Future Disc Systems’ Steve Hall
McMinnville, OR (November 18, 2008)–After 25 years as one of Hollywood’s top mastering engineers, Future Disc Systems 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.
“I’ve been fortunate to have mastered a number of classic records during my Hollywood days,” says Hall. “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 second year, we’re enjoying a steady flow of business. We’re also impressed with the quality of the work that’s coming in.”
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,” he 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, Yamaha NS 10s, 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 Electronic 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 three Pacific Microsonics Model 2s provides A/D and D/A 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 remaster the Traveling Wilburys’ Volumes 1 and 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,” Hall continues. “Some even choose 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. The atmosphere is relaxed, the technology is top notch and the alpacas are wonderful companions.”
Future Disc Systems