How much will your audio recording cost?

Ashburn, VA 20149

Audio Recording Studios on Thumbtack cost$50 - $60

Average fixed price

  • Lowest price:$40
  • Most common low price:$50
  • Most common high price:$60
  • Highest price:$80

How much does a recording studio cost?

You can benefit from the services of a professional recording studio whether you want to be famous or not. A recording studio isn't just for record labels, pop singers and rock stars; it's a place to record voice-overs for radio or television commercials, turn that love song for your spouse into a special birthday gift, add vocals to an existing composition, record podcasts, do professional interviews, record music or sound for video games, record audiobooks, create video narration for your website videos, record documentaries, and, yes, record your band's debut album that is destined to take over the world. A professional recording studio has all the necessary sound gear, instruments and recording equipment — as well as the professional know-how — to successfully record and mix a song or album, so you don't need to invest the time and money in training and equipment to make it happen yourself.

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Even famous rock stars, people in the music industry or music business professionals who can afford all the gear for their own high-end home recording studio (and could afford to hire full-time professional sound engineers) make use of recording studios like the famous EastWest Studios in Los Angeles, California, or Abbey Road Studios in London, England. The cost to record a high-quality demo at a pro studio can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the studio's reputation and amenities.

Audio recording is available for instrumental musicians and vocal artists of all ages and skill levels. As an artist or someone in need of vocal recordings, you can rent studio time for vocal recording only (with pre-recorded instrumentals), for vocal and instrumental recording, or for professional voice-over recording. Most recording studios have multiple studios within one location that cater to different budgets. The smallest and most economical space is usually dubbed "Studio One," and the pricing and amenities increase with the size of the studio. The larger the studio space you want to rent and the more features that room offers, the more it will cost to use.

Recording studios don't just "tape" your performance and then hand over the files. You have the opportunity to work with a sound engineer to mix your music or vocals to create a polished sound for professional use. That big, cinematic sound that you hear when listening to a movie score? That comes from top-of-the-line sound engineering. Additional services beyond use of the studio and recording include audio mixing, mastering, editing, pre-production and post-production. If you are new to the music industry, you can work song by song and rent studio time and sound engineering services as you have the funds, or you can record albums in one session over multiple days. Professional recording studios cater to a range of musical genres, including pop, R&B/soul, rock, country, hip-hop/rap and more.

Here are the factors that can affect the average cost of renting a recording studio.

Equipment quality

The quality of the recording equipment often dictates the cost for audio recording sessions. The higher the quality of the equipment, the more a session will cost per hour. If you know you are ready to record some fabulous music but aren't familiar with how the equipment works, many recording studios also offer lessons on how to use their recording equipment. Smaller (professional) home-based studios might start at $25 per hour for the use of their space and equipment, while studio spaces with top-of-the-line equipment may start around $200 per hour. Singer-songwriters will often need less equipment than full bands. For example, Shine on Studios in Oakland, California, offers a two-hour recording package for $150 for a singer-songwriter recording session and work with a sound engineer. For full bands they offer a two-hour recording session for $220 with sound engineer. Generally speaking, recording studios have everything you need on hand to record, including digital audio workstations, reference monitors, virtual instruments, TASCAM microphone amps, mic stands and other studio equipment.

Room size

Larger recording studios may have different-sized rooms with varying recording and audio equipment and varying musical instruments available for use. Studio rental costs are typically higher for larger rooms with better equipment and nicer instruments. For example, The Abstract Recording Studios in Los Angeles offers its smallest room at the relatively low rate of an average of $25 per hour. Larger studio rooms can accommodate more musicians as well as providing better acoustics or catering to specific recording needs.

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Flat hourly rates

Some recording studios charge flat hourly rates without any time minimum or other requirements. The following examples of average flat hourly rates include studio time, pre-production, mixing and mastering:


Some studios charge additional fees beyond the cost of studio time for mastering recorded tracks. For example, Shine on Studios charges an average of $90 per hour with a two-hour minimum for studio time, while the studio's mastering services start at $99 for a tuneup and range up to $299 for six tracks, or up to 70 minutes of album time.

Independent versus signed artists

Recording studios may charge higher rates for signed artists than for independent artists who are paying for recording costs out of their own pocket. For example, the average $45-per-hour rate at Indecent Music is only for independent artists; rates for signed artists are negotiated on an individual artist basis and generally tend to be higher.

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Mobile recording

Also referred to as "location recording," mobile recording brings the studio to the client. Hiring the audio recording specialist to come to a location will usually increase the cost of services. For example, in comparison with its $45-per-hour studio time rate, Indecent Music charges the following averages for mobile recording services:

  • First hour of recording, including setup and teardown: $200
  • Additional hours of performance: $75 per hour
  • Post-production editing, mixing and mastering: $55 per hour

Studio membership

For artists who are doing a lot of recording and remixing work, a membership may be an economical way to get ample time to record and stretch your creative wings without as many constraints. Recording studios may offer monthly memberships with tiered pricing to provide different levels of perks based on budget and need. Here are two examples of monthly membership costs from Shine on Studios (which offers a range of membership options):

Bronze Studio Membership is an average of $60 per month and includes:

  • 2 songs mastered per month
  • Additional songs mastered for $20 each
  • Instrumental or performance track mastered
  • Recording and mixing hours at $80 per hour
  • Pro tools & audio lessons for $60 per hour
  • Rehearsal time at the studio for $20 per hour
  • Member-only benefits and special promotions
  • Blog review for your single or album on the studio website

Gold Studio Membership is $420 per month and includes:

  • 6 hours of studio time per month
  • Additional hours at $75 per hour
  • Free mastering services
  • Online consulting
  • Member-only benefits and special promotions
  • Every 3 months we'll add 2 bonus hours to your account
  • Blog review for your single or album on the studio website
  • Pro tools & audio lessons for $40 per hour
  • Rehearsal time at the studio at no additional charge

Studio reputation

Studios that work with famous recording artists or that feature producers with top hits command higher fees than lesser-known studios without the fame factor. If you're dead set on working where Mick Jagger and Justin Timberlake are recording their latest tracks, you'll need to pay for the privilege. For example, an hour or two of recording time at the famous Abbey Road Studios can start in the thousands, just for the space.

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Musicians or vocal artists can buy multiple-day sessions or large blocks of time to be used as scheduled over a period of days or weeks. Purchasing studio time in bulk upfront can sometimes cost less per hour.

Cost-saving strategies

Talk with the studio about your long-term goals. If you plan to record multiple songs over months, they may cut you a reduced rate if you agree to purchase a set number of hours upfront. Ask if they have lower rates for holidays or non-peak recording hours. You can also ask if they will put you on a call list; some recording studios may offer you reduced rates if you're ready to fill an otherwise empty slot when another artist cancels at the last minute. Don't be afraid to create a budget with your recording studio. According to The Abstract Recording Studios in Los Angeles, many recording studios will work creatively with independent artists to help them accomplish their projects, and have smaller studio spaces that can work for people who are just starting out.

Minimum time

Some studios have a minimum recording time requirement, which will affect the overall cost. For example, Songwriters Recording Studio in Knoxville, Tennessee, has a two-hour minimum, regardless of the time needed, and the entirety of the fee must be paid in full upfront.

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Pro tip:

  • Read client reviews and follow up with references to make sure you're choosing the right recording studio for you. For more, check out these tips for smart hiring.
How do we know these prices?

Millions of people ask Thumbtack for help with their projects every year. We track the estimates they get from local professionals, conduct our own research and then we share those prices with you. The prices reflected in the article above are for informational purposes only and are subject to change at any time. Contact a professional near you to receive a personalized cost estimate for your project.


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