Airshow founder and Chief Engineer David Glasser, and mastering engineer Anna Frick.
After 19 years in a business park in Boulder, Colo., mastering engineers David Glasser—Airshow’s founder—and Anna Frick moved Airshow Mastering’s headquarters to a newly-built studio just five miles west of the city, in the foothills. The new studio is equipped for stereo and 5.1 surround, lock to picture, SACD/DSD mastering and authoring, and Plangent Processes analog tape transfer services. The facility, which spent a year in planning and construction, debuted with a flurry of jazz, bluegrass, and rock sessions.
Since opening its doors in July 2016, clients who have attended their sessions have commented favorably on the new space and the mountain setting.
“Our goal was to build the most accurate and well-equipped mastering studio that we know how to build, to continue Airshow’s legacy in a destination location,” Glasser says. “The mastering room is based on my previous Boulder studio, with a similar size and equipment complement; while the overall facility is smaller, you’d be hard pressed to find one better-equipped.”
Studio designer and principal in SIA Acoustics, Sam Berkow, described the design challenges: “We wanted to create another spectacular surround mastering room, plus we needed to house all the functions you expect in a pro studio in addition to the main control room: a production-office area, the machine room, a small client lounge and a mechanical/storage and workshop area. Because David and I have worked together several times in the past 15 years, we were able to readily reach agreement on what a ‘good-sounding’ room and ‘productive work environment’ meant.”
Glasser selected local Boulder architect Jim Walker of ACI to work with Berkow and Jeffrey Friedlander of SIA’s New York office on a new structure to meet Boulder County’s demanding energy and wildfire risk reduction codes. Glasser chose a Structural Insulated Panel (SIPS) building from ICS in Fort Collins, CO. The wall and roof panels are manufactured in modular sections and quickly assembled on-site. SIPS technology enabled Walker and Berkow to design the interior without regard to conventional structural elements that might impinge on the acoustical priorities, and to create an extremely energy-efficient building.
Recently, Berkow returned to Airshow to perform final measurements on the completed studio using his Smaart software.
“We did some critical listening to a number of tracks, and measured the room for frequency and phase information at the mix position and at the guest listener position behind the mixer, and time domain impulse responses,” Glasser says. “The bottom line is that you need an accurate room and monitor system that allow you to clearly and accurately hear and evaluate the changes you’re making. Since starting work in this room, I feel we’ve achieved that, and we’ve created a very comfortable setting for engineer and client alike. We’re looking forward to welcoming our clients—old and new—for mastering sessions and listening sessions to check out mixes.”
David Glasser is a multiple Grammy Award-winning engineer with credits that span Americana, bluegrass, jazz and rock genres, including box sets, album remasters, and video releases for the Grateful Dead, iconic historical box sets from Revenant, Third Man and Folkways records, vinyl reissues for catalog labels, and numerous audiophile stereo and surround SACDs.
Anna Frick is a seven-year Airshow veteran and mastering engineer with a love for acoustic music-making. She also manages Airshow’s Restoration Center, a suite of services for archives and catalog labels, from digitization to restoration to Plangent Processing.
Airshow, founded by Glasser in Virginia in 1983, also operates a complex of studios in Takoma Park, Md., led by Charlie Pilzer, and also designed by Berkow. Airshow celebrates its 33-1/3 anniversary this fall.