What Is A Sound Recording Studio?

The music industry is booming once again. Digital content is consumed more than ever. Everything you come across in the form of a video or audio is produced in a studio of one type or another.

If you are working in your home with just your mobile phones, well your mobile phone is your studio. If you have a small recording setup with a microphone, laptop audio interface and studio monitors. It becomes a home recording studio.

In this article, I am sharing with you what are recording studios, and different tasks carried out in a recording studio.

What is A Sound Recording Studio?

A recording studio is a specialized space used for recording, mixing and mastering sound professionally. A recording studio can be used to record and produce speech, vocals, instruments, orchestras, bands, choirs, Foley etc. Recording studios are isolated and designed in a way so that in the recordings, there are no background noises and hindrances. All recording studios are treated acoustically to make the recorded sound retain its unique characteristics and timber. In a recording space, the sound should not get altered with fundamental sound phenomena like acoustic reflections, modes, phasing etc.

There are two main categories of recording studios, commercial studios and a small studio, also called home studios or bedroom studios.

Recording Studio Commercial vs Home Studio - Diffrences

Types Of Recording Studios

Depending on the build and purpose, recording studios can be categorized 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 require real estate. Commercial studios are designed to work with a large number of people at any given time and ensure 24×7 operational capabilities. Commercial studios consist of different spaces like tracking rooms, control rooms, vocal booths, reverb chambers, instrument rooms, cable rooms, 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 cost 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, industry-standard music 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 set up in a small space, usually a spare room or a bedroom. A small project studio can be designed in small areas, 800-2000, square feet. If home studios/ small studios are built right, they can be used to record and produce industry-standard music/recordings by artists or small bands.

Different Uses Of Recording Studios

The recording studio can be used to record and produce different types of sound sources. Depending on the intent and purpose, you can either use a home studio or a commercial studio space. Here is a list of different uses of a recording studio:-

  1. Bands/Artists
  2. Speech
  3. Choirs
  4. Orchestra
  5. Electronic Music Production
  6. Foley
  7. Dubbing and Voice-Overs
  8. Broadcast
  9. Sound Design
  10. Post Production

Bands/Artist

A band or an artist can be recorded and produced in both a commercial studio and a small studio. In commercial studio space, a lot of high-end equipment will be used to record and produce the band while in the small studio, a hybrid approach of both analogue and digital gear will be used. We will learn all about the equipment and process in later lessons.

Speech

Speech or voice can be recorded even in the smallest of space with good isolation, acoustics, and basic studio equipment. As there are no loud instruments like drums, electric guitars etc. recording speech is easy in small spaces. Post-production for speech can be done within the box or on a console.

Choirs

A choir is a group of singers singing together. Even though, choirs can be recorded in both small studios and commercial studios. Recording a choir singing a chorus always turns out better when done in a big room or hall with ample space with great acoustics and isolation.

Orchestras

An orchestra is a group of several different instrumentalists. Orchestras include percussion, wind instruments, string instruments and many other instrument types. Recording an orchestra requires a big commercial tracking facility with humongous tracking rooms. Abbey Road Studios would be an example of one such studio. In-home studios or small studios, orchestra sounds can be achieved with the use of VST and samples. We will learn about all this as we progress in the music production modules. Makes sure to stick around and keep on learning.

Electronic Music Production

With technology revolutionizing the music industry, electronic music production has grown more than anything. In electronic music production, music is produced using computers and electronic instruments like synths, drum machines, samplers etc. Most Electronic music producers like to infuse elements of both natural sounds like a voice, acoustic guitars and electronic music. Electronic music can easily be recorded and produced in home studios and small studios. To get started with electronic music production, all you need is a laptop, a DAW(Digital Audio Workstation or Music Production Software) and a pair of good studio headphones.

Even though getting started in EMP is easy, achieving excellence takes a lot of handwork, practice and dedication. Producing Electronic music with high-end equipment in bigger spaces adds character to the sound and aids the production process.

Foley Studios

When you see a film with the scene in which a horse chase is going on. The sound of horse footsteps that you hear is recorded in the post and produced in studios. This is just one example of Foley.

Foley is the art relating to or concerned with the addition of recorded sound effects after the shooting of a film.

In Foley studios, several artists work with different props and instruments to record and produce sounds/effects that can be added to the film to create more interest and keep the viewers engaged. E.g., Foley sounds are the sound of thunder, footsteps, walking on snow, breathing sounds, kissing sounds, horse footsteps, ocean sounds etc.

Most recording studios for the film have special Foley tracking rooms in which Foley is done. Check out this video here to learn more about Foley Recordings.

Dubbing and Voice-Overs

Voice-Over is the process of re-recording the voice of an artist over his or her original sound. Dubbing is the process of recording voice to change the sound in a film so that what the actors said originally is spoken by actors using a different language.

Dubbing and voice-overs can be done in small studio spaces if it involves fewer artists working at once. If the project is a large scale, multitracking can be used in small studios or voice-overs can be done in big commercial studios.

Broadcast Studios

Broadcast studios are recording studios designed for use by radios, TV etc. These are commercial studio spaces designed keeping n mind the workflow of a radio station or a TV channel.

Sound Design

Sound Design is the process of creating sound. The process of sound design is called synthesis. Synthesis involves the use of different synthesizers, samplers, oscillators etc. With the use of oscillators, samplers and synthesizers, any imaginable sound can be designed.

Sound Design can be done with a minimum setup in small studios, or you can work on it in a commercial space, the choice is yours. Sound design is used in films, music and audio for games.

We will learn all about synthesis a sound design in synthesis modules.

Post Production

Post Production in recording studios involves editing, arrangement, mixing and mastering. The recording is done in tracking rooms. Post Production processes are done in control rooms. Generally, a home studio is designed similar to a control room design.

I hope this article helped you understand what are recording studios. In the next article, you will learn in-depth about different types of recording 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.