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Whitfield Street Mastering Upgrades With Custom Crookwood

Whitfield Street Studios (London), acquired by Robin Millar in March, has revamped its mastering facilities, the first phase of an ongoing renovation and upgrade project. The studio now offers one of Europe’s few dedicated 5.1 rooms featuring a customized and unique Crookwood mastering console. The 5.1 room is setup to handle all audio formats, due in part to the Crookwood mastering console designed with the facility’s 5.1 engineer, Mazen Murad.

Murad worked with Crookwood to design a desk that would facilitate mastering stereo and surround, SACD, DVD, CD and vinyl, and could also be used for upmixing. It is the first desk in the UK to feature Crookwood’s next-generation Igloo technology, which replaces the Mastering Bricks’ range of consoles.

“The Crookwood desk functions as both an analog and digital router,” explains Murad. “Recordings can be sent through any EQ or compressor by the push of a button without the need to plug in cables so the sound is very clean. Although it’s great to have full surround mixes, not everyone has the budget to mix to 5.1. But here, we are able to create credible 5.1 masters from stems or by upmixing from a stereo source. I can use the desk to create a 5.1 mix from a few separate components such as backing vocals, strings, et cetera, and it can also be used for fine-tuning mixes; for example, for turning up a lead vocal by a few dB. With budgets stripped right back, it’s important to find a way of helping clients creatively to save them time and money.”

Whitfield Street’s mastering facility also comprises a classical editing room with a Sonic Solutions system, four mastering suites with SADiE Artemis hard disk surround mastering editor, SADiE multichannel DSD8 and PCM8 mastering editors from the Series Five range and three Neumann VSM80 vinyl cutting lathes. Equipment includes a dCS 988 master clock, Prism and dCS converters, Focusrite EQs and compressors, Avalon mastering EQs and compressors, Manley EQs and compressors, a Prism mastering console and a TC Electronic M6000 digital effects processor and Pro Tools rig. Monitoring in the mastering suites includes ATC, PMC, B&W and KRK.

Recent mastering credits for the studio include Kanye West, Shaznay Lewis, the 411, Nitin Sawhney, Killers, Dooley Brothers, Beverley Knight, Kylie Minogue, Armand Van Helden, Geri Halliwell, Jentina, Big Brovaz, Jay Sean, Sonique and Lemar.

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