What are we?

We’re a down-to-earth and creative San Diego recording studio that exists to provide you with a fun, inventive, and high-quality audio recording experience at an affordable price.

Citizen Recording is located in La Mesa, CA, only minutes from San Diego, just a few blocks from La Mesa’s downtown village. Our recording studio is 1500 square feet and includes a spacious live room, comfortable control room, jumbo iso room, two isolated amp rooms, lounge, kitchenette, bathroom, and storage. We are experienced and proficient at creating polished, radio-ready tracks, and we are very well set up to record your band live-in-studio. We also produce commercial recordings, voice over, demos, etc. There are a bunch of great restaurants, bars, and coffee shops within a 1-mile radius, and we’re minutes away from several guitar shops. Feel free to contact us with any questions.

              Who are we?

I’m Patrick Norton, the owner and head engineer at Citizen Recording. Most of what I do in life revolves around music. My goal is to help make your project a success and to encourage an enjoyable experience during the process!

Music has been a focal point of my life for over 20 years. I am knowledgeable and experienced in songwriting, arranging, producing, engineering, and mixing. In addition to recording, I have played in several bands and written many songs. I know how important your music is to you, and it is my goal to capture your creativity and help you sound as good as possible. The other folks who work at Citizen are also musicians, active in writing and performing. We are passionate about what we do, and would love to help you actualize your dreams.

              What do we offer?

We are able to record 16 tracks simultaneously, with top-notch Apogee analog-to-digital conversion. We designed our rooms to make it ideal for recording live-in-studio performances. With bay windows and a glass door on the iso room, it’s easy to see the engineer and your bandmates while recording.

We are efficient and precise in midi and digital audio editing. We can compile takes to give you the best of your performances, fix timing problems with instruments, and correct the pitch of your vocals. Our goal with editing is to make your recording sound the best possible while retaining its human qualities.

Our staff is trained, knowledgeable, and experienced in creating stellar mixes in which every instrument and vocal has its place and can be clearly heard. We have tons of plugins at our disposal to find that sound you’re looking for. We do our best to work quickly and give you exactly what you want.

If you would like help arranging your song(s), writing parts, or other production, just give us a shout. We offer arrangement, writing, and production assistance for our standard hourly rates. After we discuss your project and what you want, we’ll have a better idea of how long it will take and we will gladly give you a quote.

We highly recommend that you take your project to a mastering engineer at a mastering studio. That being said, we do have software mastering tools and we are glad to help polish your tracks to make them sound loud, warm, wide, exciting, and balanced. Regular hourly rates apply for these services.

Have everything but a drummer? No problem. We have worked with several accomplished studio musicians or “session players” and we are glad to help line them up for your project. Rhythm guitar, lead guitar, bass, drums, percussion, organ, piano, cello… you name it. Additional fees apply.


Recording at Citizen was a great experience. We got the exact tones we were looking for. The guys there pay incredible attention to detail and put in honest work. The studio itself is well-designed and has a creative vibe, which helped us draw from each other as musicians.

-Austin Prince of HIT DOG HOLLAR

Incredible gear, professional engineers, and Indian food nearby. What else could any recording artist ask for? Nobody beats Citizen Recording.

-singer/songwriter/producer DANIEL JAMES

Recording at Citizen is chill. I can always expect a creative atmosphere and easy-going environment. It’s great to find the quality of sound I’m looking for.

-Bryce Turner of ACT NATURAL

We’re relatively new to recording; Patrick walked us through the process and helped us get the best live-in-studio sound. Due to his expertise and state-of-the-art equipment, we couldn’t be happier with the way our full-length album turned out. And Citizen’s rates are very competitive!

-Chuck V of VHS

This place is awesome, comfortable, reliable, but most importantly the room sounds phenomenal.  The place has a great vibe.  Patrick is a great guy and super easy to work with, scheduling is easy and simple, but the sound is the greatest selling point… I love it.


Patrick and Citizen Recording were great to work with. Patrick was quick and talented at getting excellent tones in little to no time. We were able to stay creative while he made sure we sounded excellent. He’s our new go-to-guy for recording and mixing our tracks.

-Kolby Knickerbocker of RODELLO'S MACHINE