The perfect at-home recording studio for less than $400

If content production is one of your primary responsibilities, you’re going to need equipment to be able to create from wherever you’re working. Of course, when you’re in an office there are tons of options for creating studio-quality work, but in a post-COVID world, the odds are high you’ll be working from home or remotely at least some of the time. Lucky for you, an at-home studio doesn’t have to break the bank.

#1 — Microphone: Audio Technica ATR 2100

This is the ideal mic for a non-dedicated studio environment because it is unidirectional, meaning it only captures the sound that comes directly into it. This is a helpful feature when you’re at home and there’s a two-year-old running down your hallway or a dog barking or your co-worker talking about his fantasy football receivers. It’s only $70 to $100 depending on availability.

#2 — Lights: NEEWER

These will run you $40-45, not too crazy. Minimally, you just need two: one for you and one to illuminate your background. If there’s a window in your at-home studio, make sure you’re facing it. Natural light is the best source and having it in front of you will ensure your footage is not washed out, little details that make drastic improvements.

#3 — Tripod

What you are using for a camera (point number four) will determine what you need for a tripod. Here are our recommendations:

#4 — Camera

Depending on your budget, there are several options for cameras. We’ve pulled three, listed below from lowest quality to highest quality.

  • iPhone
    • EpocCam ($4.99): This is an app you can install that will repurpose your phone camera into a high-definition Mac or PC webcam.
    • Record in 4K: If you have an iPhone 8 or newer, you can change your camera settings (see below) to record footage at a higher resolution. Keep in mind that recording in 4K will take up more storage, so make sure you have enough space.
  • Canon PowerShot SX620 ($214): This is a point-and-shoot camera that will give you a little bit more depth of field.
  • Sony Alpha a7 III Mirrorless Digital ($1,698): This is the top-of-the-line option that’s going to give you that cinematic bokeh, or blurred background.

If you want to see what footage from a Sony Alpha a7 III looks like compared to an iPhone, check out Content Is for Closers on YouTube. Adam uses the EpocCam on his iPhone and Carlton uses the Sony Alpha a7 III.

#5 — Recording Platform: Riverside

Depending on what you need, Riverside has a bunch of different recording options that will cost you somewhere between nine to $30 monthly. They charge based on usage, so we at Heard have a little bit higher cost because we have multiple shows that use the platform, but it’s very affordable and something pretty much any business should be able to afford.

On the low end of things, you’re looking at less than $200 for a nice at-home studio. Money does not need to be a constraining issue for creating content effectively. You just need a setup that works for you. Don’t overthink it. Get creating.