Edmeston, NY (December 5, 2008)–Mastering Engineer Dave McNair has a new suite at Masterdisk Studios in New York. Previously at Scott Hull’s studio, McNair made the jump recently when Hull purchased Masterdisk and expanded his business.
In his new mastering suite, McNair has paired his Dangerous Master Transfer Console with the Dangerous Monitor, utilizing the Monitor’s DAC for playback listening. The Dangerous Master is the latest generation in the Chris Muth mastering transfer console, while the Dangerous Monitor is a companion monitor controller with features designed for the mastering environment.
Recently, McNair has added new names to his credits, including Hollywood Undead, Jon McLaughlin, Evan Taubenfeld, Tim Brantley, Sara Bareilles, and K’Naan. His Dangerous Master transfer console is at the heart of his suite. “Chris and I go back twenty years,” says McNair, “to when I was a staff engineer at the Hit Factory in New York and he headed up their technical department. He is super-smart and knows everything there is to know about studio electronics, but he has a great ear too, which is rare in a technician. He’d play me stuff from his home studio that I thought sounded better than just about anything that the clients were bringing in! We hit it off right away.
“I started getting into mastering about eight or nine years ago and Chris had shifted to getting very technically involved in designing and building the mastering gear for Sterling Sound,” McNair adds. “I bugged him about putting together a transfer console for me, and he finally called me one day and said he and Bob Muller had the ‘Dangerous Master’ ready to go and they were putting it into production. I ordered one with a couple other guys without even hearing it–just by looking at a drawing of the feature set and knowing it would be good. I think the one I have doesn’t even have a serial number!
“The Dangerous Master immediately made a huge improvement in the quality of my work,” McNair continues. “There’re a few other options out there in the market now, but sonically, and certainly operationally, the Master is exactly what I like to use. It has what you need with no extra stuff that could degrade the integrity of the signal path. I’m extremely picky, and I know a lot of folks that do mastering are extremely picky, and a transfer console is a critical part of the sound of mastering because your signal is routed through it, and it has to do several jobs along the way. For me the Dangerous Master is really, really transparent, but the sound that it does have is a musical sound–it has almost no sonic imprint. I’ve compared it to other products out there, I won’t name names, but I think it’s the cleanest sounding solution available. For me, I don’t want my transfer console to add any coloration, and the Master delivers in that regard.”
Moving into his new digs at Masterdisk, McNair added the Dangerous Monitor. “I am also using the Dangerous Monitor for level control and source selection. That’s actually an amazing piece of gear too. Monitor sections are a type of equipment that there are not a lot of mastering-quality options for in the marketplace. I think Chris’s solution is the best sounding, and certainly functionally great. I use the Dangerous Monitor’s DAC for my primary listening, it goes right to my monitors. I think it sounds every bit as good as a Prism, or a DCS or a Lavry or anything else. It’s as good as any seven- or eight-thousand-dollar DAC! I have all my DACs lined up to within a tenth of a dB and I can just press a button and A/B them, and Dangerous’ DAC in the Monitor sounds amazing. It’s wide but it’s not artificially wide, it’s very detailed, but at the same time real smooth.”