Looking to record some music in the UK’s capital but need to decide which studio is the one for you? You’ve come to the right place as in this article, we’ll have a look at some of the best recording studios in London. We’ll also give you some tips on how to pick the right studio. So what are you waiting for? Let’s dive in!
Best Recording Studios In London
London is the epicentre of the UK music industry and it sports a wealth of studios in which to make a record. From iconic London music recording studios such as Abbey Road and Air-Edel to an ever-expanding number of budget and mid-range options; artists are faced with a vast selection of possibilities in the capital. Here’s a handful of the best recording studios London has to offer.
Metropolis houses four studios and production rooms.
Studio A is based around an SSL 9072 J Series console with a PMC QB1 Monitoring System. It was designed to maximise visual communication between all of its areas. There is a large 80m2 live room, a dead room and a stone room, offering acoustic options and is ideal for ensembles of up to 26 players. The studio has a private lounge above the control room and a reception area looking down onto all studio areas.
Studio B has a classic SSL 4064 G Series console and a Genelec 1236 Main Monitoring System. It also has its own private lounge which can form an extension of the control room. There is a large live room (26.5m2) with two smaller areas (20 & 12m2) adjoining either side.
On the top floor of Metropolis is Studio C. Based around a Neve VR 72 Channel Console and a PMC BB5/XBD Active Main Monitoring System this large control room has lots of natural daylight. Although primarily a mix room it has a large overdub booth for vocal and production sessions.
Studio E is a 5.1 mix room with an SSL XL 9072 K Series and a PMC BB5/XBD/MB1 5.1 Monitoring System. It is also suited to stereo work. It has an overdub booth with a line of sight to the console for vocal tracking sessions.
The Production Rooms at Metropolis provide an environment for clients to work on a smaller scale. Each room comes with Aston Origin, Lewitt LCT 940 & Shure SM7 mics, Genelec 8341 monitors and iMacs loaded with Waves, UAD, Fab Filter Pro & SoundToys plugins.
“It’s amazing to watch an artist achieve their musical vision and watch small ideas grow into a full song. Knowing you got to help them on that journey, for me is timeless and something I love about working in a studio.“
Aran Knight – Metropolis Studios (studio assistant)
Metropolis boasts an impressive client list including Queen, Fine Young Cannibals, George Michael, Noel Gallagher, One Direction, Ed Sheeran, Lana Del Rey, Adele, will.i.am, Rita Ora and many more. It was one of the first approved studios to produce Mastered for iTunes masters. They offer specialist half-speed vinyl cutting and live direct-to-vinyl recording.
There is a 50-space car park and 19 residential apartments.
Prices are on application. Artists are encouraged to call to discuss options on a case-by-case basis.
Air Lyndhurst Hall was built in 1884. It is one of the world’s largest recording rooms and can accommodate a full symphony orchestra and choir simultaneously. That makes it ideal for film scoring, orchestral recordings and live performances. It has a 96 Channel Neve 88R with 48 channels of Neve ‘AIR Montserrat’ remote mic preamps.
Studio 1 holds up to 45 musicians and is suited for recording bands or small orchestral ensembles. Coldplay, Radiohead, Muse, Biffy Clyro, U2, Paul McCartney, Adele, Katy Perry and Dua Lipa have all recorded here. A moving wall provides adjustable acoustics and in the control room is a custom 72 Channel Neve console.
With its 80 Channel SSL 8000G Studio 2 is considered one of the best mix rooms in the world. An adjoining room can be also utilised as an overdub booth. As well as scores for Rocketman, Mission: Impossible and Black Swan, albums by Van Morrison, George Michael and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds were mixed here.
Studio 3 is a dedicated score mixing room for film, TV and games and is centred around a 48 Fader 500 Path AMS DFC Gemini. This is Air’s largest mixing room and has an adjoining room for use as an overdub booth.
Many of the award-winning engineers who work at the studios are represented by AIR Management – the only UK agent for film and TV score producers, engineers and mixers.
For studio costs, price is on application as the nature and requirements of each project can vary significantly.
RAK Studios was founded in 1976 and is one of the top music recording studios London has to offer. Located in St. John’s Wood it is easily accessible via public transport and within walking distance of restaurants, pubs and shops. RAK has four studios – all equipped with state-of-the-art recording equipment.
Studio 1 is a large studio that features a Yamaha 1723500 CF Grand Piano and can hold up to 35 musicians. The API desk in Studio 1 has been there and since the studios opened. Obviously, they must maintain it well!
This studio can hold 7 musicians and has a Yamaha Baby Grand – C3X. It is ideal for projects that operate on a budget. The API desk here was also installed in 1976.
Studio 3 has a 60-channel vintage Neve VRP Legend console with flying fader automation. In addition to a Yamaha – C7 ‘Conservatory’ Grand, Studio 3 also has a Mason and Hamlin Organ, Leslie, Fender Rhodes and a Yamaha CS-80
I recently mixed an album from Mel Gaynor (Simple Minds) in Studio 4 and it was a great room to work in. Containing an SSL 4056 E 56 channel it’s a lovely space for writing, collaborating, overdubbing and mixing. The control room has a separate vocal booth and is flooded with natural daylight like all of other Rak’s studios
Studio 1 £950 Studio 2 £500 Studio 3 £750 Studio 4 £350
Prices are for a 10-hour day. Includes full use of equipment and an assistant. Engineers are available for an additional fee. Prices subject to VAT
RAK’s history includes some of the biggest names in the music world: Paul McCartney, The Who, Yes, Duran Duran, The Cure, The Pogues, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Sam Smith, Disclosure, Emeli Sande, Royal Blood, Ed Sheeran & Tinie Tempah to name a few.
RAK has in-house accommodation for up to six people at The Townhouse, as well as catering facilities and off-street parking. There is also a suite inside the main building at RAK. with access to a kitchen and recreation room.
Abbey Road is unarguably the most famous recording studio in London. Built in 1829, it opened as EMI Recording Studios in 1931. The complex is home to a number of studios.
Studio 1 is a huge room able to accommodate a large symphony orchestra or chorus. The control room has a 72-channel Neve 88 RS console with Bowers & Wilkins 800D monitors. There are 48 channels of remote Neve microphone pre with a ProTools HDX system and Neve’s SP2 scoring panel for recording and monitoring multiple stems.
The large live room in Studio 2 features full-height adjustable acoustics and the centrepiece of the control room is a 60-channel Neve 88 RS console with Bowers & Wilkins Nautilus 801 speakers.
Now, this studio is a superb mixing environment (which Waves offer a virtual version of) The console is a 96-channel SSL 9000J – (Abbey Road’s largest desk) with Bowers & Wilkins 800D and Quested Q412 monitors. There are isolation booths to accommodate vocal and instrumental recording in addition to the live room. Studio 3 is a personal favourite of mine to have worked in.
The Penthouse Studio
The Penthouse studio features an AMS Neve 16 Fader BCM10/2 Mk2 mixing desk with Pro Tools HDX2, Logic X, Ableton and an extensive range of plug-ins. It is designed to accommodate high-end music production and small-scale recordings.
The Gatehouse is a tracking studio with an AMS Neve 16 Fader BCM10/2 Mk2 console, Pro Tools HDX2, Logic X & Ableton. It has a multi-surfaced live room and is suited for small band or vocal sessions.
“The Gatehouse has always been an amazing experience, the studio will definitely get you inspired.”
Jocelin Francis – Freelance Producer/Mixer
The Front Room
The Front Room allows a wider range of clients to benefit from the atmosphere at Abbey Road. It is designed for small-scale recording set-ups and writing sessions. It features an SSL 24 fader Duality with Pro Tools HDX2 / Logic X / Ableton and Focal SM9 Monitoring.
Recent clients include Ariana Grande, Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Nick Cave, Mark Ronson and Brockhampton, Emeli Sande, Craig David, Jess Glynne, George Ezra, Emeli Sande, Rudimental, Maverick Sabre, DAVE, The 1975, Ed Sheeran, Architects and Noel Gallagher to name a few. Of course, is this where the Beatles records 190 songs of their released material and Pink Floyd recorded the Dark Side of The Moon.
Facilities include a restaurant, bar and private garden.
Rates for The Front Room start at £500 per day. All other pricing is on application.
Soho Sonic Studios
Soho Sonic is located in the centre of London – a 4 min walk from Oxford Circus tube and accommodates musicians, labels and media companies. It is an award-winning company and has worked with the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, National Geographic, Kia, MTV, Samsung, Ubisoft, Pringles, Wrigley, Logitech, Coca Cola among others.
Soho Sonic has a clean, comfortable control room, a live room that can accommodate up to 8 people and is suitable for bands or small ensembles.
The studio has an SSL Nucleus Desk with NEVE Focusrite & TLA preamps, a Mac Intel Pro Quad-Core and three 8-Core Intel i7 PC computers. Monitoring is via Sonic Munro Eggs & Fostex 6301Bs.
Soho Sonic’s staff have produced music for artists of all genres as well as multiple projects for television, film and radio. Some of their clients include Lethal Bizzle, Tinchy Stryder, Lisa Stansfield, Keane, Leona Lewis, Mike Skinner (The Streets), Lucian & Mann, Joel Compass, BabyBlue, Merkar (The Rascals), Casandra Fox, Abel Miller, Dionne (Big Brovaz), Sunidhi Chauhan (Bollywood Star), Leanne Jarvis, Intensi–T, So Solid Crew to name a few.
“At Soho Sonic, human talent is one of their greatest assets and they have the necessary equipment to carry out the most demanding audio projects.“
Alejandro Valdés Alvarez – Award-Winning Producer/Engineer
Pricing is on application with off-peak & weekend rate specials and preferential rates for unsigned projects. Soho Sonic offers a number of bespoke packages aimed specifically at artists and bands
- The 5-day EP package
- Off-peak EP recording package
- 2-hour recording slots for unsigned artists on Tuesday & Thursday evenings
- Remix Package
- White Night – a late/overnight option for those on a budget
Miloco manages a range of excellent recording studios worldwide. The Orinoco Complex in London’s SE1 is Miloco HQ and includes The Pool, The Bridge and The Vault.
The Pool is centred around a Neve 5315 24-Channel console with a Pro Tools HDX rig and monitoring from Augspurger Treo 812 CFM Monitors, Barefoot MicroMain 27s and Yamaha NS10s. There are lots of pres from Neve, API, Chandler, Lomo and Curtis as well as outboard standards from Altec, API, Urei, Tube-Tech and Chandler.
The studio includes a Yamaha Baby Grand and a Fender Rhodes. There’s a vibraphone and Timpani for use. The Pool is their largest studio and suits recording live bands. There is a permanent mic’d up drum kit and guitar amps and pedals accessible for instant use.
The Bridge is a writing studio consisting of a large control room with two booths. It features a 24-channel Audient ASP8024 Heritage Edition console and Augspurger Solo-12 MF speakers with 12″ subs. It has a Pro Tools HDX rig and there is a selection of API, Neve, Focusrite, Tube-Tech and SSL mic preamps. There is a choice of analogue keyboards, a Boston Steinway upright piano and a Rogers drum kit.
The Vault is a production suite running a Pro Tools rig on an iMac Pro with a UAD Apollo X8 interface. There is outboard from Neve, UA and Empirical Labs and monitoring from ATC
SCM25As. Equipped with an upright piano, acoustic guitar and mics from Neumann and Shure The Vault is an affordable writing space.
Previous clientele includes Tom Odell, Mumford & Sons, Florence & The Machine, The Invisible, Noel Gallagher, Adele, Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, Coldplay, Dizzee Rascal, Florence + The Machine, Foals, Jake Bugg, James Bay, Lethal Bizzle, London Grammar, Madonna, Mumford and Sons and more.
Wax Recording Studios
Music producer Robert Strauss founded Wax Recording Studios. The facility’s main space is entirely brick-built and features a 15-foot high arched roof with two adjacent iso-booths and movable partitions. It is a multipurpose room for writing, production and instrument tracking. This acoustically treated room is ideal for drums and vocals alike.
WAX is a 5-minute walk from Westham Tube and DLR and has free on-site parking. Facilities include a massive kitchen/lounge area.
The studio is based around a Protools 12 / Ableton 10 setup with plugins from Slate Digital, Softube, Sound Toys, Arturia and more. Monitoring involves Focal Twin Be’s + Subs, Avantone mix cubes and outboard including Classic API / 500 Series and late 70’s Telefunken / LAWO Pre’s. A Danemann upright piano, ’74 Fender Rhodes, a Korg Minilogue and a late 70’s Premier 5 pcs drum kit are available for use.
Past clients include: Omar Lye-Fook MBE, Andrew Roachford, Kwabs, Jordan Rakei, Sugar Hill Gang, Blue Lab Beats, Rejjie Snow, Barns Courtney, Too Many T’s, Eneek, Rumours, Google, Good Foot, Xantone Blacq, Swing Out Sister plus hundreds more
Prices include producer/engineer and range from £15-£50 per hour dependent on the length of the session and technical requirements. Package deals are available. Prices are not subject to VAT.
Kore Studios is in Acton, West London, and is a large recording space tailored for live tracking. Opened in 2003 by producer and mixing engineer, George Apsion, Kore won the Music Producers Guild ‘Best UK Studio’ prize in 2010.
Originally set up with an Audient console and a Pro Tools HD rig, Kore celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2014 with the installation of a new 32-channel API 1608 mixing console in Studio A. Outboard equipment includes studio standards like Neve, Universal Audio and Chandler.
The Live Room
The live room is 4 metres high with a floor space of 42 square metres, suiting ensembles from full bands through to small orchestras and a Chappell upright piano is available for use. The large live space is complemented by two isolation booths. Additionally, the control room gives a direct line of sight into the performance space. There is natural daylight, a silent a/c system and its ground floor location provide easy access for load-in/load-out.
Studio B has a 1978 Tweed Audio console at its centre and runs a Pro Tools HD Native system with UAD Apollo 16 + Digi 192 Interfaces with Pro AC 100 Monitors.
Facilities include a quiet upstairs lounge and as well as local restaurants it is in close reach of Acton park.
Past clients include Amy Winehouse, Bernard Butler, Anna Calvi, Feeder, Florence and The Machine, Joss Stone, Kasabian, Manic Street Preachers, Marina and The Diamonds, Noah And The Whale, Plan B, Razorlight, Richard Ashcroft, Ronan Keating, Stereophonics, Temperance Movement and The Enemy.
Pricing is on application. Dry hire includes an assistant engineer.
The Recording Studio London
The Recording Studio London is a studio and production company that specialises in writing, production, recording and artist development and works with a variety of acts, from emerging talent to major labels.
Their main facility is a state-of-the-art production and recording studio located in a purpose-built East London complex. The studio is centred in a hive of activity and creativity among a community of musicians and artists.
At the heart of the control room is a vintage 48-channel DDA analogue mixing console with Adam S3H Monitors. Recording is via Protools or Logic and the studio features a Yamaha Upright Piano and a Roland FA08 Digital Piano. Previous clients have gone on to sign major deals, achieve chart success and receive national radio airplay.
The second studio is suited to vocal/acoustic guitar tracking, overdubs and small-scale productions. Featuring a Mac Pro with a Slate Raven the studio boasts a comfortable vocal booth and provides an affordable environment.
Pricing is on application.
This studio was founded in 1984 and features award-winning studios with unique visual designs.
Strongroom 1 features a Neve VR60 Legend and a 56 I/O Pro Tools HDX2 with Genelec 1032 and Yamaha NS10 near fields. Analogue recording is available with two 24-track Studer A800s and either an Ampex ATR102 or Otari MTR12 1⁄2”. SR 1 has a double-height live room and can accommodate full band, drum recording, classic or jazz ensembles, piano or vocal sessions. It has an additional booth and isolation areas and is the premier recording facility.
Strongroom 2 relaunched in 2018 having previously been producer Nigel Godrich’s private facility. Built around a Dalcon console and Boxer main monitors, SR2 also offers Kii Audio, NS10 and Auratone nearfields and a selection of classic vintage synthesizers. At its core is a Mac Pro 6.1 running a 32 I/O Pro Tools HDX2 system with a comprehensive list of plugins as well as a 3M 24-track tape machine. Outboard includes AMS, Eventide, Roland, a stereo EMT 140 plate reverb and lots of classic compressors. The booth houses a Wendel & Lung upright piano and offers a clear line of sight to the console and external windows.
Strongroom 3 is built around an SSL 4056 G+ console with Boxer monitoring. Nearfields include ATC SCM25A and Yamaha NS10s with a Genelec 1092 sub. It features a 48 I/O Pro Tools HDX2 system and an Otari MTR90 24-track tape machine with an Ampex or Otari 2 track. There is an exhaustive selection of outboards available and an EMT plate reverb. A selection of classic analogue synths, effects and instruments are also available. The studio is ideal for vocal and full-band tracking.
Strongroom 4 was redeveloped in 2013 with producer Danton Supple. It is based around a Calrec Q-Series console and features a range of outboard mic pres, compressors and EQs. It is suitable for writing & production, recording and overdubbing. The live room hosts a vintage Chappell upright piano and provides an intimate drum sound.
The Strongroom features a bustling community with its late-night venue, bar and restaurant. The ivy-covered courtyard is also a great place to relax.
Clients include legendary acts like Nick Cave, The Prodigy and The Spice Girls, FKA Twigs and Rex Orange County.
“Strongroom is a remarkably unique studio, full of creative energy and passion, amazingly talented staff and some of the world’s greatest producers as residents. Without Strongroom, I wouldn’t have a career in music, I owe them a great deal and love them more”
Drew Bang – Award Winning Producer/Engineer
Strongroom 1 £800/£600/£450 Strongroom 2 £650/£450/ £375 Strongroom 3 £650/£450/£375 Strongroom 4 £500/£400/£300
Prices are for 10, 6 and 3-hour sessions. All rates include an assistant and 1hr on either side for set up/break down. Prices excl VAT.
Urchin Studios was set up in the Spring of 2007 by Matt Ingram and MPG Award winner Dan Cox and the team moved into the current premises in 2012. The studio is designed from the ground up to accommodate a range of recording situations.
Studio A’s 450sq. foot (40 sq. metres) live room provides a space equally suited to tracking a live band or an 8-piece string ensemble. The layout provides lots of natural light and ensures good lines of sight. It combines wooden floors, an iso booth and an amp cupboard to provide a versatile working environment.
A 4m high ceiling provides great acoustics for ‘big’ drum sounds, and the live room can be divided into smaller areas with a movable screen. A raised drum platform can be enclosed to acoustically deaden the environment.
The control room has a 40-channel Trident 65 console and also sports 9 channels of API pres and an Amek BCII sidecar. There is also a loaded Pro Tools HD system and monitoring is by Dynaudio BM15a’s & Yamaha NS10M’s.
Studio B is a writing and production suite. It has an i7 2.3Ghz Quad Core Mac Mini with Universal Audio Apollo Twin MkII Solo Thunderbolt Interface and Dynaudio BM6a Monitors. There is also a sizeable vocal booth and it’s ideal for small-scale projects. Furthermore, it can be combined with Studio A to facilitate larger sessions or more complicated setups.
There is a great selection of vintage and modern drums, keyboards, percussion instruments, and amps for use in either studio and high-speed broadband is available throughout the recording studio.
“Studio B is our little ‘writing den’. Most people bring their own laptops to work here, so we’ve streamlined the space to allow them to ‘plug and play’ and get the ideas flowing as fast as possible.“
Dan Cox – MPG Award-winning Producer/Engineer
Famous clientele includes Peter Doherty, FKA Twigs, Bon Iver, Flume, Emile Sande, Django Django, Lucy Rose, Lianne La Havas, Bloc Party, Laura Marling, Thurston Moore, Tom Odell, The Staves, Florence and the Machine, Slaves, Ghostpoet to name a few.
Studio A – £350 (10 hour day) – £45 Hourly (min 3 hours) Studio B – £150 (10 hour day) – £20 Hourly (min 5 hours)
Prices exclude VAT. Engineer not included but setup support is available on request
How To Choose The Right Studio For You
The Greater London area has over 130 professional studios. Choosing the right studio for your needs can be as simple as picking one that fits your budget or location but there are other factors that should help you inform your decision.
Consider a studio’s suitability on account of the project ‘you’ are recording and what size facility you actually require.
Word Of Mouth
It pays to ask around. Reputation and recommendation can play a huge role in choosing a studio. If you have it on good reliable authority that ‘the guy’ at Studio X was great to work with and did a fantastic job this should certainly warrant further consideration.
Look into who you’ll be working with (most studios list staff bios on their websites). A good discography is usually evidence that your producer/engineer can confidently deliver. But also be open to the idea that younger producers/engineers can often make up for inexperience with enthusiasm and there may be a favourable difference in cost if budget is a concern.
You’ll then need to open up a dialogue with the producer/engineer to discuss influences and angles to help them understand what you’re trying to achieve so you’re on the same page.
Listen to projects that other artists have recorded there so you can hear the examples the studio can produce. Some studios may provide you with audio examples of work but if that’s not possible they should be happy to direct you to stream examples of previous releases.
Take the time to look at the studio’s equipment specification and don’t feel embarrassed to ask questions if you’re unsure. Engineers LOVE to talk about equipment and should be only too happy to explain things to you. There are lots of iconic studio equipment items that you will see in spec sheets time and time again so it helps to know a little about what you are looking for.
Similarly look at the instruments that are offered for your use i.e. – guitars, guitar amps, drum kits, pianos etc. Larger complexes have a ‘floating’ stock which gets used between individual rooms. If there is something you need, be sure to clarify it will be available for your session. Instruments and amps are not always included in the cost as are fees for piano tuning, guitar restringing etc. so be sure to check.
The big question is often about cost and understanding what that includes. Lots of studios have a published hourly or day rate. Others will withhold theirs in order to maintain flexibility when negotiating a fair price with a client. Check if the agreed price includes an engineer/producer or assistant engineer (lots of facilities advertise a basic hire rate and staff costs are additional).
Find out if deposits are required and when the balance is due. Avoid incurring overtime by making sure you know the house rules so check what the get-in/get-out arrangements are.
Finally, make site visits once you’ve narrowed the selection down. Most studios are very open to visits from prospective clients. Sometimes they can be impractical on account of scheduling or distance but it’s a healthy way for you to set your mind at ease and get a feel for the place you’ll be working in long before the first note is recorded.
So now you know all the best recording studios in London, is it time to take a look at the best recording studios in the world?
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