Six of SD’s Best Recording Studios – NBC 7 San Diego

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if the Beatles didn’t record at Abbey Road? Well, most likely they would have looked brilliant anywhere. but history shows us that a recording studio definitely plays a huge role in the character of a recording. The shapes and sizes of the rooms are different, the equipment changes from place to place, some simply feel stale and clinical while others inspire and breathe creativity. To underestimate the importance a recording studio plays in music creation is to overlook one of the key ingredients to some of the best music you’ve ever heard.

Would Jim Morrison have given us his cathartic and heartbreaking performance in “The End” in a studio other than Sunset Sound? Would we ever have heard the booming booms of John Bonham’s drums from Led Zeppelin III Where IV if they hadn’t borrowed the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio and headed to Headley Grange? Fortunately, we will never know.

This week, we’re spotlighting some of the best recording studios in San Diego. While we can’t list them all (and if we’ve left out a prime candidate, please let us know in the comments below or on Facebook), we believe these six leave their indelible mark on San’s music. Diego. In alphabetical order:

  • Big Fish Recording Studio: This longtime studio has a killer location in the coastal hills near Rancho Santa Fe in North County and an even killer lineup of bands that have recorded there: Blink-182, Switchfoot, As I Lay Daying, Jimmy Eat World, POD, Megadeth and more.
  • Chaos Recorders: Owned, operated and located in the 102 year old home of Christoper Hoffee, Chaos Recorders has become a favorite of local artists including El Monte Slim, Dirty Sirens, Transfer, Hills Like Elephants, Okapi Sun and Steve Poltz.
  • Earth Studios: Paradise for vintage reducers and analogue acolytes, the place is run by Mike Kamoo (of the Loons and formerly Lights On, among others). Lady Dottie & the Diamonds, the Heartaches, Soft Lions, Flaggs and the New Kinetics all put music here.
  • Phaser control recording studios: Located in Mission Valley, this recording center has definitely made a name for itself hosting Metric, the Beautiful View, the Palace Ballroom (singer Timothy Joseph runs the joint), the Donkeys and Silversun Pickups.
  • characteristic sound: One of the city’s best-known recording facilities, the Miramar-based studio has been in operation for over 20 years and has hosted such big-name artists as U2, Blink-182, Randy Jackson, Akon, T -Bread and more.
  • Thunderbird Analog Studios: This place is a tape lover’s dream. Led by Thomas Yearsley of the Paladins, this all-analog studio is a throwback to legendary recording facilities like Sun Studios, Motown’s Hitsville USA and Muscle Shoals. Besides his own band, Yearsley’s clients include Candye Kane, the Red Fox Tails, the Honkys and many more.

Here are some of the other lists we’ve put together: