Nashville, TN (also known as Music City) is such a famous destination for music – especially for country, bluegrass, blues, rock, and indie rock – that it barely even needs an introduction.
The Nashville sound can be heard all over hit records, and it’s much sought after. Some of the best session musicians and producers across the world are also Nashville residents.
In this guide, we’ll be looking at the best Nashville recording studios. If you’re planning to record in Nashville or the Nashville metropolitan area, you’ll want to check these out for sure!
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Ocean Way Nashville Studios
Nashville is landlocked, at least as far as I know, but every river flows into the sea, right? So, maybe that’s what they mean by Ocean Way Nashville Studios?
Anyway, Ocean Way Nashville Studios was established in 1996 by Gary Belz and Allen Sides. Not surprisingly, it can be found in Nashville’s infamous Music Row district. The studio was acquired by Belmont University in 2001, making this recording studio a commercial recording facility and classroom.
The studio was built inside a Gothic revival grey stone church that’s 100 years old. There are three primary rooms, including Studio A, built in the church sanctuary, Studio B, ideal for tracking, and Studio C, for mixing and overdubbing.
Ocean Way is famous for being an international destination for orchestral scoring and recording for various media, including video games and films.
Their team includes business manager Jamie Warden and operations manager Austin Atwood.
Their website projects a thoroughly professional image, demonstrating the fact that they know what they’re doing when it comes to musical projects. If you think Ocean Way might be the right fit for you, you’ll be glad to know there’s plenty of content to scan on their site too – photos, videos, scoring clips, store, podcast, and more.
Per Blackbird Studio, their world-renowned recording facilities basically need no introduction. But I can’t help but poke fun of their use of “premier” in their website copy because it’s hardly a Unique Selling Proposition, and every studio says that about themselves.
Notwithstanding, the studio is, of course, the real deal. The multi-room facility offers tracking, overdub, mixing, and more, all using a huge collection of “state of the art” studio gear (yeah, I can’t help myself). They’ve had the likes of Willie Nelson, Keith Urban, Martina McBride, The Killers, Taylor Swift, and more, through their studio doors.
Musicians should be thrilled by their collection of instruments and amplifiers as well, including 70 guitars, 70 amplifiers, 160 snares, 65 drum kits, and over 1,400 microphones.
Blackbird Studio was founded in 2002 by CEO John McBride along with his wife Martina McBride.
Their website is fantastic, but for my money, I would love more information on their rooms.
Sound Stage Studios
The “prestigious” and “historic” Sound Sage Studios can be found in Music Row and has been around for over 40 years. They’ve helped craft 500+ number one hits for the likes of Alan Jackson, Johnny Cash, George Strait, and more. And yes, they do appear to have a very strong country focus.
Their studio facilities are beyond gorgeous, and project a sense of luxury and beauty. Best we can tell, their rooms include Front Stage, Back Stage, and Ronnie’s Place, but I’m only going off what I see on their website and beg their (and your) forgiveness if I’m wrong.
Besides being a recording studio, they appear to have a horse in the race in publishing, licensing, internships, and in being a label.
Gnome Recording Studios
Gnome Recording Studios is housed in an old downtown warehouse. In their own words, their studio sounds very distinct, with 12-foot ceilings, wooden walls, and custom acoustic treatment.
This six-room studio facility is owned and operated by Chase Weber, Stephen Earnest, and David O. Ramirez. We’re not sure what the six rooms are specifically, but we do know that they’ve got a relatively perfunctory Studio A and Studio B setup.
The 12-foot ceiling live room is probably the crowning gem of Studio A, but the gear list is impressive too. Studio B is used primarily for mixing, mastering, and production.
Gnome has worked with the likes of Jake McMullen, Kari Jobe, Zach Williams, and many others.
Studio A goes for $400 per full day, $280 per half day, $35 per hour with an engineer, and $20 per hour with an assistant. Studio B goes for $200 per full day, $130 per half day, $35 per hour with engineer, and $20 per hour with assistant. Quite reasonable, all things considered!
House of David Historic Recording Studio
House of David Historic Recording Studio opened its doors in 1978. The 40,000 square foot studio can be found on Music Row with three tracking rooms, and the studio is tailor made for full band tracking – something you will not often find in a recording studio.
Musician David Briggs once called the house his office, publishing house, recording studio, and residence. And now you know how it got its name! The website focuses quite heavily on this fact as well as its “rich” history, so not much more is known about its current state, but it’s a big studio with a lot to offer, and you can always reach out to have your questions answered.
Sound Emporium Studios
Sound Emporium Studios originally opened its doors in 1969 and is celebrating over 50 years in existence. Its environment is more conventional than innovative, with four rooms – Studio A, Studio B, Studio G, and Studio Z.
Studio A features 20-foot ceilings and three isolation booths, Studio B has 17-foot cathedral ceilings and is well known for its live drum sound, Studio G is a dedicated mixing and overdubbing room, and Studio Z makes for a great overdubbing, writing, listening, editing, and software mixing room.
Will Hoge, Amy Ray, Elvie Shane, and many others have all recorded at Sound Emporium.
Beaird Music Group
Music Row Magazine voted Beaird Music Group one of Nashville’s top recording studios. This three-room facility has worked with the likes of Lady Antebellum, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood, and many others.
A comprehensive list of rates can be found on their website, and Beaird Music Group offers a variety of packages and services depending on what you’re looking for, so it’s well worth perusing their website for more information.
I could not find more information on their rooms, but that’s something I would love to see on their site.
Tha Underground Studio
Tha Underground Studio is Nashville’s only 24/7 urban recording solution, with recording, mixing, and mastering services. The studio can be found on Music Row.
Tha Underground Studio specializes in hip-hop and R&B, but they do cater to other genres as well.
Their website does not appear to be mobile ready, which is a little concerning, but aside from that it is very nicely designed.
Verge Nashville belongs to producer, songwriter, and musician Brian Eckert, who earns a living from his passion. He’s worked with the likes of Amber Hayes, Dean Miller, and Gwen Sebastian.
We’re not sure exactly what the recording studio situation is, because the website doesn’t really touch on it. We’d suggest reaching out to Eckert directly for more information.
Watershed Recording Studio
Watershed Recording Studio offers an array of music production services, including tracking, vocals, overdubs, and mixing. The studio was established in 1996 and was founded by musicians Mark Burchfield, and wife Wanda Vic Burchfield.
While Watershed Recording Studio does have a decent website, it does not appear to be mobile compatible. We hope this is fixed upon our next return.
Their facility includes the main room, control room, booth 1, booth 2, scratch booth, amp room, piano room, and lounge.
Sundog Recording Studio
Sundog Recording Studio offers recording, mixing, and mastering. They’ve worked with the likes of Buddy Guy, Sheryl Crow, Cage The Elephant, The Black Crowes, and Juliette Lewis, among many others. They are also home to the custom built 12-channel tube recording console known as the FAT12, from 1959.
They have a relatively minimal website, so we weren’t able to dig up a whole lot more on Sundog, but if you’re interested in recording with them, you should certainly give them a ring.
The Rukkus Room
Acquired in 2004, The Rukkus Room now belongs to Grammy and Emmy winning Jamie Tate. The studio was built by Gene Lawson of Lawson Microphones in 1981. With a combined 8,000 square feet, every studio is housed in separate buildings.
The Rukkus Room is home to Studio A, which is their primary tracking room with an expansive tracking space, five isolation booths, and a piano room. Studio B is used by Nashville Audio Productions who specializes in audiobooks, and Studio C is home to music publishing company Dan Hodges Music.
The Rukkus Room has worked with the likes of Thomas Rhett, Taylor Swift, Justin Moore, Alan Jackson, and Brooks & Dunn. Yes, they appear to have a strong country music focus.
You can reach out to them using their convenient booking page to get an estimate on your next project.
The Studio Nashville
The Studio Nashville positions itself as a comfortable creative environment where you can be yourself. Their owner / head engineer is Brook Sutton, who’s originally from Louisiana.
The Studio Nashville has served the likes of Wayne Avers, Medicine King, Donica Knight, and many others.
They don’t post their rates on their website, so you’ll need to drop them a line to discuss your project.
East Iris Studios
East Iris Studios is home to six recording environments as well as an assortment of producer cottages. The studio added two Dolby Atmos rooms in 2018 and is now taking on more film and TV projects. But their facilities are also being used for music videos, photo shoots, live streaming, broadcasting, and more.
Here’s an overview of their rooms:
The Cave features a control room and lounge and can even be combined with the next door Sun Room for additional tracking space. Studio A was built around the SSL 9000J console, Studio B is ideally suited to mixing and overdubbing, Studio D features Dolby Atmos mixing capability, Studio E is for Dolby Atmos mixing only, and Studio F is a cottage with an isolation booth, small live room, kitchenette, and more.
One thing’s for sure with East Iris Studios – you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a room that suits your project requirements!
Sienna Studios Nashville
Sienna Studios Nashville originally opened under another name in 1970. Established by David Briggs and Norbert Putnam, it rose to prominence for being one of the first multi-room facilities in the area. Because it was originally established as an environment to record personal demos, the space is known for being comfortable and flexible.
But it ended up growing rapidly in popularity, especially after the likes of Neil Young came through their doors. The studio was sold in 1980 to new ownership, and the studio again went through a growth spurt with Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, and other notables coming to record.
Most recently, the studio was acquired by Josh Gruss and Marti Frederiksen in 2014. The studio has gone through name changes and has changed hands multiple times, a history they proudly tell on their website.
Sienna Studios Nashville is home to Studio A, which features their largest tracking room, Studio C with a Pro Tools setup, and Studio D, which is a production room and a small isolation booth for vocal tracking and overdubs.
Pearl Snap Studios
Pearl Snap Studios’ genre focus is on country, Christian, pop, and TV and film. With a team that’s made up of producers, musicians, and vocalists, Pearl Snap is poised to take on projects no matter where you may be located.
Some of their high-profile clients include Sony Music, Big Machine, and Curb Music Publishing, among others.
If you’re looking to build a demo (with one of their professional singers), record a record, or get your song mastered, Pearl Snap probably has a solution suited to you.
Built in a near 100-year-old 2,500 square foot bungalow, Forty-one Fifteen promises to be a familiar and comfortable recording environment. Equipped with an acoustically treated overdub room, classic analog gear, an array of in-house instruments and microphones, and more, it’s got everything you need to craft a masterpiece.
The concept for Forty-one Fifteen was developed by Jeff Braun, Dewey Boyd, and Taylor Bray, all audio professionals and musicians. Their intention may have been to record their own music, but recognizing the potential of a comfortable environment, they opened the space as a haven to musicians of all persuasions.
If you want to record at Forty-one Fifteen, you should drop them a line using their convenient Inquiry page, sharing the details of your project. You should hear back from them in 24 hours.
The 522 Studio
Located near Music Row, The 522 Studio offers an array of services and packages, including pre-production, arrangement, tracking, mixing, and more.
The 522 team includes owner and operator Rod Lewis, songwriter / producer Chip Hardy, producer / engineer / musician Bobby Holland, audio engineer Jesse Lavigne, and musician / producer / songwriter Kyle Lewis.
Their website has a lot of content on it, but we can’t make heads or tails of most of it. Perhaps you’ll have better luck. Either way, 522 seems enthusiastic to help you with your recording needs, whatever they may be.
Top Track Studios
Top Track Studios sure has a beautiful website with beautiful photos. I wish I could say the same for the About page, which basically says they have a large studio for comfort and creativity, gear to suit every taste, and services to support ideas. Yeah, I’m not sure what that means either, but maybe it drives clients?
Studio A features the SSL 4000G Series 40-channel console and includes various tracking spaces – the tracking room, diffuser room, vocal booth, amp locker, and lounge. Studio B is apparently being used by a private client, but based on what we see in the floor plan, it’s quite large.
Top Track Studios also makes it clear that they offer recording, mixing, editing, mastering, live streaming, events, and gift card services. So, on the balance, they come out on top in terms of website copy.
Direct Image Nashville Recording Studio
Direct Image Nashville Recording Studio is a Music City studio owned and operated by Kenny Royster. He’s worked with the likes of Billy Currington, Hayley Williams (of Paramore fame), Linda Davis, Trace Adkins, and Jamie O’Neil, among many others.
They claim to offer the best prices in Nashville but don’t reveal what their pricing scheme is. If you’d like to know how competitive they are, you’ll want to give them a ring.
MainFrame Recording Studio
Owned and operated by Nathan Smith, MainFrame Recording Studio was essentially built around Smith himself (kind of the same way Direct Image was built around Kenny Royster).
Smith’s client list includes Marcus Hummon, Stacy Earl, Billy Barr, The Gordons, and Little Big Town, among others.
Welcome to 1979
Welcome to 1979 was established in 2008 by Chris and Yoli Mara. The 13,000 square foot facility was formerly a record pressing plant. 1979 offers recording, mixing, mastering, tape services, and community events (Tape Camp).
Setting up a recording studio in such a large two-story environment comes with its challenges, but the forward-thinking Welcome to 1979 team ran microphone lines everywhere, and even set up a kitchen, game room (with pinball machine and foosball table), artist lounge, a slide (we assume an indoor playground slide), couches, booths, and more.
Welcome to 1979 costs $100 per hour without an engineer and $135 with. A 12-hour day costs $700 without an engineer and $950 with. They have separate rates for mastering and tape services, so be sure to consult their website for more information.
If money wasn’t an object, I’d certainly consider recording at Welcome to 1979.
Station West was founded in 1998 by Luke Wooten, a Grammy winning engineer and producer. The facility is home to Studio A with a Trident 80b console and Yamaha C7 grand piano, West Wing for mixing, and the Edit Suite for editing and mixing.
The Station West team is comprised of producer and owner Luke Wooten, chief engineer Kyle Manner, and staff engineer Austin Stanley.
The likes of Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Kelli Pickler, The McClymonts, and Risa Binder have all been through the Station West doors.
If you’re interested in booking with them, either give them a call or send them an email.
Round Room Music
Located in Madison, Nashville (not to be confused with Madison County, which is much further away), roughly 20 minutes from the heart of Music City, Round Room Music is a studio, rehearsal space, and event space.
The majority female owned and award-winning Round Room was founded by Angela Shelton, who partnered with Aly Drummond and Andy Dixon.
Round Room offers a variety of services to artists, including recording, mastering, distribution, EPKs, website development, music video production, photography, online marketing blueprint, merchandise, radio promotion, playlist promotion, and tour management.
If you’re looking for a recording studio that can not only help you make your creative visions a reality but also help you fulfill on your career ambitions, you should have a look at Round Room Music.
SoundS StudioS offers recording, mixing, mastering, music videos, artist development, commercial audio services, and more.
The recording studio franchise was established very recently in April 2020. SoundS StudioS looks to support artists of every persuasion make a career out of their music.
Their website is a little sparse, but one thing they did get right is their services page. For a thorough look at what they offer and detailed descriptions, be sure to peruse their website.
Hilltop Recording Studios
Hilltop Recording Studios was established in 1963, allegedly making it the longest surviving studio in Nashville (though it is technically in Madison). Where many studios utilize spaces previously built with different purposes in mind, Hilltop has the distinction of being built from the ground up.
The studio was founded by engineer Jack Linneman, who went onto record an array of country artists. Today, Hilltop is managed by former owner and engineer John Nicholson, who started as an engineer in 1980.
Their facility includes Studio A for tracking and Studio B for overdubbing and mixing.
Crashline Studios Nashville
Crashline Studios Nashville offers various sound engineering, mixing, and music production services. They’ve worked on a variety of records as well as film and TV projects. They also publish a variety of content on their site, including reviews and blog posts.
Crashline does have a bit of a strange website overall, though, and we’d love to see some basic information like gear list, rates, rooms (if relevant)… things of that nature.
Located on Music Row, SweetSong Nashville has produced country, bluegrass, pop, rock, and gospel recordings for the likes of Dolly Parton, Wayne Newton, Bill Anderson, and many others.
This appears to be another example of a recording studio that’s been built around a personality, and in this case, that personality is producer and multi-instrumentalist Dennis Money.
Check out their website for more information.
Farmland Studios was established in 2010 as a recording studio friendly to independents and professionals alike. Their day rate (10 hours) is $300, which is quite reasonable. We’re not sure if that means it’s safe to assume $30 per hour, but they may not have hourly rates to begin with.
Farmland Studios’ house engineer is Caleb Fisher, who’s worked with top talent.
It could be because of their relatively short history, but their website is still lacking a lot of basic, vital information. You always have the option of reaching out to them directly though.
Located about 20 minutes south of Nashville in Brentwood, TN, Sky Studios is a recording studio and private music lesson facility.
Their recording studio is available to students and artists alike. If you need a place to track, mix, overdub, or even take your project from inception to completion, their facilities can cater to your needs. Their rate for students is $85 per hour, but if you’re an artist or outside client, you’ll need to contact them directly for pricing.
The pricing seems a little up there, but without knowing more about their recording suite, I can’t make a complete judgment call.
In terms of music lessons, Sky Studios offers early childhood classes, as well as guitar, piano, vocal, violin, drum, and Zoom lessons.
They also offer multiple programs for Early Jammers (ages three to five), live performance, songwriting, recording, summer camps, and musical petting zoos.
Top Nashville Recording Studios, Final Thoughts
If you’re going to record country, bluegrass, rock, pop, or gospel, Nashville is the place to be. Of course, there are some studios who are offering more and can probably handle any type of project. But that famous Nashville sound is best employed on the types of recordings they’re best known for.
Nashville is well worth a visit for every musician. It can be a very creatively inspiring place, and after all, it is Music City. So be sure to make a stop in Nashville, even if you aren’t planning to record there! And if you are recording, have fun!