Depends on two things:
#1 It depends on who you ask!
Although musicians/products/hobbyists take a bit more naturally in the corner “higher consumer electronics” and therefore often think “more expensive”, the truth is that the 21st century is a very fine time to live in as many components are now massively produced and very inexpensive.
There is, of course, a difference between a cheap device made by an electronics giant (of the type that seems to ‘ specialize ‘ everywhere) and a more expensive variant of a brand that focuses on a niche in the market.But if you look critically at what is most necessary to take pictures, there are many cheaper alternatives that are already beyond the yardstick of ‘ acceptable ‘.
But what is necessary?
#2 It depends on exactly what you want to record!
Do you take a lot of acoustic instruments?Then it is important to invest in microphones and well-treated spaces (in which the sound does not resonate or reflect annoying). That can be of inexpensive (a simple condenser microphone multi-fill and cover the windows with Sheets) to pepper duration (a coffin different microphone flavors for different purposes and a space that is accurately equipped with reflection and Absorption panels and correct fitting).
Do you take more electronic instruments?Then the most important thing is to invest in instruments with high quality sound and quantity of applications/possibilities. Do you think it is important to be able to make as many sounds as possible with one device or do you prefer that one device only “can” one thing, but excels in it?
In any case, one thing is sure regardless of your intent: you’re probably going to record digitally.Of course you can work (very nostalgic) with magnetic tape, but nowadays that is no longer as affordable as high quality sound is your goal!
You do not have to use a computer, but it is recommended: there is a larger variety of music software available in which you can record and mix sounds (a Digital Audio Workstation, called DAW).Even the low budget (few tientjes) variants offer a multitude of possibilities that were only available in large music studios two decades back. How powerful your computer should be depends on how much audio you want to process (take a small band or a whole orchestra?). But it’s nice, you probably already have a computer, or have multiple applications for the thing than just making music.
One thing that is certain is that you need to invest in a sound card that has solid converters (to convert analogue signals into a qualitatively high digital signal).If you can live with it to record one instrument at a time, you can do just fine with a variant that only has 1 or 2 audio inputs (note that phantom Power and XLR are offered for use with microphones). If you want to record multiple signals at the same time, you can choose a Variant that offers 10 + inputs/outputs.
Furthermore, it is important that you can hear well what you are doing.Also monitor speakers can be infinitely expensive (and then you also have a space in which they come to their right!). But on the other hand you might be able to mix very well on a decent headphone.
To be honest, the biggest investments will always come in the form of instrument or mix equipment (if you like with hardware compressors, equalizers, limiters, etc.Works). However, that is only complementary, the minimum you need will be offered IN your DAW.The best thing about a digital workstation is that you can take your projects to future computer upgrades and that many of your hardware can be ‘ taken ‘ into your upgrade.
Nowadays you can even create very reasonable productions with an iPad and a USB microphone and headphones…