Tube Mastering equipment list (& why!)

Tube Mastering - gear


Digital files & CDs are played on Pro Tools feeding a Lavry DA10 for digital to analogue conversion or a Benchmark DAC1, I'll listen & choose for each project. Both gorgeous warm wide sounding convertors with amazing jitter rejection!
Because I'm using two workstations, one for playback one for recording, and going analogue in between, sample rate conversion is a non-issue. I can play back 48khz or 96khz files and make a 44.1khz CD master with any number crunching monkey business.

Tube Mastering - gear


E.A.R. 825 valve EQ, 5 band passive mega Pultec type.

E.A.R. 822 valve EQ, another passive Pultec type, gives a different flavour (more "tube" vibe).

E.A.R. 660 valve compressors, Fairchild but clean!. This also has a DAV SIPP around it which means I can blend it in, it's not just on or off.

Maselec MEA-2 parametric EQ. Great transparent EQ for those times when you need to get medieval on its ass.

Maselec MPL-2 peak limiter. I’m convinced that final limiting sounds so much better done with an excellent analogue unit rather that any digital system, either hardware or software. To me, the digital devices are crunchy, which is good for biscuits but not music. This unit also has a really useful de-esser in it, which again works very transparently and I much prefer to the digital alternatives.

I've listened to all sorts of EQs & compressors and the E.A.R. and Maselec stuff is just the best; wonderfully transparent and huge sounding. No competition.

Tube Mastering - gear


is in a Sadie PCM8 workstation, the real McCoy! The Sadie has a Benchmark ADC1 for analogue to digital conversions. A great sounding convertor, which matters as this is the bit that gets on your CD!! This is the same as is used at Astoria studios, so you've heard it on all the recent Pink Floyd & David Gilmour albums.

Tube Mastering - gear


is on ATC scm50 monitors on Mana Acoustic stands I'm a huge ATC fan. For me they are the only system that I'll work on, the stands make a huge difference too.

With the help of acoustics expert Nick Whitaker, I've done a lot of work on the acoustics of the room itself, with the result that it is a remarkably neutral listening environment, so I can really hear what is in your mix. It is a huge help with, for instance, getting the bottom end even so it sounds more consistant on different systems in different places.

Tube Mastering - gear

& on the way.....

All switching is passive using a Crookwood switcher which lets me insert any device in any order (neat!). If no processing is applied to the signal it goes through no active components.

Analogue signals are all run through Kimber PBJ cable. I avoid connectors wherever possible, but those that are used have been listened to, not all connectors sound OK!! Digital signals are all run through Kimber AGDL cable, which is ultra pure silver.

Mains power utilises a high current Van den Hul cable into a Equitec balancing transformer. This splits the power across the live & neutral, so both run at 120 volts as opposed to the normal 240 volts on live & zero on neutral. The result is an ultra clean ground. Oddly enough other applications for balanced power are on hospital heart monitors & detectors in nuclear power stations (they both need a very low noise environment, it matters if they get it wrong!!). From there all mains cabling is again Kimber, utilising Russ Andrews noise filtered mains distribution blocks.

Equipment stands are Russ Andrews Torlyte. An ultra light ultra rigid honeycomb construction, like an aircraft wing. Put your CD player on one, it'll sound much better (and I'm not joking!)

Very few people in the pro-audio industry ever listen to the effect that these 'audiophile' tweaks have, but for those of us that have there is no turning back, the difference is simply stunning. This difference is something that will get onto your final CD, even just playing back your mix before any processing is done it's going to sound better at Tube Mastering than just about anywhere else.