A brief word from the engineer....
Coming with 15 years experience in the music industry, being involved in recording, mixing and mastering, and recently having set up my own mastering studio, I can now offer to apply the finishing gloss to your mixes. Communication between you as an artist and myself is strictly maintained throughout the project, enabling me to produce a master you will be truly happy with; one that adheres to your initial intent. As where many modern mastering engineers subscribe to the 'louder is better' ethos, my approach, whilst bringing the track to a great level, is one which vitally maintains the dynamics of your music - you will undoubtedly lose song quality if all those transients are squashed into oblivion!
Whilst I also use digital processing, the vast majority of the equipment I use for mastering is analogue. There is nothing in the digital domain that sounds better than quality, hand-built analogue equipment. Accompany this amazing technology with first class digital to audio and audio to digital conversion, transparent monitoring and an excellent listening environment, and you have the perfect conditions to produce some really great work. I'm proud and happy to say that DMY Mastering have such conditions in place, enabling us to provide masters of exceptional quality.
Although qualifications are arguably not as important as a 'good ear', I also have a diploma in audio engineering and an additional qualification in audio mastering to add to my extensive practical experience.
A crucial part of the mastering signal chain, a great AD/DA converter will convert an analogue signal to a digital signal (and vice-versa) without compromising the original source. Because the majority of equipment we use during the mastering process is analogue, we need to make sure your high-quality mix file is converted with the greatest degree of transparency as it is processed through the analogue equipment, back to digital and, of course, during monitoring playback. We use Prism Sound AD/DA converters. Prism Sound have been building extremely high-end analogue and digital studio products for 26 years and their products are very highly regarded, indeed. We use the Prism Sound Orpheus interface which features 8 premium quality AD and DA channels allowing for extremely high-quality, highly transparent conversion.
Read more about Prism Sound and the Orpheus here
The best of British, since 1981, Drawmer's products "have been installed in every major recording studio, live venue and broadcast facility throughout the world". Based on the well-lauded Drawmer S3, the 1973 is a three band FET (field-effect transistor) stereo compressor. The audio signal is split into 3 separate bands allowing separate compression processing on each. To give just one example of potential use, if it is just the low-end that needs a touch of compression and you want to do this without effecting the rest of the mix, the 1973 allows for this precise adjustment.
Read more about Drawmer and the 1973 here
Based in California, Avalon have been designing and making pure Class A analogue equipment since 1986. Their products are constantly regarded as phenomenal pieces of audio equipment, and the VT-747SP is no exception. The 747 combines a creative stereo tube-discreet Class A spectral opto-compressor alongside a six band EQ. Even routing a mix through the 747 with no adjustment adds something. What's also great about the 747 is the EQ can be placed pre or post compression and, of course, both the compressor and the EQ can be used independently. This is a terrific piece of equipment and we use it on 95% of our masters.
Read more about Avalon and the VT-747SP here
Besides the Avalon VT-747SP, we also use a Charter Oak PEQ-1 for equalisation. The PEQ-1 was recently awarded 'Best of Show' at Namm's (National Association of Music Merchants) 2014 trade exhibition. "One of those boxes that has the magic", the PEQ-1 is extremely clean and free from distortion and features six boost/cut controls each having two or three carefully selected frequency points, ranging from 20hz-50khz. The overlapping bands are perfectly conducive to the PEQ-1 being a 'musical' EQ, especially in relation to mastering. Like the Avalon VT-747SP, the PEQ-1 features heavily in most of our mastering work.
Read more about the PEQ-1 here
Incredibly vital to controlled analysis of audio is the listening environment. We master your tracks in an acoustically treated room and analyse the results through various monitoring equipment (yes, even down to laptop speakers) to make sure the master has optimally translated. Whilst working, however, we use exceptionally high-quality monitoring speakers. Before a takeover by Neumann, Klein-Hummel built the very highly regarded, three-way active O-300 speakers. Here's the spiel:
Following its acquisition of Klein-Hummel, in late 2013, Neumann unveiled an upgraded version of the O-300's; the KH310's. We're lucky enough to have a new pair of these in our mastering studio and they are superb. With a frequency response of 34hz to 21khz, an upgraded design featuring a new cabinet construction and all-new electronics providing reduced noise and distortion, this upgraded version matches our mastering needs as well as our monitoring environment perfectly.
Read Sound on Sound's review of the KH310's here
As well as the KH310's as our main monitoring speakers, we also use the renowned Yamaha NS10m's to provide an additional mode of critical listening. You will find NS10m's in a countless number of studios around the world and they are there for good reason. In 2001, an investigation was launched seeking to unmask the reasons behind the bewildering popularity of the NS10 monitors. To cut a long story short, the NS10 speakers displayed significantly lower distortion performance than any other near-field monitor. To this end, and because of the 'honest' nature of these speakers, and although the NS10s were discontinued in 2001, many still mix (and even master) on these monitors.
Read more about the NS10 story here
To achieve an optimum monitoring environment, our mastering studio has been acoustically treated. This involved rigorous testing by professionals, involving computerised before and after acoustic measurement. The results of these tests determined the position and type of acoustic treatment required in order to achieve as flat a frequency response as possible. We use quality, purpose designed acoustic panels from GIK Acoustics
We're very passionate about producing the absolute best quality audio for every single one of our masters. Every project we undertake is tailored, as every project is different and requires particular care and attention. As an artist, we also guarantee you this same care and attention, so you're in safe hands.
If you have a project you'd like to discuss, or would like more information please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or click the button below to get in touch...