at 6 of the best audio interfaces you can find below $200.

Professionals studios spend thousands of dollars on preamps, mixers and audio interfaces. Even at the home professional recording level, it's not surprising at all to find audio interfaces with price tags well over a $1000.

The good news for the home user is, that with advances in technology over the past ten years, combined with more models to choose from in an increasingly competitive market, quality audio interfaces have become a lot more affordable.

Today, you are able to get your hands on a very capable high quality audio interface below $200. And this is exactly what we are doing in this article. We are looking in more detail at 6 of the best interfaces to be found for $200 or less. 

Steinberg UR242

Steinberg Audio Interface

Steinberg originally made a name for itself with its audio software, but since being bought over by Yamaha in 2004, the company started to become a strong player in the audio hardware market as well. The UR242 is a great example of the solid products that Steinberg is able to build, especially for users on a smaller budget. The benefits from a parent company like Yamaha are also very obvious.

This audio interface has an attractive, yet pretty ordinary looking design. It may not look as stylish and have all the bells & whistles of flashing multi-colored LED lights and backlit displays compared to some of its counterparts, but don't let this fool you. This is one serious piece of audio equipment. The unit comes in an all-metal casing and has a solid and sturdy feel to it.

A standout feature is the sound quality thanks to its preamps. It comes equipped with Yamaha's highly acclaimed  D-Pre preamps which are normally found in its higher end products.

Combined with quality components from the rest of the unit, the UR242 unsurprisingly produces high quality sound, especially for a unit in this price bracket.

Steinburg's history in audio software also ensures compatibility with basically all DAW software. It even comes standard with its own Cubase AI software.

The UR242 really makes a strong case for itself with a solid build and great sound quality, placing it among the best audio interfaces available in this line-up.


  • 24-bit resolution recording at sampling rates of up to 192 kHz
  • Analogue Inputs: 2 x XLR / 1/4" TRS  Mic/Line Combo, 2 x 1/4" TRS Line
  • Analogue Outputs: 2 x 1/4" TRS Line, 1/4" Headphone
  • Midi I/O: Yes
  • Phantom Power: Yes
  • Interface Output: USB2

Get more information and pricing on the Steinberg UR242 here.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd Gen

Focusrite Audio Interface

Even if you are just vaguely familiar with audio recording equipment, the Focusrite's range of of hardware, especially it's range of audio interfaces should be very familiar to you. Its appropriately named Scarlet 2i2 is literally red hot at the moment and probably the best selling audio interface in this price range. This model looks and acts the part.

From the moment you unpack this bright red interface, you can immediately feel the quality of the 2i2. It comes in an all-metal casing and carry some substantial weight, adding to the perceived quality. The buttons and knobs all have a sturdy feel to them and cables fit tight and neatly into the ports.

Aesthetically the Scarlett 2i2 is very pleasing on the eye. The bright red and brushed aluminium surface in a stylish casing with clever use of backlit knobs all attributes to a very attractive package. Luckily it has the substance to back its looks up.

The sound quality is above average for home use, and are even good enough for some professional use. With very good overall performance over all frequency ranges, the 2i2 even addressed some issues that plagued the first generation Scarlett 2i2. (The first model had some issues picking up hot guitar pickups.)

The reason for the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2's popularity is clear. If you are looking for a aesthetically pleasing audio interface with very good all-round sound quality, this is the one for you.


  • 24-bit resolution recording at sampling rates of up to 192 kHz
  • Analogue Inputs: 2 x XLR / 1/4" TRS  Mic/Line Combo
  • Analogue Outputs: 2 x 1/4" TRS Line, 1/4" Headphone
  • Midi I/O: No
  • Phantom Power: Yes
  • Interface Output: USB2

Get more information and pricing on the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd Gen here.

Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6

Native-Instruments Audio Interface

The Komplete Audio 6 has a slightly different approach. From the moment you lay eyes on this audio interface, you look at something familiar, yet different. The design is very similar to other interfaces in this category as far as its input and output ports go. What makes it different though, is that some of its main controls and indicators are situated on top of the device, contributing to a very aesthetically pleasing design.

The Komplete Audio 6 is one of the best looking interfaces around partly due to this feature with the added benefit that the user can see what exactly is happening in the device by just glancing at its top, since most of its indicators are situated on the top of the interface.

The one drawback however, is that you cannot slide it into a rack with no access to the top for this very reason, and you always need to place it on top of a desk or other space that makes it accessible from the top.

Despite these extra features placed on top of the device, the Komplete Audio 6 still has a good build quality and feels sturdy.

Sound quality is very good all round with no specific areas of weakness in any of the frequency ranges.

Its biggest draw card though, is the bundled software that comes standard with the audio interface. It comes standard with Cubase DAW software, Traktor LE (DJ/mixing) software and a host of plugins.

Its price may be on the high end of this category, but you get an aesthetically pleasing device with a solid build and good overall sound quality. It is rounded off by a wealth of software that will be more than enough to get you started.


  • 24-bit resolution recording at sampling rates of up to 96 kHz
  • Analogue Inputs: 2 x XLR / 1/4" TRS  Mic/Line Combo, 2 x 1/4" TRS Line
  • Analogue Outputs: 2 x 1/4" TRS Line, 1/4" Headphone
  • Midi I/O: Yes
  • Phantom Power: Yes
  • Interface Output: USB2

Get more information and pricing on the Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 here.

Tascam US-2x2

Tascam Audio Interface

This Tascam audio interface screams toughness and durability. The build quality alone makes a bold statement by simply looking at it. With a sturdy feeling black aluminium body, the device is flanked on both sides by industrial looking die cast pieces of metal. It almost looks like an indestructible piece of equipment.  

As far as functionality goes, the US-2x2 provides all the features that other audio interfaces in this category provides, not lacking any important functions worth noting.

The same goes for sound quality. It provides a high quality and consistent sound, able to handle vocal and instruments equally well.

The Tascam US-2x2 is a true workhorse in every sense of the word. It is tough and can handle everything you throw at it day in and day out. And it does all of this without lacking in sound quality and features in any way. 


  • 24-bit resolution recording at sampling rates of up to 96 kHz
  • Analogue Inputs: 2 x XLR / 1/4" TRS  Mic/Line Combo
  • Analogue Outputs: 2 x 1/4" TRS Line, 1/4" Headphone
  • Midi I/O: Yes
  • Phantom Power: Yes
  • Interface Output: USB2

Get more information and pricing on the Tascam US-2x2 here.

M-Audio M-Track 2X2M

M-Audio Audio Interface

The M-Track 2x2M takes a completely different route when it comes to design. It takes a fairly similar approach to the Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 as far as using the top of the device for adding features goes. However, it goes a step further by putting all the controls on top of the interface

This design gives the M-Track 2x2M a distinct retro look, which will appeal to many traditional audiophiles. The side panels are mostly reserved for the output and input ports. The same criticism leveled against the Komplete Audio 6, applies to this interface as well.

Sound quality is exceptionally good, with some users claiming the Crystal preamps used in the M-Track 2x2M are the best in class.  The sound is exceptionally crisp and clear, putting some validity behind these claims.

As with the Komplete Audio 6, this interface also comes with a small arsenal of software, including Cubase LE DAW software and a host of plugins.

If you want a unique looking audio interface with a touch of retro design, and sound quality that might arguably be the best in this line-up, you can't go wrong with the M-Audio M-Track 2X2M.


  • 24-bit resolution recording at sampling rates of up to a superb 192 kHz
  • Analogue Inputs: 2 x XLR / 1/4" TRS  Mic/Line Combo
  • Analogue Outputs: 2 x 1/4" TRS Line, 1/4", 2 x 1/4" TRS Line, 1/4" Headphone
  • Midi I/O: Yes
  • Phantom Power: Yes
  • Interface Output: USB2

Get more information and pricing on the M-Audio M-Track 2X2M here.

Presonus AudioBox 22VSL

Presonus Audio Inrterface

On the surface, the AudioBox 22VSL looks pretty ordinary, some might say even dull. (I know looks has very little to do with the audio quality of an audio interface, which should be the main focus of any potential buyer, but the first impression of a device's appearance always leads to some type of conclusion as to the the supposed quality it will deliver, which is often a false indicator, but yet we are all guilty of this.)

It also has all the standard functions that most of the other audio interfaces in this class have, all build into an "ordinary" yet solid and sturdy steel casing. It is also very light, making it a good choice to take on the road.

Sound quality is also on par with most other devices in this category. So far it does everything well and not really that much to complain about, but nothing that really stands out. But the Audiobox 22VSL has one very important trick up its sleeve that may be a game changer for some users.

Combined with its own Studio Artist One software, the Audiobox provides almost zero latency when playing back sound that is being recorded. (As almost any professional recording artist will tell you, having a delay between performing and hearing your performance can be very disruptive, as most artists rely on instant feedback to adjust their performance and recording in real time.)

The latency problem has been an issue with most audio interfaces, even on units more than double the price. Yes, we are talking about milliseconds, but even the slightest delay can cause a disruption. Just a word of caution. The near zero latency performance is achieved when the Audiobox 22VSL is used in conjunction with the Studio Artist One software. 

If you need a sturdy device you can take with you on the road, provides good sounds quality and have the added benefit of instant feedback due to its near zero latency, the Presonus AudioBox 22VSL will be the ideal partner for you.


  • 24-bit resolution recording at sampling rates of up to 96 kHz
  • Analogue Inputs: 2 x XLR / 1/4" TRS  Mic/Line Combo
  • Analogue Outputs: 2 x 1/4" TRS Line, 1/4", 1/4" Headphone
  • Midi I/O: Yes
  • Phantom Power: Yes
  • Interface Output: USB2

Get more information and pricing on the Presonus AudioBox 22VSL here.


One thing that became clear while evaluating and experiencing each of these 6 audio interfaces, is that you really get some very high quality audio devices for less than $200. These 6 devices were chosen from a much bigger pool of devices, most of which are great audio interfaces which easily could have made the list as well.

Therefore, it is needless to say that it really is hard to fault any of these 6 units. They are all solidly build interfaces producing high quality and above average sound, especially in this price range.

Depending on your needs, you should be able to find at least one of these 6 interfaces to be the perfect companion for your studio setup. I highlighted each device's unique advantages and potential drawbacks, hopefully helping you to make the best decision on which audio interface is most suited for you.

Feel free to leave me any comments or suggestions you may have. Remember to join my  Mailing List  to be informed whenever a new article is released, and share new developments and helpful hints & tips.

Catch you in the next article and happy recording!



9 Best Condenser Microphones – Helping You Choose The Right Microphone For Your Budget

Best Microphone Heading

After weighing up the pros and cons between dynamic and condenser microphones, you finally decided on purchasing a condenser microphone. (If you are a bit in the dark, you can read all about dynamic and condenser microphones in this article.) Choosing the best condenser microphone from hundreds of available options can be a daunting task though.

As an amateur or professional, starting you own home recording studio can also be a very expensive exercise, depending on your budget. For this very reason this articles is broken up into 3 sections, each to suit your wallet. We look at microphones under $50, $100 and $200 respectively. In each of these section we look at the 3 best condenser microphones we could found for you.

Condenser Microphones under $50

Don't make the mistake many home users make when assembling your "professional" home recording system. Most people don't bother to even look at microphones below $50. Surely its impossible to find anything remotely decent at such a low price? Admittedly they are far and few between, but you do find a quite few if you really look. Especially if you are on a tight budget, they can be lifesaver.

Marantz MPM-1000

Marantz MPM1000

Marantz MPM-1000

Arguably the best microphone in this price range, that really punch way above its weight class. This light and fairly compact microphone may lack some of the sturdiness and weight of higher priced units, but has a good quality feel to it.

It also comes standard with a shock mount, small tripod stand and an XLR cable, so you are all set to to go. It even includes a windscreen to protect the microphone and cut down on unwanted hissing sounds.

This is a large diaphragm microphone that produces great sound for vocal & instrument recording. It's cardioid pattern allows the microphone to focus on the intended source for the best quality while eliminating unwanted background noise at the same time.

Due to its compact size, it does not provide the full, rich sound that many of its much more expensive counterparts offer. This might be exactly what you need though. It provides a slightly toned down, but high quality and realistic representation of the vocal or instrumental sound it records.

Some rumors have been doing the rounds that the Marantz starts having some durability issues after an extended period of use. I have not found one single specific case to substantiate these claims though, so I will really take this criticism with a grain of salt.     

All in all a great microphone that does everything well and very little wrong. Although considered a beginner microphone, don't be surprised if you will be happily using this little gem for years to come.

The Good

  • Exceptional value for money
  • Great all-round sound quality and performance
  • Comes standard with all required accessories

The Bad

  • Not much (possibly some small durability issues, but unfounded claims so far)

Get more information and pricing on the Marantz MPM-1000 here.

Neewer NW-700

Neewer NW 700

Neewer NW-700

This is truly a budget microphone in every sense of the word. It is probably the cheapest worthwhile condenser microphone on the market. Despite the price, it's still a full cardioid  condenser microphone. This microphones also come with new on-board electronic circuitry, unusual for a budget microphone.

 It really turns out to be a real good all-round performer, capturing all the details from your vocals and instruments. The perceived build quality seems to be pretty good as well, although its obviously impossible to tell how durable it will be in the long term.

Most versions of this microphone also comes bundled with accessories like a shock mount, windshield and microphone adapter cable for use with a computer.

The Good

  • Best value for money
  • Good all-round performance

The Bad

  • Really hard to fault. (Maybe not providing the full rich detailed sound of more expensive microphones, but that's not what its meant for!)

 Get more information and pricing on the Neewer NW-700 here.

Nady CM-88

Naddy CM-88

Nady CM-88

This unidirectional microphone is ideal for beginners on a budget. It has a slim aluminium design and is extremely compact, making it ideal to be used for travelling. It uses a electret condenser instead of a better quality real large diaphragm condenser, but for the price performs exceptionally well. It's tight cardioid pattern means it's ideal for recording instruments, especially drum sets.  

It is not the ideal microphone for recording vocals though. Due to its design and lacking a large diaphragm limits its frequency range and especially lacks picking up some low frequencies. Despite that, it can still be used for general vocal work where it performs admirably well for its size and price. Just don't expect professional studio quality.

The Good

  • Very affordable
  • Slim compact design
  • Good performance for the price

The Bad

  • No suitable for professional vocal work.
  • Limited frequency range, especially low-end frequencies

Get more information and pricing on the Nady CM-88 here.

Condenser Microphones under $100

Within this price range you start finding microphones that can really be considered a solid starter microphone for any home studio. You also get a much bigger variety of microphones to choose from. Depending on your long-term goals, you are able to find a microphone at this level that will keep you happy for years. 

Audio‑Technica AT2020

Audio-Technica AT2020

Audio‑Technica AT2020

As a well respected name in the recording industry, the Audio‑Technica AT2020 does not disappoint. It is solidly build with an all-metal body and carry a substantial weight, adding to the solid feel.

Even though it is seen by many as an entry level microphone by Audio-Technica, it really delivers a solid performance all-round. It contains a back-electret capsule which is smaller than typical large diaphragm microphones.

The sound it produces though, is on par and even surpasses the quality of many large diaphragm condenser microphones. The quality of sound it is not just of a high quality, but the microphone is able to produce a rich and well balanced sound over a wide range of sources, from vocals to a variety of instruments.

This really is a no-frills microphones that doesn't have many of the extra features its bigger brothers have, but with a solid build and great sound sound quality over a broad spectrum of sources, I would honestly rate this the best microphone under $100.

The Good

  • Great sound over a broad spectrum
  • Solid build quality and durability  
  • Backed up by a reputable name for extra security

The Bad

  • Producing not quite as strong a output signal strength as some its bigger siblings.

Get more information and pricing on the Audio‑Technica AT2020 here.

Behringer B-1

Behringer B-1

Behringer B-1

Behringer has a reputation of producing high quality components at very affordable prices. The B-1 is no exception. This large diaphragm condenser microphone is one of the most popular microphones in this price range.

It comes in an all metal body with a substantial weight to it. It also comes with its own shock mount, windscreen and carry case. 

Extra functions include a high-pass filter, flat mode and -10dB pad for reducing the input of large sound sources. 

So far it basically matches the Audio-Technica AT 2020, adding a few extra features. When it comes to sound quality, it performs very well too to for voice and instrumental recording.

One small criticism that can be leveled against this microphone, is that it places a lot of emphasis on high frequencies, which leaves the mid and low frequencies a bit flat. This is a small criticism though, but the reason I would rate the Audio-Technica a bit higher.

The Good

  • Good overall sound quality
  • Solid build quality and durability  
  • Good value for money

The Bad

  • Too much emphasis on high frequencies, causing lower frequencies to sound a little flat (I may be a bit too critical over a generally great sounding microphone.) 

Get more information and pricing on the Behringer B-1 here.

MXL 990

MXL 990

MXL 990

Another large diaphragm condenser microphone from MXL. This is another good all-rounder. With an all-metal construction, this microphone feels solid. It has a very short body however, making it feel a bit stubby.

Standard accessories includes a shock mount and carry case. (In some offers.)

Sound quality is good throughout all ranges and definitely a step up from microphones below $50. There is nothing in the sound quality that I would consider as a standout though.

In summary, a good sounding general purpose microphone, providing good value for the price.

The Good

  • Good sound quality in general
  • Solid build quality

The Bad

  • No standout features
  • Short body can make handling a bit awkward

Get more information and pricing on the MXL 990 here.

Condenser Microphones under $200

We are now moving into more serious territory. You are able to get a very good microphone at this level, which an untrained ear (and some professionals) will be unable to distinguish from expensive models more than double the price. Many home professionals will find a microphone at this price point that will provide all the quality and versatility that they will ever need.

Shure SM86

Shure SM86

Shure SM86

The name "Shure" is synonymous with high quality microphones and needs no introduction. The SM86 is another great product from the well-known company.

Solid and sturdily build, this microphone looks very much like a dynamic microphone and the original legendary Shure stage mic, although it is a true condenser microphone.

It is very durable and unique in the way it handles wind and other external noises, by incorporating a windshield within the microphone. The reason for the design and unique features, is that this microphone is meant to be used on stage, and not limited to studio use like most other condenser microphones.

Needless to say the sound quality is great throughout all frequencies, and records vocal and instrumental sound equally well. This is probably one the best and most versatile microphones under $100.

The Good

  • Solid build quality and durability
  • Great all-around sound
  • Very versatile
  • Backed up by a reputable name for extra security

The Bad

  • Not anything worth mentioning.

Get more information and pricing on the Shure SM86 here.

Audio-Technica AT2035

Audio-Technica AT2035

Audio-Technica AT2035

Bigger brother to the AT2020, this large diaphragm condenser microphone from the established company, takes sound quality a step up.

Also very solid and durable, made from an all-metal casing, this microphone provide some features not available on the AT2020. It's got a low cut switch for removing very low frequencies, as well as a -10dB pad for reducing the input of large sound sources. 

Sound quality is exceptionally good all around, and compared to the AT2020, produces a slightly warmer sound, as well as a stronger output signal.

This is my first choice for the best condenser microphone under $200.

(Since the main focus is on studio use, The Shure SM86 was not considered, where for live and outdoor use, the Shure will be the best choice for versatility and all-round quality.)

The Good

  • Solid and durable build quality
  • Great all-round sound
  • Strong output signal

The Bad

  • Not much (Maybe not as versatile compared to the Shure SM86 for live performances.)

Get more information and pricing on the Audio-Technica AT2035 here.

AKG P420

AKG P420

AKG P420

The AKG P420 is a large multi-polar pattern diaphragm condenser microphone. This enables the microphone to record in 3 different directions: Cardioid, omnidirectional  and figure-8. This sets the AKG apart from other condenser microphones in this post and provides more versatility in the studio.

Solidly build and durable, this microphone is a real workhorse that can be used extensively over long periods of time.

The sound quality is also hard to fault, providing good recording quality over a broad range of frequencies, and performs equally well on vocals and instruments.

The AKG P420 can probably considered the most versatile condenser microphones under $200.

The Good

  • Solid build quality and durability
  • Very versatile
  • Good overall sound quality

The Bad

  • May be prone to picking up some background noise in certain modes.

Get more information and pricing on the AKG P420 here.


As you can see, there really is microphone out there for you, not matter what your budget. Depending on your need, you may start with a microphone with a small budget and take the next step as soon as your requirements outgrow your microphone. You may be so happy and satisfied with the microphone you chose, that you will be using it for years to come without ever running into any reason to replace it.

Extensive research and testing was done to help choose the best microphone for each budget. This does by no means imply that the microphones listed here are the best or most suited for you. They are all good solid choices though, and I am pretty confident that you will be more than satisfied with whichever one you choose to use.

Feel free to leave me any comments or suggestions you may have. Remember to join my  Mailing List  to be informed whenever a new article is released, and share new developments and helpful hints & tips.

Catch you in the next article and happy recording!