UNITED RECORDING BRINGS BACK MASTERING, LAUNCHES ARCHIVING DIVISION
United Recording in Los Angeles has launched its new mastering division. United was founded in 1957 by recording engineer, studio designer and electronics inventor Bill Putnam mastering is a key element of the studio’s heritage.
“Mastering was always a key aspect of Bill’s predominance in the recording studio world,” says Studio Manager Robin Goodchild. “We are simply bringing it back as a convenience to our clients, but also as a re-imagined service operating in today’s Internet world market.”
United’s new mastering engineers are Erick Labson and Warren Sokol, formerly with Universal Mastering. Their combined discographies include decades of major albums from top artists in virtually all musical genres.
“When you’ve produced your masterpiece in the studio, and recorded it impeccably, sweetened it with overdubs and mixed it to perfection, there is only one final step before manufacturing and distribution: mastering. This is when your work is finalized so that it sounds the very best to the listener. Mastering needs the latest technology and a gifted engineer to deliver the best music possible,” says Steven Miller, United’s executive consultant on the new mastering studio.
Located in the specially designed acoustic space, formerly the home of JVC’s mastering suite, United’s new studio features Lipinski L-700A monitoring with JL Audio Fathom subwoofers, as well as a wide selection of headphones and earbuds. For computer playback and recording, the studio uses the SADiE system running Prism Sound’s latest SADiE 6.1 audio recording and editing software across its mastering platform. Analog processing includes the Pendulum ES-8 Compressor, Dave Hill Titan Compressor/Limiters, SPL Passeq, Manley Massive Passive EQ Mastering Version and Sontec Mastering EQ.
“We’ve done our research and are offering the very latest technology in mastering,” Miller says. “United truly is a temple of sound and has been for almost 60 years,” adds Goodchild. “It’s known worldwide as a place where recorded music has been ultimately refined and represents the biggest records, not only recently, but in every decade since the ’50s. It is that attention to perfection that goes into every aspect of our new mastering division.”
Pictured in United Recording’s new archiving suite are (L-R) Studio Manager Robin Goodchild and Dan Johnson, Head of Archiving. Photo: David Goggin.
Meanwhile, United also launched its new archiving division. “United has a 60-year history of uncompromised audio excellence and innovation,” Goodchild says. “We have assembled a vintage treasure trove of virtually all modern recording machine formats and the ancillary equipment crucial to accurate archiving to insure the new masters will be preserved for the ages.”
United’s new suite is a secure, climate-controlled suite that features such attention to detail as a specially built anti-static floor to prevent any electrical mishaps. A full-time dedicated maintenance staff means the gear is well cared for and running correctly at all times.
United’s new Head of Archiving, Dan Johnson, spent the past five years as a dedicated audio preservation engineer working with priceless masters by such artists as Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Eagles, Prince, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Ramones, Van Halen, Rod Stewart and Otis Redding. Prior to that, Johnson was a recording engineer at Capitol Studios and Ocean Way (now United).
“I started my engineering career at United almost 20 years ago, and opening an audio archiving facility here is a timely decision,” says Johnson. “The studio’s high standard of quality and excellence, as well as the commitment to an unparalleled legacy provided me with the foundation that I have built my career on. It’s good to be home.”
For the archiving process, tape condition is checked precisely and processed accordingly. Formats are correctly determined and documentation checked regarding speed, noise reduction, etc. All tape boxes, notes, and track sheets scanned at 300 dpi. Tape preparation includes baking when necessary, as well as replacing damaged splices and bad leader tape. Multitrack tapes are transferred in real time and synchronized to Pro Tools. Final assembly of recorded assets are transferred to archival DVD or Blu-ray discs and WAV files.