— Boulanger served as moderator for The Fine Art of Mastering & Lathe Cutting panel, which took place on the second day of “Making Vinyl,” a two-day conference on Nov. 6-7, 2017 at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit —
LOS ANGELES, CA – At the recent “Making Vinyl” two-day conference in Detroit, which closely examined the circumstances leading up to vinyl’s astounding comeback, a particular highlight was the panel The Fine Art of Mastering & Lathe Cutting, which took place on the conference’s second day (November 7, 2017). Eric Boulanger, founder and principal mastering engineer at The Bakery, served as moderator of the panel, which featured other leading members of the vinyl community: Matt Earley, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Gotta Groove Records; Ryan Smith, Senior Mastering Engineer, Sterling Sound; Adam Gonsalves, Owner, Telegraph Mastering; Michael Dixon, Owner, Mobile Vinyl Recorders; and Chris Mara, Owner, Welcome To 1979 Studios / Mara Machines.
Vinyl records are projected to sell 40 million units in 2017, with sales nearing the $1 billion benchmark for the first time this millennium, according to Forbes. This panel explored nearly every aspect of the mastering and cutting side of the equation, with panelists each sharing their unique perspectives and Boulanger guiding the discussion via his own experience. Earley laid out his general workflow, including test pressing and plating, communicating with the project’s mastering engineer, and avoiding manufacturing problems like pops and skips. Smith discussed the differences between mastering for digital vs. vinyl, in cases where he is charged with doing both, which tied in with Gonsalves’ method of “two workflows”: one for the whole project, and one for the vinyl cutting. Mara’s facility is also a tracking studio, so he discussed the benefits of being able to see a whole project through from beginning to end in house. Dixon shared his experience on doing smaller runs for independent bands, using a custom process that involves plexiglass records. These topics and more were covered in the panel, which was presented to a capacity crowd.
As founder and principal mastering engineer at The Bakery, Eric Boulanger is among the nation’s most in-demand vinyl mastering engineers, with numerous recent high-profile credits to his name (for instance, the soundtrack for La La Land, which was the highest-selling vinyl album in the U.S. in Q1 2017).
Boulanger states, “I am very proud to have been part of the ‘Making Vinyl’ conference and this Mastering and Lathe Cutting panel. The vinyl mastering community is a small and specialized one, and it was amazing to be able to sit down with other individuals who do what I do, but with their own set of approaches. Each panelist is an expert in his own right, and our discussion was able to give attendees the most current and accurate information regarding the mastering process while we continue to enjoy the current resurgence in vinyl.”
Photo caption: Pictured L-R: Eric Boulanger, founder and principal mastering engineer at The Bakery; Matt Earley, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Gotta Groove Records; Ryan Smith, Senior Mastering Engineer, Sterling Sound; Adam Gonsalves, Owner, Telegraph Mastering; Chris Mara, Owner, Welcome To 1979 Studios / Mara Machines; and Michael Dixon, Owner, Mobile Vinyl Recorders, pictured at the panel The Fine Art of Mastering & Lathe Cutting, which took place on November 7, 2017, at the “Making Vinyl” two-day conference in Detroit.”