It no longer costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce an excellent sounding mix and master. Thanks to breakthroughs in recording technology, we wanted to show that you can build a professional sounding studio for $5,000.
In our previous post, we made recommendations for an interface, hard drive and DAW. Here, we’ll recommend monitors, mics, room treatments and a MIDI controller.
JBL Pro SLR308 Monitors - $475 / pair
You’re going to need a pair of reference monitors to do your mixing and mastering. The JBL Pro Active SLR308s are a great option. They feature new "waveguide" technology for optimal stereo imaging and can be purchased as a pair for under $500.
AKG C214 Matched Pair Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphones - $750 / stereo pair
While it’s best to have a variety of mics to choose from when recording, starting out with a matched pair of large diaphragm condenser mics can suffice for a wide range of recording necessities. You can record most any instrument, including drums in stereo when needed.
The AKG C214 is an excellent all around microphone that’s been long trusted by producers. Whether you’re recording vocals or acoustic guitar, it will give you a clear, rich print of your signal.
M-Audio Axiom 49 - $300
With the countless high-quality virtual instruments available today, having a proper MIDI controller is essential. Many virtual instruments can be purchased for much less than their real counterpart, while still providing a studio quality tone.
The M-Audio Axiom 49 is a solid choice for MIDI controllers. The 49 keys, along with faders, knobs and pads, coupled with a sturdy construction, makes it everything you’ll need to start programming and mixing MIDI tracks.
Prime Acoustics London 8 - $200
Almost certainly, you’ll want to do some sort of acoustic treatment in your studio. Every recording and mixing space has its own sonic signature that can interfere with your ability to hear and mix the way your music truly sounds. The answer is to create as frequency-neutral of a space as possible.
The London 8 kit from Primacoustics is a good starting point for treating your room. It gives you four large sound absorption panels and eight small ones. The material is a much higher quality than foam, too, which is prone to deaden upper frequencies and harmonics while not affecting bass.
With top monitors, mics, room treatments to go along with your interface and DAW, you’ll have everything you need to create great sounding mixes, all for $4,835. You can even use your leftover cash to pick up a few high-quality virtual instruments.
Make Pro Songs
Welcome to Sage Audio — where we’ve been providing top-tier studio mastering services and audio education for over two decades now. We understand the challenges of achieving that elusive "professional" sound and are committed to helping you attain it in your own mixes and masters.
That’s why we created the Sage Audio Membership™.
Just for signing up, you receive 10 free mastered songs per month with your own dedicated mastering engineer, unlimited mixing feedback, and access to Sage Audio University™ mixing and mastering courses - which include start-to-finish walkthrough sessions for various genres and 35 multitrack sessions for hands-on practice.
This platform is supported by our thriving community and tight-knit network of audio engineers. Every day, we see and hear great wins in the membership from both new and seasoned engineers, noticing a huge improvement in their mixes and masters after joining.
There are 6 unique value-points inside the Sage Audio membership, so let’s go over each one so you can decide if it’s the right fit for you.
1. 10 Free Mastered Songs Per Month
- Get 10 free mastered songs per month with your own dedicated professional mastering engineer so you can get all your mixes sounding like professional songs.
- All 10 free mastered songs per month will accumulate in your account and will not expire as for as long as you remain a member.
- You’ll get your own dedicated Sage Audio mastering engineer to discuss all your project needs 1:1 so they can create custom masters that are specific to you and sound exactly how you want.
- Unlimited revisions with your dedicated Sage Audio mastering engineer. As a standard of our service, we are not happy until you are happy with the sound of your masters.
- All masters are delivered as commercial, industry-standard high-resolution 24-bit HD WAV masters so they will sound clean and clear on every platform.
2. Unlimited Mixing Feedback
- Get unlimited mixing feedback from Sage Audio engineers and community members so you can quickly improve your mixes.
- This is highly valuable - giving you access to a thriving community of mixing engineers who can provide you with feedback about what you can improve first before sending your mix to be professionally mastered.
3. Sage Audio University™ (SAU) — (Mixing and Mastering Education Platform)
- SAU is a modern audio engineering education platform that includes in-depth mixing and mastering course curriculums that match the new music industry.
- SAU is designed for every experience level, ranging from first-time mixing engineers to advanced engineers. The techniques and concepts taught can be applied to any DAW to create industry-leading mixes without expensive software or plugins - and free plugin alternatives are suggested throughout every course curriculum.
- SAU course curriculums include Start-to-Finish session walkthrough lessons for multiple genres so you can follow along with your preferred genre.
- SAU Membership Degree Certification, which can be downloaded and showcased on your website, social channels, and portfolio for as long as you remain a member.
- Get first access to all future SAU course curriculums to continually build and refine your mixing and mastering skills as the industry evolves.
4. Sage Audio Community
- The Sage Audio community is a tight-knit community of passionate audio engineers that can provide you with real-world mixing feedback, discussions, mix competitions, networking, collaborations, and more.
5. 700+ In-depth Sage Audio Mixing and Mastering Videos
- Access 700+ in-depth Sage Audio mixing and mastering videos - curated and organized into playlists so you can take a deep-dive into all aspects of audio engineering with thousands of hours of concise, expertly crafted Sage Audio videos to continually improve your mixing and mastering skills at your own pace.
6. 70+ GB of Curated Sage Audio Downloadable Content, Including:
- 36 multitrack sessions spanning multiple genres for mixing practice.
- 57 un-mastered mixes spanning multiple genres for mastering practice.
- 62 Recommended Free Plugins List (vetted, tested, and approved, so you don’t have to).
- 39 Recommended Paid Plugins List (vetted, tested, and approved, so you don’t have to).
- 58 Sage Audio custom plugin presets to improve your mixes and masters.
- Sage Audio Membership Badge to showcase on your website, social channels, and portfolio.