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Recording studio cost to build

What do the White Stripes, Prince and The Rolling Stones have in common?

They’ve all recorded hit albums in home studios.

Even before audio production software like GarageBand and ProTools made recording widely accessible to anyone with a laptop and a guitar, home recording studios have been responsible for some great recordings.

A professional recording studio with acoustically engineered live rooms will cost millions to build, but indie artists and pop stars alike have been getting release-ready results using little more than a laptop, a microphone and a converted space at home. This guide will look at the average cost to build a home recording studio.

Home recording studio cost

A basic project studio can cost between £1,100 and £4,7000, depending on size and intended audio quality.

Record labels spend big money putting their artists into professional studios because of the quality of the room itself. For example, Abbey Road studios are famed for the ambience and distinctive acoustics in their various live rooms.

But unless you plan on recording an orchestra in your home studio, the acoustic characteristics of the room matter less than the audio equipment. With a decent audio interface that lets you record audio direct to your computer costing as little as £100, you can get great audio without worrying about the room at all.

home recording studio cost

Recording studio acoustic treatment cost

If you plan on recording ‘live’, you can improve the acoustics of your room using audio insulation foam to ‘treat’ the space. This foam deadens the natural ambience of the room, reducing echos and removing bass traps. It can cost between £400 and £800 to treat your room with foam, depending on the size and how professional you want it.

You can further improve the quality of live audio by using a vocal booth. These remove much of the room ambience, giving you a clean, dry recording. You can build one yourself for around £300 using MDF and foam, or buy a multi-position booth for around £800. Pre-built booths, almost like a mini tent on a tripod, can be purchased for around £400.

Pop-shields are a must-have for recording vocals as they protect the microphone and remove plosives – the ‘pop’ when making ‘pah’ sounds with your mouth. If you don’t have one, you can make these on the fly using a wire coathanger and a pair of tights.

Recording studio setup cost

A basic home recording studio setup need include nothing more than a computer, audio interface, microphone and monitors. The cost of your studio setup will vary according to your tastes and ambition.

If you want lush, vintage tones you’ll need to invest in a decent mic and interface, costing from £1,000 to as much as £40,000 for quality gear. But you can get good results spending around £200.

Most studios use Apple Mac computers due to their compatibility with the most popular recording software. The more you spend, the more processing power you get. Prices start at around £500 for a refurbished Macbook Pro.

Portable vocal booth£400£1,200£800
Pop shield
Audio interface
Acoustic treatment

How much does it cost to build a recording studio?

If your ambitions go beyond simply converting a room into a studio and you want to build a stand-alone property, even if you’re converting a property you own, expect to pay between £120,000 and £800,000 to spec it out to a level that impresses professional recording artists.

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Can I get professional sounding recordings from a home studio?

Due to the recent Covid-19 lockdown, some artists have released music recorded in home studios – however, these won’t have been constructed on a shoe-string. Any studio is better than none, but it’s definitely a case of getting what you pay for.

Can egg boxes improve the sound of my home studio?

Not really. The theory is that the curves and dips on egg boxes provide high level sound insulation. And although some acoustic treatment material looks like egg boxes, actual egg boxes will provide only very little real sound deadening.

Do I need soundproofing for my home recording studio?

Not necessarily. Sound proofing doesn’t affect the recording. But it helps maintain friendly relations with your neighbours if you plan on recording live instruments like drums.

Do I need non-parallel walls for better sound?

Again, not necessarily, unless you plan on recording live. Non-parallel walls are common in professional studios as they reduce sound reflections and make monitoring more accurate.

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