Sony Mastering, one of the departments that make up the comprehensive but user-friendly Sony Music Studios in New York, is integral to the complete chain of the facility’s audio services yet is felt by many of its clients to a be uniquely personal, high-tech and creative stand-alone entity. The five staff mastering engineers-Vlado Mellor, Mark Wilder, Vic Anesini, Joe Palmaccio and Darcy Proper-each bring a perspective that covers the entire spectrum of music. Averaging 20 years of mastering experience each, they have provided award-winning mastering services for a wide range of recording artists, including Celine Dion, Savage Garden, Pras, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ol’ Skool, Prince, Barbra Streisand, Herbie Hancock, C-Note, Carole King, Da Brat, Chris Webber, Jean-Luc Ponty and Miles Davis.
The five-room mastering department features mastering consoles custom-designed and built by David Smith, vice president of engineering for Sony Music. The boards incorporate ultra-quiet proprietary and GML components, and all operations are 24-bit-capable, allowing Sony Music Mastering to operate in any existing or future digital audio domain. The mastering suites were designed by George Augspurger and Neil Grant.
Sony Music Studios, founded in 1993, has grown to encompass a plethora of services. The facility houses 45 world-class production studios, including its 95×75-foot shooting stage and state-of-the-art audio recording and video editing studios. The most recent addition at Sony Mastering is DVD authoring and production capability, which will combine with the facility’s 5.1 and 7.1 mixing and mastering capability to allow clients access to the newly established DVD-Audio platform.
All of the departments at Sony Music Studios operate as an integrated team, making for fluid transitions of talent and technology. “The studios’ ability to accommodate every step of a project is constantly put to the test,” according to Ian Huckabee, vice president of audio operations and marketing. “The Herbie Hancock proj-ect, for instance, was mixed in Studio D and edited and mastered by Mark Wilder. Because Mark was present at the mixing, he was able to provide insights to the producer in the mastering process that helped unify the overall vision of the entire project.”
That kind of service parallels the facility’s technological base. Adds Brian McKenna, associate director of audio operations, “Our mastering engineers are fully prepared for the onslaught of new technologies like SACD, DVD and DVD-Audio. We have already begun mastering SACD titles for Japan, and our engineering staff is looking forward to other new challenges like upcoming DVD-Audio titles. Between the talents of our exceptional mastering staff and the facility’s dedication to developing and providing the most cutting-edge technology, there are simply no limits to what our mastering department can achieve for our clients.”