The room was designed by Roger D'arcy (Recording Architecture), one of the most prolific studio architects in the world, with work for Abbey Road, Lenny Kravitz and The Cure to name but a few. Roger has also designed a revolutionary ergonomic master console that is the centrepiece of the room and the only one of its kind. The room is naturally lit, air-conditioned and comfortable for six although no point bringing the drummer if he isn't going to contribute. Monitoring is supplied by PMC, industry leaders in professional speaker technology, whilst Sadie 6 is the choice of workstation, capable of handling hi resolution digital audio up to 192 kHz. The award winning Prism ADA-8XR is the top professionals' converter of choice in the most exacting applications offering the cleanest and most transparent conversion available. Analogue and digital outboard processing is by Prism Maselec & TC Electronics System 6000. Vinyl is cut on a lovingly restored Neumann VMS 70 lathe, with precise modifications enabling it to handle the frequency response of the most demanding genres.
A decade of gig-going when he should have been studying towards a Physics degree gave Shawn a unique perspective on how music moves people. The dulcet tones of John Peel provided knowledge equally engaging as the theories of Newton and Heisenberg. Not so much a misspent youth but as he would put it, a truly comprehensive education. While temping in the records shops of the capital in 1990, a chance meeting led to Shawn's first real Mastering job at The Exchange. With their generous policy of offering 'hands on' experience, it didn't take long for Shawn to realise his true vocation. Over the next 14 years, he plied his trade from Soho to Fulham applying his encyclopaedic knowledge of music to a vast range of genres. Returning clients became friends outside of the studio and word spread of a trusty pair of ears. Literally thousands of tracks have benefited from his touch whether it be an international smash or a home-grown demo. In 2004, he returned to his West Country roots to set up Optimum with some like-minded label owners. The idea was to offer a more personal, empathetic mastering service, far from the production-line he had encountered in London. Today his skills are called upon by some of the biggest names in the industry from every corner of the globe.
Representing the next generation of mastering engineers, Rhys has just the right mixture of passion and cool-headedness required to deliver the perfect cut every time. Since graduating from Bristol’s Access To Music college in 2012, he has dedicated himself to all manner of studio-based pursuits to learn every inch of the process from performing to recording, mixing and so on to mastering. Prior to joining the team at Optimum he spent time as a studio assistant at noted Bath studio Moles where he worked under the guidance of Jon Walker, Dan Austin and Gil Norton, before progressing to Toybox Studios in Bristol where he worked with John Parish and Ali Chant. With his interests guided towards post-production, time spent working at Optimum quickly progressed as Shawn and Jacko recognised Rhys’ aptitude for mastering and vinyl cutting. The years of training already seem like a distant memory as the credits pile up, Rhys having turned his ear to projects as diverse as post rockers Dream Koala and deep house duo Brawther & Alixkun. Equally he has already cut lacquers for Bachar Mar-Khalife, Lazare Hoche and Coves amongst many others and counts discerning dubstep pioneer Pinch amongst his dubplate clients, continuing the fine tradition at Optimum of turning good music into great records.
Services on offer include superior mastering for digital and CD. Vinyl LP, 12", 10" and 7".
Restoration using the latest Cedar Denoising Technology.
To get a quotation, simply fill in an enquiry form or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Appointments can sometimes be two weeks or more in advance, so please leave plenty of time before booking. Obviously singles can be turned around quicker than albums, especially if they are unattended. You are more than welcome to attend your session. They are booked in advance at a time that suits both you and us. You will be informed beforehand how much time is allotted and overtime must be paid for at the full hourly rate of £120 p/h. We insist that masters are delivered at least 48 hours before an attended session.
Whether you attend your session or not, be it for digital or vinyl, you will need something to hear and approve. It is your responsibility to listen to the reference audio and check it is correct. In the case of vinyl cutting, your refs. are a digital representation of the processing applied to obtain the best possible transfer to lacquer. Please note, the levels on your record will depend on the length of side and will differ from the digital. Once your lacquers are processed, you should request a test pressing to evaluate. We cannot be held responsible for product beyond the test pressing stage. DDPi CD masters are supplied with a player for Mac and PC. Please take this opportunity to check your Master. It is up to you to check levels, sequence and segues are all as intended. Again we will not entertain queries for unchecked product. A formal request of our services implies agreement to our standard terms and conditions. A copy of which is available here : - T&C's
We accept payment in Pounds Sterling by Paypal, Bank Transfer or Credit Card.(All electronic payment carries a small surcharge). UK VAT (currently 20%) is charged on all EU invoices. Customers outside the EU can enjoy our services tax free. If you are a registered trader and believe you are exempt please provide a valid EU VAT number from your home nation and we can remove the tax.
Validation is here : http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/vies/. Once your session is booked, you will be e-mailed a copy of your invoice. We do not require a deposit but will only release mastered audio upon full settlement of invoice.
Masters can be delivered electronically via our secure Hightail Uplink : https://www.hightail.com/u/Optimum-Mastering. To ensure that data is not compromised in either the upload or the download of a file, Hightail employs the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol. In order to protect data integrity during file transfer and user registration, Hightail implements industry-standard, 128-bit SSL encryption deployed using Class 3 certificates and Server-Gated Cryptography (SGC). Masters for approval will come back the same way and links can be terminated on request. We prefer at least 24bit 44.1 kHz interleaved stereo WAV or AIF. Results are significantly improved if you remove all mix bus compression and limiting. Ideally mixes should peak no more than -6dBFS. In short, if dynamic range is not at a maximum or there is minimal headroom left before mastering, we cannot work our magic. Our prices start at £60 + VAT per track.