Pastoral Setting Proves Conducive To Mastering Music Andâ€¦ Alpacas
McMinnville, OR: In 2006, after 25 years as one of Hollywoodâ€™s top mastering engineers Future Disc, founder Steve Hall and his wife Laura moved their studio to a rustic 40 acre ranch in Oregonâ€™s bucolic wine country. Today, the Halls see their dream of establishing a successful countrified studio bearing audio fruit... and, alpacas on the hoof.
Two recent Future Disc mastering projects have garnered a total of eleven Grammy Award nominationsâ€¦ Eight for SE Entertainment Recordsâ€™ artist Nikkole including Album of The Year (Creolepatra), Best New Artist and Best R&B Vocal Performance (I Really Need You). Anna Maria, another 2008 Steve Hall client, has copped three nominations: Best New Artist, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance (My Funny Valentine) and Best Jazz Vocal Album, Within The Fourteenth Hour.
â€œIâ€™ve been fortunate to have mastered a number of classic records during my Hollywood days,â€? Hall says. â€œBlondieâ€™s Heart Of Glass, Pat Benatarâ€™s In the Heat of The Night.â€? The Knackâ€™s My Sharona and Madonnaâ€™s True Blue among others. Moving lock stock and barrel to McMinnville was a gamble, but Laura and I have always loved this part of the country, and weâ€™ve also grown partial to alpacas. We were confident that weâ€™d be able to attract clients here, and now as we wrap our 2nd year weâ€™re enjoying a steady flow of business. Weâ€™re also impressed with the quality of the work thatâ€™s coming in. The fact that two CDâ€™s Iâ€™ve mastered are in the running for eleven Grammy Awards is enormously gratifying.â€?
In making the move Hall was committed to creating a room that surpassed the original Hollywood facility heâ€™d designed back in 1981. â€œThat studio mastered DVD audio discs of The Last Waltz for The Band, Jackson Browneâ€™s Running On Empty, The Beach Boysâ€™ Pet Sounds, Foreigner IV, The Grateful Deadâ€™s American Beauty and Workingmanâ€™s Dead, and many other wonderful DVDs,â€? Hall says. â€œDuring those years we evolved from a single vinyl suite into a multi-room complex and, we were into CD mastering, DVD authoring and surround sound very early on. Today, instead of taking a lunch break at a trendy restaurant, weâ€™ll check our herd of alpacas and enjoy the fresh air and scenery.
The spacious Future Disc mastering suite is outfitted with custom Big Bang Acoustics nearfields, a Yamaha NS 10, Bryston and Manley Amps and a powerful arsenal of digital processing gear including Weiss EQ1-MK2 24/96 7 band parametric EQ; Weiss DS-1 MK 3 compressor limiter; TC Electronics 5000, Sonic Studio HD workstation and a complete â€œNoNoiseâ€? package. Analog processing includes GM 9500, Sontec, Manley Massive Passive and Pultec EQ, Sontec Manley variable MU compressor and Manley
el-op limiter. A set of 3 Pacific Microsonics Model 2â€™s provide AD & DA conversion.
â€œMost clients send us their material online or post it on our server,â€? Hall continues. â€œWhen Jeff Lynne and engineer Ryan Ulyate asked me to re-master the Traveling Wilburys Volumes 1 & 3 CDs for DVD, they sent the original master tapes direct from Olivia Harrisonâ€™s vault via special courier. I had a terrific time mastering the originals, and was really pleased to work with them again. Itâ€™s sad that George Harrison and Roy Orbison passed away before The Wilburys had the chance to record Volume 2.
â€œThis year has seen an interesting mix of new clients like Ziggy Marley, Hilary Duff and Blind Melon; and repeat clients like engineer Mark Needham and Chris Issac. Some even chose to come up and sit in on the processâ€™ and weâ€™re happy for the company. Weâ€™ve got wonderful local bed and breakfast spots, and we enjoy showing them the local sites, especially the many neighboring wineries. Weâ€™ve built a best of both worlds environment here,â€? Hall concludes. â€œThe atmosphere is relaxed, the technology is top notch and the alpacas are wonderful companions.â€?
Future Disc Systems is located at: 15851 NW Willis Rd. McMinnville, OR 97128 213-361-0603