Real World Studios

Coordinates: 51°25′08″N 2°15′09″W / 51.4189°N 2.2525°W / 51.4189; -2.2525
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51°25′08″N 2°15′09″W / 51.4189°N 2.2525°W / 51.4189; -2.2525

Real World Studios
TypeRecording studio
Founded1989; 34 years ago (1989) in Box, Wiltshire, England
FounderPeter Gabriel
HeadquartersBox Mill, Mill Lane, Box, Wiltshire SN13 8PL, , Edit this at Wikidata

Real World Studios is a residential recording studio complex founded by Peter Gabriel and situated in the old Box Mill building in the village of Box, Wiltshire, England, near to the city of Bath. It is closely associated with the Real World Records record label, Real World Publishing, and the WOMAD Festival, whose offices are also based at the complex.


Real World Studios
"The Big Room" in the Real World Studios

Its aim is to provide excellent working opportunities for many musicians, as well as the wider dissemination of world music. It is intended to serve as a springboard for musicians from all over the world to bring their music to areas and cultures they cannot tap into themselves, especially in the USA where music from Africa, Asia and Latin America is rarely broadcast on mainstream stations.

The Real World music label has introduced musicians such as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Papa Wemba and Youssou N'Dour to Western culture. Peter Gabriel has released all his own albums under this label since 1989, and its influence helps sell other artists' world music. Especially his album Passion: Music for The Last Temptation of Christ has helped world music to enter pop music. Besides Peter Gabriel, the studio has been most commercially successful with the band Afro Celt Sound System, which fuses African and Celtic rhythms and melodies.


The largest recording space, appropriately referred to as the Big Room, is a 2,000 square foot combination live room and control room with a custom wraparound 72-channel SSL 9000 XL K Series mixing console at its centre, with large windows offering expansive views of the adjacent millpond and gardens. Although the Big Room has a separate machine room and two isolation booths, it is designed as one large collaborative recording space with no dividing walls. Alternately, the Big Room also functions as a Dolby Surround 7.1-certified film mixing room.[1]

Adjoining the Big Room and within the former mill building is the Wood Room. This room utilizes a 24-channel SSL AWS 924 console, and features a more lively acoustic character, mezzanine floor and movable acoustic screens, as well as its own isolation booth. The Big Room and The Wood Room can be booked together for a larger recording space, or individually for smaller or lower-budget projects.[1] Also available is the Rehearsal Room—a 49 foot by 16 foot space for rehearsals or pre-production.

The Red Room is a dedicated mixing and production room well-suited for post-production, ADR recording, and mixing for television and film, while a Foley stage facilitates recording Foley.

The studio also has the Writing Room and the Work Room, which are Gabriel's own private workspaces.[2]

A residential studio complex designed as an artist's retreat, Real World offers living accommodations. The House offers six double bedrooms, a living room, dining room, and laundry facilities. The Cottage is a separate building with living room, bedroom, bathroom, and mobile recording rig. Real World's kitchen offers continental breakfast, lunch, and two-course evening dinner prepared by an in-house chef.


In 1986, following the success of his album So, Peter Gabriel decided to pursue a permanent recording facility. Knowing that he wanted to remain in the same area as the Ashcombe House that he had been renting, and that he wanted the new location to be close to running water, Gabriel looked at several sites, mostly old mills, near Bath.[3] A 13-acre site in the village of Box featured the By Brook and several existing buildings, including Box Mill, a 200-year-old water mill that had been converted to offices in the 1950s. Gabriel purchased the site and its buildings from Spafax in 1987.[1]

Gabriel's vision for the new studio was a unified space where everyone could work together, where musicians aren't separated from the engineer or producer. Additionally, he wanted these creative spaces to have elements of light, air, and water.[3] Working with architectural design firm FCBStudios, the existing buildings were converted and a new building ('The Big Room') was added. The new complex provided both recording studio facilities and residential accommodations.[4][5]


Notable clients of Real World Studios include[6] A-ha, Alicia Keys, Amy Winehouse, Beyoncé, Björk, Black Grape, Blue October, Bonnie Raitt, Chris de Burgh, Coldplay, Daniel Lanois, Deep Purple, Foals, Gary Barlow, Goldfrapp, Harry Styles, Idles, Indigo Girls, James, James Morrison, Jay-Z, Joseph Arthur, Kanye West, Kasabian, Katie Melua, King Crimson, Kylie Minogue, Laura Marling, Loreena McKennitt, Maggie Rogers, Marillion, Melanie C, Mumford & Sons, Natalie Duncan, New Order, Paloma Faith, Paolo Nutini, Papa Wemba, Paul Simon, Pixies, Placebo, The Pretenders, Rag'n'Bone Man, Reef, Robert Plant, Roger Waters, Sade, Seal, Sia, Stereophonics, Suzi Quatro, Take That, Therapy?, Tom Jones, Toto, Ultravox, Van Morrison, The Vamps, Wet Wet Wet, and The 1975.

Real World Studios has been host to film and TV projects including Quantum of Solace, The Golden Compass, Green Zone and The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.


  1. ^ a b c "Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios clean up with iZotope's RX". 21 May 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  2. ^ Touzeau, Jeff (July 2005). "Real World Studios: A behind the scenes tour". Tape Op. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
  3. ^ a b Bieger, Hannes (May 2017). "Real World Studios, Bath". Sound On Sound. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
  4. ^ "FeildenCleggBradleyStudios: Real World Studios". Retrieved 25 March 2023.
  5. ^ "Striking a Chord: Recording Studios That Sync Design and Function". Archived from the original on 11 April 2017. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  6. ^ "Clients". Retrieved 25 March 2023.

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