Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
Price £99 Contact www.focusrite.com
In order to connect your guitar to a computer or mobile device for recording, you’re going to need an audio interface, and Focusrite makes some of the best affordable options on the market. The Scarlett 2i2 has two dual-purpose XLR/jack inputs with high-quality mic preamps, so you can record two guitars or mics simultaneously. It’s compatible with Windows and Mac, comes with Ableton Live and is housed in an attractive red anodised aluminium chassis.
AT2020USBi Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone
Price £169 Contact www.audio-technica.com
If you’re looking for a more simple method of recording at home or while out on location, Audio-Technica’s AT2020USBi is an excellent plug-and-play solution. It connects directly to your laptop, tablet or phone, negating the need for an interface, and is based on the design of the company’s celebrated AT2020 cardioid condenser mic with similarly high-quality sound and impressive clarity. It features a headphone output for monitoring, fader to balance the mic signal with the playback level, tripod desk stand and three-metre USB cable.
KRK KNS 8400 Studio Headphones
Price £99 Contact www.krksys.com
When it comes to recording, mixing and mastering your compositions, a decent set of headphones or monitor speakers will prove absolutely essential – and KRK is a company that makes both. The KNS 8400s offer a wide frequency response and accurate sound with low distortion and an extended LF response. They’re also light in weight with memory foam ear and head cushions to ensure they won’t become uncomfortable during long mixing sessions.
The 8400s will enable you to pick out details you didn’t realise were present in your mixes, and come at a price that makes them one of the most attractive options on the market for entry-level studio headphones.
Cubase Elements 8
Price £49 Contact www.steinberg.net
Digital Audio Workstations are at the very core of a home recording set-up. Apart from allowing you to record and edit multiple tracks on your computer, they can also be used for mixing and mastering your work.
Cubase, along with the likes of Logic and Pro Tools, has long been one of the leading DAWs, and the Elements version delivers a range of the full programme’s features at a price that won’t break your home studio budget. It will support up to 48 simultaneous audio or 64 MIDI tracks, includes a series of virtual instruments for adding drum, synth or orchestral parts to your projects, and even has a guitar amp and speaker sim.
iRig Pro Duo
Price £149 Contact www.ikmultimedia.com
IK Multimedia makes a range of highly portable interfaces that are simple to use and capable of professional-sounding results for people who want to record on the move, using a laptop, mobile phone or tablet. The iRig Pro Duo is one of the best and works with Mac, PC and mobile platforms.
It fits in the palm of your hand and runs from either two AA batteries or via USB from whatever device it’s connected to. It has two 1/4-inch mic/line inputs, a pair of outputs and a headphone socket as well as switches for 48-volt phantom power for connecting condenser mics.
IK Multimedia also makes the AmpliTube modelling software, which when paired with the iRig enables you to plug in and record through a studio-quality set-up of virtual amps and effects wherever you are.
Positive Grid BIAS FX
Price $69 Contact www.positivegrid.com
Positive Grid’s BIAS FX is a cross-platform amp and effects simulator that enables you to emulate the sounds of a whole world of amps, cabs, stompboxes and rack effects on your computer or mobile device. The Desktop version provides 12 amps and 30 effects, while Professional ups that quota to 32 amps and 52 effects, plus 10 studio rack processors.
The ToneCloud feature allows you to share your virtual pedalboard creations online and download boards designed by other users and professional players. BIAS FX can operate as a plug-in to your DAW or standalone and the company also produces the BIAS Amp program, which offers in-depth amp editing and building options, allowing you to swap tubes, preamps, transformers, tone stacks, cabs and mics to get your ideal sound.