London (November 3, 2004)–London’s historic Whitfield Street Studios, acquired by Robin Millar in March, has revamped its mastering facilities, the first results of an ongoing renovation and upgrade program.
As well as providing some unique new services, Whitfield Street Mastering offers one of Europe’s few dedicated 5.1 rooms featuring a customized and unique Crookwood mastering console. Whitfield Street can handle mastering to all surround formats including SACD and DVD in addition to stereo, CD and vinyl mastering, extensive copyroom facilities, high sample rate converters for archiving and an FTP server allowing clients to upload their projects via the internet for same-day mastering.
Whitfield Street’s 5.1 room, permanently set up to handle all audio formats, owes much of its efficiency and flexibility to the Crookwood mastering console designed in conjunction with the facility’s experienced 5.1 engineer Mazen Murad. Murad worked with Crookwood to design a desk which would facilitate mastering stereo and surround, SACD, DVD, CD and vinyl, and could also be used for Up-mixing. It is the first desk in the UK to feature Crookwood’s next-generation Igloo technology, which replaces the Mastering Bricks range of consoles.
“The Crookwood desk functions as both an analogue and digital router,” explained Murad. “Recordings can be sent through any EQ or compressor by the push of a button without the need to plug in cables, so the sound is very clean. Although itπs great to have full surround mixes, not everyone has the budget to mix to 5.1. But here we are able to create credible 5.1 masters from stems or by Upmixing from a stereo source. I can use the desk to create a 5.1 mix from a few separate components such as backing vocals, strings etc, and it can also be used for fine-tuning mixes–for example for turning up a lead vocal by a few dB. With budgets stripped right back, it’s important to find a way of helping clients creatively, to save them time and money.”
Added Crispin Herrod-Taylor from Crookwood, “The Crookwood Igloo system is unique to Whitfield Street. Mazen’s clear vision made light work of turning all the options into a working reality. It was a real pleasure to deal with somebody who knew his stuff and was so clear about his needs, as we were able to construct the console quickly to meet Whitfield Street’s tight delivery schedules.
“The professionalism of the technical staff at Whitfield Street meant that the technical and interface decisions were quickly dealt with, and the wiring was in place on time for the console’s installation. None of the 500 digital and analogue interconnections were incorrectly wired; a fantastic achievement.”
Whitfield Street’s mastering facility also consists of a classical editing room with a Sonic Solutions system, four mastering suites with SADiE Artemis hard disk surround mastering editor, SADiE multichannel DSD8 and PCM8 mastering editors from the Series Five range and three Neumann VSM80 vinyl cutting lathes. Equipment includes a dCS 988 Master Clock, Prism and dCS converters, Focusrite EQs and compressors, Avalon mastering EQs and compressors, Manley EQs and compressors, a Prism mastering console and a TC Electronic M6000 digital effects processor. There is also a Digidesign Pro Tools rig which is available to mastering clients at no extra charge. Monitoring in the mastering suites includes ATC, PMC, B&W and KRK.
Four versatile and talented mastering engineers are employed permanently at Whifield Street. Frank Arkwright joined the facility after 11 years at Town House, while new recruit Murad has 10 years’ experience as a mastering engineer for Studios 301 in Sydney and Cologne. Ashley Burchett and Naweed Ahmed both worked at the studio when it was owned by Sony, during which time Ahmed built up an impressive client list of major and independent labels while Burchett is a vinyl specialist who has cut records for artists across the spectrum. The combined experience of this new team of engineers allows Whitfield Street Mastering the flexibility to cater for all sorts of music from classical through rock and pop to hip hop.
Recent mastering credits for the studio include Kanye West, Shaznay Lewis, the 411, Nitin Sawhney, Killers, Dooley Brothers, Beverley Knight, Kylie Minogue, Armand Van Helden, Geri Halliwell, Jentina, Big Brovaz, Jay Sean, Sonique and Lemar.
Whitfield Street Studios