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Pastoral Setting Proves Conducive To Mastering Music And… Alpacas

McMinnville, OR: In 2006, after 25 years as one of Hollywood’s top mastering engineers Future Disc, founder Steve Hall and his wife Laura moved their studio to a rustic 40 acre ranch in Oregon’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 nominations… Eight for SE Entertainment Records’ 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.

“I’ve been fortunate to have mastered a number of classic records during my Hollywood days,� Hall says. “Blondie’s Heart Of Glass, Pat Benatar’s In the Heat of The Night.� The Knack’s My Sharona and Madonna’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 we’ve also grown partial to alpacas. We were confident that we’d be able to attract clients here, and now as we wrap our 2nd year we’re enjoying a steady flow of business. We’re also impressed with the quality of the work that’s coming in. The fact that two CD’s I’ve mastered are in the running for eleven Grammy Awards is enormously gratifying.�

In making the move Hall was committed to creating a room that surpassed the original Hollywood facility he’d designed back in 1981. “That studio mastered DVD audio discs of The Last Waltz for The Band, Jackson Browne’s Running On Empty, The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, Foreigner IV, The Grateful Dead’s American Beauty and Workingman’s Dead, and many other wonderful DVDs,� Hall says. “During 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, we’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 “NoNoise� 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 2’s provide AD & DA conversion.

“Most clients send us their material online or post it on our server,� Hall continues. “When 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 Harrison’s vault via special courier. I had a terrific time mastering the originals, and was really pleased to work with them again. It’s sad that George Harrison and Roy Orbison passed away before The Wilburys had the chance to record Volume 2.

“This 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 process’ and we’re happy for the company. We’ve got wonderful local bed and breakfast spots, and we enjoy showing them the local sites, especially the many neighboring wineries. We’ve built a best of both worlds environment here,� Hall concludes. “The atmosphere is relaxed, the technology is top notch and the alpacas are wonderful companions.�


Future Disc Systems is located at: 15851 NW Willis Rd. McMinnville, OR 97128 213-361-0603