Le Lab Mastering specializes in analog mastering and features Focal Grande Utopia EM speakers.
Mastering engineer Marc Theriault mastered Celine Dion’s 2010 DVD and CD release, Taking Chances World Tour: The Concert, at Le Lab Mastering (Montreal), which Theriault and his partners, Denis Savage and Dominique Messier, opened in July 2009. Le Lab Mastering resides on the first floor of the M1207 Studio Complex and comprises a mastering room and transfer/archival space that houses analog tape, ADAT and DAT machines, and an oven to bake tapes. “We have all the machines you can imagine to transfer from,” says Theriault, “but mainly we use half- and ¼-inch 2-tracks.”
Mastering engineer Marc Theriault
Le Lab’s mastering room is floating, and Theriault says that it is “flat pretty much down to 20 Hz. There’s no coloration. You don’t hear the room or the speakers. We have three racks—one in the middle and one on each side—all at special angles so there are no standing waves. Everything was designed for having the cleanest path between the engineer and the speaker.” Analog equipment includes Ampex and Studer tape decks, and outboard units from Dangerous Music, GML, Shadow Hills, Manley Labs, Millennia Media and D.W. Fearn. On the digital side, Le Lab uses Lavry and Digital Audio Denmark converters, a TC Electronic System 6000 mastering and signal processor, and Pro Tools and Magix Sequoia DAWs. Vinyl acetates are played back on an Oracle Delphi Mk IV turntable. For monitoring, Le Lab features Focal’s flagship Grande Utopia EM speakers.
Dion’s release is based on performances recorded in Boston and Montreal in August 2008, and for this project Theriault and mix engineer Denis Savage relied on their many years of experience as Dion’s sound engineers. “The project was converted to analog from 24/96 digital and then we mastered from that,” Theriault says, noting that he worked with stems from Savage and used a Dangerous Music 2-Bus to combine the stems.