Ardent Studios

Coordinates: 35°8′15″N 89°59′40″W / 35.13750°N 89.99444°W / 35.13750; -89.99444
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ardent Studios
Company typePublic
IndustryMusic Recording
FounderJohn Fry, John King, and Fred Smith
Memphis, Tennessee, United States
DivisionsArdent Records/Ardent Music

Ardent Studios is an American recording studio located in Memphis, Tennessee, United States. The studio opened in late 1950s by a group of amateurs (John King, and Fred Smith and John Fry), but has moved on to be a commercially successful recording studio.[1]


'60s recorder:
Scully 280 4tr
Later recorder:
Studer 827 24tr

Ardent Studios was founded by John Fry, John King, and Fred Smith, in 1959, and was initially a studio in John Fry's family garage, where he recorded his first 45s for the Ardent Records label. Equipment in the studio included an Altec tube mixing console, Ampex 2-track tape recorder, Pultec equalizer, and Neumann microphones.

In 1966 the studio was moved to a commercial location, which was shared with a bookshop. Tom Dowd was consulting with Auditronics on an early multitrack console for nearby Stax Records, and Fry ordered the same input modules for his second mixing board. When the studio upgraded to a Scully 4-track tape recorder, Ardent became the first 4-track studio in Memphis.[2] It was also the first studio in the area to use EMT plate reverbs.

In 1971, Ardent Studios moved to its present location on Madison Avenue, upgrading its equipment.

Ardent came to have three studios equipped, all with large format Neve and SSL desks alongside Pro Tools rigs. It is managed by Jody Stephens (also the drummer for Big Star, an early Ardent group whose first two albums appeared on the Ardent Records label in the early 1970s). All three Big Star albums were named in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and “In The Street,” from their first album, became the theme for “That 70s Show.”

Stevie Ray Vaughan soundcheck in Ardent Studios in 1989.

In the 2000s younger artists such as The White Stripes, 3 Doors Down, Cat Power, North Mississippi Allstars, The Raconteurs, Low Cut Connie, and Guy Sebastian recorded at Ardent, and the soundtracks for Hustle and Flow and Black Snake Moan were produced at Ardent as well.

As of February 2024, there are four studios available, each corresponding to the first four letters of alphabet and differing in and musical gear, mixing and recording capacities.[3]

Notable Mentions[edit]

Ardent Studio recorded Sam & Dave, Led Zeppelin, Isaac Hayes, Leon Russell, and the Staples Singers, and in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s recorded James Taylor along with ZZ Top, The Tragically Hip, George Thorogood, The Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan, R.E.M., Joe Walsh, and Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Ardent became home to young producers and engineers such as Jim Dickinson, Terry Manning, Joe Hardy, John Hampton, Paul Ebersold, and later Skidd Mills, Jeff Powell, Brad Blackwood, Pete Mathews, and Jason Latshaw.

The studio also helped record soundtracks for Hustle and Flow and Black Snake Moan.


Notable artists[edit]

Notable albums[edit]


  1. ^ "The Story - Ardent Studios".
  2. ^ Rubel, Mark (April 2007). "Motown & Memphis - Terry Manning: From Stax to recording Bjork in the Ocean". Tape Op. Tape Op. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
  3. ^ "News - Ardent Studios".
  4. ^ "Guy Sebastian's music". Retrieved 13 February 2019.

External links[edit]

35°8′15″N 89°59′40″W / 35.13750°N 89.99444°W / 35.13750; -89.99444