So last week Gizmodo ran a piece about how to build a 24-track digital home studio for $5,000. I wondered if I could do the same thing for £500 - bearing in mind that Gizmodo didn't even include software. So, my rules are: You already have a decent PC (1ghz, 256mg ram), a home stereo (for rough-and-ready monitoring) and a pair of headphones…
1) Microphones: Thanks to the wonder of Chinese
slave cheap labour, you can now buy a half-decent condenser microphone for £45: RV6 from Red5. Because this studio must be a bit rock'n'roll, you'll also invest in a classic Shure SM57 (used by everyone) for £85 in a bundle, which includes a cable and a stand, both essential. UPDATE: Try a Kel Audio mic for around £60.
2) Interface: It's not very sexy, but the Behringer BCA2000 does everything we need. It can record two tracks at once and includes pre-amps and phantom power, so we can use the condenser mic. And it's £159.
3) Software: Everyone is saying nice things about Tracktion, which is free for a month and £50 to keep. It's easy to use and does everything you'll need, and not much that you won't.
4) Effects: Kjaerhus make brilliant software effects - all the basics, including reverb, delay, a compressor, chorus, flanger etc. And they're Free.
5) Instruments: There are thousands of free VST software instruments at KVR-VST. Start with Drumatic 3, a great retro drum machine, and Triangle II, an analogue synth. Both Free.
6) Extras: This is supposed to be a rock'n'roll studio, so you'll need a White Les Paul (copy) guitar, just like Steve Jones played in the Sex Pistols, £120, and a Kustom all-valve guitar amp, £90.
Which makes a total of £549. OK, I broke the budget. But you got a valve guitar amp!