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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 11:24 am 
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Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 10:29 am
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Location: Delaware. US
Hey there! I was referred here by someone on another forum after asking about studio construction costs. I'm putting together a short presentation for school and I'm looking for some rough numbers on what it might cost to design and build a high end recording studio. Like, what might the designer's fee be, how much will materials and labor cost, that sort of thing. The two big numbers I need are 1) cost to design, and 2) cost to construct. They don't need to be exact, just in the ball park.

Thanks!

P.S. This place looks really cool, too. I'm glad I came across this as I do, in fact, do a bit of recording and I'll probably have lots of actual studio construction questions in the future. :D


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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 2:59 pm 
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Location: Santiago, Chile
Hi there "DLChuckles".

The best way of estimating studio construction costs is to figure out what size studio you want to build, then call a few building contractors in your area to ask what the going rate is per square foot for building an up-scale house in your area. Add about 20% to that, and you have a very rough ball park figure. So if you figure that you need 2,000 square feet, and up-scale houses in your area cost around US$ 150 per square foot, then the construction cost would be in the region of US$ 350,000 or so. The acoustic design costs could be anywhere from maybe 5% to 20% of that (or more... or less), depending on a whole bunch of factors. Architecture, drawings, structural engineer, permits, etc. could all add quite a bit more. HVAC and electrical could add more too, depending on other factors.

Of course, the above does NOT include equipment: that just for the basic construction, isolation and treatment of the studio itself. You'd still have to add the cost of the console, monitors, outboard gear, microphones, instruments, etc. Depending on what you mean by "major studio", that could end up being double or triple the cost of the building, or even more. Consider that a really high end console (SSL, Neve, etc) can set you back a quarter million dollars, all by itself, then add in a dozen vintage mics at 5 or 10 grand apiece, a few rare pre-amps, a few racks full of select top end outboard gear, maybe even a couple of analog multi-track tape machines... it can add up real fast!

On the other hand, if you just mean "major" in size but "economic" in price, then you could equip it with a bare-bones absolute minimal setup for maybe 20 grand or so, or a more reasonable setup for maybe 50 grand.

"It all depends" is the best answer I can give you...

Trying to estimate the cost is very, VERY relative. Some folks here on the forum build great studios on a shoe string budget, and turn out fantastic places for a few thousand dollars. Other people go to extremes and wouldn't even think about doing anything for less than half a million. Galaxy, for example: They don't say how much it cost, but rumor has it that construction alone was in the millions. Maybe Eric could hazard a guess at what that cost, seeing that he was involved in the design (but I haven't seen him on the forum lately).

The basic answer is that it all depends on what you are trying to do. You'd have to provide an awful lot more information about your hypothetical studio to be able to get a more realistic price. I doubt you'd get good marks for presenting a studio plan that "might cost US$ 5,000 or it might cost US$ 5,000,000"! :shock:

For example, how many control rooms, live rooms, isolation booths, vocal booths, etc.? What size is each one? What purpose? What gear? What level of isolation? What type of acoustics? If you wanted to record an entire symphony orchestra, for example, that's a rather different studio than one meant for recording a jazz quartet, which is different again from recording a rock band, or a flute soloist, or an opera singer, or.... You get the point.

You need to refine your definition of "major studio" in much greater detail.


- Stuart -

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I want this studio to amaze people. "That'll do" doesn't amaze people.


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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 3:50 am 
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Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 10:29 am
Posts: 2
Location: Delaware. US
Soundman2020 wrote:
Hi there "DLChuckles".

The best way of estimating studio construction costs is to figure out what size studio you want to build, then call a few building contractors in your area to ask what the going rate is per square foot for building an up-scale house in your area. Add about 20% to that, and you have a very rough ball park figure. So if you figure that you need 2,000 square feet, and up-scale houses in your area cost around US$ 150 per square foot, then the construction cost would be in the region of US$ 350,000 or so. The acoustic design costs could be anywhere from maybe 5% to 20% of that (or more... or less), depending on a whole bunch of factors. Architecture, drawings, structural engineer, permits, etc. could all add quite a bit more. HVAC and electrical could add more too, depending on other factors.

Of course, the above does NOT include equipment: that just for the basic construction, isolation and treatment of the studio itself. You'd still have to add the cost of the console, monitors, outboard gear, microphones, instruments, etc. Depending on what you mean by "major studio", that could end up being double or triple the cost of the building, or even more. Consider that a really high end console (SSL, Neve, etc) can set you back a quarter million dollars, all by itself, then add in a dozen vintage mics at 5 or 10 grand apiece, a few rare pre-amps, a few racks full of select top end outboard gear, maybe even a couple of analog multi-track tape machines... it can add up real fast!

On the other hand, if you just mean "major" in size but "economic" in price, then you could equip it with a bare-bones absolute minimal setup for maybe 20 grand or so, or a more reasonable setup for maybe 50 grand.

"It all depends" is the best answer I can give you...

Trying to estimate the cost is very, VERY relative. Some folks here on the forum build great studios on a shoe string budget, and turn out fantastic places for a few thousand dollars. Other people go to extremes and wouldn't even think about doing anything for less than half a million. Galaxy, for example: They don't say how much it cost, but rumor has it that construction alone was in the millions. Maybe Eric could hazard a guess at what that cost, seeing that he was involved in the design (but I haven't seen him on the forum lately).

The basic answer is that it all depends on what you are trying to do. You'd have to provide an awful lot more information about your hypothetical studio to be able to get a more realistic price. I doubt you'd get good marks for presenting a studio plan that "might cost US$ 5,000 or it might cost US$ 5,000,000"! :shock:

For example, how many control rooms, live rooms, isolation booths, vocal booths, etc.? What size is each one? What purpose? What gear? What level of isolation? What type of acoustics? If you wanted to record an entire symphony orchestra, for example, that's a rather different studio than one meant for recording a jazz quartet, which is different again from recording a rock band, or a flute soloist, or an opera singer, or.... You get the point.

You need to refine your definition of "major studio" in much greater detail.


- Stuart -



Wow, thanks or the fantastic reply! Sorry my OP was so vague. I'm trying to do 5 things at once now that Finals are in a few days. Thanks for bearing with me.

If I was going to try to be more specific, I'd probably use Ocean Way Hollywood, Study A as a basis since that's the example I'm using of a "major studio" my project. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any specifics on the dimensions of that studio. I think I can actually get away with a pretty wide price range. The main point of the project is to come up with a budget for a band to record a project at either a small time, local studio or at one of the really fancy, reputable ones (Ocean Way, in this case). So I'm just using the studio construction/design costs to illustrate what influences the rates that studios charge.

As for gear, I have been researching that (which is posing it's own problems), but I've considered it separate from the construction and design aspect.

I think you've given me enough info to work with, here. I think I'll have to just go with this anyway as the project is due tonight and I'm having a hard time thinking of how to refine my definition. When I started with this, all I was thinking was "one of those studios you can only afford to record at if you have a record deal". :P

Thanks again!

btw If you want to keep talking about this, I'm certainly still interested, but since I'll be done with the project by tonight, I won't need help with it any more so no worries if you don't.


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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 6:47 am 
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Location: Santiago, Chile
No problem. Hope it works out for you! :)


- Stuart -

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I want this studio to amaze people. "That'll do" doesn't amaze people.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:55 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:36 am
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This forum is terrific!

I am not surpised you are on google

Thanks for sharing these tips


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2015 5:17 pm 
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[PLAGIARISM SPAMMER MESSAGE REMOVED BY MODERATOR. WAITING FOR SPAMMER TO DROP THE OTHER SHOE, FOR PERMANENT BANNING...]


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 4:49 pm 
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Read the forum rules and follow so people can respond.

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=7572


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