Brad Blackwood on Remastering Safety In Numbers
I’ve had the pleasure of mastering records for Umphrey’s McGee for a few years now, starting with Similar Skin in early 2014. Mastering is the last creative step and the first technical step in finalizing a record – mastering is essentially an experienced, unbiased listener in a great room with great monitors listening and tweaking the music so it will sound as good as it can regardless of the playback system or environment.
On Umphrey’s McGee’s latest effort, the re-release of Safety In Numbers, we remastered the album from the ground up, working from the high-resolution 24 bit 96kHz raw mixes. The mastering room at Euphonic Masters, acoustically upgraded by Northward Acoustics out of Belgium, is centered around the monitoring system; Bowers & Wilkins Nautilus 802s, powered by Pass Labs X600.5 monoblock amplifiers and reinforced by dual Velodyne DD-12 subwoofers. Most of the equalizers in the chain have been custom built for Euphonic Masters to our specifications, and we use only the finest digital converters available in Weiss Engineering DACs and custom built Forssell Technologies ADCs.
The mixes from Safety In Numbers were very good as is, needing only a touch of equalization here and there to make them really sparkle – not surprising when you have such talented people in front of the microphones. In the end, I feel we were able to help paint a vibrant picture of the band’s amazing performances. I hope you enjoy listening to the album as much as I enjoyed working on it!