Mastering Lab president and co-founder Doug Sax
On April 11, Mastering Lab president and co-founder Doug Sax (pictured) officially closed Mastering Lab's Hollywood studio at 6033 Hollywood Blvd. after 40 years at that location. Sax and the Mastering Lab's staff—including Robert Hadley, Sangwook “Sunny” Nam, Arnie Acosta, Tom Pessagno and Teresa Bustillo—now work full-time in the Mastering Lab's Ojai, Calif. facility, located 75 miles northwest of L.A.
"Initially, Robert [Hadley] will be sharing our room with Sunny Nam, Arnie Acosta and me," Sax says. "Robert's room [in Hollywood] was always designed to be moved, and will come up here intact. We have plenty of space for at least one more mastering room."
Regarding his decision to close the Hollywood studio—one of the first independent mastering houses in the U.S.—Sax says, "There has actually been very little slowdown of work, but the work mirrors the changes in our industry. Many more self-produced albums [are] recorded on minimal budgets, often in home studios. We offer special rates for self-released albums, so while the quantity has been good, the total billing is a little less.
“Actually, the home-brew music is often more interesting, and these artists seek out the best mastering, figuring they need it more than high budget offerings from name engineers,” Sax continues. “Many have tried the 'mastering down the street' and welcome the input of professionals."
In addition to numerous indie projects, the Mastering Lab continues to serve a high-profile clientele, including recent projects for Diane Reeves, Jackson Browne, Tift Merritt, Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Bauhaus, Sheryl Crow, Roy Hargrove and more.
In an announcement sent to friends and colleagues last week, Sax wrote, “As we slowly disassemble Hollywood, it is impossible not to remember the incredible number of creative souls and the music that they brought. It also does not escape me that I was 31 years old when I worked with my first client. Well over half on my entire life has been spent at 6033 Hollywood Blvd.”
For more information, visit www.masteringlab.com.
To learn more about the Mastering Lab's history, read "Mastering Lab Milestone" from Mix's February 2008 issue. Mastering Lab's Ojai facility appeared on the cover of Mix's December 2005 issue and was profiled in that issue's "On the Cover" story.