Mastering Session at Abbey Road Studios

Abbey Road Crosswalk

Once again I knew I was going to be in London so I brought an album to the magnificent Abbey Road Studios to have mastered. Last summer we did Peter Belec’s ‘Melodic Miner’ disc with senior mastering engineer Peter Mew (David Bowie, The Beatles, Paul McCartney, etc., etc.) and this time it was the excellent Geoff Pesche (Gorillaz, Radiohead, Cadence Weapon) mastering Ido Van Der Laan’s upcoming album, title TBA. Here are some of the very nice and informative comments Geoff made during the mastering session. I wrote them down right away and as close to vertabim as I could.

“You’ve got the guitars recorded really nicely.”

“I like his voice. Nice.”

“It’s cost effective to master here when the mixes are good; if they were rubbish the bill would be [expensive].”

“I’m doing not a lot to these [mixes], so well done.”

“Wherever you’re going in your control room to get this, keep going there.”

“That sounds great. Please come see us again because this is a breeze.”

“You didn’t find the microphone you used to record that guitar in an alley.” (When I told him I found the bass drum I was playing on that song in an alley! It was a Royer R-121 blended with a Neumann KM 183, by the way.)

“Didn’t have to boost the mid range in any of them ’cause the vocal is present and the guitars are loud.”

“Well done!”

Abbey Road Mastering Room 5

Geoff really wasn’t compressing or limiting very much at all. On some songs the passive compressor was knocking off 2, 3 or 4 dB, and the limiter not much more than that. He credits the loudness of the master to the EMI TG 12410 Transfer Console, which was being run quite hot. It sounds amazing.

EMI TG 12410 Transfer Console

Some songs were transferred ‘flat’, or without any equalisation at all. For this one we were boosting 16kHz by 1 dB, medium blunt.

EMI TG Equalisation

Needless to say I had a blast. While we were waiting for the reference CD to write Geoff showed me how their Neumann record cutting lathe worked and even cut a few seconds of one of Ido’s song into an acetate.

Abbey Road Neumann Cutting Lathe

Acetate

Stay tuned for Ido Van Der Laan’s awesome album!