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Interview with David Glasser, Airshow Mastering

One of the highlights of Surround 2002 was the ability to sit down and chat with some of the key record producers, recording engineers, mastering engineers and record company executives involved in the high-resolution audio business. During the show, I had a chance to sit down and have such a chat with David Glasser from Airshow Mastering.

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As readers of High Fidelity Review may recall, Glasser is Chief Engineer at Airshow Mastering Studios in Boulder, Colorado. In the early days of the SACD format, Airshow Mastering was one of the first mastering facilities outside of Sony and Philips where one could get SACD mastering work performed. Since that time, Airshow has worked on over 80 SACD projects as well as a couple of DVD-Audio assignments.

David Glasser tells me that while Stereo CD mastering still makes up the bulk of work at Airshow Mastering (90%), they still are receiving a steady stream of SACD projects. In terms of the new SACD work coming in, most of it is for multi-channel discs.

Airshow is building a new 5.1 mastering suite to better meet the demand for multi-channel SACD mastering projects. The schedule calls for the new suite to be completed in the next 60 days. Some of the things the new 5.1 suite will feature are larger dimensions and a full ITU compliant speaker layout to insure proper mastering of multi-channel SACDs. Glasser also says that designing and building the room will be easier than Airshow’s initial entry into SACD mastering. There have been lessons learned that will be put into practice in the new suite.

Glasser says that Airshow is in a position to take on more SACD mastering work at this point and is actively seeking it out. He also indicated that Airshow is planning to bring on a second SACD mastering station so that one of their current mastering engineers can join Glasser in doing SACD mastering work later this year as SACD assignments increase.

One of Airshow’s interests in attending Surround 2002 was to take a look at some of the new DSD and SACD equipment that is coming to market. Airshow Mastering has one of the Sony Sonoma DSD Workstations and has used it extensively in their SACD mastering work. They also have several other pieces of DSD gear including the Genex 8500 DSD Recorder, the Tascam 2 Channel DSD Recorder and the EMM Labs Meitner Switchman II preamp/switcher.

They are now looking at the upcoming multi-channel DSD Mastering Workstations from Sadie and Sonic Solutions as their staff is familiar with the operation and user interface of these products through their stereo CD mastering work. As an added benefit, buying one of these new workstations would enable Airshow to provide SACD authoring services which Glasser feels would be a further step in offering his clients one-stop service for all of their SACD work.

Recently we wrote a story on High Fidelity Review on how Airshow Mastering has written a Guide to SACD that is available on their web site as an Adobe Acrobat formatted brochure. Glasser showed me both a printed and CD-ROM copy of the brochure that Airshow is now giving out to clients and interested recording industry professionals at no charge.

The purpose of the guide is to help recording artists, engineers and producers familiarize themselves with SACD and DSD. Airshow works with a number of small independent and audiophile record labels and artists. These clients are now asking Airshow about DSD recording and SACD discs, so the guide appears to be very timely. According to Glasser, the first edition of the SACD Guide has been well received. Airshow plans to update the guide as new DSD and SACD products come to market.

In addition to the upcoming 5.1 Multichannel SACD Mastering Suite, Airshow is also offering a wide range of services related to SACD disc mastering and services. In addition to SACD mastering, Airshow is also offering quality control of SACD masters before they reach the pressing plant and conversion of 24-bit, 96kHz digital master tapes and Pro Tools Hard Disk files to DSD for SACD disc production.

Clearly the business of mastering continues to evolve and expand – and Glasser and his staff look to be well positioned for the continued interest in high resolution audio in general and SACD in particular in the year ahead. []

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Show report last updated: 2nd February 2003.


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