Sterling Sound

Sterling Sound may be a name with an illustrious reputation in the mastering world, but the next generation of the company is hardly resting on its laurels.
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Sterling Sound may be a name with an illustrious reputation in the mastering world, but the next generation of the company is hardly resting on its laurels. In fact, the new Sterling Sound is at the vanguard of the future wave of mastering, in terms of both technology and art.

Now operating as a joint venture with London's renowned Metropolis Studios, Sterling is home to an unprecedented partnership of mastering professionals: Greg Calbi, Tom Coyne, Ted Jensen and George Marino. For more than two decades, these four engineers have put the finishing touches to Grammy-winning, Platinum albums by the world's top recording artists in nearly every genre-rock, pop, jazz, R&B and hip hop. With Murat Aktar as its president, Sterling is devoted to fostering an environment where new technology meets vintage creativity.

Currently located in midtown Manhattan, Sterling will be moving downtown early next year to grand new quarters in The Chelsea Market. The state-of-the-art, 25,000-square-foot facility will eventually comprise seven mastering rooms, with separate production/editing suites, fully equipped listening lounges, and various features designed to make the mastering experience as interactive, exciting and comfortable as possible for artists, producers, recording engineers and A&R executives alike. The mastering rooms will be surround sound-compatible and outfitted with a host of proprietary gear-including custom analog transfer consoles and custom Sonic Solutions networking, designed by Sterling chief technical engineers Chris Muth and Bob Tis, respectively.

Sterling has always exploited current media to its utmost, from LP to CD. So with the changes now taking place in the music industry, Sterling is developing partnerships to take advantage of new sound carriers and delivery systems. For example, the company is exploring avenues for the secure, high-quality delivery of music over the Internet with Liquid Audio. Sterling has also taken a proactive stance with DVD, founding a firm with Metropolis London called Metropolis DVD, led by Zuma Digital co-founder David Anthony.

Of course, mastering is not only a science but an art, which is where Sterling's most innovative concept comes into play. Calbi, Coyne, Jensen and Marino are developing proteges in order to foster the next generation of mastering engineers. Learning the tricks of the trade in this internal guild are engineers Paul Angelli, Chris Athens, Steven Fallone and Eugene Nastasi. The separate rooms for mastering and production and the division of labor between the up-and-coming engineers and senior mastering engineers mean that Sterling will be able to offer more competitive rates for world-class work than perhaps ever before. In sum, the Sterling/Metropolis partnership is about new blood and new ideas, taking the mastery of mastering into the next century.