David Kutch has opened The Mastering Palace, a new mastering studio featuring the Dangerous Master and the Dangerous Monitor. New York, NY (March 28, 2008)–Grammy-nominated mastering engineer David Kutch has opened The Mastering Palace, a new mastering studio. In only a few short months, Kutch has mastered a range of releases from artists including the Roots, Al Green, Natasha Bedingfield, Erykah Badu and Estelle.
At the core of The Mastering Palace are two pieces of analog equipment: the Dangerous Master and the Dangerous Monitor. Over the past two decades, many mastering studios and engineers have become familiar with Dangerous Music through Chris Muth.
Kutch explains his own connection: “The entire professional mastering community knows Chris Muth–I’m sorry, relies on Chris Muth. If your 1630 [tape] machine needed alignment you called Chris Muth. If your Neumann cutting lathe was acting up, you called Chris Muth. If you had a technical need where the equipment to complete a task did not exist yet, the first thing anyone did was call Chris Muth. Chris tweaked, repaired or invented mastering equipment better than anyone else, period! Dangerous Music and its products are far from being new players in the pro audio gear world. It has all been evolving in Chris’s brain and in mastering studios for over 20 years. He truly is a Mad Genius!”
Integrating Dangerous Music gear into his own studios has been an easy choice, according to Kutch. “While at [New York mastering studio] Masterdisk, I had been using a Muth Audio Designs mastering console and monitor box (the big black one). The gear never breaks down and is very transparent. When I moved to Sony Music Studios, they built me a brand-new mastering room. When they asked what type of mastering console I wanted, the answer was a no-brainer: ‘Anything from Chris!’ which, by this point, was the Dangerous Master because he was no longer making the ‘MAD’ console.”
In his new studio, Kutch explains how he centers his outboard connections around Dangerous Music designs. “The Dangerous Master brings all of my analog processing gear together in one place. The stereo signal comes in, gets left and right adjustments if need be, then hits my three inserts. One of the things that most attracted me to the Dangerous Master is that there are only three inserts. More inserts equals more noise. In this scenario, less is better! At this stage, I can insert any of my analog equalizers or compressors as needed. I can also insert an EQ or de-esser into the ‘S&M’ or Mid-Side circuit [of the Master] so I can process the mono and stereo program material independently, as well as increase or decrease the stereo width without messing with the phase. I’ve tried other devices that claim to do this but they do not even come close.
“My Dangerous Monitor lets me have control over speaker volume as well as listening to my different analog and digital signal inputs. The best feature is the onboard D-to-A converter. It switches from one AES input to another without any pops, glitches or latency–again, a rare feature. This way I can compare pre- and post- processing with the same D-to-A conversion on both sources.
“I’ve had Erykah Badu here as well as Questlove from the Roots,” Kutch continues. “Besides having my system sound as good as it can, the gear just does not break down when the client is present. Since the Dangerous Music equipment is what ties my all of my gear together, it has to work all the time. If it went down, the session would be dead. I’ve been using equipment designed by Chris for 11 years and I’ve never had a piece break. It just works!”
In addition to the Dangerous Master and the Dangerous Monitor, The Mastering Palace features a host of other mastering equipment. For playback, the studio employs a Studer A820 half-inch analog tape machine and a Digidesign Pro Tools|HD system. For an editor, Kutch uses Magix’s Sequoia DAW. Along with a host of boutique analog compressors, other key ingredients are his Prism Sound stereo converters and Maselec EQ, and for digital processing the TC Electronic System 6000. Critical listening depends on Kutch’s Focal Solo 6 monitors, and Legacy Focus monitors.
The Mastering Palace