Rob Level's Home Studio Budget Guide


A better microphone for sound quality but you don’t get studio monitors. Instead you get upgraded open back headphones to mix in which is the combo I recommend

You get less sound recording quality but you get to feel cooler by having a pair of decent studio monitors.

I recommend going with number 1. For many reasons

Your recording quality matters more than looking cool with studio monitors

You’re going to get better mixes of your music in really the super good professional open back headphones I recommend to you here 

When you buy studio monitor speakers you also need cables, monitor stands, isolation pads and to know how to set up your room for mixing with them

If you just go with the open back headphones you will get better mixes and not need to set up your room for mixing. 

No one will ever hear you mixing your music because you do it all in your headphones which I know a lot of you shy artists out there will absolutely love. 


What I am going to recommend in the $2,500 budget is focusing spending almost all of the money solely on achieving a cleaner recording signal so you are ahead of the other rappers with your quality. 

Instead of spending money buying studio monitors or better studio monitors than you might already have, I am recommending you just buy open back headphones so you don’t have to worry about, Setting up your room for mixing, Learning how to set up, position and use studio monitors, Save time and energy having to set up everything up.

No one will ever hear you mixing your music because you do it all in your headphones which I know a lot of you shy artists out there will absolutely love. 


At this price point for a home studio the huge upgrade is going to be the microphone. The preamp from a $2,500 home studio budget isn’t going to be a huge jump in quality unless you are getting a preamp that is $1,500 or more. It’s smarter to put that $1,500 into the microphone instead of the preamp. 


Optional To Have My Same Setup 

Api 512c $800 

Inward Connections Brute $750

Lunchbox $500



There are two primary microphones that are used at this price level for a home studio that is really going to take you to the next level.

I’m sure you have heard of both of them by now if you have been researching microphones and home studios. 

I want to mention that these microphones can be bought used as well and you can save up to $1,000 off of what they would cost new. 


Just make sure the microphone has been taken care of. Most people who own these kinds of microphones take great care of them. Buying these used doesn’t scare me as much as buying a microphone under $500 which is the reason you haven’t seen me recommend buying used microphones until we got to this price point. 

Neumann U 87 Ai Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone $3,200


This is kind of the industry standard microphone that has been used over the last 50 years to record a lot of hits. You will find that every major studio in the world has one of these in it’s microphone collection. 

It rarely sounds bad recording anything on them. They do very well for the range of the human voice which means it’ll take EQ and compression well when you are in the mixing stages. The thing is, since everyone has this microphone and has been using this microphone, I feel it is a bit too common. 

Manley Reference Mic $3,000


While the Neumann U87 is a staple for recording all kinds of things, The Manley Reference Microphone is especially great at recording vocals. As a rap artist, the only thing I need to record is rap vocals and singing. I don’t have to worry about recording drums or other instruments.

When it comes to vocal recording, I wanted a microphone that was extremely well known for vocal recording and this is the goto for that. Any rap studio I have been in has one of these in their collection. I absolutely love this microphone.



These work as the audio interface as well as the preamp for the microphone 

Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII Solo $600 

Universal Audio Apollo Twin USB Solo $600 

If you are using a Windows PC then make sure you get the Apollo Twin USB unless your computer has a Thunderbolt card installed. I personally have the Apollo Twin USB just for my interface. 

You can find these used at Guitar Center for around $400 


Mixing Tools – Studio Monitors

I believe at this level you should finally invest into some solid studio monitors for mixing your music. Skip the open back headphones that I usually recommend in the lower budget levels and let’s get you some big dog studio monitor speakers. 

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