Oceanview Mastering was born ten years ago, but that provides few clues to the depth of professional experience that resides within this two-suite facility in Los Angeles. Founder Joe Gastwirt is well-known throughout the professional audio industry from more than two decades of mastering work at such noteworthy facilities as Media Sound, Masterdisk, JVC and CBS/Sony.
Today, Oceanview Mastering offers the expertise of Gastwirt and his talented protege Ramon Breton, who have collectively worked on hundreds of Gold- and Platinum-selling masters for a diverse array of artists, including Neil Young, Pearl Jam, the Grateful Dead, Keb' Mo', Daniel Lanois, Bob Dylan's 1998 Grammy winner Time Out of Mind, 311, Phil Collins and Yes. "We have two or three Grammy winners pass through here every year," says Gastwirt, who, with producer Mark Linett, was nominated for a Grammy for the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds box set.
Designed by Gastwirt, Oceanview Mastering has two very comfortable and ergonomically efficient mastering suites outfitted with a large selection of choice analog and digital signal processing gear. The custom consoles are a pair of heavily modified Neumann SP-77/75s, which Gastwirt and noted electronics designers Todd Wilson and Pat Schneider re-engineered and built. The facility reflects Gastwirt's own approach to mastering: simple, precise and flexible.
"We configure our choice of technologies and creative approaches to the type of work that comes in from each project," Gastwirt explains. Decisions about digital and analog signal processing and A/D conversion are based on what the individual project requires. But everything that passes through Oceanview Mastering goes by the simplest and most direct route, with a minimum of signal path to traverse and only through the highest-quality cabling available.
The mastering suites are fitted with an array of custom monitors and amplifiers, including ATC 100 speakers with custom 45Hz crossovers and 24-inch subwoofers, Martin Logan electrostatic speakers, and custom-modified Times One amplifiers. The studios are modeled on classic music recording rooms, incorporating slatted wood diffusors that help re-create the recording studio atmosphere and contribute to a sense of creative continuity between the recording and the mastering processes. This is a philosophy that underscores Gastwirt's approach to the business: keeping the focus on the client and the proj-ect. "The technology is always subordinate to the vision that the client has for the music," Gastwirt says.
Oceanview Mastering intends to maintain its one-on-one feel into the future, even as the company looks to expand into a new facility sometime later this year. The next generation of Oceanview will also incorporate new technologies such as DVD-Audio and MPEG-2 encoding and compression, as well as 5.1 surround mastering capability. "The emphasis will be on maintaining a leading-edge capability but never losing the intimate connection we try to establish between ourselves and the client," says Gastwirt. "You don't want to change a way of working that's worked so well for so long."