If you have a laptop already then a thousand pounds will actually enable you to easily get enough equipment to get up and running. It somewhat depends what style of music you intend to make but there’s a few things that nearly anyone needs to record music.
Firstly you’ll need some kind of audio interface. In your case probably a USB one with at least one microphone input, an output and at least one headphone socket. There’s loads on the market. I’d hesitate to recommend a specific one but focusurite, avid, and m-audio all make ones that are available for less than £150.
Next you’ll need some speakers. You’ll have to listen to these all day every day so its a good idea to try and get some that you like the sound of. I would try and spend at least £300 pounds on these. There’s a lot of manufactures and if you can this is a time when its a good idea to go to an actual music shop and give them a listen to see what you like the sound of.
Next you’ll need a microphone, presuming you want to record a vocal or guitar at some point. At the moment there’s no end of great cheap microphones available. Look out for manufactures such as Roses, SE and Audio technica. You should buy a “condenser” microphone and I would try and spend about £200 on this.
You’re also going to need some software to record to and work on. There’s a lot of options and lots of disagreement about which one does the best job, but the good news is all the major players do roughly the same thing just differently so its al about personal preference. Try and use the demo periods offered by software companies to get a feel for which one works for you before buying. Logic, Pro-tools, Ableton live and Cubase are all great bits of software and won’t cost much more than £200, pro-tools is actually a subscription service so you can just pay monthly.
What else do you need? A microphone stand, ideally some speaker stands, cables to connect all these things and a USB midi keyboard to play virtual instruments within your laptop. Even with all these things you should be in budget.
So there you have it, you can easily get started with £1000, and thats assuming you’re buying your gear new. Second-hand you’ll be able to get things even cheaper! After you’ve got comfortable with these items the two things you may want to eventually upgrade are the microphone and the speakers as these are both key to getting great work done.
Tom McFall is an engineer, producer and songwriter who is working with globally successful artists like REM, Snow Patrol, Bloc Party and Biffy Clyro. He is also a music production tutor at British & Irish Modern Music Institute. Discover Tom’s work on his website: https://www.tommcfall.com/