15 Apr 2022


History of Recording Studios in Atlanta

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Recording studios were present in Atlanta as early as in the 1920s. At this time, people thought the city would soon become the countries biggest in terms of recording studios. Throughout the years the recording studios used different kinds of recording instruments. The magnetic recording tape which came in the 1940s, for instance, was a great breakthrough in the history of recording studios in Atlanta. Most of the musicians in the 1920s were the African-Americans who recorded the blues. In the 1940s, however, other factors came into play which interfered with recording studios and consequently led to their downfall. With the Jim Craw Laws in place, the African-Americans could not find access to some of the studios. Most of the studios started in the early 20th century failed and could no longer operate. The studios faced certain challenges which led to their decline while others were simply sold by the owners. Today, Atlanta still hold some of the world's greatest studios such as ‘Studio One'. This essay will describe the history of recording studios in Atlanta and describe some of the greatest studios in Atlanta. 

Recording Instruments and History

The history of recording studios in Atlanta traces back 1800s. This was after the invention of the phonograph. The phonograph was an essential tool in recording and playing back sound. In the late 1800s, talking machines that used foil cylinders were invented. Further to be invented at that time were the 'coin in slot' and the sound producing boxes. By early 1900s, recording was done on thick wax disks, and various artists could complete their recording. The invention of the triode was also a major work during that time.

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The 1920s saw the demise of the hand cracked Victoria to the birth of a more reliable and sophisticated electronic recording. By 1925, artist in Atlanta and many parts of the US could record using microphones and amplifiers. This made it easier for a large group of people to record with ease, and sound volumes could be easily modified. The 1940s saw a breakthrough in the recording industry due to the ability to edit recordings. This was after the invention of the 'magnetic coated sound recording tape'. Further improvements were made, and the 1950s saw a marked development in the cutting and mixing music. The 1960s saw the movement to a two-channel stereophonic sound. This facilitated sound mixing with the use of effects such as echo and reverb.

Cassette tapes replaced the long playing disks at the beginning of the 1970s. This allowed more portability and also improved the quality of the music by reducing the noise. However, by the 1990s, compact disks and digital tapes had already overshadowed the cassettes. The digital tape was more efficient and easy to use. It could allow studio tapes to be rerecorded into a digital form. After burning, the information is transmitted into aluminum coated plastic plates called compact disks or simply as CDs. 

Atlanta now has got bigger and more sophisticated studios that match the current demands and trends in music. The major studios such as Studio One, PatchWerk and 11th street recording studios were all formed in the late 20th century. They are equipped with modern recording instruments such as the fully automated Otari Concept one 32-track console, The Studer A827 recorder etc. The machines have got a remarkable 48-track recording capabilities. They studios are also graced with the best engineers in the US whose work is to ensure efficiency in the machines. The architectural design of the studios has since improved with studios being located in store buildings with additional facilities such as parking lounges, pool tables, swimming pools etc. This is in the bid to improve to attract even bigger artists to increase their marketability. Services rendered by the studios include high quality recording, professional mixing, pristine mastering, song writing, and music production. Professional deejays are also available for mixing and production of better mix tapes. In the recent years the recording studios have availed live recording bands with a complete team of instrumentalists and vocalists. They are hired by musicians who perform at live performing concerts for a given fee.

In the early days, the few recording studios recorded soft music such as blues. The music was good, and Atlanta was rising in terms of recording studios and the good quality of music. The city would have been the greatest in terms of music recording. The majority of the musicians were the African-Americans. Soon, the atmosphere in the recording studios changed. The white American also joined in the music recording, which actively and practically displaced the talented African-Americans. In the period between the 1940s and the 1950s, the recording studios suffered and most of them stopped recording.

One of the factors which led to the decline of the early recording studios was the Jim Craw Laws. The law segregated the African Americans, and the blacks were not allowed in some parts of the city. The African Americans could not get access to some of the recording studios. This led to the active downfall of some of the studios. In the city of Atlanta, the Jim Craw laws made it difficult for the studios to operate. Some of the studios had also been owned by the blacks. Most of these were shut down or displaced to other parts of the town.

In the 1960s and the 1970s, other studios began to rise, some of which are still operational to date. One of the greatest studios which emerged during this period is the ‘Studio One’ which operates in the late 1980s. With the Jim Craw laws done away with, the African American found their way back into the studios once again. Since then, Atlanta has produced some of the most amazing music records of all times. Other studios came up such the through the years that followed such as the 'Patchwerk'. Atalanta has attracted great musician for all over the world due to its quality recording studios. Today, the greatest musicians, from pop to gospel music, record their music in Atlanta's famous recording studios.

Studio One

Studio one was one of the world's greatest and old studio. The studio started as a Jamaican recording studio in the late 1960s in northern Atlanta. The original location is currently used as a warehouse for other businesses. The original owners ran the studio until 1986 when they sold it to the Georgia State University. Due to the costly maintenance fee for the studio, the university was forced to close it in 1989. The studio mainly recorded Jamaican reggae music.

Early Jamaican artists such as Bob Marley became extremely famous thanks to the great recording studio. The studio made some amazing records which made it quite popular and one of the greatest studios during that time. The fall of the studio came as a big blow to the artists who had to find other studios to record their music.

Patchwerk Recording Studios

The great Patchwerk Studios was originally constructed in 1993 by the Atlanta Falcons, who later sold it to the current owners, Daniel and Wilson. The original studio, however, was established in California. The studios also engage in a wide range of operations such audio mastering, graphic design, CD duplication other than music and sound recording. The studio has been a great music producer all the way from 1993, recording music by various popular artists. The studio has also hosted many events and musical seminars over the years.

The current large studio in Atlanta was laid down in 1995 following a hit-single record by a high school rapper. The hit made a lot of money for the studio after which the owners expanded it, creating a larger studio in Atlanta. With the success of the studio, the owners were able to relocate to yet another location in Atlanta (the current location), on Hemphill Avenue. The modern studio is elegantly designed with a basement and a private parking lot at the back. Patchwerk currently consists of a series of studios all over the Atlanta city streets, with quality recording instruments and facilities.

Why great artists record in Atlanta

Today, the world's greatest and popular artist record in the great recording studios of Atlanta. The reasons are quite obvious. Atlanta has an exquisite taste for good music. The city has a good culture of music. In addition, the city boasts of long history of music and music recording. Atlanta has also embraced the new generation music such as the ‘Hip Hop' music. There is a variety of music in Atlanta and a broad range of producing studios which record various types of music. The conducive nature of the city and the state in general also attracts many artists to the recording studios in Atlanta. Artists feel relaxed in Atlanta contrary to the other major cities in the US. In New York and Los Angeles for instance, artists worry about time and place. In Atlanta, managers and producers take time with the artists explaining everything in a comforting way.

Factors for the collapse of the early recording studios in Atlanta

As mentioned above the recording studios faced a lot of challenges in the early days. In the beginning, most of the recording artists were the African-Americans. At the period, racial discrimination was still at its peak and therefore, the African Americans, found it difficult to record their songs. The Jim Craw laws which practically segregated the African American made the contributed significantly to the collapse of the studios. The African Americans could get access to some of the studios. Apart from the racial discrimination and the Jim Craw laws, other factors such as poor management and inadequate funds also contributed to the collapse of the early recordings studios in Atlanta.

Most of the recording studios collapsed due to inadequate sources of funds. Most owners could not afford the running costs of the studios. The profits were not enough fo the running of the studios. As a result of this, some owners sold their studios while some simply stopped the recording business and engaged in other businesses. Studio one, for instance, was sold to the Georgia State University after the owners found it difficult to maintain its operational costs. The university too, closed the studio down after they realized they could afford its operational cost.

The early recording studios also lacked adequate instruments and facilities. In addition, the studios the available instruments and facilities for recording were of poor quality. The cost of maintaining and purchasing good instruments and facilities was too expensive. Poor management of the recording studios also led to their decline in the early days. Most managers did not have what it takes to run a studio successfully. Some of them ended up selling their precious studios to other people.


Atlanta has a long history of music and music recording. Recording studios were established and put in place as early as the 19th century. During this time, facilities and recording instruments were not easily available. One of the earliest recording instruments used was the phonograph. Management of the studios was also poor. Most of the early recording studios in Atlanta faced a lot of problems which consequently led to their collapse. The studios started in the 1920s and 1930s, collapse majorly as a result of the political and social interference. The artists during that time were African Americans. The Jim Craw laws played a significant in the collapse of these early recording studios. Other studios came up in the 1960s and in the 1970s, which became quite popular and recorded music by great artists. Studio One is one of the greatest recording studios in history. Patchwerk Recording Studios, which started in 1993, has become one of the biggest recording studios in the modern day. Together with other elegant recording studios, Patchwerk Recording Studios attract many good artists to Atlanta.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). History of Recording Studios in Atlanta.


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