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 for any type of recording session.
Abbey Road Studios
London, United Kingdom
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 as a project studio. They set out to build the world’s first-ever purpose-built pro 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, professional studio two became popular for rock and roll music and later welcomed The Beatles who recorded three albums there. Many famous engineers and producers have provided their magic to numerous iconic albums.
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 are 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. There is no shortage of artist development in this recording studio.
Artist Development is about discovering your next steps, no matter what stage you’re at. The studios know that no two artists are the same. That’s why they tailor the space to meet your needs.
Working with an experienced producer to develop your music will allow you create a really captivating sound. And at Abbey Road, this is exactly what you would expect as an artist.
As well as offering superb studio facilities and recording software on the location they also offer an array of online services such as vocal tuning, mixing, mastering and music production.
One of my favourite things about their online mastering service is they give you the option to handpick your own mastering engineer from a list of 5 Abbey Road approved mastering specialists included in their online mastering package starting at just £90.
Mastering songs in music production, you ensure that the song sounds smooth on all sound systems and that the volume is at the right level before you release it. As a mastering engineer, the way the process works is different from mixing as you are working with just one individual stereo file and balancing it to produce a final piece of music.
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 frequency range and a wide range of studio monitor speakers that you could only dream to have in a home recording studio.
You will be surprised that the price range can be fairly affordable considering what you get for your money and it’s worth noting that what’s charged to major clients is more than independent musicians and unsigned artists, so always ask if there’s wiggle room on their rates.
Value for money – 10/10
Studio facilities – 10/10
Los Angeles, United States of America
Five Albums Recorded at the LA Studios
- Michael Jackson – Invincible
- Jay-Z – The Blueprint
- Miley Cyrus – Bangerz
- My Chemical Romance – The Black Parade
- 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 good 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 to perfect any desired frequency response from its room design and high precision microphone placement.
These chambers can add a unique high quality to your recordings with a maximum reverberation period of 5 seconds and a delay of approximately 3 – 3.5 seconds.
Although these rooms and their music studio equipment 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.
Value for money 10/10
Studio facilities 10/10
London, United Kingdom
Five albums recorded at Air Studios, London
- Coldplay – A Head Full Of Dreams
- Adele – 21
- Radiohead – OK Computer
- Jess Glynne – Take Me Home
- 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 alongside those nice high frequencies 🙂 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 sound 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 1970s. 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.
As a side note, have you thought of using your music for films & tv? Having the right sync representation is essential, so here at Music Gateway, let us help you get your music / sound recording master placed in TV or film. Depending on the placement, the exposure alone can propel your career and sync royalties are a handy bonus. So once you have recorded your music, then all you have to do is reach out to Music Gateway and our music supervisors will guide you the rest of the way, so you hear your music on screen.
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
London, United Kingdom
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 Pro 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.
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 music 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 1980s, with more of a focus in the control room as opposed to the music 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
New York City, USA
Five albums recorded at Platinum, New York State
- Nelly – Over And Over
- Shakira – Shakira.
- Justin Bieber – My Worlds
- Post Malone – Stoney
- 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 recording vocals this has to make the list. It’s a truly remarkable sounding wooden space (nice and bass heavy) 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. Subwoofers generally allow for more sound isolation when recording your music, so your sound will be improved.
If you want a pro authentic NYC sound, this is the place to go!
Value for money – 9/10
Studio facilities – 9/10
Question De Son
Top Five Albums Recorded At Question De Son
- Pete Doherty – Flags Of The Old Regime
- Babyshambles – Sequel To The Prequel
- Alizee – 5
- The Aikiu – Fools
- 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
Top albums recorded at Nansa, Berlin
- Iggy Pop – Lust For Life
- U2 – Achtung Baby
- David Bowie – Heroes
- Siouxsie And The Banshees – Tinderbox
- 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 (mix sounds) for €350 per song. The studio itself has a great live room (good mid range recording) 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
Remember, once you have recorded your tracks, you need to promote them, in terms of accelerating your marketing, driving real fan engagement and growth. At Music Gateway, we will help to get your music heard & grow your audience. Because after all that hard work in the studio, you need to ensure that people listen to your music. We’re committed to supporting independent artists, to help them grow and to give guidance at every opportunity. In addition, we have a hardworking team of radio pluggers working directly with some of the biggest radio stations in the world. We work to get you heard – whatever your genre.
Your music, the right music can be timeless, each master recording edit you create is yours for 70 years after you leave us here on earth. So whilst it’s vital to have a music recording studio equipment set up at your home, it’s important to consider splashing some cash for something better. Whether you use acoustic instruments or virtual instruments, recording high quality music is essential right now.
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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