Georgetown Masters has truly attained legendary status within professional audio’s mastering community. Since its founding in 1985, company president and chief mastering engineer Denny Purcell has mastered over 500 Gold and Platinum recordings, and it’s been estimated that at any given time, half the records on the country music charts, 60% of the inspirational charts and one-fifth of the pop chart recordings were mastered at Georgetown. In 1997 and 1998 Georgetown mastered 49 Number One singles on the Billboard charts, and in 1998 Georgetown had more records at Number One than any other facility of any type, earning it Billboard’s Mastering Facility of the Year award.
The facility is visually stunning (the studio walls are lined with vintage and rare guitars and amplifiers) and reflects Purcell’s own heritage as a former musician who entered pro audio as a protege to producer Norbert Putnam, working at Putnam’s Quadafonic Sound Studios in Nashville in the 1970s. Purcell has always seemed to have an uncanny ability to adopt future formats ahead of the curve, and he is a regular contributor to industry panels and papers that help shape the evolution of mastering and pro audio (Purcell and Georgetown introduced the HDCD format in 1995). Small wonder that the client list includes artists such as Chet Atkins, Mark Knopfler, Garth Brooks, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Vince Gill, Donna Summer, Neil Young, Trisha Yearwood, Tom Petty, Paul Simon, Phish, Yo-Yo Ma and Keith Richards, many of whom have returned repeatedly to Georgetown. In addition, Purcell is one of the founders and a prime motivating force behind the Mastering Engineers Guild of the Americas (MEGA), which was formed in 1998 to assist artists, producers, engineers, record labels and manufacturers sort through technology issues; and deliver a better, more accurate product.
Georgetown offers a range of services in its two mastering suites and two digital editing rooms, including CD mastering and premastering, analog and CD-R duplication, digital format conversions, archiving and offline services such as digital editing and sequencing.
Georgetown also has a unique and sumptuous THX-certified nine-seat screening room on site, equipped with an Improved Definition Television projector, a wide-screen aspect ratio controller and, of course, a popcorn and candy counter. The theater has hosted numerous music video premieres and adds an element of show business to the facility. But, as Purcell also notes, “It’s just part of the philosophy here that ours is a multimedia industry now, and you have to respect and address the fact that sound is part of so many things in entertainment and in life.”