In a professional or commercial recording studio, at least two rooms are devoted to the recording process. The control room holds all the equipment, such as the mixer, the computer, the outboard effects, and the monitor speakers. The control room is also where the engineer, producer, and other non-musicians (such as the client or record-company executive) hang out.

The studio, or live room, holds the musicians and has very little equipment in it other than microphones and whatever gear the musicians need to create their music. The studio is typically adjacent to the control room, separated by a wall with a large, multipaned window to allow visual communication between the musicians and the control room personnel. Verbal communication is accomplished electronically through the microphones in the studio (so that the musicians can speak to the control room) and through the musicians' headphones (which allows the control room, via a „talkback“ mic, to speak to the band).