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Cobaltt Mastering Opens at Cups ‘N Strings

Bruce Maddocks (pictured), owner and chief engineer of Cups ‘N Strings Studios in Santa Monica, Calif., announces the studio's new Cobaltt Mastering suite.

Pictured in the new Cobaltt Mastering suite at Cups ‘N Strings Studios is owner/chief engineer Bruce Maddocks. Photo: David Goggin.

Bruce Maddocks (pictured), owner and chief engineer of Cups ‘N Strings Studios in Santa Monica, Calif., announces the studio’s new Cobaltt Mastering suite. “We’ve been concentrating on the restoration of analog master tapes and transferring them to digital, but have found a tremendous demand for re-mastering on-site and decided to build this dedicated room,” Maddocks says.

“Our basic setup in the new Cobaltt room starts with a Mac G5 Dual Core running Pro Tools 7.3 as an HD Accel rig,” Maddocks explains. “The primary mastering programs are Pro Tools for gaming, music scores and mastering motion picture soundtracks. We are using BIAS Peak 5 for independent music releases, plus a combination of digital plug-ins from Waves, including the Renaissance restoration plug-in, and several from Wave Arts and digitalfishphones, the SlowSlimSlider, and the Roger Nichols Digital Inspector with overall level and spectral analysis.”

For compression, Cobaltt relies on a UREI 1178 and two 1176 processors that have been customized by Maddocks. He also uses an original HHB Radius 3 Fat Man tube processor, and an original, modified TL Audio EQ1. For low- and high-frequency accents, Cobaltt has the Aphex Aural Exciter with Optical Big Bottom section.

“Also in the analog realm,” Maddocks remarks, “we are using the TC [Electronic] Finalizer 96. All of the analog and digital conversion to load back for CD authoring is done through an Apogee PSX-100 Special Edition that has been tweaked and brought up to date with all the new revs and mods.”

Cobaltt’s Hafler Trans-Nova P3000 loudspeakers were designed and custom-built over the past several years, using a combination of Maddocks’ original Loudspeaker Company TLC-3s, featuring 6.5-inch downfiring bass speakers, 5.25-inch midrange and 1-inch soft dome phase-corrected tweeters. These proprietary speakers have been mounted with a phase-aligned subwoofer array that rests atop the meter bridge.

“With this arrangement,” Maddocks explains, “I have a full-frequency package in close proximity to the mix and mastering position. I don’t have to worry about imaging and definition with a single sub that is off in a corner somewhere. This way, I get the full sonic spectrum, plus a full low-frequency extension on both the left and right channels.” A second set of phase-aligned custom speakers were built specifically for mastering applications.

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