How long does it take to record a song/album?

For recording, I suggest budgeting between 8 and 20 hours (or 1 or 2 days) of recording time per song. It’s a big range, and it really depends on how many layers are going be added to the recording, and how many takes are necessary to get the parts recorded.


  • Pre-production: As much time as required. This means making sure all parts have been worked out. If you’re a band, everyone should know each other’s parts, as well as their own. Rehearse a lot, and check out this post for more ideas about what to do before heading into the studio. Being exceptionally prepared for the studio will decrease the amount of time you need for tracking.
  • Tracking: 40 to 100 hours. If working in a studio, it’s best to book as many consecutive days as possible; for non-studio recording, expect 4 to 6 hour sessions as the norm. A rule of thumb I use is 1 to 2 hours per part, per song. Expect to spend more time on vocals.
  • Mixing: 4 weeks. Plan to use week 1 for the first round of mixes, week 2 to listen, week 3 for the second round of mixes, and week 4 for final decisions and minor mix tweaks.

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