This just in from Masterdisk in Midtown Manhattan: Owner and mastering engineer Scott Hull announced that Howie Weinberg has left his longtime post at the studio to head out West and set up shop in Los Angeles.
In his place, Scott has promoted engineer Matt Agoglia to the position of Senior Engineer.
Agoglia — who served as Weinberg’s right-hand man for three years at Masterdisk while building his own mastering clientele — is now taking over Weinberg’s mastering suite, and will continue mastering records using the same gear that he and Howie have been using for years, a rig used to master classic records by The White Stripes, The Clash, Wilco, Nirvana, U2, Public Enemy, Pixies, Sonic Youth and many more.
This mastering suite is located within the Times Square Recording Company space, formerly Scott Hull Mastering (prior to Hull acquiring Masterdisk in ’08). This space also encompasses writing/production rooms for Kyle Kelso, Mikel Rouse and Jeff McErlain, and a secondary production environment for producer/engineer Dave O’Donnell.
As always, Masterdisk headquarters — housing Hull and the rest of the Masterdisk team — is at 545 W 45th Street.
“The Times Square space is a really cool group of mixers and songwriters and artists, grouped together there with Matt’s mastering studio,” says Hull. “Even though, with Howie leaving, this could have been a good time to shut it down and consolidate, I really wanted to maintain this environment — there’s chemistry and potential collaborations there with those guys and Masterdisk and myself, and I’m not sure that’s all been fully explored and realized yet.
“Mastering is not just mastering anymore,” he continues. “Half of the time we find ourselves being mix consultants, with clients sending us material that needs to be re-mixed. It used to be very rare for the mastering engineer to suggest that a mixer or the client to take another look at their mix, but it is coming up more and more. The pro stuff is still great, but that first step down to semi-pro is a big one!
“So we get a lot of people asking us to recommend mixers to help them get a better sound out of their recordings. From a business standpoint, it would make a lot of sense, ultimately, to have a group of likeminded people to share opportunities when they come up.”
About the departure, and the promotion, Hull said, “Of course we’re sorry to see Howie go, but this is part of how the mastering business has always worked. No one stays at any one place forever. Young engineers work with senior guys, and learn the finer points of the craft. When spots open up, the younger engineers step up to move the torch forward.
“I started my career as Bob Ludwig’s assistant. And when Bob left Masterdisk for Maine I was promoted to Chief Engineer in his old room. Matt’s a very good engineer, and his clients have been very happy with his projects over the past few years. I have total faith that as more people get to know his mastering style, he’ll be very successful here.”
Recent records Matt has worked on include Gorillaz’ Plastic Beach, Spoon’s Transference, Wavves’ King of the Beach, and Rogue Wave’s Permalight.
Speaking of young mastering engineers working their way up, Masterdisk continues with its Masterdisk Indie program that Hull launched just over a year ago. “Of my first round of indie guys, several of them are now doing regular work,” says Hull. “Graham Goldman, for example, has done a few metal projects that have gotten some nice attention. And a couple of the other guys have been bringing in bands from the Brooklyn indie rock scene.”
As for his own schedule of mastering projects, Hull mentions a couple of recent 5.1 surround releases, including Sting’s just released “Live in Berlin” concert DVD. He mastered Sting’s Symphonicities album for vinyl and CD and then the concert DVD with stereo and 5.1 mixes, both with arrangements and production by Rob Mathes. He’s also been working on 5.1 mixes of Dave Matthews Band concert recordings.
“We’re finally getting serious about surround – we did a few more surround projects this year, and we’re adding some gear and finishing our surround rig over the next month or so,” he reports.
“I was talking about surround back in 1999! But the reason I’m putting a little more effort into it now is that I think Blu-ray is going to stick around for awhile. I work with a lot of contemporary composers and people who might be pushing the envelope in different realms and I have this sense that — from a creative standpoint – someone’s going to do something cool with this, and I don’t want to be too far away from it when that happens!”
For more on Masterdisk, visit http://www.masterdisk.com. And to book Matt for your next session, contact Erin Hungerford at email@example.com. Matt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Congrats Matt!