Pictured in the new Cobaltt Mastering suite at Cups ‘N Strings Studios is owner/chief engineer Bruce Maddocks. Photo by David Goggin.Santa Monica, CA (September 11, 2007)–Cups ‘N Strings Studios has opened the new Cobaltt Mastering suite. Founded in 2002 by veteran engineer Bruce Maddocks, Cups ‘N Strings Studios also features mixing and audio post-production, as well as restoration and archiving from a variety of analog and digital formats.
“We’ve been concentrating on the restoration of analog master tapes and transferring them to digital,” Maddocks explains, “but have found a tremendous demand for re-mastering onsite and decided to build this dedicated room.
“Our basic set-up in the new Cobaltt room starts with a Mac G5 Dual Core running Pro Tools 7.3 as an HD Accel rig,” Maddocks illustrates. “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 DigitalFishPhone, the SlowSlimSlider, and the Roger Nichols Digital Inspector with Overall Level and Spectral Analysis.”
In the analog realm, Cobaltt uses a Urei 1178 dual 1176 processor, custom hot-rodded by Maddocks, for compression. He also uses the original Tube HHB Fat Man, and an original TL Audio EQ1 that has been modified so that it bypasses the entire mic pre-amp stage and goes directly in and out of the EQ stage. For low- and high-frequency accent, Cobaltt has the Aphex Aural Exciter with Big Bottom.
“Also in the analog realm,” says Maddocks, “We are using the TC 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.”
All of Cobaltt’s power amplification is through Hafler Trans Nova P-3000s. The loudspeakers were designed and custom-built over the last several years, using a combination of Maddocks’s original Loudspeaker Company TLC-3s, featuring 6.5-inch down firing bass speakers, 5.25-inch midrange and one-inch softdome phase-corrected tweeters. These proprietary speakers have been mounted with a phase-aligned and focusing subwoofer array, which 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.” Supplementing that is a second set of mechanical phase-aligned custom speakers built specifically for mastering applications and in daily use at independent mastering facilities elsewhere in the country.
Cups ‘N Strings Studios