How Much Does It Cost To Build A Recording Studio?

Wondering how much does it cost to build a recording studio but can’t find the answer that satisfies you? If so, keep reading the article for the answer!

by Derrick Reeves | Updated: July 7, 2021

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How much does it cost to build a recording studio? This question might be lingering in your mind for quite a while, especially if you are passionate about music.

Recording studios have proved their importance for anyone harboring a dream of becoming a serious musician. It is a personal and professional space to create and produce any musical composition in the industry.

It’s where the magic happens, and masterpieces were born!

You should start saving up since investing in a recording studio can cost you a fortune. The total expense will be variably different depending on which types of studios you are aiming for.

In this article, I will cover everything you need to know relating to the cost of recording studio construction. Let’s dive right into it!

Here’s How Much It Costs To Build A Recording Studio:

The total cost to build a recording studio depends on the studio type that you choose. Generally speaking, it will cost you $500 to $2000 for a budget studio, between $1500 to $5000 for a home studio, a maximum of $30000 for traditional studios, and a minimum of $50000 for professional studios.

What Types Of Recording Studio Do You Want To Build? 

As I said before, the type of recording studio you opt for will directly affect the construction cost. Each studio type requires a different set of equipment, musical instruments, technical supports, and interior layout.

Let’s look at the four most common studio options to see which one is cut out for your needs. I’m also going to cover some essential elements when building a studio for each type.

Based on that, you can easily evaluate the amount of money you will have to invest in the total construction project.

Budget Studio

Budget Studio Type

As its name has told everything, a budget studio is the most low-priced option that you can ever imagine. The total expense is three to five times lower than other studio options.

Low-budget workrooms are often the go-to choice for aspiring musicians who don't have the financial abilities to afford a full-fledged studio. Also, if you’re only making music as a hobbyist, I highly recommend this studio type.

The location to build an affordable recording workroom can be literally anywhere, from your basement to your college dorm room. As long as it is a private place that you can let loose to create the most close-to-heart musical works, the location is up to you.

Also, if you are in the world of music production, you will have clients in the future.

For that reason, you should create a studio that you can feel at home, but not too personal. It can potentially take away professionalism and make your clients feel awkward.

Speaking of recording equipment and music-editing tools, you should keep things as simple and minimal as possible. Apart from keeping the price at the safe range, a simple set of essential tools is fairly enough to produce the music.

Indeed, you don’t need many sophisticated devices for a home studio to make great music. A decent computer, a microphone,  an audio interface to connect the computer with the voice, and instrumental recording are all you need.

Home Studio 

Home Recording Studio

 

Home recording studios are probably the most common studio option for independent musicians and music producers.

Besides,  it also wins the people’s hearts working on music-related occupations such as recording engineer, music teacher, musical therapist, musical Youtubers, etc.

If you are searching for this article, there is a high chance that you have also set out with the aim of building a recording studio at home.

To prevent any misunderstandings when you get further into the post, I want to explain what I meant when I use the words “home studio” to refer to this type of studio.

Even though budget studios can also be considered a home studio,  I intentionally don’t include them in the “home studio’ categorization. What I refer to is a more professional, medium-budget studio that you build in your personal space.

It has a fine-quality set of equipment and add-on gears. For that reason, it requires you to have a decent budget to invest in high-tech, digital musical tools.

Regarding the location, some people might think building a professional studio is only possible when you have a spacious place. However, it is not really a case, especially when you have a well-qualified space in your possession.

You can build a professional studio in the comfort of your own home. What’s more, it can significantly cut down on the total cost since you don’t have to pay monthly rent.

Traditional Studio

A Traditional Studio Record Room

Traditional studios are tailor-made for professional producers or musicians working solely with instrumentals.

Classical musicians, pianists, movie soundtrack producers specializing in creating instrumental music will find this type a perfect match.

As the name implies, a traditional studio is the oldest approach to music recording. It started becoming a thing in the late 1890s and involved only some of the most basic facilities, such as soundproof walls, voice-recording microphones, etc.

There is no interference of computerization in the music editing and mixing process. The instrumental accompaniment and the singing voice will be performed live and recorded until the producers are completely satisfied with the final product.

In other words, the musicians use the most genuine, rawest musical elements, then blend them to make the best piece of music possible. This is why people often use the word “acoustic recording” to refer to this type of musical production.

Suppose you want to opt for traditional studios. In that case, chances are you will have to invest more money in all the essential supporting equipment, such as the mixers, reference monitors, and microphones.

You can do yourself a favor by choosing the computerized approach. All this cumbersome equipment will be streamlined and included in a compact, high-tech personal computer.

Be that as it may, if you are still passionate about this studio type, paying for high-quality tools will last you for a longer time. The quality will compensate for the amount of money.

Professional Studio

Professional Studio soundboard

The last recording studio that I’m going to cover is professional studios. Since this studio type costs a lot, it is often in possession of an industrial music corporation specializing in music production and musical training.

These studios tend to involve the most digitized and high-tech recording, the music-mixing setup worth thousands, if not millions of dollars. Most of them put on a luxurious-looking exterior appearance as proof of professionalism and success.

As opposed to project studios, the location of your professional recording studio is an essential factor to consider.

Since sound management is the top concern when looking for a rent-out space, you need to spend time looking for the one that ensures the optimum listening and recording conditions.

A good place, especially one located in the downtown areas like Los Angeles, will add up significantly to the final expenses. Therefore, it is not the best choice if you only plan to build a studio for personal use with no involvement with the industrial aspect.

When it comes to equipment, there is an endless range of options that you can invest in.

The most important device, and probably the most high-cost one, is the computers. They are the general-purpose type that has replaced the traditional form of processing music.

A computer with a fast processor can manage the whole audio processing stage. It has slowly taken the place of physical recording equipment, such as mixing consoles, effects pedals, recording gears, and synthesizers.

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Recording Studio? 

After providing you with general knowledge relating to the four studio types, let’s look at the cost estimation for each type. Keep in mind that besides the equipment quality and the construction scale, many other elements can affect the final cost.

For instance, it can be the location of a place that adds up to the expense. Building a project studio at your own place will definitely be more affordable than building a professional studio at a rented place.

Budget Recording Studio 

Budget Recording Studio

The truth is, you don’t have to invest in bulk to build a recording studio. A set of a decent laptop, a microphone, an audio interface is efficient enough to create your masterpieces with no limit. Regarding the price, the whole set will only cost you less than $1000.

Acoustic treatment is essential for any studio, especially in a living place that is not made for recording songs. Therefore, you should also invest in a fine-quality acoustic treatment.

Simply put, acoustic treatment is basically the method of using add-on gears to improve sound quality of acoustic properties in the studio.

Normally, ambiance control is the tool that sound engineers often use to neutralize the sound and make it more sonically pleasing. This function is available on laptop software, so it will cost you around $50-$100 to purchase the software if you already have a laptop.

To prevent echoing and reverb issues when the sounds bounce back after hitting the wall, you should install acoustic foams and panels.

A set of twelve foams will cost you $20 to $60, while a set of six panels have a price of $50-$200. This price range can be applied even when you buy them from well-known brands.

Apart from the distorted sound, the bass bounces is another enemy that any music producer will want to nip in the bud in the first place. To that end, they often use bass traps.

To be more specific, bass traps can absorb the low frequencies, which are the bass waves, and neutralize them until it sounds perfect with the song. A set of eight fine-quality bass traps will cost you about $50-$200.

In sum, you can see for yourself that investing in a decent set of devices for acoustic treatment is not that costly. With a maximum of $1000, you can already afford high-quality products from reputable brands.

Home Recording Studio 

Home Recording Studio mic set

For reference, the total expense to build a home recording will range between $1500 to $5000. A project with a larger scale and more cutting-edge music-editing setup will likely be on the more expensive side.

Let’s break down the total cost and evaluate all the elements that eventually add up to this amount.

Since you own the building space for the studio, you have saved yourself a fortune by not having to rent out a room.

Even if you purchase a new place in cash and renovate it to fit your needs, you will still benefit more from it than hiring a new space in the long run.

Regarding the equipment, it is unnecessary to spend a large amount of money on high-end products. The first investment that will take charge of all the main audio-processing works is a computer or a laptop.

A Macbook Pro, which has a relatively fast CPU and large RAM, will cost you only $700 to $1000.

Next, you need an audio interface to connect the laptop with other devices. You can easily find a high-quality one for less than $200.

Other essential tools that you should have are the microphone set ($40-$100), a digital audio workshop ($200-$400), headphones (price?), and monitors ($100-$300). Depending on your budget, you can choose the suitable price range that works for you.

The cost that I give you is the average price for the products from such well-known brands as Apple, Sony, Dell, so you can easily find them in local stores and online.

If you want to upgrade your home studio, you can add specialized areas and instrumentals of choice.

For instance, suppose you need a sound-insulated voice recording space. If so, you may want to build an isolation booth. It will cost you roughly $500-$1000 for the entire construction.

Traditional Recording Studio

Traditional Recording Studio

As I have mentioned before, there is no involvement of digitized equipment in a traditional recording studio. For that reason, you have to purchase the equipment from A to Z to compensate for the lack of computerization.

First of all, you need to keep in mind some of the essential investments that I have covered in the cost estimation for home studios. They include a microphone set of $40 to $400 and a mixing console of $1000 to $3000.

Apart from that, here are the few pieces of equipment you need to have in your traditional studio. Microphone preamplifiers are a must-have to improve the sound quality. Their price often falls anywhere between $300 to $600 for decent quality.

It would help if you also had a multitrack recorder (a replacement for modern DAW - digital audio workstation) and a DI unit box to capture the voice at its best.

The price range for these items is respectively $300-$1000 and $200-$500.

Since the entire recording process is performed live, the instruments included are worth some consideration. What is necessary will depend on the musical instruments you are playing and the specific requirement for a music genre.

Grand piano, keyboards, acoustic guitar, electric guitars, acoustic drum kit are some of the most common choices for studio instruments.

In total, building a conventional recording studio will cost you up to $30.000. It includes all essential equipment, instruments, and rental rates if you set up your studio in a rented place.

Professional Recording Studio

Professional Recording Studio

With the large construction scale and significant investment in the audio-processing setups, it comes as no wonder that a professional recording studio might cost you an enormous amount of money.

Firstly, let’s talk about the rental price since most professional recording studios are rent-out properties. Depending on the location, the renting cost can vary, ranging from $1000 to $5000.

However, if you want your studio to grow quicker and attract more clients, a space in the city center is necessary. The busier the place is, the higher the rental cost will be.

For that reason, a 1000-square-feet room (considered small-scale for professional studios) in Los Angeles can cost you up to $3000 per month.

Regarding the equipment, people can basically go wild with the budget. It is because there is an endless list of high-end products that are urging you to try them out.

The total investment can reach thousands to millions of dollars.

Be it as it may, investing in top-notch facilities costs people an arm and a leg, and it has resulted in the struggle of so many excellent professional studios.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, I’m going to answer some common questions surrounding this topic. I hope you can gain some wisdom from them.

1. Is Owning A Recording Studio Instead Of Renting One Profitable?

There are two possibilities when you own a place that can potentially be renovated into a recording studio.

The first one is you already possess the space in the first place. It can be an empty room in the house you live in or the land you inherit from your parents.

The similarity between those places is that they are rent-free. With a place already in your possession, you have taken a big burden off your shoulder.

The total expense will only include some renovations, as well as some of the essential equipment and instruments. You can save thousands of dollars every month by excluding the monthly rental payment.

On the other hand, suppose you haven’t had a place of your own yet. If so, you might have to consider between purchasing or renting a place.

Should you have the financial ability to afford a place, I highly recommend you purchase it instead of renting. Especially if you are serious about your music career and want to pursue it long-term, you will benefit more from a place of your own.

2. What Equipment Will You Need To Set Up A Recording Studio?

Despite the differences of the four studio types in terms of functionalities and features, a standard recording studio usually includes:

  • A mixing console: an electronic device for mixing different audio signals.
  • A microphone set and a microphone preamplifier: If the song involves any vocal elements, this equipment set helps amplify the sound.
  • Multitrack recorder (or digital audio workstation on laptop software): a device that combines different recorded sounds into a whole.
  • Computers: the main equipment for modern music production
  • A DI unit box: an electronic device that helps to balance the input and output sounds to prevent distortion, grunge noise
  • Studio headphones and monitor: a set of devices to listen to the recorded tracks
  • Effect pedals: distort the sound for more sound diversity, such as reverbs, equalizers, and compressors.

3. How Much Will Acoustic Treatment Cost You?

The total cost for an acoustic treatment will include the price of the equipment, the home renting or renovation, and the specialized spaces within the studio.

The average cost estimation for an entire project will range between $15000 to $30000.

The Bottom Line 

So, how much does it cost to build a recording studio? The answer will depend on the studio type you’re investing in and the essential equipment. I hope that the answer I articulated in this post has satisfied your curiosity regarding this topic.

Also, for anyone planning on building a recording studio, the post can be a useful source of reference to help you choose the studio type that fits you the most.

It is important to have the most precise estimation possible of your current financial state and determine how long you want to walk on the path of being a musician.

Based on that, you can opt for one of the four studio types listed above: home studio, budget studio, professional studio, traditional studio.

If you are an individual musician, I highly recommend you have a look at home studios. The equipment needed is fairly simple so that the total expense won’t break your bank.

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