The word studio is derived from the Italian: studio, from Latin: studium, from studere, meaning to study or zeal.
The French term for studio, atelier, in addition to designating an artist's studio is used to characterize the studio of a fashion designer. Atelier also has the connotation of being the home of an alchemist or wizard.
A recording studio is a specialized facility for sound recording, mixing and audio production of instrumental or vocal musical performances, spoken words and other sounds. They range in size from a small in-home "project studio" large enough to record a single singer-guitarist, to a large building with space for a full orchestra of 100 or more musicians. Ideally both the recording and monitoring (listening and mixing) spaces are specially designed by an acoustician or audio engineer to achieve optimum acoustic properties (acoustic isolation or diffusion or absorption of reflected sound "echoes" that could otherwise interfere with the sound heard by the listener).
Recording studios may be used to record singers, instrumental musicians (e.g., electric guitar, piano, saxophone, or ensembles such as orchestras), voice-over artists for advertisements or dialogue replacement in film, television or animation, foley, or to record their accompanying musical soundtracks. The typical recording studio consists of a room called the "studio" or "live room" (and sometimes additional isolation booths) equipped with microphones and mic stands, where instrumentalists and vocalists perform; and the "control room", where sound engineers, sometimes with record producers, as well, operate professional audio mixing consoles, effects units, or computers (post 1980s and 1990s) with specialized software suites to mix, manipulate (e.g., by adjusting the equalization and adding effects) and route the sound for analogue recording (on tape) or digital recording on hard disc. The engineers and producers listen to the live music and the recorded "tracks" on high-quality monitor speakers or headphones.
Often, there will be smaller rooms called "isolation booths" to accommodate loud instruments such as drums or electric guitar amplifiers and speakers, to keep these sounds from being audible to the microphones that are capturing the sounds from other instruments or voices, or to provide "drier" rooms for recording vocals or quieter acoustic instruments such as acoustic guitar or fiddle. Major recording studios typically have a range of large, heavy, and hard-to-transport instruments and music equipment in the studio, such as a grand piano, Hammond organ and electric piano.