Shopping around for a recording studio?
Obviously, there are studios across the world, and depending on what your requirements are, there might be studios in your locality that can meet your needs.
That said, the cost of studio time can vary quite a bit depending on where you’re recording. And if the financial outlay is going to be significant anyway, you want to make the most of that time, right?
In this guide, we explore how much hiring a recording studio costs, and compare various price ranges across the globe.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Recording Studio?
So how much does a recording studio cost to hire? You should expect to pay about $30 per hour at home studios with independent engineers, all the way up to $250 per hour at high-end studios; sometimes more.
We'll look at specific music studio costs all around the world in this article, but first let's look at some of the things which impact studio time price.
Recording studios are available in abundance – from legendary studios where some of the all-time best-selling albums were recorded, all the way down to project, home, basement, and garage studios where surprisingly great work still gets done (many artists, like Bruce Springsteen, Phil Collins, Prince, Van Halen, and Led Zeppelin have material that was recorded in a home studio).
And you can find recording studios, not just in major cities or music centers, but also in towns, sometimes in villages even.
Studio gear is more affordable than ever (even hobbyists can easily enter the market and set up shop now), and if you’re primarily recording “in the box,” as is the wont of many electronic and pop producers, you don’t need a lot of fancy gear to make high quality recordings anymore.
That said, many studios are still equipped with an incredible range of analog and digital gear to accommodate different types of projects, artists, and genres.
Either way, the cost of hiring a studio is going to be determined by a few factors. Here are the main ones to consider:
- Prominence. The cost of recording at Electric Lady Studios in New York is going to differ considerably, compared to, say, your average neighborhood garage studio. It might seem obvious, but it’s good to keep in mind that a studio founded by Jimi Hendrix is going to come at a premium compared to Mike’s makeshift home studio down the block (as good as it might ultimately be).
- Time requirements. How much time are you going to be spending in the studio? Some producers charge per song or project. Most studios charge per hour. It depends on your project requirements as well, but fundamentally time is typically a factor in pricing, though there are sometimes discounts when you’ve purchased a package or exceeded a certain number of hours.
- Project requirements. This includes things like gear (like specific keyboards or guitar amps), session players, arrangers, songwriters, or anything else you might require in bringing your creative vision to life. The more personnel you need, the more parts you need to record, the longer it usually takes (including the mixing process), the more you’re going to end up spending.
- Engineer. Some studios let you use their facilities on your own (or bring your own engineer). Others require you to hire their in-house engineer(s). Sometimes, the cost of the engineer is included, sometimes not. But you can rest assured the cost of hiring a studio engineer is going to affect the price you ultimately pay.
With that, we’re going to look at a few studios across the world and compare price ranges.
Important note: Many studios do not display their rates on their website, and you will need to request a quote. All studios covered here have rates displayed on their sites.
If you live in a major city, there’s a good chance there are multiple studios in your locality. Some of the biggest music cities in the US include New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, New Orleans, Seattle, and others, and you can bet they are decked out with great recording facilities.
Here are a few studios to help you get a better idea of how much recording time costs in the States.
F5 SoundHouse offers music production, songwriting, and artist mentorship. It opened its doors in 2012 and they’ve been working with artists from all over Europe and the States. They have multiple facilities with different characters, created with different purposes in mind. They’ve furnished their working environments with top-of-the-line gear via Neve, Avalon, Sony, Empirical Labs, Universal Audio, Neumann, and others.
Overall, you get a relatively “premium” experience for a more than reasonable rate (unless you opt for more expensive options).
Price range: $65 per hour ($110 per hour for full production team, separate rates for Studio A)
Widely regarded The Birthplace of Rock and Roll, legends ranging from Elvis Presley and B.B. King to Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash all had a hand in putting Sun Studio, and for that matter, Memphis, on the map.
Sun Studio is now a museum as much as it is a recording studio, and recording begins after hours. Their rates aren’t cheap, but then again, would you expect them to be? You’re paying for the experience of being where legends once stood, more than anything.
Price range: Starting at $200 per hour
Orbit Audio is one of Seattle’s top-ranking recording studios. It was first established in 1995 by Joe Reineke and has remained home to a larger community of musicians, producers, and engineers that have played a big part in defining the Seattle sound.
Some of their clients include Halsey, Macklemore, André 3000, and others you’re sure to recognize.
Their SSL 4056 G+ with Ultimation console is impressive to say the least, but they’ve also got a remarkable array of microphone preamps, effects units, compressors, and tube guitar amplifiers. Not to mention – a Hammond A-100 organ with Leslie 122 speaker, vintage Neumann U47 mic, and a great deal more.
They’ve also got an incredibly comfy looking lounge. For that’s on offer, booking studio time at Orbit Studio is quite reasonable.
Price range: $95 per hour for Studio A, $75 per hour for Studio B
Jackpot! Recording Studio
Jackpot! was established in 1997 and is one of Portland’s top-rated studios. They’ve worked with the likes of Atlas Genius, Quasi, Eddie Vedder, Chastity Belt, Summer Cannibals, and more. Their equipment highlights include a 32-channel Rupert Neve Designs 5088 console, EMT plate reverb, and over 100 microphones.
They record everything from full bands to singer-songwriters and are equipped for versatility, with pianos, organs, spring reverbs, tape delays, effects pedals, and so much more.
Their rates are reasonable, but you should expect it to cost more if you want to work with an in-house engineer.
Price range: $50 per hour (without engineer)
San Diego, CA
Located in downtown San Diego, JCB Music is a multi-faceted music company offering guitar lessons, recording services, and session work. So, if you’re looking for more than just a recording space, you’ve found a company that might be able to meet your needs.
Their studio is well-suited to singer-songwriters and hip-hop artists. They can take a song from conception to completion while taking advantage of great tools like a 24-track digital recording console, Native Instruments’ Komplete 10, Roland effects, and more.
A great choice for low-key, simple projects, and their rates reflect it.
Price range: $40 per hour of recording studio hire time
Space Recording And Rehearsal Studio
The one of a kind Space Recording And Rehearsal Studio is an affordable rehearsal and recording space with 31 spacious rooms built on nine acres of land(!).
Some of their equipment includes the Toft ATB16 console, Rupert Neve Designs Portico II microphone preamp, and Universal Audio 2-610 dual channel tube preamp. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, mind you.
You can check out sound clips on their website to discover the kind of work they do (punk rock, pop, electronic, country, and more).
Their rehearsal spaces are beyond affordable, and their studio rates aren’t half bad either.
Price range: $60 per hour
Epicentre Recording Studio
Epicentre Recording Studio (yes, it really is spelt that way), offers audio tracking as well as voiceover tracking and post-production services.
Featuring 24-track audio recording, mixing, mastering regardless of genre, Epicentre has an impressive roster of clients.
Their studio is equipped with a Neumann TLM103, API 3124+ 4 Channel Preamp, Universal Audio Apollo 8, and other great gear worth drooling over.
Price range: $50 per hour without engineer, $85 per hour for two to seven hours (with engineer), $75 per hour for eight plus hours (with engineer)
11th Street Recording Studios
11th Street Recording Studios is a huge, high-end recording facility with multiple rooms, offering a variety of premium services – recording, mixing, mastering, songwriting, music production, and audio post-production. It was originally established in 2006.
Not surprisingly, they use high-end software and equipment, including Pro Tools 11, UAD-2 accelerator cards, Apogee audio interfaces, and more.
As is common in Atlanta, they primarily handle pop, R&B, and hip-hop, but are equipped to work with all types of musicians and genres.
Price range: $65 to $200 per hour depending on the studio (see website for more details, as they have many rooms)
Established in 2007, Classick Studios is one of the Windy City’s top music recording facilities. The studio evolved out of what was essentially a home and basement studio until it finally relocated to West Chicago Ave. Their current facilities are also cozy and homey.
Some of their clients include Chance The Rapper, Juice, and Exquire, among many others (plenty of hip-hop artists, as you might expect).
Price range: $45 per hour with intern engineer or no engineer, $75 per hour with engineer
The Boom Room
Philadelphia’s own The Boom Room offers recording, rehearsal, live video production (livestreams), and private event services (workshops, classes, listening events, art galleries, and more). The space has been owned and operated by music producer and drummer Gary Dann since 2011.
A great space to record in, and a great space to do livestreams in as well.
Price range: $60 per hour studio time
With a population of nearly 68 million, UK is home to a sizable population and some of the biggest pop and rock bands of all time – The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Queen, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, and countless others.
Here are a few studios worth checking out in the UK (there are a lot of other great ones out there!).
Select Recording Studios
Select Recording Studios offers recording, music production, voiceovers, mixing and mastering, as well as online mixing and mastering services. Whether you’re a solo artist, rapper, band, or group, Select Studios has something for you. They’re well-acquainted with R&B, pop rock, hip-hop, grime, dub step, dance, metal, electro, jazz, country, and musical theatre.
The studio was founded by Paul Miles in 1998. Miles himself is a successful songwriter and recording artist with over 20 years of industry experience.
Some of their clients include Caprice, Tight Fit, and Kristina O’Connor. Their studio equipment is quite extensive with various microphones, drums, preamps and compressors, guitar and bass amplifiers, software, virtual synths, and more.
Price range: £43.75 to £50 per hour (discounts apply to longer bookings)
HQ Recording Studios
HQ Recording Studios offers a broad range of services, including recording, mastering, mixing, composition, post-production, audio transfer, disk manufacturing, duplication, digital distribution, image and video reproduction and editing, and courses. All of this is available for the same flat hourly fee, regardless of activity.
HQ promises to be a creative, relaxed, and inspiring environment where you can concentrate on your project. It was founded in 1990 and opened in 1992. Their facilities now include Studio One, and the larger Studio Two.
For those who like to take their project at a relaxed pace, one step at a time, this seems like an excellent place to record.
Price range: £30 per hour regardless of activity
B The Sound Studio
B The Sound Studio (aka Birmingham Studios, aka Studio in Birmingham) offers recording, mixing, and mastering services. Their equipment includes recorders, mixers, microphones, outboard gear, monitoring, and instruments. They’ve worked with the likes of Sophie Aspin, Davida, and Shaz.
As with HQ Recording Studios, their rates are quite reasonable.
Price range: £30 per hour with engineer
Now it’s time to hop on over to the “Great White North.” It’s basically just the States but with a much smaller population and more wide-open spaces…
Don’t forget – prices below are in CAD. Typically, the US dollar is much stronger than the Canadian dollar (about 0.6 – 0.8 to 1).
Located in Vancouver, BC, Monarch Studios is a world-class studio owned and run by award-winning engineers and producers. And they have one of the best studio websites we’ve seen.
The facility is simply beautiful, and they are equipped with an API 3208 console, Telefunken V76 preamp, UA1176 Anniversary Edition compressor, and a great deal more.
They’ve worked with the likes of Ben Rogers, Dear Rouge, James Younger, and many others.
Price range: $90 per hour with staff
Founded in 2010 by Dave Percy, Frequency Studios features both analog and digital gear (with an emphasis on analog gear) to meet your project needs. They put creative vision first in their mission, and they have an array of compressors, microphones, preamps, amps, and software solutions to meet your needs.
Their website is basic, and it could use some work, but if you’re in south Calgary (Calgary has a major case of urban sprawl), Frequency Studios is worth checking out.
Price range: $135 per hour of studio time (minimum of two-hour booking)
Electric Treehouse Recording Studio & Rehearsal Space
Located in central Edmonton, Electric Treehouse is a recording and rehearsal space offering affordable audio and video production services.
They’ve worked with the likes of Mike Dominey, Mercy Funk, and Delirium.
Electric Treehouse is open seven days per week and their rates are affordable.
Price range: $35 per our without engineer, $50 per hour with engineer
Bedside Studios is an “old school meets new school” recording facility. They’ve worked with the likes of Romi Mayes, Sue Foley, The Perpetrators, and many others.
Their studio is beautifully set up.
Price range: $60 per hour with engineer, $50 an hour for projects over 10 hours (also with engineer)
JL Recording Studios
JL Recording Studios is a professional recording studio in Toronto, ON. They’ve worked with a variety of corporate, commercial, voiceover, and record label clients, as well as the likes of Don Graham, Lee Everett, Arvinder Singh, Paul Walker, and many others.
As you probably guessed, JL offers voiceover, multimedia recording, audio restoration, and podcast production services in addition to music production.
Price range: $100 per hour
MakeWay Studios is a facility offering recording, mixing, mastering, graphic design, photography, web design, and video services (music and branding – not an unusual combination these days).
There is limited info available on their website, but if you’re curious about working with them, you can certainly reach out to them directly.
Price range: $60 to $80 per hour depending on the engineer
Population wise, Australia is about the same as Canada (it’s a little smaller, in fact). Australia is best known for artists like Kylie Minogue, Nick Cave, Olivia Newton-John, Iggy Azalea, Rick Springfield, AC/DC, Savage Garden, and Keith Urban.
So, Australia has no shortage of talent, and there isn’t a shortage of recording studios either!
A Sharp Recording Studio
A Sharp Recording Studio opened in October 1978. It’s one of the oldest independent recording studios in Sydney, and it was refurbished from top to bottom in 2014.
A Sharp has worked with the likes of Ayla, Birds Of Tokyo, Kwame, Battlesnake, and Rose Tattoo.
Their gear includes an SSL AWS948 console, Pro Tools HDX, and Alex Steinbach Grand Piano.
They’ve got large tracking areas, world class gear, solid acoustics, and a passion for all types of music.
Price range: $55 to $66 per hour for music studio time
Studio Truth is a modern, high-end recording studio located in Melbourne, VIC. They offer a suite of services, including recording, mixing, mastering, writing, arranging, beat making, and even PR and release strategy services.
As you would expect, they’ve got a lot of great gear, from Shure and Warm Audio mics to Universal Audio units. They have a broad range of software like Ableton Live, iZotope, and Melodyne too.
Price range: $149 per hour for this recording studio
Alchemix Recording has one of the most unique and quirky recording studio websites we’ve seen. Located in south Brisbane, Alchemix is a two-studio complex owned by Marty Luske. Established in 1998, they offer recording, mastering, and voiceover services.
They run a Yamaha PM 2000 mixing console, along with various convertors, monitors, outboard gear, instruments (they have quite the collection of keyboards), and microphones.
Price range: $88 per hour (packages also available)
Can I Record Myself?
Of course, you can! Here at MIDINation we believe fully in your ability to learn the craft of music production, even if you’re starting entirely from scratch. It’s certainly not for everyone (a lot of artists just want to focus on writing, playing, or singing), but if you’re determined to self-produce, where there’s will, there’s always a way.
I should know, because although I’ve co-produced and collaborated with others, I’ve also released a lot of self-produced music!
Typically, there are some upfront costs to getting started. At minimum, you will need a computer, a Digital Audio Workstation (there are a lot of great free DAW options out there), an audio interface, a microphone, XLR cable, instrument cables, a pair of headphones, and whatever instruments you intend to record. A MIDI controller is optional, but it can’t hurt.
It’s a relatively minimal investment, all things considered. Like I said earlier, equipment is advanced and affordable enough that even newcomers can set up shop and do well.
Recording and self-producing is considerably cheaper than hiring out a professional recording studio. That’s one of the advantages. Of course, you may not be able to get the same quality of recording they can get (at least not without some serious effort), and that’s the main tradeoff.
But no matter where you are on your journey, we’ve got plenty of resources right here on MIDINation that get into hardware, software, DAWs, VST plugins, samples and sound effects packs, and more.
How Much Does Studio Time Cost To Hire? Final Thoughts
So there you have it, that's how much a recording studio costs.
At the end of the day, finding a studio is like any other partnership. Sometimes, there are good fits, and not so good fits. So, if you’re shopping around, it’s not a bad idea to ask for a studio tour and get to know the engineers you’re thinking about working with (if you’re going to be working with an engineer).
It’s not all about gear, because although better gear generally means better quality recordings, making your creative visions a reality is sometimes something completely outside of that. Working with creative minds can sometimes make up for the difference.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t consider gear, of course. It just means you need to make sure you can do your best work in the environment you’re booking.
Now that you know how much studio time costs, you should be better equipped to budget for your next recording session. Happy trails!