Capitol Mastering shares the 40-plus-year heritage of one of the most American of pro audio success stories: Capitol Records. The Capitol complex opened in a futuristic new building in the heart of Hollywood in 1956, and has since hosted some of the most treasured recordings in music history, from Frank Sinatra to the Beastie Boys. Through the years, the facility has made good on Capitol Studios’ commitment to remain on top of current technology.
Under the direction of noted engineer and vice president of Capitol Studios Michael Frondelli, and mastering manager Pete Papageorges, Capitol Mastering installed what has become a networked web of Sonic Solutions systems. The network connects all four mastering suites and two production rooms (and a CD-R/cassette dupe room); fiber-optic lines link the studios, and acoustics have been upgraded throughout. Part of Capitol Mastering’s ongoing technology upgrades in the past decade include being one of the first mastering facilities to implement ISDN transmission capability with EDNet, initially used on the Sinatra Duets recordings.
More recently, the studio added mastering engineer Robert Vosgien (Bush, No Doubt, Phil Collins) to the staff and has constructed two new mastering suites, as well as a 5.1-capable surround suite, conceived of by Frondelli and designed by Vincent Van Haaff and the Capitol Studios Design Engineering Team. There is also a new stereo mastering suite that is expandable to 5.1. The rooms are outfitted with custom consoles incorporating discrete Jensen 990 technology and Sontec EQs, linked to the facility’s Sonic network. Capitol Mastering is prepared for DVD-Audio projects, and the massive Capitol catalog is in the process of being digitized, making it immediately accessible to reissue in the new format. Capitol Mastering continues to provide services for a wide range of contemporary artists, including Everclear, Phil Collins, Tony Bennett, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and No Doubt.
“As part of the EMI family, we share a history of advanced recording technology with great studios like Abbey Road, Olympic, the Manor and the Townhouse,” explains Papageorges. “The mission has always been to be on the cutting edge of technology and to vertically integrate that capability back to the family of record labels and to all our clients.”
Currently, Capitol Mastering is in the process of testing and developing compression algorithms for data transmission and watermarking technology, which will form the future of online audio. “It’s more than just a matter of history-it’s a matter of diversified experience,” says Papageorges. “Our staff comprises a unique combination of veteran recording engineers capable of preserving, mastering and converting audio to all digital formats. Our goal is to provide our clients with the latest technological advances, with a quality of service reflecting over 50 years of combined experience. With one of the best technical staffs in the field of mastering, no project is beyond our reach.”