Owner/engineer Bryan Martin (inset) works on a Sonic Studio mastering/editing system in his Montreal studio, Sonosphere.
More than 20 years of 12-plus-hour workdays, compiled with the daily stresses of Manhattan life, can certainly take its toll on a person. Just ask engineer Bryan Martin, who was that guy until early this year, when he and his family moved to the more laid-back environs of Montreal. Admittedly burnt out on recording but still infected by the music bug, Martin opened Sonosphere (www.sonosphere.ca) and promptly carved himself a niche as the progressive city's only existing mastering facility. “Quality of life and dumb luck coincided,” says Martin, whose wife is a Montreal native. “I'm an audio lifer, so I couldn't not be in audio. But I couldn't continue and make records in a computer. Now, I don't have to compromise. I can be excellent every day.”
Located downtown in a converted industrial space, Sonosphere doesn't compromise in terms of acoustics. Martin hammered “every nail himself,” creating a warm, acoustically correct environment within the building's massive concrete framework. Martin's Sonic Studio system is augmented by Prism Sound ADA-8 24/96 converters, a Manley Variable Mu compressor/limiter, Masselec MEA2 stereo equalizer, Weiss DS1-MK2 24/96 dynamics processor, Z-Systems routing and EQ, and a monitoring system comprising Bryston 4B amplifiers and BP20 preamps and Dynaudio Special 25s. Sonosphere can accommodate most analog and digital formats, and should begin handling 5.1 projects by the end of the year.
Aside from broadening his client base of Montreal-based and regional acts, Martin plans to design and build custom EQs and preamps for the studio — something he finally has time for now that his workdays fall closer to a reasonable eight-hour shift. “And when we build our own stuff,” he adds, “again, no compromise.”