Chicago is a major music center, having birthed house music, gospel music, modern jazz, and urban blues. Even today, its music scene is alive and well with indie rock, experimental, hip-hop, classical, and more.
The Chicago Metropolitan Area has a population of nearly 10 million, and it’s situated on the south end of the enormous Lake Michigan. It’s one place you’ll want to visit in this lifetime if you love music!
In this guide, we look at the best recording studios in Chicago.
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Chicago Recording Company
Chicago Recording Company first opened its doors in 1975. They’ve worked with the likes of Chance The Rapper, Survivor, Rihanna, Boyz II Men, and Liz Phair, among others.
In addition to recording celebrity and independent artists, Chicago Recording Company also creates content for commercials, television, and film.
Their studios include Studio 1 for music and post-production, Studio 2 for post-production, Studio 4 for music, Studio 5 for music, Studio 6 for post-production, Studio 7 for post-production, Studio 10 for music, Studio 12 for music, Studio 55C for post-production, Studio 55D for post-production, and studio 205A for post-production.
Basically, there are many rooms!
To keep an operation like this going, their team is sizable, including four post engineers, 11 music engineers, and four techs.
And they are called Chicago Recording Company for good reason. They have three locations in Windy City, one on E Ohio St., one on W Wacker Dr., and one on N Michigan Ave.
Customer reviews are somewhat mixed, but they are mostly positive. Positive reviewers found it a welcoming environment, and gravitated to the promptness in communication, professional staff, and high-quality equipment.
Gravity Studios offers audio recording, mixing, mastering, music production, session musician, producer, editing, mix consultation, song writing development, music chart writing, and arranging services. Their producers and engineers collectively have nearly 100 years of experience in music and can handle all genres.
Some of their notable clients include Fall Out Boy, Smashing Pumpkins, Rise Against, Alabama Shakes, and Dashboard Confessional, among many others.
Their team includes founder Doug McBride, studio manager Ramsey Valentyn, producer and engineer Daniel Farnsworth, producer and engineer David Lopez, producer and engineer Grey Taxon, producer and engineer Benjamin Harris, and producer / engineer Danny Patt.
Their facility is home to Studio A with two isolation booths and Studio B, which was created specifically for mastering.
Gravity Studios has one of the most polished and comprehensive recording studio websites out there, and their customers speak well of them too. Reviewers loved the knowledgeable engineers, great equipment, and comfortable working environment.
Pressure Point Recording Studio
Pressure Point Recording Studio offers recording, mixing, and mastering services. They’ve had the distinction of working with plenty of celebrity artists including Mariah Carey, Pharrell, Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, and many others.
Their team includes recording engineer Steve Kovacs, recording engineer Slavic Livins, and studio manager / mastering engineer Chris Schneider.
Their website is lacking some of the basic information we would expect around their facilities, but they’ve covered their bases in most other regards.
Clients liked the recording facility and noted it’s a great place to host a private event (now there’s something you certainly wouldn’t pick up from the website!).
But if in doubt, as we always say, reach out to the studio directly for further comment.
Classick Studios was established in 2007. The 24/7 facility has worked with the likes of SZA, Juicewrld, and Chance The Rapper, among many others.
Their team features 12 members – Christopher Inumerable, Cole Kruggel, Elton Chueng, Darwin Derequito, Matt Audio Dope, Daniel Vargas, Epidemic, Jimmy Park, BJ Fernandez, Gabriella Eugenio, Devin Hudson, and Robert Mendioro.
Their services include recording, mixing, mastering, production, and lessons. Recording starts at $85 per hour with an engineer (two-hour minimum).
We’re very certain they have more than one room in their facility (especially based on the size of their team) but cannot find any information pertaining to their rooms on their website.
Customers thought the rates were fair, found the engineers professional, and enjoyed the good vibes.
Lsd Studios was established in 2017 and features a 2,500 square-foot creative space. They’ve worked with the likes of KB Mike, Lil Tjay, The Kid LAROI, among others.
Their team consists of owner / founder VIIbez, engineers Hobb, Vell, Mohit, Sukow, Loqum, JD Feng, Scooter, Perry, and manager Sef.
We did have to do a bit of digging to find this information, but the facility is home to Studio A (at $170 for two hours), Studio B (at $150 for two hours), and Studio C (at $120 for two hours). We’d love to see more information on each of these rooms on the website for a more complete look.
Lsd Studios’ reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Customers loved the friendly and skilled engineers, cozy environment, and great sound.
Studio 2020 Chicago
Studio 2020 Chicago was originally established in 1988. Their team consists of chief recording engineer and founder Sam, Temp0, Spaceman, Vlad, and Liam Carolan.
Studio 2020 has worked on a variety of projects, including hip-hop, smooth jazz, R&B, rock, Afro rock, old school, Spanish, international, audiobooks, spoken word, podcasts, and voiceover. Which offers a bit of an overview of what they offer in terms of services too (because we couldn’t find that information elsewhere).
Rates start at $60 per hour for the room, $70 per hour with assistant engineer, and $85 per hour with an engineer.
What customers loved most about Studio 2020 was the professionalism, welcoming environment, and quality production.
Studio 11 offers recording, mixing, and mastering services starting at $75 per hour. Their team consists of Notes, Yuki Tasaka, Kris Anderson, and Marty V. They specialize in rock, jazz, EDM, rap, hip-hop and R&B, but it sounds like they can handle just about anything stylistically.
Studio 11’s client list includes the likes of Akon, Flavor Flav, Snoop Dogg, among many others.
The studio environment is home to gear from top manufacturers like Avalon, Manley, Focusrite, Yamaha, and so on.
Their website structure needs a little refreshing, though, because they have duplicate pages that aren’t working and I think a little more about their facilities would help prospective clients decide whether to work with them too.
Customer sentiment for Studio 11 is mostly positive. They loved the quality sound, helpful staff, and quality equipment.
Uptown Recording was established in 1995. The studio was originally set up in a basement, and is now considered an important part of Chicago’s history (or so they say).
Their facility includes Studio East with a vintage meets modern setup, and Studio west, a sound design, audio and video production, and voiceover suite.
The Uptown team is made up of engineer / owner / producer Matt Denny, chief engineer / producer Rob Ruccia, engineer / producer Adam Bruns, and digital media producer Patrick Cruz Ramirez.
Uptown has worked with the likes of Nonpoint, Phil Patterson, Hank Green, and others.
The best thing about Uptown Recording? Their top of the line equipment, as well as their tech-savvy, friendly, and knowledgeable engineers.
Stonecutter Records Recording Studios
Stonecutter Records Recording Studios is an independent record label and music production company. Stonecutter Studios is their recording facility, established in 2012 to handle recording, mixing, mastering, production, voice editing, rehearsal, and even marketing related services.
The studio is home to an assortment of gear, including amps and pedals, microphones, instruments, plugins, and more. We assume there are mixers, preamps, EQs, compressors, and other essentials too, but they haven’t covered it on their site.
Their client list includes Alice in Chains, Kanye West, Nas, Styx, KISS, Paul Simon, Usher, Madonna, and many other recognizable names.
Their website also features some helpful tips on pre-production, setup, recording, mixing, and post recording. Now there’s something you don’t see every day!
Customers have been almost unanimous in their praise of Stonecutter Records Recording Studios, citing their great amenities, great gear, professional staff, and quality sound as the best qualities.
Miller Street Studios
Miller Street Studios offers a mix of recording, mixing, mastering, and productions services. Recording starts at $70 per hour. Their team is comprised of engineer / producer Joe “Dante” Delfino, producer / songwriter / artist Mike Petro, engineer Robert “Sno” Clark, brand manager John Bassmaji, and producer / artist Leonard “Peoria Star” Banks.
The facility is made up of the main room, production room, as well as a kitchen, lounge, bedroom, and even a bathroom with a Jacuzzi.
Miller Street Studios has had the likes of Wu-Tang Clan, Lecrae, and Twista through their doors.
Besides recording services, the studio also offers music industry courses on music production and audio engineering, Ableton music production, and other individual classes.
While Miller Street Studios has no reviews on Google, they’ve obviously put some time into collecting them on Facebook. Customers loved the space, gear, engineers, and overall professionalism exhibited by the staff.
Transient Sound offers music production for independent and major label artists alike. The facility is owned by Steven Gillis, who is also a drummer, producer, engineer, and mixer, as well as producer / engineer / mixer / mastering engineer Vijay Tellis-Nayak, and pianist / keyboardist Jim Siwek.
The facility is home to Control Room A, with a Solid Stage Logic setup, and Control Room B, with a Neve setup. A comprehensive list of gear is available on their website, and it’s organized very nicely besides.
Transient Sound’s client list includes Phantogram, Troye Sivan, Halsey, Arbor Creek, White Mystery, and many others.
Customers loved that the studio exhibited both musical chops and technical prowess. They also loved the gear, vibes, and professional atmosphere.
Untold Stories Recordings
With a strong independent focus, Untold Stories Recordings has had more than 500 locals through their doors in the last three years. Their rates might have something to do with it. At Untold Stories, you can have your song recorded, mixed, and mastered for just $35 per hour (and we don’t think there are any hidden fees either!).
Untold Stories is owned by Ian Fell, and the studio serves a myriad of genres – pop, punk, folk, hip-hop, EDM, metal, and a great deal more.
They have quite a bit of helpful content on their website as well, including the process of creating a song, as well as various tips and tricks to get the best recording possible. It might be good to brush up on these before making a visit for your first session.
Reviewers said they loved the professional engineers, comfortable environment, and high-quality sound.
If you’re on a tight budget, Untold Stories Recordings may well be your best bet in Chicago.
Sound Vault Studios
Sound Vault Studios offers a ton of services to meet your every need – recording, mixing, mastering, live video recording, rehearsal recording, pre-production, arrangement, music editing, lyric editing, session players, artist development, re-amping, voiceover, podcast, custom media packages, and more.
If you’re not sure about how to get your accounts set up with a Performance Rights Organization or how to get copyrights for your music, or simply don’t want to do it all yourself, Sound Vault can help you with that too!
The facility is home to two rooms – Studio A, with a control room, a live room, and two isolation booths, as well as Studio B, which we don’t know much about, because there is no information on the website!
Overall, customers loved Sound Vault Studios’ great gear, great sound, and talented engineers.
Mystery Street Recording Company
Mystery Street Recording Company has the distinction of being one of the few solar powered recording studios we know about (I seem to recall Ty Tabor’s Alien Beans Studio being solar powered at one point).
What’s also unique about Mystery Street is the fact that they have an Audio Preservation Lab for conversion, archiving, and restoration.
Their crew includes President Joe Tessone, staff engineer / studio coordinator Geramie Causley, live sound engineer Nick Novak, live sound engineer / coordinator Nicole LoCicero, live and studio recording Rylan Martins, audio preservation engineer Kristen Tessone, live sound engineer Eric Waldo, and live and post-production engineer Gavin Zawacki.
Also on their team – live sound engineer Hannah Ellingson, live sound engineer Adriel Limas, senior studio intern Isabel Abu-Absi, senior studio intern Ben Kula, and a rotating crew of interns.
Mystery Street offers a huge array of services too – music production, rehearsal space, format transfer and restoration, live sound engineering, remote recording, gear rental, and podcast recording.
Also – voiceover, audiobook recording, ultrasonic record cleaning, oral history recording, video production, freelance engineer studio rental, sound consulting and audio lessons, karaoke recording parties, audio mastering, and lesson rooms.
If there’s something you need done, you can probably make it happen here.
Rates start at $75 per hour but prices will vary depending on your needs and which services you utilize.
Customers loved the sound quality delivered, equipment, and knowledgeable and accommodating staff.
Sonic Palace Recording Studio
Sonic Palace Recording Studio has mistaken services for rooms and engineers, but aside from that, we do find their website very usable.
The studio was established in 2003, and we gather that Mike Penny and Matt Mercado were instrumental in making that happen, but we’re not sure exactly what role they played (or what role they play today) among their detailed bios.
Sonic Palace has worked with the likes of Mudd Puppies, Ron Carroll, Candlebox, Waje, Katie Got Bandz, among many others.
You can book Studio A for $30 per hour without an engineer and $58 per hour with. You can book Studio B for $25 per hour with no engineer and $55 per hour with. Mixing and mastering services are available (glad we were able to clear that up looking at their website).
Customers loved the rates, quality engineering, and professional staff at Sonic Palace.
With nearly 20 years of experience, JoyRide Studio offers recording, mixing, and mastering. The Grammy winning studio is home to Neve mic pres and a compressor, Empirical Labs Distressor, API 3124, Universal Audio LA4, and much more.
Recording and engineering starts at $50 per hour with a senior engineer and $65 per hour with the owner.
Reviewers loved the staff, the inspiring and creative environment, and sound quality.
Rax Trax Recording
The Rax Trax Recording team is made up of owner / producer / engineer Rick Barnes, senior engineer / producer Andy Shoemaker, senior engineer / producer Noam Wallenberg, engineer / producer Kersey Dickerson, and engineer / producer Jason Schmidt.
The facility houses Studio A with a Solid State Logic SSL 4000 G console, live room with 16 foot ceilings (great for drums), two isolation booths, and more. Studio B was tailor made for overdubs, recording acoustic instruments, and other spot work.
Rax Trax Recording has worked with Buddy Guy, OK Go, Smashing Pumpkins, Ice Cube, Brian Wilson, George Thorogood, George Clinton, and many others.
Overall, Rax Trax Recording is flexible, affordable, and professional. Customers also loved the engineers and killer live room.
Treehouse Records is an insane 40,000 square feet of creative bliss. Their facility includes rehearsal studios, studios suites, sound stage, and recording studios. Artists, bands, producers, orchestras, and more should all feel very welcome in this space.
According to their website, Studio A is making a return on May 1, 2023. We’re not sure where it went in the first place, but reportedly it has a great mix of vintage analog and digital gear.
Inside Treehouse Records you’ll find 80 rehearsal spaces of multiple sizes, studio suites (with a control room, live room, and isolation booth), and a 4,500 square foot sound stage.
Treehouse Records sounds like a compelling experience to say the least, and customers loved the clean and spacious environment, friendly staff, and great sound.
Clear Ear Studios
Clear Ear Studios is a recording studio in Chicago. You think I’m joking, but their website does not offer much more by way of comment.
Customers, though, loved the quality sound, professional engineers, and fun environment.
Reportedly, it is a great place to record rap, hip-hop, trap, and R&B too.
Firehouse Studios offers a mix of studio, mixing, videography, marketing, branding services, and more. But we do find their website exceedingly confusing, so either peruse their services on your own time or reach out directly to find out if they’ve got what you need.
Firehouse Studios has worked with the likes of Denzel Curry, Pronto Spazzout, EBK Juvie, Lil Windex, and P Rico, among others.
They’ve got two locations – one in downtown Chicago, and one in Seattle, WA. If you happen to be headed towards Seattle after your Chicago recording session, this is good to know!
Reviewers loved their professionalism, top tier equipment, and quality recording.
35th St. Studios
35th St. Studios offers recording, multi-track recording, mixing, mastering, ADR, voiceover, film audio mixing, live events, and rehearsal services.
Their Studio A features a large live room, and Bunker OP, from what we can gather, is an “in the box” creative recording environment. They also have Studios B through G, spaces engineers can run their own sessions in (we assume that means these aren’t bookable, unless you know the engineers who work out of these studios).
35th St. Studios has worked with the likes of Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Kanye West, Jennifer Hudson, and many others.
Customers loved the staff, great sound, and facilities.
Top Recording Studios In Chicago, Final Thoughts
If you’re planning to record in Chicago, you’ve got all the help and pampering you’ll ever need. The hard part will be deciding who to work with, because there are amazing budget options, colossal creative facilities, studios serving the biggest of big names, and more.
We wish you all the best while you’re in Chicago. Do let us know how it goes.