Dub Studio is best known for bringing vinyl dubplates to your decks, and behind the scenes we work tirelessly to get the best sound on wax. But over 10 years in the business has given us a unique insight into what works in the analogue domain, so we use this experience to master digital tracks as well.
We offer several mastering options, from full release masters to quick demo masters and stem masters. We use excellent monitors to audition each track, and process the tonal balance, dynamic range, loudness and character, using some of the finest audio processing tools in the world.
Our aim is not only to provide world-class audio processing, but also to work directly with the client using our system of briefing, feedback and revision. We welcome input at any stage of the process, and we are only happy with the mastering when you are.
In the main room, Dub Studio is equipped with a pair of Lipinski L-505s... they might look a bit strange, but these monitors are regarded as some of the best in the world. And they might not sound too musical, but they allow us to hear a level of detail far beyond what most speakers can yield.
Of course they need to be driven by an excellent signal chain too, so we chose the X5 power amplifier from the renowned Pass Laboratories, coupled with world-class audio converters from UK company Crookwood.
With a signal chain as clear and precise as this, if there is a problem with the audio, we will be able to hear it and treat it, and if there is a problem we can't hear... its unlikely anyone else will hear it either!
Despite spending well over £30k on gear over the years, our signal processing set up could still be considered fairly modest. We carefully chose all the best gear we could find within our budget, from Millennia, Algorithmix, Cranesong and Sonnox. We use a lot of bespoke tools, and also helped with the development of several the processors from our long-time friends at DMG Audio.
Routing is handled by a Crookwood mastering console which runs the signal through the gear and out to the monitors, and then if we like what we hear, it passes it on to the cutting lathe or the digital record path. It allows us to select and trim the gain of what we are listening to, so we can make very accurate judgements when we want to change things, and then A/B the resulting signals for equal loudness testing.
The Final Cut
Once the audio is sounding just right, we move onto the final stage of the process. If its a dub plate, we send the signal to the cutting lathe, where it undergoes the final stages of processing before cutting to disc. Next, we audition the dub to make sure the transfer to the analog world was successful, and then carefully package the dub ready for delivery.
If the signal is destined for the digital realm, we bounce it down to a digital track in real time, top and tail the recording and add the fades where necessary. Next we render the final file, adjusting the sample rate and bit depth accordingly. Once that's done, we give it a final listen before zipping the master and uploading it securely to the server.