What is mastering?

Mastering is the stage where the mixed two track master is artistically enhanced and technically prepared to be sent for manufacture. It is the final technical and creative stage in a project and the last opportunity to fix any technical and artistic shortcomings.

A good mastering job will enhance your mix with tangible qualities such as volume, tone, width, dynamics and impact. You will also find that it will bring forward many more intangible qualities such as perceived size, space, depth, groove, liveliness, drive and gloss. It can add new harmonic content giving warmth, body, musicality and even a sense of new atmosphere.It can add a "classic quality"  and familiarity when audio is passed through the very same analog equipment as many familiar classic recordings.

On a technical level Mastering will fix glitches,pops, noise and balance the sound of recordings, made at different studios or from recordings made over extended periods of time. Tracks that had previously sounded very different can be made more naturally flowing throughout an album.

Mastering at Poons Head

Poons Head mastering utilises the best of both analog and digital processing. Analog tube equalisers and compressors  from Fairchild, Manley, Tube-Tech ,Pultec, and Telefunken. Solid state analog processing from Class A Trident, Neve, Alan Smart and Dangerous Music. Digital conversion is provided by Lavry Gold, Digital Audio Denmark, Apogee and Benchmark. Masters can be supplied at all commercial formats for Vinyl or Digital Release, we are an authorized MFiT, Mastered for iTunes provider.

Sequoia 13 is the DAW of choice offering features such as ISRC coding and DDP masters. Highest quality digital equalisation and audio restoration  is provided from the complete Algorithmix suite, featuring their "Red" and "Orange" EQ's,with 'Renovator'. A vast collection of digital tools add to the palette on digital offer. Sample rate conversion is provided by Weiss.

  Analog tape machines including Ampex ATR1/2" two track- 1/4" stereo, 1/4" mono  and Studer 1/4" stereo - provide quality tape processing and master playback. Monitoring is provided with Duntech Sovereign and Lipinkski speakers through Pass Labs and Threshold Amplification. The dedicated monitoring room is a large 176 cubic meter space with RPG and Hedback custom timber acoustic treatments. Acoustic design by USA Acoustician Jeff Hedback.

Equipment Used

MONITORING

DUNTECH SOVEREIGN C 6000 MK IV
LIPINSKI L707
PASS LABS X2.5 Pre-Amp
PASS LABS X600 1200W Mono Block x 2
THRESHOLD SA12 350W Class A Mono Block x 2
DANGEROUS MUSIC MASTER
DANGEROUS MUSIC LAISON
SONY HD600 Headphones

RECORDERS
› ANALOG

AMPEX ATR 102 1/2" Stereo with Dolby SR
STUDER B67 ¼" Stereo
STUDER B67 ¼" Mono
STUDER B62 ¼" Stereo
AMPEX 351 ¼" Mono Tube
AMPEX AG 350 ¼" Mono

› DIGITAL

SEQUOIA ver 14 x 2 Digital Audio Workstation
TASCAM DV-RA1000 192KHz PCM & DSD / CD / DVD Recorder
TASCAM DA45 - 24 Bit DAT Recorder x 2
SONY PCM 501 (Apogee mods. filters + digital out)
HHB 850 PLUS CD Recorder plus wordclock
PLEXTOR CD Recorder

› A/D and D/A CONVERTERS

DIGITAL AUDIO DENMARK AX24 (384kHz 8 Channel DA and AD) x 2
LAVRY AD122-96MkIII
LAVRY DA-10
BENCHMARK DAC1
APOGEE DA-16X (192kHz 24 Bit 16 Channel Converter)
TASCAM DSD Converters (RA 1000)
RME Hammerfall HDSP AES32

SOFTWARE PLUG-INS

ALGORITHMIX Complete
MELDA PRODUCTIONS Complete
FAB FILTER Complete
SOUNDTOYS Complete
WEISS SARACON SRC
UNIVERSAL AUDIO UAD-2 and UAD-1 Extensive Selection
SONY OXFORD Inflator, Limiter, EQ
SONORIS DDP Reader

COMPRESSOR/LIMITERS

TUBE-TECH SMC-2A Tube Multi-Band Compressor/Limiter Stereo
TUBE-TECH LCA 2B Tube Compressor/Limiter Stereo
FAIRCHILD 666 Tube Compressor
FAIRCHILD 670 Tube Vari-mu Compressor POM AUDIO DESIGN rebuid (original 50's transformers and completely original signal path)
MANLEY VARIABLE-MU Tube Compressor/Limiter Stereo with Mid/Side and T bar mod
NEVE 2254/a Compressor/Limiter x 2
ALAN SMART C2 Compressor Stereo
GATES STA-LEVEL Tube Vari-mu Compressor x2
PENDULUM PL2 Limiter Stereo

EQUALIZERS

MANLEY MASSIVE PASSIVE Tube EQ Stereo
TRIDENT CB 9066 Class A EQ x 2
PULTEC EQP - 1A3 Mono Tube Program EQ x 4
PULTEC MEQ5 Tube EQ
TUBE-TECH EQ1A Tube Parametric EQ x 2
TUBE-TECH PE1C Tube Program EQ x 2
TUBE-TECH ME1A Tube Mid EQ x 2

CABLING

REQUISTE AUDIO Silver Line, Instrument and Power Cable

LINE AMPS

TELEFUNKEN V74 Tube x 5
NEVE 1272 x 6

TURNTABLE

LINN SONDEK LP12 + ITOK arm
SHELTER 501 moving coil cartridge
EAR 834P phono stage