Acoustic Sounds’ CEO Chad Kassem in The Mastering Lab
Salina, KS (June 17, 2015)—Acoustic Sounds’ CEO Chad Kassem has purchased The Mastering Lab (TML) from the estate of mastering engineer Doug Sax. The move comes three months after his buying 13 vintage record presses to meet the surging demand for vinyl LPs.
The sale pairs Quality Record Pressings (QRP), an audiophile LP manufacturer that is a division of Acoustic Sounds, with the Grammy Award-winning sound engineering and LP lacquer cutting business started four decades ago by Sax, who passed away in April. Sax worked throughout his career with the likes of Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Barbra Streisand, and dozens more.
Kassem said his strategy behind the purchase was to create a vertically integrated vinyl LP production facility. From mastering and record pressing to graphic design and printing to direct-to-consumer sales, QRP now has all the capabilities needed to bring LPs to market.
“Expanding and rounding out our capabilities to meet the growing demand for vinyl was the key to this acquisition,” said Kassem. “That, coupled with the history of The Mastering Lab and Doug’s reputation, makes this purchase very gratifying.”
Plans call for relocating and incorporating TML business, now based in Ojai, CA, to Acoustic Sounds’ headquarters in Salina, KS.
“I’m very confident that Chad will do everything he can to honor Doug’s legacy by maintaining his high standards for quality,” said Bill Schnee, a veteran producer/engineer and 11-time Grammy Award nominee. “It’s also comforting to know there’s going to be a little bit of Doug in everything that QRP produces.”
Sax was a legend in the music industry — a mentor and friend to audio engineers, producers and musicians. With partners Lincoln Mayorga and older brother Sherwood Sax, he opened the doors to TML in Hollywood in December 1967, later relocating north to Ojai in 2006. The Lab’s custom, all-tube electronics and console are all designed and handcrafted by Sherwood Sax. Additionally, TML was the first independent mastering facility and set itself apart by prioritizing sound quality, instead of the economic efficiencies favored by some of the major music labels.
Utilizing cutting lathes that have become legendary for vinyl LP production, the studio turned out many classic rock albums, including The Wall, Who’s Next,Nilsson Schmilsson, the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers and the Eagles’ debut album. Sax also established a pioneering set of procedures for testing and evaluating audio components by ear. Sax and Robert Hadley were also the first mastering engineers to win a Grammy Award for Best 5.1 Surround Album for Ray Charles – Genius Loves Company in 2004.
“Maintaining Doug’s reputation for quality will be our company’s challenge and our reward,” Kassem said. “We’ll keep Doug’s legacy alive by offering the highest-quality audio mastering done to standards matching Doug’s, using his equipment that he used to produce so many fine, award-winning recordings.”
Quality Record Pressings