Every day I receive some type of e-mail or direct message regarding home studios and what equipment I recommend on x budget. There is no direct answer to this question as there are many factors that come into play. That being said, I decided to create a list of all of the gear I personally would buy with a $500 budget from my favorite music technology and instrument retailer Sweetwater.
Keep in mind this is assuming that you already have a DAW such as Pro Tools, Logic, Ableton, FL Studios etc. and a computer.
Microphone: Bluebird Spark SL
Audio Interface: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen
Headphones: ATH-M30x Closed Monitoring Headphones
Microphone Stand: Gator Frameworks GFW-Mic-1000
XLR Microphone Cable: Mogami CorePlus Microphone Cable
Microphone Pop Filter: Gator GM-Pop Filter
Explanation: After critically weighing my options, I decided since recording is my focus that I should spend most of my budget on capturing the best sound. You might have also noticed that I didn't work any studio monitors into my list. The reason for that is because they're not a necessity. My priority is on the quality of my recordings, not as much my mixing. In fact, I spent a little bit more on the headphones for this exact reason. The ATH-M30x Closed Monitoring Headphones are a quality prosumer headphone. The more time you spend with them, the better you will learn how they translate on different mediums (car, phone, laptop etc.). It's always good to learn a pair of headphones that you trust in any scenario. When you're ready to purchase a pair of monitors you can always reference in the headphones until you are accustomed to how your monitors translate.
Thanks for reading and now that you have your list of equipment take a look at My 5 Home Recording Tips.