Billboard Magazine recently posted a list of its top recording studios in the world. The article didn’t specify exactly how these studios were selected, but it seems to be built around how many hit artists use the facility. Still, it’s difficult to argue with their choices, as the ones selected are considered some of the best in the world and most have been for some time. There was no order chosen, just a “best of” list. They are:
ABBEY ROAD STUDIOS — London
AIR STUDIOS — London
BERNIE GRUNDMAN MASTERING — Los Angeles
CAPITOL STUDIOS — Los Angeles
CRITERIA RECORDING STUDIOS — Miami
CONWAY RECORDING STUDIOS — Los Angeles
EASTWEST STUDIOS — Los Angeles
ELECTRIC LADY STUDIOS — New York
GATEWAY MASTERING STUDIOS — Portland, Maine
THE POWER STATION AT BERKLEE NYC — New York
GERMANO STUDIOS — New York
HENSON RECORDING STUDIOS — Los Angeles
LARRABEE STUDIOS — Los Angeles
MIX THIS! — Pacific Palisades, Calif.
REAL WORLD STUDIOS — Box, Wiltshire, England
OCEAN WAY NASHVILLE — Nashville
METROPOLIS STUDIOS — London
ISLAND SOUND STUDIOS — Honolulu
RECORD PLANT — Los Angeles
SOUND CITY STUDIOS — Los Angeles
STERLING SOUND — New York
SUN STUDIO — Memphis
UNITED RECORDING STUDIOS — Los Angeles
THE VILLAGE STUDIOS — Los Angeles
What’s interesting here is that the majority of the studios mentioned are in Los Angeles, while only one was from Nashville, which at one time probably had as many great studios as anywhere in the world.
There were other surprises as well. For instance, Island Sound Studios is not one that I was even aware of, and Sun Studio in Memphis, while certainly legendary, isn’t really a place where today’s artists can work the way that they’re used to. There were also 3 mastering studios on the list, and Bob Clearmountain’s Mix This! is a personal studio for his use only.
That said, any list of top studios would surely be up to the whim of the list maker, since there are so many great places that are known, and so many others that turn out hits that don’t have the production community’s awareness. In the end, a list of top recording studios still comes down to popularity and taste.