Different Types Of Sound Recording Studios

Depending on the scale of the studio and its purpose, sound recording studios can be categorised into two main categories, Commercial Recording Studios and Home recording Studios.

In this article, let us understand the different types of recording studios in each of these categories.

Types Of Recording Studios

Depending on the build and purpose, recording studios can be categorised into two main categories:

  1. Commercial Recording Studios: A commercial recording studio is a space that is used for large scale industry projects like audio for film, producing a choir, producing a commercial band etc. Commercial recording studios are usually built on a large scale and requires a lot bigger real estates. Commercial studios are designed to work with a large number of people at any given time and ensure 24×7 operational capabilities. Commercials studios consist of different spaces like tracking rooms, control room, vocal booths, reverb chambers, instrument room, cable room, administrative space, facilities etc.
  2. Home Recording Studio Or Small Recording Studio: Home studios have evolved greatly with changing technology. Before digital audio, recording music/sounds required a lot of equipment which costed several million dollars. With the evolution of digital audio, equipment required to professionally record music/sound has become a lot compact, affordable and easily available. Now, music meeting industry standards can be recorded from home or a relatively small studio space. This has spurred a wild spread growth in the number of home studios and small studios. A home studio is generally setup in a small space, usually a spare room or a bedroom. A small project studio can be designed in small areas, 1000-2000 square foot. If home studios/ small studios are build right, they can be used to record and produce industry standard music/recordings by artist or small bands.
Commercial recording Studios Vs home recording Studios

Commercial Recording Studios

You must have seen a recording studio with a big glass separating two rooms. A commercial recording studio consists of several areas and rooms, each designed for a specific purpose. Let's understand them.

Live Rooms

Live Room is the main room in a recording studio where artists perform for recordings. A live room can hold several artists or a whole band while recording. Some studios have live rooms that can record orchestras with over 30 people performing at the same time. An example of one such studio would be Abbey Road Studios.

The live room is generally designed with a large, spread out floor plan so as to provide acoustic isolation to the different instrument. There are smaller vocal booths or isolation booths designed within the live room to provide even more isolation.

Live rooms are acoustically treated and isolated from other rooms and areas. Live rooms are wired and connected in a way so that all the audio can be sent and recorded in control rooms. A big glass window generally separates the live room from a control room.

Abbey Road Studio One live Room Image
Abbey Road Studio One Live Room ~ Shared for Educational Purpose. Picture Owned By Abbey Road

Control Rooms

In a recording studio, the control room is where the engineers and producers sit and take care of recordings. Control rooms are also used for post-production aspects of recording, i.e., editing, mixing and mastering.

Basic control room equipments are console, computer, audio interface, control surface, studio monitors and studio racks. Control rooms are heavily acoustically treated and isolated. Control rooms are generally directly connected to live rooms via a see through window.

Abbey Road Studio One Control Room


Abbey Road Studio One Control room ~ Shared for Educational Purpose. Picture Owned By Abbey Road

Echo Chambers

An echo chamber is a hollow enclosure used to produce reverberation, usually for recording purposes. In modern day recording, reverb chambers are becoming outdated and are getting replaced by digital plugins.

Abbey Road Studio One Chambers


Abbey Road Studio One Echo Chamber ~ Shared for Educational Purpose. Picture Owned By Abbey Road.

Equipment Rooms

A commercial studio own a large amount of studio equipment like microphones, amplifiers, studio racks, effects and processors, guitars, pianos etc. Equipment room is the space in recording studios where all the recording equipment or instruments and other inventory is stored.

In commercial studio, some equipment is fixed in live rooms control rooms etc and other equipment shares time among different studios and sessions. Sharing equipment in commercial studios is called as floating equipment.

Cable Room and Storage

In some studio, studio cables like XLR, TS etc. are stored in a separate room. This room is called as a cable room. This room also acts as storage for unused or spare equipment, accessories and gear.

Administrative Area and Waiting Rooms

All commercial studios have administrative areas, lounge and waiting rooms for employees and clients.

Facilities

Every commercial recording studio should be capable of operating 24×7. This means that at all time electric supply, water and other essential facilities must be available. 

Type Of Recording Commercial Sound Studios

  1. Commercial Recording Studio : Designed to achieve and incorporate all type of recording from music album to film sound to Foley. These studios have several live rooms and control rooms. These are made spread over several thousand square feet and are the giants of the industry. E.g., of such studio Blackbird Studios, Abbey Road Studios.
  2. Music Recording Studios: — These are designed specifically to record artist or bands. They have at least one live room and a control room with studio equipment required for recording music.
  3. Broadcast Studios: Broadcast Studio are designed keeping in mind broadcast needs of radio stations and TV Channels, These studios are used specifically to broadcast.
  4. Foley Studio: Foley studios are designed specifically to do Foley work. These studios have a live room with large number of props, instruments and essential spaces for Foley recording. Control rooms in such studio are a second priority.
  5. Voice Over Studios: Voice Over studios are designed in small spaces and are specifically designed for voice-over and dubbing of films. The live room and control room are small and equipped with just the essentials for voice-overs.
  6. Sound Design Studios: Sound design studios work on sound for games and SFX. These studios generally have several work consoles and one control room.

Home Recording or Small Recording Studios

Home recording studios or small recording studios are generally designed to be used by artist or bands for personal use. These space are designed to maximize the production while keeping a limited budget. On my website, I will be discussing all aspects of home recording studios. For now, let us start with understanding basic home studio designs.

Type Of Home and Small Recording Studios Design

One Room — Home Recording Studio Design

A one room home studio is inspired from control room design of commercial studios. One room home recording studio is just one room that will act as a control room and a live room. This is used for production and practice by artists.

A typical setup of one room home studio consists of a computer, audio interface, monitoring setup, MIDI keyboard and essential instruments like synths, guitars etc.

Music is composed, recorded, mixed and mastered in the same room.

A one room design should be acoustically treated and isolated, but there are exceptions to the rule.

Home Studio Of Udeeksh Sood

My Home Studio ~ Udeeksh Sood

One room home studio design is preferred by artists, singer-songwriter, electronic music producers or anyone working alone or with few more people and doesnot need to record instruments like drums.

Two Room — Home Recording Studio Design

Tow room design takes into account control room and live room both. This home studio design is preferred by musicians/artists who produce music with a lot of instruments recordings and need to collaborate with other artists or bands.

The live room is used for tracking purposes for e.g., tracking drums. Control room is used for post-production purposes like mixing and mastering. Both live room and control rooms can be used for compositional and writing purposes.

Live room and control room are acoustically treated, acoustically isolated.

Two room setup is versatile and can also be setup and used for jamming, practice, voice-overs, YouTube Videos, small recording studio business.

Hybrid Studio Design

With the exponential growth in demand of video, most artist or home producers prefer to set up their recording studios in a way so that it can also be used to shoot basic videos, like headshot YouTube videos.

A hybrid recording studio differs in purpose. This space will be used for audio process like mixing, mastering and will also be used for making small scale videos. So the equipment needs and studio layout differs a bit.

For e.g., if you are a guitar player, you will need to post videos over YouTube and a Hybrid studio approach will favor you.

Hope this article helped you understand different type of recording studios in commercial and home studio space.

In the next article, learn about studio equipment for home studios.


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Udeeksh Sood on

Udeeksh is an Audio Engineer and Co-Founder of learnmusicproduction.in. He loves to produce music, research music gear, play guitar, go on treks and road trips.