“Buy cheap, buy twice?” – smart studio gear purchases for musicians

There’s an old saying “Buy cheap, by twice” and this is especially true for musicians wanting to create and perform music.

Recording music has never been so affordable and its entirely possible to get some really excellent equiptment even when on a strict budget. There are in my view essential items needed for any artist wanting to create and promote music. These include a good recording setup and musical gear that will create a great live sound.

Recording gear

Those people who know me, appreciate my enthusiasm for Reaper as a DAW. Reaper is both super stable and extremely affordable for any artist. In my view its far more flexible than Logic or other software often favoured by artists on a budget. Crucially for a fixed fee, there are numerous updates and the online support is excellent. I found I could set it up in five minutes and its been a joy to use.

Reaper DAW

UAD hardware and plugins

Many artists on a budget will look at saving money with audio interfaces, but in my view the UAD Apollo interfaces blow the competition away and are well worth the investment. I started with a basic Apollo and have now invested in a twin version with a lot more processing power. The plugins are first class and at certain times of the year, there are massive discounts on these. My two favorite plugins are Dreamverb and the LA 3 compressor. My homestudio is set up for a vocal and a line in option and that serves all my needs.

Studio mics

Great mics are essential for studio recording and especially for vocals. I massively favour Austrian Audio mics and especially the OC18 and the OC818. I’m so impressed with these, that I don’t use anything else in my studio. I’ve used all manner of mics over the years at different price points and these are truly exceptional. The OCI8 can be bought for under 700 sterling and its well worth saving up for. Yes, you can buy cheaper mics, but the sound source especially for vocals is really important. The OC818 costs more but its in my view the best of all studio mics regadless of price for vocals.


I’ve many different types of headphones with all manner of price points. To my absolute amazement the ones I love the most for working in the studio are also some of the most inexpensive. These are the own brand studio spares M1000 headphones. These were recommended to me by my producer, otherwise I would have dismissed them for being too cheap! I’ve also used a number of AKG headphones at twice the price, but these are my go to units.


All of the above recommendations are in my view both excellent and quite affordable. Its more important than ever to ensure that all music releases are recorded to the very best sonic standards and these items will really help with making that possible. That said, as my producer always says “Its all about the songs” You can have the best gear in the world but are the songs really well constructed and performed?