Experience consists of various elements such as sound, taste, touch, etc. in the entertainment field, and in the general perception of the public, visual medium and visual aesthetics are given a high and maybe higher weightage than the other elements. One such overshadowed but quite essential element is sound. With the rising trend of auditory entertainment such as podcasts and of course older use of sound in music, it is pertinent to improve the technology that records this medium.
Ever since the inception of technology (read; any tool that causes the betterment of human effort) since the introduction of modern science during colonial times, there has been and continues to be a lot of progressive improvements. Technology that once used to fill the gap in access, fulfilling efforts and so on, has now grown into itself and beyond simply fulfilling such needs. Instead, it has gone on to fulfilling the wants of the public. One such increasing obsession if I may say so, is the want to capture life as close to the truth as possible. Sound plays a significant role in this narrative. Hence, it is pertinent to realise the new growth spurt of technology in terms of best recording studio equipment in 2024 and speculate its further developments. This article summarizes, analyses and discusses the best recording studio equipment of 2024 as a way of looking forward to an auditorily enriched year.
An interesting pattern noticed since the pandemic lockdowns is the rise of personal use of recording equipment for uses such as making podcasts– which expanded the scope of technology even further. This listicle will summarise some of the most exciting upcoming tech devices and equipment in 2024 to further propagate information that can help the audience utilise these inventions to its fullest and take technology even further and closer to the happenings of daily life.
To start of this listicle, it seems fitting to begin with the equipment and technology that does the most essential role in audio recording in studios – the process of capturing sound – via a multitrack recorder.
A multitrack recorder simply put allows one to record and process multiple sound sources and tracks at the same time. One of the simplest uses of this equipment is in podcasts which involve multiple guests, allowing the editor to gain control over each track in post-production. Also used for filmmaking and music, multitrack recorders are of two sorts – digital multitrack recorder and multitrack recording software. The difference between the two is a difference of equipment/hardware and software. While the digital multitrack recorder is a hardware device where you can record, mix, and edit sound all in one place, the multitrack recording software is completely computer-based. This software is commonly known as DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and includes examples such as Audacity, Riverside, Adobe Audition, Pro tools, Cubase and Logic Pro X. Unlike the multitrack recorder which is a physical device, the multitrack recording software acts as a virtual mixing console where one gets access to a variety of virtual instruments and an array of editing tools and effects. On the note of comparison, digital multitrack recorders are often considered better owing to their portability and size in comparison to the requirements of a computer and/or additional equipment for the multitrack recording software.
The best multitrack recorders of 2024 include Zoom R20 which has a 16-track playback and a 8-track recording. Weighing at only 1.3 kgs, it is swift in portability and easy to carry around – making it perfect for recording on-the-go. This device is prized at $450 with a good recording quality of 24-bit/44.1kHz. A special feature of this device is that it has an iOS app (no android though).
Tascan DP-24SD (Best choice according to the Riverside analysis of 2024 sound recording equipment) – prized a little higher at $600 this is one of the consumer favourites. One of the selling points of this model is its easy-to-use straightforward layout. This allows users to access essential functions quickly and easily.
Tascan DP-006 (Best Budget): prized at $170, this is the best budget friendly multitrack recorder in the market currently. It is affordable but also provides a 6-track recording capacity at a 16-bit/44.1 kHz audio. At a time, a user can record up to two tracks in its built in high quality omnidirectional condenser mics. Yet the only downside to this model is that it cannot handle and hence is not suitable for more complex sound productions.
Finally, the Allen and Heath Ice-16 is deemed the best model for professional use. Prized at a comparatively steeper $1,263 this is one of the best multitrack recorders of today owing to its amazing audio quality and the incredible number of tracks it can record simultaneously. It can record up to 16 tracks at the same time which is almost essential when it comes to a large group of people in terms of podcasting. The audio quality is 24-bit/96.
while we have dealt with capturing sounds, one of the most prominent sound is the human voice – so what are the equipment made especially for that?
Apogee HypeMiC (Best High-End USB mic): Prized at $349.00 on Amazon, this USB mic enhances audio recording significantly by applying analogue compressions to the signal before converting it digitally. This mic allows the user to enjoy the benefits of both analogue compressions and USB connectivity in a simple easy-to-use style. Some of the pros of this mic include excellent mic signal that has strong clarity and the ability to add in analogue compressions. It also has a good tripod stand a mic stand mount. Finally, the pop filter and a carrying case is included. However, on the other hand, it is quite expensive, and the smash mode is a bit over the top.
Blue Snowball Ice (Budget friendly mic) has become a standard (albeit informally) mic for video production and podcasts. It delivers quality audio that is free of digital signal processing (DSP). This is very impressive at the price it is offered at – $49.61. Some of the pros include its affordability and the fact that it delivers crisp audio (in a cardioid recording pattern). The lack of a DSP means pure signals. Finally, it is plug-and-play ready. The downside to this is that it is only 44.1kHz/16 bit which is not enough for higher level complex recordings. Additionally, the mic stand doesn’t angle well with the mouth height and alignment.
SteelSeries Alias Pro (Most flexible controls): the SteelSeries captures crystal clear audio upto 24-bit/48kHz quality. It also comes with an adjustable, shock absorbing desktop stand. The XLR allows the device to be connected to an LED-adorned mixer with mute controls, two USB-C ports for recording to a PC and a 3.5mm input for monitoring. It also comes with wired headphones. The biggest advantage of this equipment is its companion software. This provides a comprehensive streaming control, LED customization options, and parametric equalizers for both mic and any output. The advantages of this equipment is the excellent sound and clear signal. It also has a powerful streaming software with multiple audio sources and outputs. Additionally, the parametric EQ for both mic and outputs is good. It is also easy to set up. The downsides however are the price and that the single-port mixer won’t accommodate additional microphones.
And finally, as a happy compromise, the best hybrid USB and XLR mic is the Rode NT1 5th priced at $238.70, this equipment is vert versatile and fits most recording workflows. It has both USB and XLR inputs. It also comes with a shock mount and a pop filter. It includes multiple audio0editing apps. Its features allow it to be compatible with plugging the mic into a computer or a mixer, as per requirements. The advantage of the device is the dual usage of XLR and USB inputs. It also has a solid digital signal processing option for USB mode. It can contain up to 192kHz, 32-bit float audio quality and the box includes a shock mount, cables and a pop filter. The disadvantages include that not all processing options are available for every audio quality setting. It also lacks a physical gain and volume knobs. Finally, there is no headphone jack.
the last category of devices this article shall deal with is studio headphones. Although there are a lot more equipment that a recording set-up will require, this article is a preamble to a larger conversation.
The Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X is priced as $249.00 and is categorized as a high-end studio headphone. It is a recommended pick for premium studio over-ears. It is exceptionally comfortable for long listening sessions. They also deliver accurate audio with a focus on clarity and balance. They also don’t exaggerate the bass or the highs and thereby allow the user to hear the track as it was intended to be heard. The headphones also have a passive block out of ambience noise, and they don’t leak much audio either. This makes them ideal for podcast recording and mixing. The advantages of this device include the accurately rich and detailed audio, which is also very balanced. Its closed design makes it ideal for studio recording and mixing. Its comfortable fit makes it apt for long sessions. The rundowns however include the fact that cables lack mics, and this does not satisfy those seeking overwhelming bass depth.
On the other hand, Sennheiser HD 280 Pro serves as the best budget-friendly studio headphones. Priced at $79, these headphones have been standard and a staple in the recording studios for decades. It is great for tracking and mixing audio on a budget. There is generous cushioning and are supported by thick, semi-coiled cabling which is sturdy. The pros of this equipment include accurate and clean audio performances across the full frequency range. It is comfortable and secure for long listening sessions. It is durable and also passively reduces ambient noises significantly. The downsides however include the fact that the cable is not detachable and that the headphones are more appropriate for professional/studio use than personal listening.
That brings us to the end of this listicle. Having listed multiple options under the three main headers of multitrack recorders, microphones and headphones, this list has given options of budget friendly, high end and standard equipment. This varied range in equipment capabilities, capacities and prices only offer a glimpse into the nature of technology in the sphere of studio recordings and auditory equipment. Each device has been supplemented by a discussion of pros and cons which make these recommendations much more reliable.
2024 reflects a culmination of efforts and growth of its yesteryears. It also represents a year of potential, of expansion and of knowledge. It is pertinent to question, ponder and learn about the scope of technology at the beginning juncture of the year. As the year pans out, these different options discussed will play out as true contenders when you choose to design your studio recording setup with appropriate equipment. This listicle is a culmination of the best studio recording equipment of 2024. While this just lists out the names and gives a brief of their potential, each equipment warrants a discussion on its own – for there is so much to discuss about.
This article might discuss on surface level the development in audio tech, but it is a preamble of sorts for a larger debate – the conversation of the growth of technology. The sheer variety of these equipment for studio recording reflect the rigour of the research and development sectors of technological innovation. Be it professional studio recording or personal studio recording for podcasts, etc, this listicle has answers to all your questions. From discussing how to capture audio, to mix and correct it, to input and listen to the output, this listicle has covered a wide arena – multitrack recorders, microphones and headphones.
2024 as a new year gives one the potential to create, discover and learn. Right resources and distribution of information is mandatory for such creation to be maximised. The culmination of information in this listicle is then a mere, but significant, supplement to one’s growing journey in studio recording equipment.