Recording Studio – The World’s 7 Best Music Studios

Written by Alistair Hynes

09 January 2019

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Recording Studio – The World’s 7 Best Music Studios

As home studio setups are becoming more popular and commercial audio quality is becoming easier to achieve, is the need for professional recording studios becoming a thing of the past? Well, we don’t think so and we’re here to tell you why those in our list of the world’s best 7 music recording studios are well worth the investment.

Abbey Road Studios

London, United Kingdom

Best Music Recording Studios Abbey Road

Top five albums recorded

1. Abbey Road – The Beatles
2. Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon
3. The 1975 – A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships
4. Florence & The Machine – Ceremonials
5. Kanye West – Late Orchestration

Originally built in 1829, Abbey Road Studios was nothing more than a 9 bedroom house which was later bought by the Gramophone Company in 1928. They set out to build the world’s first ever purpose-built recording studio and later merged with the Columbia Gramophone Company in 1931 to create Electrical and Musical Industries later to be known as EMI studios.

In 1958, studio two became popular for rock and roll music and later welcomed The Beatles who recorded three albums there. In 1970 the studios were renamed as Abbey Road Studios after the legendary Beatles album had struck fame. Fast forward to 2012 the studios became the property of Universal Music Group as they took over EMI for a cool £1.2 billion.

Abbey Road studios is now regarded as the most iconic set of studios going, you can bet almost anyone has heard of them even if they’re not in the music industry. With their high-end gear and clientele boasting some of the most legendary names in the music business from The Beatles and Aretha Franklin to Kanye West and Lady Gaga, it’s no surprise they take the number one spot on our list.

As well as offering superb studio facilities on location they also offer an array of online services such as vocal tuning, mixing and mastering. One of my favourite things about their online mastering service is they give you the option to hand pick your own mastering engineer from a list of 5 Abbey Road approved mastering specialists included in their online mastering package starting at just £90.

Their list of in-house equipment is as impressive as it is long. Some of my favourite pieces of gear include 6 bricasti M7 studio reverb processors which are on the market for over £3,000 each, 2x Yamaha SPX 1000’s, an AMS NEVE 88RS 72 channel recording console, 6x Yamaha NS10M monitors and the impressive GML 8200 EQ for accurate frequency modification and a wide range of studio monitors that you could only dream to have in a home recording studio.

Value for money – 10/10
Studio facilities – 10/10

Music Promotion Artist Development

Capitol Studios

Los Angeles, United States of America

Recording studios Capitol

Five Albums Recorded at the LA Studios

1. Michael Jackson – Invincible
2. Jay-Z – The Blueprint
3. Miley Cyrus – Bangerz
4. My Chemical Romance – The Black Parade
5. Snoop Dogg – Doggumentary

Fancy having your next track mixed & mastered by Grammy award winning engineers with state-of-the-art equipment straight from your bedroom? With their new online service, you can get your songs to stand up against highly commercial releases in terms of audio quality and volume starting at just under $200.

They also have the option to cut vinyl masters in 2 super easy online steps so you can be sure to have a superior sounding record starting at $600 to produce.

Built in 1956 Capitol Studios was originally reserved for artists signed to Capitol Records until 1968.
It was recently refurbished to ensure it stays a cutting edge, state-of-the-art facility. The building is 13 stories high and stands at 150 ft tall. It’s an impressive cylindrical structure tower and the studio itself is located in the only rectangular part of the building on the ground floor.

Their largest recording space is studio A which has accommodated artists such as Frank Sinatra, Muse and Sam Smith. The studio consists of the NEVE 88RS 72 channel recording console, 7.1 surround monitoring capability, an EMT 140 plate reverb and neo-classic masters of maple drums.

Another impressive addition to the studios is their eight custom built “echo chambers” which each have their own characteristic sound from room design and high precision microphone placement. These chambers can add a unique quality to your recordings with a maximum reverberation period of 5 seconds and a delay of approximately 3 – 3.5 seconds.

Although these rooms are 20 feet underground they have been subject of ongoing disputes over the years due to the fact there could be noise complaints which developers have frequently highlighted.

Best recording studios capitol echo

Value for money 10/10
Studio facilities 10/10

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Air Studios

London, United Kingdom

best recording studios

Five albums recorded at Air Studios, London

1. Coldplay – A Head Full Of Dreams
2. Adele – 21
3. Radiohead – OK Computer
4. Jess Glynne – Take Me Home
5. James Arthur – Impossible

Despite its dated look from the outside, It’s been unequally built with special features and has been used by some of the most commercial artists in the industry due to its capability to meet high standards and expectations. Artists include Dua Lipa, Katy Perry, Fergie, Jake Bugg, Adele, Mumford & Sons, Coldplay and Ellie Goulding plus alternative artists such as Don Broco, Deaf Havana and The XX.

The studio was founded in 1969 when George Martin left EMI Records to establish a quality recording complex in the heart of London. It has since become one of the most famous studios in the world.

While the studio in Oxford Street continued to thrive until later shutting in 1991, a sister studio was built in the Caribbean in the mid ’70s. This attracted major artists at the time but later closed in 1989 due to a hurricane destroying the island. 1992 marked a new start for Air studios when Air Lyndhurst was built. To this day it’s become a hub for major label records and film scores for major productions.

Studio 1 has a fully floated 140m floor and three guitar amp booths. It can accommodate for up to 45 musicians and is ideal for bands. It has a specially designed sliding door system so that the space can be divided into acoustically separated areas.

Access to Lyndhurst Hall is also provided at Air Studios which is one of the largest recording rooms in the world. It can accommodate a whole symphony with a choir simultaneously and has exceptional acoustics. This is a fantastic studio with state of the art equipment and specially designed features.

Value for money – 9/10
Studio facilities – 10/10

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Metropolis Studios

London, United Kingdom

best recording studios metropolis

Five albums recorded at Metropolis

1 – Queen – Innuendo 
2 – Adele – 25 
3 – ZAYN – Mind of Mine 
4 – N.E.R.D. – No One Ever Really Dies 
5 – The Verve – Urban Hymns

What sets Metropolis apart from the noise and gives it a special place on our list? For me, it has to be the welcoming environment and writing rooms they have to offer, not to mention the optional accommodation. The rooms set a relaxed and inspiring environment with a choice of digital audio workstations, MIDI controllers and midi keyboards, iMacs loaded with Logic X, Waves CLA Vocals, Pro Tools 12.8.1 and more impressive software to get your creativity flowing and put ideas to action.

Metropolis also gives clients the option to live-in with their onsite accommodation. The residential options consist of a private, luxury split-level 4 double bedroom apartment with two bathrooms (one ensuite) and an open plan lounge leading to a private balcony which offers a stunning view of the City. With this option comes private access to the studios and car park, as well as WiFi, Sonos, a plasma TV and Apple TV. Not to forget the open plan lounge with a fully equipped kitchen and a stocked up bar.

Metropolis Residential rooms

Even the studio rooms at Metropolis feel welcoming and homely with a relaxed atmosphere that feels exclusive to the client. What I like most about Studio B is the Yamaha C7 7’6” grand piano and one of a kind 4 meter SSL 4064 G series console with 60 mono and 4 stereo channels. Behind this desk, you really feel in the driving seat.

Prior to being converted to a recording studio, the space was previously part of a huge power station built in 1901. In 1986 a group of investors and entrepreneurs led by sound engineer Carey Taylor set out to build a state-of-the-art studio. Recording studios were starting to be used differently in the ’80s, with more of a focus in the control room as opposed to the recording space itself. Metropolis capitalized on this by making the control room the main focus of each studio which soon became its iconic predicament. In 2012 the studios were acquired by Kainne Clements who to this day is the executive chairman.

If you want to record a song in London and be in an environment that feels at home, whether recording, writing or producing, this is a place you should check out.

Value for money – 9/10
Studio Facilities – 9/10

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Platinum Studios

New York City, USA
Best recording studios Platinum studios

Five albums recorded at Platinum, New York State

1. Nelly – Over And Over
2. Shakira – Shakira.
3. Justin Bieber – My Worlds
4. Post Malone – Stoney
5. Lady Gaga – Artpop

There’s something to say about exclusivity behind the production of a record. Boasting a unique sounding room in studio J for capturing tight drums and rich vocals this has to make the list. It’s a truly remarkable sounding wooden space with an 80 channel Logic 9000J mixing desk to bring out the best in the sound.

Another touch of exclusivity is the fact studio K hosts the only solid-state Logic XL9000K in the city. Their clientele hosts the likes of Justin Bieber, Shakira, Kanye West, America’s Got Talent, MTV, VH1 and Nelly.

The studio was founded in 2000 by rapper Wyclef Jean and multi-platinum Grammy award-winning producer Jerry Duplessis. The main focus of the studio was sound quality, productivity and privacy so artists could feel at home and create the next hit record. The studio, like most, has acoustic treatment, and all bookings include studio time tailored to your needs.

Since they became established, the studios have been the birthplace for multiple Grammy award-winning artists and records receiving 12 Grammy nominations in 2010 alone.

Their exclusive recording console has been widely acclaimed for creating the best R&B and pop music in New York. Also, a defining asset of Platinum Studios is their custom Augspurger monitors which paired with dual 18-inch subwoofers make them the loudest yet cleanest sounding studio the city has to offer.

If you want a pro authentic NYC sound, this is the place to come.

Value for money – 9/10
Studio facilities – 9/10

Question De Son

Paris, France

bets recording studios

Top Five Albums Recorded At Question De Son

1. Pete Doherty – Flags Of The Old Regime
2. Babyshambles – Sequel To The Prequel
3. Alizee – 5
4. The Aikiu – Fools
5. Imany – The Shape Of A Broken Heart

This studio is ideally located in the heart of Paris in the trendy district of Porte Saint-Denis. Studio B hosts a vocal booth which is visually connected by video and an SSL 4048 G + console with Ultimattion and Total Recall. The stylish studio has been graced by artists such as Kanye West, P!nk and Babyshambles and is known as the go-to place for trendsetter artists with a character to match.

It was founded by Jordan Kouby and Frederic Vectol who purchased the building as a former textile facility. They weren’t exactly newcomers to the music industry as they already had vast experience working in recording studios. They oversaw the entire project from start to finish with the help of acoustician Michel Duluc. The whole studio has been thought out in every way from the audio interface to every wall and angle. Question De Son is a masterpiece that is capable of achieving true excellence in sound quality and doesn’t compromise on character.

Value for money – 9/10
Studio facilities – 9/10

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Berlin, Germany

Best recording studios Hansa

Top albums recorded at Nansa, Berlin

1. Iggy Pop – Lust For Life
2. U2 – Achtung Baby
3. David Bowie – Heroes
4. Siouxsie And The Banshees – Tinderbox  
5. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – From Her To Eternity

Hansa located in Berlin, Germany has been home to artists such as KT Tunstall, Depeche Mode and Green Day. Brothers Thomas and Peter Meisel founded the Hansa Record label in 1962 and from 1965 recorded at the Ariola until 1973 when they opened their own studio known today as Hansa.
In the early to mid-’80s the majority of productions were overseen by producer Michael Blakey. Many artists have recorded there including Tangerine Dream, Iggy Pop and Snow Patrol. In 2018 the studio was subject of a documentary by filmmaker Mike Christie titled “Hansa Studios: By The Wall 1976-1990” which aired across Europe on Sky Arts.

Today their website looks a little dated, although they do offer the option of online mixing for €350 per song. The studio itself has a great live room with an open feel which in the day is flooded with daylight thanks to the number of glass doors and windows in the building. This room is great for bands where a lot of communication is needed as there’s direct visual contact into the control room as well as the vocal booth. It’s also spacious and has an open plan feel with windows to keep cool and refreshed while performing.

The studio is equipped with a vast array of classic analogue equipment and easy to use rooms perfect for getting the job done.

Value for money – 7/10
Studio Facilities – 8/10

Our Verdict

Your music, the right music can be timeless, each master recording you create is yours for 70 years after you leave us here on earth. So whilst it’s vital to have a recording studio equipment set up at your home, it’s important to consider splashing some cash for something better. Even with these world-renowned recording studios in London, LA, New York, Paris and Berlin, there’s always wiggle room to rent studio space. So speak to them about recording studio time packages and check if there are offers. There are normally special deals for up and coming unsigned artists and bands and studios, so please call them for a chat!

If you have the right song, using the best professional recording studio setup is the only option to achieve the best results. Even if it is a bit of an investment.

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