Frankford/Wayne Mastering Labs
130 West 42nd Street, Ste. #1000
New York, NY 10036
If the soul of New York is its diversity, then Frankford/WayneMastering Labs mirrors the eclectic essence of the city. And like NewYork itself, Frankford/Wayne has been around for a long time–35years, to be exact–which, in the volatile media and entertainmentindustry, is more than a lifetime.
Tom Steele started Frankford/Wayne’s mastering operations in 1966,first as part of the Philadelphia recording institution Sigma SoundStudios–home of the famous Philly Sound and the writing/productionteam of Gamble & Huff. There, he gained a firm footing in therootsy music that endures today, and soon after, he opened his ownfacility nearby. It was at Frankford/Wayne that the heroes of EastCoast soul, including the O’Jays, Teddy Pendergrass and Lou Rawls,among many others, came for their mastering. Philadelphia was alsowhere Steele began a lifelong affinity with independent record labels,which positioned the facility well for the future. In 1973, Steeleopened a branch of Frankford/Wayne in Manhattan, which is now homebase.
Today’s Frankford/Wayne facility is a serendipitous combination ofthe facility’s heritage and the pro audio industry’s cutting edge.Staff mastering engineers Duncan Stanbury, Michael Sarsfield and GregVaughn work out of Studios A, B and C, respectively, with a technologycollection that spans the generations, from tube compressors and analogequalizers to the latest in SADiE digital audio workstations and othersystems, including the Sony DAE-3000, Harmonia Mundi consoles, Sony1630 with Apogee modifications, and the Lexicon LFI-10 controller.
Frankford/Wayne has established itself as the premier masteringfacility specializing in urban music, and regularly masters for theleaders in rap, hip hop, dance and house, such as Dr. Dre, Erykah Badu,Lost Boyz and Bone Thugs. But the staff covers all genres, with workfor artists such as Elton John, Deborah Gibson and Joe Jackson. “Rock,pop, gospel, even Irish clogging music–we’ve seen and heard anddone it all here,” muses Tracy Steele, daughter of Frankford/Wayne’sfounder and the facility’s general manager.
Frankford/Wayne’s expertise has also made it one of the leadingfacilities in the world for vinyl mastering. Artists and producers fromTokyo to London, and all points in between, rely on Frankford/Wayne asthe definitive mastering solution for vinyl dance mixes. Roots thatextend back to the Philadelphia Sound have remained alive and vital,and manifest themselves today at Frankford/Wayne in records that topthe charts of the lingua franca of global entertainment–dance andclub music.
And as you might expect from a family business, the studio has afamily feel about it, from the warmth of its analog sound to the large,comfortable and inviting lounge area, complete with (very analog)pinball machines.”
“When you’ve been in business this long, you learn a few thingsabout what the music needs and how people want to be treated,” saysSteele. “And in the music business, being in business for over 30 yearstruly does speak for itself.”
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