Studio album
A studio album is an album
An album is a collection of recordings, released as a single package on gramophone record, cassette, compact disc, or via digital distribution. The word derives from the Latin word for list .Vinyl LP records have two sides, each comprising one half of the album...

 made up of tracks recorded in the controlled environment of a recording studio
Recording studio
A recording studio is a facility for sound recording and mixing. Ideally both the recording and monitoring spaces are specially designed by an acoustician to achieve optimum acoustic properties...

. A studio album contains newly written and recorded or previously unreleased or remixed material, distinguishing itself from a compilation
Compilation album
A compilation album is an album featuring tracks from one or more performers, often culled from a variety of sources The tracks are usually collected according to a common characteristic, such as popularity, genre, source or subject matter...

 or reissue album of previously recorded material, or live recording
Live album
A live album is a recording consisting of material recorded during stage performances using remote recording techniques, commonly contrasted with a studio album...

 made at a performance venue. A studio album is usually planned and scheduled in advance, and may take anywhere from a few days to more than a year to complete. Some studio albums may include one or more covers
Cover version
In popular music, a cover version or cover song, or simply cover, is a new performance or recording of a contemporary or previously recorded, commercially released song or popular song...

, occasionally as live tracks within the studio album. Studio albums may also feature guest performers or session musicians that would not usually perform live with the artist. A studio album may also be released or rereleased years after it has been recorded, or even posthumously, containing material recorded before the death of the artist.

With modern recording technology
History of sound recording
Methods and media for sound recording are varied and have undergone significant changes between the first time sound was actually recorded for later playback until now.- Acoustical recording :...

, musicians can be recorded in separate rooms or at separate times while listening to the other parts using headphones
Headphones are a pair of small loudspeakers, or less commonly a single speaker, held close to a user's ears and connected to a signal source such as an audio amplifier, radio, CD player or portable Media Player. They are also known as stereophones, headsets or, colloquially, cans. The in-ear...

; with each part recorded as a separate track
Multitrack recording
Multitrack recording is a method of sound recording that allows for the separate recording of multiple sound sources to create a cohesive whole...

). With a theoretically infinite number of tracks available with many modern computer
Digital audio workstation
A digital audio workstation is an electronic system designed solely or primarily for recording, editing and playing back digital audio. DAWs were originally tape-less, microprocessor-based systems such as the Synclavier and Fairlight CMI...

 and hard disk
Hard disk recorder
A hard disk recorder is a type of direct to disk recording system that uses a high-capacity hard disk to record digital audio or digital video. Hard disk recording systems represent an alternative to more traditional reel-to-reel tape or cassette multitrack systems, and provide editing...

 based recording systems (the only limit being processing power and size of the recording medium), one song can consist of hundreds of recorded tracks, employing dozens of overdubs and complex layering of instruments. This allows studio albums to be considerably more complex than live album
Live album
A live album is a recording consisting of material recorded during stage performances using remote recording techniques, commonly contrasted with a studio album...

s, and can potentially be compiled of 'perfect' takes of the same part.

Although studio albums can be recorded using large multitrack systems with many overdubs and different takes of the same instrument, many albums are still recorded live by the musician(s), in order to reproduce the feel and energy of a live performance. Often basic parts such as drums and rhythm guitar will be recorded live, then overdubs such as solos and vocals recorded later. Studio albums are often recorded, mixed
Audio mixing (recorded music)
In audio recording, audio mixing is the process by which multiple recorded sounds are combined into one or more channels, most commonly two-channel stereo. In the process, the source signals' level, frequency content, dynamics, and panoramic position are manipulated and effects such as reverb may...

 and mastered
Audio mastering
Mastering, a form of audio post-production, is the process of preparing and transferring recorded audio from a source containing the final mix to a data storage device ; the source from which all copies will be produced...

 at different facilities, often due to touring restrictions and time constraints of the artist or financial considerations.

A studio album will often consist of songs which will be played in a different order live, or in some cases rarely or never played at all after the album or its accompanying tour. Concept albums and rock operas, such as those by Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd were an English rock band that achieved worldwide success with their progressive and psychedelic rock music. Their work is marked by the use of philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, innovative album art, and elaborate live shows. Pink Floyd are one of the most commercially...

 are often played in their entirety live, usually in the same order as the album and featuring the same instrumentation, particularly in the album's accompanying tour. Studio albums often do not include singles
Single (music)
In music, a single or record single is a type of release, typically a recording of fewer tracks than an LP or a CD. This can be released for sale to the public in a variety of different formats. In most cases, the single is a song that is released separately from an album, but it can still appear...

released at the same time, although many modern albums include accompanying singles (the single often being an album track, rather than the album and single being separate).
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