45 of the Best Recording Studios in the World
Welcome, my fellow music recording artists, to a sonic adventure where we will globetrot in search of the best recording studios in the world. aural world. This isn’t just a journey; it’s an insider’s guide to the best recording studios in the world. We’ll be stopping off at some of the most famous, cutting-edge spaces where the biggest names in music have laid down tracks that have defined generations. We will also explore which studios are tailored for specific services like audio mixing, audio mastering, vocal and instrument recording.
Picture this: a global expedition where each stop uncovers a different facet of music creation. We’re talking about the top recording studios of all time, the hallowed grounds where legendary artists have crafted melodies that resonate in our hearts, still echoing in our ears decades after they first hit the airwaves.
From the glamour and glitz of Los Angeles to the eclectic vibrance of Kingston, from the historic musical richness of London to the pulsating rhythms of Lagos – our journey encompasses studios around the world. Each studio, with its own unique story and legacy, has birthed iconic songs and nurtured talented artists, all while pushing the boundaries of sound technology.
Imagine walking into a studio, surrounded by state-of-the-art recording equipment. It’s not just the cutting-edge tech that sends shivers down your spine, but the knowledge that you’re standing where music history was made. Maybe it was the Beatles perfecting their harmonies, or Nirvana blasting out another grunge anthem. Perhaps it was Beyoncé, pouring her heart out into a soulful ballad, or Bob Marley crafting reggae rhythms that would take the world by storm. Each studio space is a chapter in the grand story of music, and we’re about to delve into them.
As we dive into the essence of these legendary studios, we’re not just exploring the technical aspects, like their high-tech soundboards or the perfect acoustics of their live rooms. We’re peeling back the layers of the past, revealing the souls (and skeletons) of each studio, the musical genius it has nurtured, and the phenomenal records that have come to life within their walls.
So, strap yourself in and get ready for a worldwide tour, where we’ll delve into the heart and soul of the most famous and arguably the best recording studios across the globe. This journey is about more than just bricks, mortar, and high-tech equipment. It’s about the magic that happens when creativity, technology, and passion collide. We’re about to step into the rooms where the biggest names in music have created auditory alchemy, transforming notes and lyrics into timeless hits. Are you ready to join the ride?
45. Parkwood – Houston, Texas, USA
Houston, we have a studio! Set your sights on the Lone Star State’s finest – Parkwood Entertainment, located in the heart of Houston, Texas. Parkwood isn’t just one of the best recording studios in the world; it’s a multimedia entertainment empire founded by the one and only Beyoncé.
Parkwood is an artistic haven where the magic of music meets the glamour of film and television. The studio boasts a jaw-dropping resume, featuring chart-toppers like “Lemonade”, Beyoncé’s critically acclaimed album that shook the world with its raw emotion and fiery anthems.
At Parkwood, every note you record, every lyric you pen, is part of a grand legacy that’s as bold and beautiful as Texas itself. So, if you’re ready to channel your inner Queen Bey and let your talent shine as brightly as the Texas sun, head on down to Parkwood for the best results.
44. Circo Beat Studios – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Grab your passports, we’re jetting off to Buenos Aires, the vibrant heart of Argentina, to visit Circo Beat Studios. Founded by iconic musician Fito Paez, Circo Beat is a creative sanctuary where Latin rhythms and contemporary beats intertwine in a spectacular dance.
Circo Beat Studios has carved out a niche as one of the top recording studios of all time, and for good reason. Its soundproofed rooms have hosted the recording of the famed “El Amor Después del Amor”, Paez’s groundbreaking album that revolutionized Argentine rock.
Step into Circo Beat, and you’re stepping into a world where music and creativity flow as freely as the famous Argentine wine. So, if you’re ready to dance to the beat of Buenos Aires, Circo Beat Studios awaits your music production process.
43. Pintunez Studio – Lagos, Nigeria
Ready to dance to the rhythm of Lagos, my friends? Let’s groove into the heart of Africa’s vibrant music scene at Pintunez Studio. This lively studio, nestled in the bustling city of Lagos, is the epicenter of Afrobeat, churning out hits that resonate across the globe.
Pintunez is more than just a recording studio; it’s a nurturing ground for talent, a hub of creativity where state-of-the-art technology meets the vibrant sounds of Africa. The studio has been instrumental in shaping the careers of many renowned musicians, including the iconic Burna Boy, whose Grammy-winning album, “Twice as Tall,” features tracks recorded at Pintunez.
At Pintunez Studio, it’s about creating music that doesn’t just make you move, but also moves you. So, if you’re ready to ride the wave of Afrobeat and similar popular music, Pintunez Studio is the place to be.
42. Tuff Gong – Kingston, Jamaica
Welcome, mon, to the spiritual home of reggae – Tuff Gong, in sunny Kingston, Jamaica. Founded by the legendary Bob Marley himself, Tuff Gong is more than a studio; it’s a pilgrimage site for musicians and fans alike, a place that echoes with the irresistible rhythms of reggae. We can now understand why this is probably the most popular recording studio in Jamaica.
With a legacy stretching back decades, Tuff Gong remains one of the world’s most famous recording studios. Marley’s timeless classic, “No Woman, No Cry,” that stirs souls even today, was recorded right here. We consider that song to be one of the most famous songs ever.
Tuff Gong continues to uphold its founding father’s vision, fostering a spirit of unity, love, and harmony through music. If you’re ready to immerse yourself in the birthplace of reggae and let your music soak up the soulful vibes of Jamaica, there’s no better place than Tuff Gong.
41. Sonasterio Studios – Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Prepare for a musical journey to Belo Horizonte, Brazil, home to the world-renowned Sonasterio Studios. Nestled amidst the scenic beauty of the Mantiqueira Mountains, Sonasterio is a blend of state-of-the-art technology and inspiring natural aesthetics, a place where you can truly let your creativity flow.
Sonasterio Studios is known for its unique, warm sound and has been the preferred recording destination for many Brazilian artists who make music. The celebrated rock band Skank recorded their hit album “Siderado” in this very studio, proving its mettle in the music industry.
Sonasterio Studios is more than just a recording studio; it’s a space that evokes inspiration and nurtures creativity. So, if you’re looking to create music that speaks to the soul and reverberates with passion, Sonasterio Studios awaits you, probably across the world.
40. Estudio 13 – Mexico City, Mexico
Fasten your seatbelts, music makers, as we embark on a journey to the vibrant, rhythm-infused heart of Mexico City. Here, nestled among the bustling city streets, you’ll find Estudio 13, a legendary recording studio that’s as vibrant and eclectic as the city it calls home.
Estudio 13 studios became well-known for nurturing diverse talents and producing music that transcends genres. Think Latin, pop, rock, classical – you name it, they’ve mastered it. Remember Café Tacvba’s genre-defying “Re” album? Yes, those groundbreaking sounds were sculpted within the walls of Estudio 13 recording site.
With an arsenal of vintage and cutting-edge equipment and an ambiance that captures the soul of Mexico City, Estudio 13 offers a unique space for creativity and innovation. So, step into this Mexican musical mogul and let your creative spirit soar!
39. BOP Studio – Mahikeng, South Africa
Now, let’s travel all the way to the heart of Africa, to the city of Mahikeng, where we’ll discover the iconic BOP Studio, a place that breathes life into the vibrant sounds of African music.
BOP Studio, or Bophuthatswana Studio, is a South African gem, renowned for recording both traditional African music and contemporary hits. This is the very place that witnessed the creation of Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s inspiring “Shaka Zulu”, an album that went on to win a Grammy Award. That is the moment BOP’s studios became very popular.
Offering a perfect blend of top-tier technology and an environment steeped in African culture, BOP Studio is an ideal location for those looking to create music with a unique, soulful edge. So, musicians of the world, get ready to etch your sonic signature in the heart of Africa at BOP Studio.
38. Stankonia – Atlanta, GA, USA
And while we’re still in the heart of Atlanta, let’s dive into the funky, psychedelic world of Stankonia, the iconic studio owned by Outkast, the legendary hip-hop duo. Yes, you’ve got it right. This is where Big Boi and André 3000 stirred up a revolution with their unique brand of Southern hip-hop that took the world by storm.
Stankonia is the perfect blend of Southern charm and hip-hop grit. The studio is so iconic, Outkast even named their groundbreaking album “Stankonia” after it. And boy, did that album shake things up! It pushed boundaries and redefined what hip-hop could be, all from the creative confines of this vibrant studio.
Stankonia is more than just a studio; it’s a piece of music history. It’s seen countless artists walk through its doors, looking to imbibe a little of the magic that has made Outkast such a pivotal influence in the world of music. So, all you rhymers and beat-makers, step into Stankonia, and who knows? Your next track could be the one to shake the world.
37. Q Division Studios – Boston, MA, USA
Boston’s Q Division Studios has established a legendary reputation over its three decades of operation, becoming a beacon of the Boston music scene. From its early days in the 1980s, the studio quickly became known for its top-notch gear and professional atmosphere.
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones recorded their platinum-selling album “Let’s Face It” here, reinforcing Q Division’s status as an essential stop for any serious artist. The studio boasts two unique recording spaces, Studio A and Studio B, both equipped with a mix of modern and vintage equipment.
With its balance of history, professional quality, and commitment to local artists, Q Division truly holds its place among the world’s top recording studios.
36. Third Man Records – Nashville, TN, USA
Founded by rock icon Jack White, Third Man Records in Nashville, USA, is far more than just a recording studio. Its unique concept integrates a record store, label offices, a direct-to-acetate recording capability, and a live venue into one music business creative hub.
The studio gained wide recognition for its direct-to-acetate recording process, a unique feature that allows musicians to capture their performances directly onto vinyl.
From Loretta Lynn’s Grammy-winning album “Van Lear Rose” to White’s own work with The White Stripes and solo ventures, Third Man Records continues to support and influence the music industry through its innovative approaches to world-class recording and music distribution.
35. The Hit Factory – New York City, NY, USA
An iconic pillar of the New York music scene, The Hit Factory served as the creative home for many of the biggest hits in music history.
Founded in 1968, it saw numerous artists from John Lennon to Stevie Wonder grace its recording rooms. The studio is famously known for being the place where Bruce Springsteen recorded “Born in the U.S.A”, one of the defining albums of the 80s.
Although it ceased operations in 2005, the legacy of The Hit Factory lives on, reminding us of a golden era in music history.
34. Sphere Studios – Los Angeles, CA, USA
Sphere Studios in Los Angeles, USA, is a testament to the adaptability and evolution of the music recording industry.
Originally established in London in 2001 by Francesco Cameli, the studio relocated to LA in 2013. This top-tier studio quickly established itself as a go-to for world-class artists, including the likes of Muse and Adele, who recorded her hit single “Rolling in the Deep” in this very space.
Sphere Studios proudly offers a wide variety of vintage and modern recording equipment within an environment designed to inspire creativity.
33. Criteria Studios – Miami, FL, USA
Located in the sunny city of Miami, Criteria Studios is a recording legend in its own right.
Since its establishment in the 1950s, it’s become a significant part of music history, hosting countless legendary artists. The iconic Bee Gees recorded their landmark album “Main Course” at Criteria, which includes the classic “Jive Talkin'”. What’s striking about Criteria is its extensive range of equipment, providing a vibrant mix of vintage and state-of-the-art technology for artists.
If you’re looking to walk in the footsteps of giants, Criteria Studios is a pilgrimage you need to make.
32. The Cutting Room – New York City, NY, SA
In the heart of Manhattan, The Cutting Room stands as a testament to New York City’s enduring significance in the music industry.
This recording studio also doubles as a chic live music venue, offering a unique blend of creativity and performance. One of the studio’s claims to fame is the mastering of John Mayer’s Grammy-winning album “Continuum“, a staple in the singer-songwriter genre.
With its top-tier facilities and its commitment to quality, The Cutting Room continues to carve out its legacy in the music industry.
31. Studios 301 – Sydney, Australia
As Australia’s longest-running professional recording studio, Studios 301 in Sydney has a rich history dating back to the 1920s.
Over the years, it has evolved into a world-class facility, undergoing numerous upgrades and renovations to maintain its cutting-edge standard. Famous artists such as Coldplay have utilized the studio’s outstanding services; their album “Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends” was partly mixed at 301.
With a reputation for excellence and a client list to match, Studios 301 stands as a titan of the recording industry.
30 Sound City Studios – Los Angeles, CA, USA
Sound City Studios in Los Angeles, USA, needs little introduction.
It’s known for its signature sound, due in large part to its custom hand-built Neve 8028 console. This studio has been a part of many landmark records, including Nirvana’s groundbreaking “Nevermind“. The studio’s raw, unfiltered sound has made it a favorite for artists seeking an organic and authentic recording experience.
Sound City embodies the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll, making it an unforgettable stop for artists around the world.
29. Parr Street Studios – Liverpool, UK
Parr Street Studios in Liverpool, England is no stranger to legendary tracks.
The historic walls have echoed with the sounds of iconic artists like The Verve, whose seminal album “Urban Hymns” was partially crafted in these hallowed halls.
With an impressive range of gear, and an environment that encourages creativity, Parr Street Studios is a sought-after destination for recording artists.
28. Jungle City Studios – New York City, NY, USA
A relatively new player in the game, Jungle City Studios has quickly made its mark on the music scene. Located in New York City, it’s famed for its elegant design and top-tier acoustics. Many modern legends, including Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, have recorded here. In fact, the pair’s iconic duet “Empire State of Mind” was created at Jungle City. If you’re seeking a space that blends luxury, technology, and a track record of hits, look no further.
27. The Record Plant – Los Angeles, CA, USA
] View fo the Penthouse at The Record Plant, home of where ‘College Dropout’ by Kanye came to life[/caption]
Bursting onto the scene in 1968 and continually innovating the recording artist workspace, the Record Plant has grown to become an iconic recording studio, nestled in the heart of Los Angeles, California. It has served as the creative birthplace for a stunning array of influential albums. From Blondie’s ‘Parallel Lines’ to Kanye West’s ‘The College Dropout’, the studio has etched its name in the annals of music history.
It was the vision of founders Gary Kellgren and Chris Stone to create a comfortable, casual environment for artists. This vision has since materialized into a studio complete with VIP lounges, departing from the clinical settings that were common in the 1960s. The Record Plant has also served as a recording sanctuary for legendary bands such as Fleetwood Mac, where they recorded their smash album ‘Rumours. The studio’s commitment to providing the perfect backdrop for creativity remains steadfast. Head on over to the Record Plant to learn more.
26. Mushroom Studios – Vancouver, BC, Canada
Initially sprung from the dreams of musician Al Reusch in 1946, Mushroom Studios boasts a rich history in Canadian music. The studio, now relocated to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, has welcomed an eclectic mix of artists, from the Incredible Bongo Band to Sarah McLachlan3. From its origins as Aragon Recording Studios to its transformation into Mushroom Studios in 1966, the facility has always been ahead of its time. Its first-class recording capabilities attracted industry giants like Diana Ross and The Supremes, followed by Led Zeppelin3.
Under the new ownership of Jack Herschorn in 1971, the studio was renamed “Can-Base Studios” and continued to attract an array of artists, including Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra3. It was later renamed Mushroom Studios, gaining prominence when Heart’s debut album ‘Dreamboat Annie’ was recorded there3. The studio underwent another transformation in 1980, accommodating over 50 musicians for film scoring, including the film score album of ‘Top Gun’3. It was then owned by John Wozniak of Marcy Playground fame from 2009-20163. Now operated by a team at Mushroom under the guidance of John Wozniak, the studio is now located in Toronto, Ontario3. Visit to explore more about their story.
25 Hansa Studios – Berlin, Germany
Welcome to the heart of Berlin where music and history intertwine, welcome to Hansa Studios. Built in the 1910s, this architectural beauty has withstood the test of time and stands as a testament to the creative spirit of Berlin. Located near the iconic Potsdamer Platz, the studio has served as a creative hub for musicians and artists from around the world.
When you think of Hansa Studios, think of the legendary David Bowie. The ‘Thin White Duke’ once called this place home, crafting masterpieces like “Heroes” within these storied walls. The echoes of that time still reverberate today, inspiring artists to create their own moments of magic.
24. Supersonic Sound – Nairobi, Kenya
Hello, hello! Here we go, lads and lasses, to the heart of Africa, Nairobi, Kenya. It’s a place where the rhythm of life is dictated by the beat of the drum, and smack in the middle of all this vibrancy, we find the pioneering Supersonic Sound. Now, this isn’t just a place to lay down your tracks, it’s a melting pot of diverse cultures and sounds.
Supersonic has become the beating heart of Nairobi’s music scene, an incubator for local talent and a haven for international artists seeking to infuse their music with that unique African sound. Remember that catchy, heart-thumping beat on “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)” by Shakira for the 2010 FIFA World Cup? Well, that’s just a small taste of the magical influence that African beats have on global music, and Supersonic Sound is a leading purveyor of this magic.
So, as the sun sets over the African savannah, picture yourself in this musical haven, laying down a track that could potentially rock the world. Make your own mark, create your own rhythm, and let Supersonic Sound guide you along the way.
23 Stax Records – Memphis, TN, USA
Situated in the heart of soulful Memphis, Stax Records has a rich history and a legacy of soul-stirring music. Founded in 1957, it quickly became a hit-making factory, churning out a staggering number of chart-topping singles and albums. The studio was initially a garage and later transformed into a recording studio that became a breeding ground for some of the world’s most influential soul artists, such as Otis Redding, Booker T. & the MG’s, and Isaac Hayes. If the walls of this studio could talk, they would sing in the voices of these soul legends and others who left their indelible marks here.
The studio is notable for its distinct and reverberating “Stax Sound,” which was heavily influenced by southern gospel, blues, and jazz. This became the soundtrack of the Civil Rights Movement, making Stax Records much more than just a recording studio. It was, and continues to be, a cultural symbol of expression, resilience, and unity.
Today, the studio stands as the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, a tribute to the artists, the music, and the legacy of Stax Records. It’s more than just a museum – it’s a pilgrimage for any musician or music enthusiast who’s ever been moved by the power of soul. Make sure to check out the Stax Museum website for more information on this iconic studio and its history.
Famous for producing the “Theme from Shaft” – a funk/soul song by Isaac Hayes that has become an anthem in popular culture – Stax Records continues to inspire musicians around the world with its legendary sound. Take a look at this New York Times article on how the Stax sound played a crucial role in shaping soul music and popular culture.
22. Galaxy Studios – Mol, Belgium
Nestled in Mol, Belgium, Galaxy Studios has long been a beacon of innovation in the world of audio recording. Since its establishment in 1980, the studio has been pushing the boundaries of audio technology, pioneering immersive sound technologies such as Auro-3D, a revolutionary sound format that delivers a three-dimensional listening experience.
Stepping into Galaxy Studios feels like stepping into a dream. It’s a sprawling complex that includes multiple state-of-the-art recording and mixing rooms, a vast scoring stage, and even a residential area for artists to live in while working on their projects. It is a haven for musicians, providing not just top-tier technology and facilities, but also an inspiring and comfortable environment to create in.
Over the years, the studio has been the birthplace of numerous celebrated albums and film scores, attesting to its superior recording capabilities and the high level of expertise of its staff. Visit the Galaxy Studios website for a closer look at what this cutting-edge facility has to offer.
One of the studio’s groundbreaking contributions to the world of sound is the Auro-3D format, a technology that transforms regular stereo sound into a three-dimensional sonic experience. This innovative sound format has been used in a wide range of applications, from cinema and music production to automotive and home entertainment systems. Learn more about this fascinating technology from this Sound & Vision article.
21. Motor Museum – Liverpool, UK
Motor Museum isn’t just another recording hub; it’s a testament to the city’s vibrant history, born out of a defunct motor museum, and today, it’s where music magic happens. This revered studio was first launched in the late 80s, under the name “The Pink Museum”. Echo & The Bunnymen, all motorcycle fanatics, were instrumental in its inception, pointing towards a shuttered motor museum as the ideal location for a new studio. And so, after a year of planning and construction, The Pink Museum rose from the ashes of the old1.
The Motor Museum is not your typical recording studio. With its cabin-like rooms nestled within a massive 240-square-metre warehouse area, it’s a treasure trove of rich, ambient sounds that have become part of the studio’s signature1. It has been a fertile ground for artists like British reggae band Aswad, members of Liverpool FC, and Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, who recorded their 1991 album “Sugar Tax” here, birthing hits like ‘Sailing On The Seven Seas’ and ‘Pandora’s Box’1.
Under the guidance of Al Groves since 2012, the studio has seen a few changes, but the spirit of music creation remains as vibrant as ever. The studio is equipped with a Neve 8232 console with 32 channels, an impressive outboard collection, and a microphone collection built around classics like the Neumanns U87 and TLM1701. They also have an extensive selection of Fender, Marshall, and Ampeg amplifiers, and keyboard instruments like a Rhodes piano and Minimoog Model D1.
Motor Museum has had the honour of being part of the careers of some of the most influential UK bands of the past decades, including Oasis who recorded their first single ‘Supersonic’ here, and Arctic Monkeys who used Motor Museum for some of their earliest recordings. The studio has also seen the likes of Ben Howard, Jake Bugg, Tom Odell, and Tribes, and continues to welcome artists from around the world1. Here’s a fantastic article diving deeper into the Motor Museum’s illustrious history and its impact on the music industry.
20. Super Sound Studios – Atlanta, GA, USA
Welcome, my fellow music makers, to the thriving, pulsing city of Atlanta, where we find Super Sound Studios, a place where melody and rhythm come together in a harmonious symphony. Here, the music scene is as diverse as the city itself, and Super Sound Studios is a vibrant part of this eclectic mix.
This powerhouse studio is the birthplace of numerous hits that have left their indelible mark on the world of music. Remember the catchy and evergreen “Hey Ya!” by Outkast? Those toe-tapping beats and infectious melodies were crafted right here in Super Sound Studios.
Super Sound prides itself on a blend of vintage equipment and state-of-the-art technology, allowing you to produce the perfect mix of old-school charm and modern finesse. So strap in and let your creativity run wild in this Atlanta gem, where your musical dreams can become a reality.
19. Ardent Studios – Memphis, TN, USA
Founded in 1971, Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, has a rich history tied to the soulful heart of American music. Initially a small enterprise, the studio quickly grew into a major player in the music industry, recording a variety of genres from soul to rock.
The studio boasts three different recording spaces each with its own unique acoustics and state-of-the-art equipment. Over the years, Ardent Studios has seen an array of music legends, such as ZZ Top, Led Zeppelin, and Isaac Hayes, come through its doors.
The studio is also known for its role in the popularization of the Memphis Sound, a blend of blues, soul, and gospel, best embodied by the music of Stax Records. Today, Ardent Studios continues to attract a diverse range of artists looking to capture that authentic Memphis sound in their music.
18 Parr Street Studios – Liverpool, UK
Parr Street Studios is a renowned recording studio located in the heart of Liverpool, England. First opened in 1974, the studio has become a cornerstone in British music history. The facility houses three studios, each equipped with top-notch gear, offering a versatile recording experience. The studio has been a creative hub for many iconic artists, including Coldplay, who recorded their first three albums at Parr Street. Additionally, the studio played a significant role in the creation of the Britpop movement in the mid-90s, hosting bands like Oasis and The Verve. Parr Street Studios remains a beacon in the music industry, attracting a wide array of artists from across the globe.
17. Criteria Studios – Miami, FL, USA
Ah, the sweet, sultry vibes of Miami, where the sun never seems to set and music is a language all its own. Amongst the vibrant, ever-throbbing pulse of the city, you’ll find the legendary Criteria Studios. Just imagine, standing in the same rooms that once echoed with the groundbreaking sounds of the Bee Gees, Black Sabbath, and Eric Clapton.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? Picture this: it’s 1977, the Bee Gees are in the studio, and out flows the iconic, disco-infused riffs of “Stayin’ Alive”. It’s pure magic, and it happened right here at Criteria. This, my friends, is the same hallowed space that birthed a revolution of sound that still reverberates today.
But don’t be fooled into thinking this studio is stuck in the past. With state-of-the-art technology and a dedicated team of audio professionals, Criteria Studios continues to innovate, pushing the boundaries of what music can be. Step into this historic studio, and feel the electric charge of creation – the perfect venue to give birth to your own masterpiece.
16. Karma Studios – Bang Sare, Thailand
Next, we take a leap across the Indian Ocean to the Land of Smiles, Thailand, where we find the tranquil oasis that is Karma Studios. Nestled in a serene coastal town, Karma is the epitome of a creative sanctuary.
Imagine recording your next hit surrounded by lush tropical gardens, a stone’s throw away from pristine beaches. That’s Karma Studios for you – a blissful blend of world-class recording facilities and a relaxing, zen-like atmosphere. Need proof? Just listen to Placebo’s “Battle for the Sun”, an album birthed in the peaceful environs of Karma.
Apart from its soothing ambience, Karma boasts a state-of-the-art recording studio complete with Neve Genesys Black console and a team of experienced sound engineers. A few days at Karma Studios, and you’ll see why it’s a chosen destination for artists seeking to find their musical nirvana.
So go on, musicians of the world, venture to these beautiful corners of the earth and let your music soar. Who knows, your next hit could be just a studio session away.
15. Konk Studios – London, UK
If you’re in the heart of London and you’re feeling a bit “kinky”, why not pay a visit to Konk Studios? This legendary recording studio, founded by none other than the Kinks in the early 70s, is a sacred haven for music lovers. It’s the place where hits like “Lola” turned from dreams into rock ‘n roll reality. When the Kinks hung up their guitars in ’96, Konk continued to be a creative sanctuary for a variety of artists including the Stone Roses, Blur, and Franz Ferdinand, to name a few.
It’s not just the rock and roll history that makes Konk special; the studio itself boasts an impressive setup. With the main Neve Room and the SSL room, opened in the early 80s, the studio is perfectly equipped for recording, mixing, and editing tracks. Plus, if you’re a fan of the Kinks, you might recognize the Neve Room from the “State of Confusion” music video.
In 2008, Konk found itself back in the spotlight when the Kooks recorded their album Konk, which topped the UK albums chart. The album’s title not only paid homage to the studio but also subtly referenced the Kinks, an influence the Kooks were keen to emulate. Konk Studios – it’s not just a recording studio; it’s a piece of musical history.
14. Power Station Studio – New York, USA
Ah, what a place to make some noise! Nestled in the heart of New York City, the legendary Power Station Studio is a treasure trove of music history. This powerhouse of a studio first opened its doors in 1977 and has been setting the bar for professional recording facilities worldwide ever since.
Originally a Con Edison power relay station, the building also had a stint as a television studio, producing shows like “Let’s Make A Deal” and “Dark Shadows”. It later transformed into the Power Station Studio, and boy did it live up to its name! After a whopping 15 million dollar renovation, the studio reopened in 2021, offering state-of-the-art facilities for recording artists, film and television shoots, and live streaming events.
Throughout its storied history, Power Station has been home to an array of artists who’ve shaped the music world. From Nile Rodgers and Chic who were among the first sessions, to the likes of Madonna, Lady Gaga, and the Rolling Stones. But it was our man Bruce Springsteen who truly left his mark on this iconic studio.
Back in April 1982, Springsteen and the E Street Band returned to Power Station Studio’s Studio A and began work on what would become one of their greatest recordings – “Born in the U.S.A”. As Roy Bittan recalls in this Rolling Stone article, Springsteen initially played the song on acoustic guitar, then the band joined in and the magic began. When they finished recording, the sound was so potent it was like heavy artillery going off at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Springsteen knew then and there, they’d made one of their greatest recordings.
If you’re looking to make a mark in the music world, Power Station Studio is where you need to be. With its cutting-edge technology and rich musical legacy, it’s a place where dreams are made and legends are born.
13. RCA Studio B – Nashville, TN, USA
For a musician with a love for history and the classics, there is no place like the iconic RCA Studio B in Nashville, Tennessee. This music recording studio, built in 1956 by RCA Victor, has a rich history. Originally known simply as “RCA Studios”, Studio B played a crucial role in the development of the Nashville Sound, a unique musical production style that is still influential today. In fact, it produced 60 percent of the Billboard magazine’s Country chart hits during its active years, cementing its place in the annals of country music history1.
Located centrally in Nashville’s historic Music Row district, RCA Studio B is a testament to the city’s deep-rooted music culture. It is currently under the ownership of the Country Music Hall of Fame, which offers scheduled tours of the facilities, providing music lovers with an intimate look at the place where legendary tracks were created1.
RCA Studio B is steeped in stories. One notable tale includes a young Elvis Presley recording ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, his first gold record and the biggest-selling single of 1956, in the studio1. Another story involves Dolly Parton, who in her haste to make a recording session at Studio B in October 1967, drove her car through the side wall of the building. The spot where her car impacted the building is still visible today, serving as a reminder of the studio’s vibrant history1.
The studio’s facilities featured a grand piano, an RCA radio station tube console, and an Ampex 2-track deck. An echo chamber occupied the second story. Engineer Bill Porter made significant improvements to the studio’s acoustics, which greatly enhanced the sound quality. These improvements, along with the studio’s unique ambiance, helped attract a variety of musicians to record there, from country to pop stars1.
12. Ocean Way Recording – Nashville, TN, USA
And now, let’s saddle up and ride to the home of country music – Nashville, Tennessee. Amidst the country bars and legendary music venues, you’ll find the historic Ocean Way Recording, an iconic studio with a rich history of creating chart-topping hits.
What if I told you that Frank Sinatra, Radiohead, and George Strait have all left their musical imprint in the hallowed halls of Ocean Way? Yes, you heard it right. It’s a veritable pantheon of musical greats. An example? The soulful “Strait from the Heart” by George Strait, a classic that still touches hearts, was recorded right here.
Ocean Way’s impressive studio, housed in a gorgeous 100-year-old Gothic revival grey stone church, is equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Its unique architecture offers a recording experience that’s hard to match. So, come on all you songsters and melody makers, Nashville’s Ocean Way Recording is ready to etch your sounds into the annals of music history.
11. Westlake Recording Studios – Los Angeles, CA, USA
Situated in the heart of Los Angeles, the illustrious Westlake Recording Studios has been an epicenter of musical creation since the early 1970s. It’s more than just a studio; it’s a legendary status symbol, bearing witness to the birth of some of the most iconic recordings in music history. The hallowed halls of Westlake have resonated with the sound of countless influential artists, producers, and labels, adding to its aura as a central creative hub of Los Angeles. A litany of albums have been recorded at Westlake, confirming its place as a cornerstone in the foundation of the global music industry. The studio’s enduring legacy has allowed it to not only stand the test of time but also to continually attract today’s most influential music creators.
10. AIR Studios – London, UK
Nestled in the heart of London, AIR Studios is an emblem of English musical prowess. Founded by Sir George Martin, the “Fifth Beatle”, in 1965, it has stood as a testament to music production at its finest. The studio has been a cornerstone in the creation of numerous chart-topping hits from artists across the globe. From Paul McCartney to Adele, AIR Studios’ legacy has left an indelible mark on the music industry. Notably, the studio also houses one of the world’s largest recording rooms, which has been utilized for the production of major film scores such as the Harry Potter series. A visit to AIR Studios is not just a recording session; it’s an immersion into a rich musical history.
9. Sun Studio – Memphis, TN, USA
Located in Memphis, Sun Studio is hailed as the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll. It’s here where the blending of blues and country music gave rise to a new genre that would take the world by storm. Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis were just some of the music legends that recorded their first hits here. Sun Studio continues to resonate with the spirit of these music pioneers, offering an intimate setting where artists can capture their sound, pure and undiluted. It’s more than just a recording studio; it’s a pilgrimage site for every rock ‘n’ roll devotee.
8. Muscle Shoals Sound Studio – Sheffield, AL, USA
Enveloped in the rich musical landscape of Sheffield, Alabama, Muscle Shoals Sound Studio has been a beacon of soulful and heartfelt music since its inception. Founded in 1969 by the famed Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, the studio was a trailblazer in soul and rock music, attracting big names such as the Rolling Stones and Aretha Franklin. The studio has retained its vintage charm, providing artists with a warm and inviting space to create. Muscle Shoals Sound Studio isn’t just a place to record; it’s a place to feel the roots of music and let the soul sing.
Currently, the studio is a historical museum during the day and a recording studio at night. Amazin’.
7 Sigma Sound Studios – Philadelphia, PA, USA
The Beach Boys Sigma Sound Studios, nestled deep in the heart of Philadelphia, USA, holds a profound legacy and an indelible place in music history. The iconic studio, founded in 1968 by recording engineer Joseph Tarsia, has become synonymous with the Philadelphia Sound – a unique and distinctive blend of R&B, funk, and soul that dominated the airwaves in the 1970s and 1980s. With over 200 Gold and Platinum award-winning records to its name, Sigma Sound Studios has served as a creative sanctuary for countless renowned artists throughout the decades, immortalizing their vocal prowess and cultivating a distinctive sound that continues to resonate with listeners even today.
Sigma’s peerless acumen and technical expertise made it the go-to studio for music royalty such as David Bowie, Teddy Pendergrass, Patti LaBelle, The O’Jays, and The Jacksons, solidifying its reputation as an industry game-changer. No discussion of Sigma would be complete without acknowledging the indelible mark left by legendary producers and songwriters Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.
As architects of the Philadelphia Sound, Gamble and Huff used Sigma as their primary creative environment, crafting groundbreaking hits like “Love Train,” “If You Don’t Know Me by Now,” and “Me and Mrs. Jones” within its storied walls. What set Sigma Sound Studios apart from its contemporaries was its cutting-edge fusion of the latest technology with masterful craftsmanship and artistry. At the core of this technical prowess was Tarsia himself, who imbued the studio with his vast knowledge of audio engineering and innovative spirit. With a relentless pursuit of perfection, Tarsia ensured that artists who recorded at Sigma had access to unparalleled recording facilities, providing them with the tools to unleash their boundless creativity.
Sigma’s future-oriented mindset was evident in its adoption of revolutionary audio equipment, such as the first-ever 24-track tape machine and the innovative use of analog delay technology. Furthermore, the exceptional team of engineers and staff worked tirelessly to ensure that the studio remained on the cutting edge of recording advancements, embracing the digital revolution and paving the way for contemporary music production.
Today, Sigma Sound Studios stands as both a monument to the past and an enduring symbol of the pioneering spirit that fostered its iconic status. A veritable treasure trove of musical excellence, the studio remains an essential touchstone in the annals of American music history. As a testament to its lasting impact and influence, new generations of artists continue to be inspired by the indomitable spirit of Sigma and the iconic Philadelphia Sound. recorded their masterpiece “Pet Sounds”
4. Motown Hitsville U.S.A – Detroit, MI, USA
Hitsville U.S.A is the birthplace of the Motown Sound. Established in 1959 by Berry Gordy, it was home to the iconic Motown Record Corporation. Artists like Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, and Marvin Gaye recorded timeless hits in this very building, which is now the Motown Museum. This studio was the first to allow artists to record as they felt the music, creating a unique atmosphere that contributed to the distinct Motown Sound. Motown Records is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023, further cementing its legacy in the music industry.
5. The Sound Factory – Hollywood, CA, USA
Founded in the 1960s, The Sound Factory is a well-known recording studio located in the heart of Hollywood, California. The studio originally served as the home of Moonglow Records and Moonglow Recording Studio until 1969, when former RCA recording engineer and Warner/Reprise producer David Hassinger purchased the building and rebranded it to its current name. The studio quickly became a top choice for artists in Hollywood, leading to the opening of a second location in West Hollywood which has since been closed.
In 1981, the famous studio was purchased by the owners of Sunset Sound Recorders, Paul and Tutti Camarata. Over the decades, The Sound Factory has been frequented by some of the music industry’s top artists. Notably, Linda Ronstadt recorded most of her career-defining hits in this studio, making it a significant landmark in her musical journey.
Other renowned artists who have used the studio include Marvin Gaye, Gram Parsons and The Flying Burrito Brothers, Ringo Starr, Dolly Parton, Sheena Easton, Oingo Boingo, Brian Wilson, The Jackson 5, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, among others. Each of these artists has left their own unique imprint on the studio, contributing to its rich history and prestigious reputation.
4. Sunset Sound Recorders – Hollywood, CA, USA
Known for its world-class facilities and an impressive list of past clients, Sunset Sound Recorders is a legendary recording studio based in Hollywood, California. Established in 1962 by Tutti Camarata, a former Disney director, the studio was initially designed to cater to the sound recording needs of Walt Disney Studios. However, it soon branched out and started welcoming a wide range of artists from different genres.
Over the years, Sunset Sound Recorders has been the recording hub for many landmark albums and iconic artists. For instance, Led Zeppelin recorded parts of their legendary albums, including “Led Zeppelin II”, “IV”, and “Houses of the Holy”, in this studio. The Rolling Stones, The Doors, Prince, and Van Halen are other noteworthy names who have graced the studio with their presence.
The studio’s three echo chambers, designed by Elemer Ragalyi, have contributed to its unique sound and made it a desirable location for artists looking to add depth and richness to their recordings. The combination of top-notch equipment, expertly designed spaces, and an extensive history of extraordinary music, make Sunset Sound Recorders a destination worth considering for artists seeking to carve out their own place in music history.
3. United Western Recorders – Hollywood, CA, USA
In the vibrant heart of Hollywood, the world’s premier recording facility, EastWest Studios, formerly known as United Western Recorders, stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of music. This legendary studio has shaped the course of music history, boasting an impressive roster of artists and Grammy-winning albums that have graced its recording rooms over the last sixty years.
Artists from Frank Sinatra to The Rolling Stones have sought the unique acoustic experience that this studio offers. The studio was meticulously transformed for the needs of contemporary artists by EastWest Sounds producer Doug Rogers and internationally renowned designer Philippe Starck, yet it retains the architectural integrity of the original live recording rooms built by legendary engineer Bill Putnam in 1961.
The idea was to fuse the grandeur of the past with a bold, playful vision of the future, creating a space where artists can be inspired, mingle, and shape the future of music. One of the many legendary moments at this studio was when other great hits in Studio 3. This iconic complex is more than just a recording studio; it’s a place where music history is made and continues to be made.
2. Capitol Studios – Los Angeles, CA, USA
Capitol Studios in Los Angeles has been keeping the artisan craft of music alive since 1956. Located in the bustling heart of Hollywood, the studio is housed within a 13-story office building shaped like a stack of LPs. Capitol Studios has witnessed the creation of countless timeless records, from its very first recording by Frank Sinatra, earning it a distinguished place in the annals of music history.
The studio offers a unique echo chamber that has seen, heard, and recorded it all. Sinatra’s relationship with Capitol was so profound that his name is forever synonymous with this iconic studio. He recorded several of his best-loved works at Studio A, including ‘A Swingin’ Affair’, ‘Come Fly With Me’, and ‘Nice’n’Easy’.
The studio’s impeccable sound, combined with Sinatra’s fame, earned Capitol Studios renown as a state-of-the-art recording facility, and by 1968, when artists not signed to Capitol were allowed to use it, it became a highly desirable recording location.
Capitol Studios was one of the first US recording facilities to use magnetic tape rather than record directly to disc, a feature that helped to give Sinatra’s recordings a warmer sound. The studio used a groundbreaking Neumann U47 capacitor valve microphone that captured every nuance of Sinatra’s voice, thus defining the sound of an era.
1. Abbey Road Studios – London, UK
London’s famed Abbey Road Studios, an iconic site in the world of music, has been a cornerstone of creative brilliance and innovation for almost 90 years. Opening its doors in 1931, it earned its legendary status in the 1960s when a little band called The Beatles recorded almost all of their albums there. Today, it’s not just a piece of musical history; it’s a fully operational recording studio that continues to attract artists from around the world.
The studio complex consists of three main recording studios, each with its own distinct character and purpose. The largest, Studio One, can accommodate a 110-piece orchestra and a 100-voice choir simultaneously, making it the perfect venue for large-scale recordings. Studio Two, made famous by The Beatles, has a more intimate setting, ideal for rock and pop bands, while Studio Three is tailored for mixing film scores and albums.
Abbey Road Studios is not only revered for its stellar recording spaces but also for its innovative technology. The studios introduced pioneering recording techniques that transformed the music industry. The technology developed within its walls, from stereo sound to artificial double tracking (ADT), has had a profound impact on the way music is recorded and produced.
One cannot talk about Abbey Road Studios without mentioning the iconic zebra crossing outside the studio, featured on the cover of The Beatles’ 1969 album, ‘Abbey Road’. The crossing and the studio have become a pilgrimage site for Beatles fans from around the world.
From the Record Plant in Los Angeles to Mushroom Studios in Vancouver, each of these recording studios brings a unique essence that has left an indelible mark on the music industry. As artists and creatives, the spaces we choose to create in can deeply influence our work. These studios have shown their power to inspire and facilitate the creation of remarkable music. Whether you’re just starting out or already have a growing discography, never underestimate the impact of recording in a studio steeped in musical history.
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