Recording and Production in the News
Another top mastering engineer opts for Prism SoundCambridge, UK, May 2008: New York mastering engineer Dave Kutch has been employed by many of the city's respected mastering houses over the course of his career, including Herbie Powers' House of Sound, Absolute Audio, Masterdisk, and most recently Sony Music's famous facility on West 54th Street, now sadly closed.
"When they announced Sony was shutting up, I decided to go out on my own," he explains from The Mastering Palace, his recently opened mastering studio. "It was a real shame; there were some very talented people there, and some great-sounding rooms. However, in every cloud there is a silver lining; I purchased my entire room at a very fair price, moved out of Sony and did something that's never been done before. We moved an entire mastering room into an artist's live room in order to master their new album."
It's been six months since Kutch began setting up the Mastering Palace, and for the first few months, he was working on Alicia Keys' most recent album, As I Am, from Keys' new studio in Long Island. After that, he concentrated on completing his own mastering room, which has now been open just over two months. The room contains a Pro Tools system and a TC Electronic System 6000 for digital processing, and Kutch edits using Magix's Sequoia DAW - he likes the way it emulates Sonic Solutions' old editing system - but like many mastering engineers, he prefers to do much of his processing in the analogue domain. A half-inch tape machine therefore sits alongside the Pro Tools rig, and he uses Dangerous Music's analogue mastering and monitoring equipment, plus an array of high-quality EQs and boutique compressors, including a Prism Sound Maselec MEA-2 mastering EQ. Given the combination of analogue and digital equipment in his studio, Kutch knew that his choice of A-to-D and D-to-A converters was an important one. As his room neared completion, he opted for Prism Sound AD-2 and DA-2 stereo converters - after a little hesitation over their cost.
"I've tried all kinds of converters over the years," he explains, "and have gotten pretty demanding in the process! Obviously, there's no point coming out of the digital domain to do the processing in analogue unless the conversion process is transparent, both on the way out and the way back in. What I really wanted were Prism converters. They're expensive - no, they're, really, really expensive - but you get what you pay for, and as it was for my own place at last, I wanted it to be right. Given a choice - and there's plenty of choice out there - it's the Prism for me, every time."
As I Am, by Alicia Keys and mastered by Dave Kutch, was released in November 2007. Since opening the Mastering Palace and installing his AD-2 and DA-2, Kutch has mastered the latest albums for Natasha Bedingfield, Erykah Badu The Roots, Estelle and Al Green.
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