Good Mentors Are Worth Their Weight In Gold

I’ve been Mastering music in all its wonderful forms and variety for many years now. But I initially came to Mastering by chance rather than design.

Ted Carfrae at TCM Mastering writes…

About a year into my training as a young sound engineer at the legendary CTS Studios in Wembley North London, I was asked if I would be interested in learning about mastering. Fascinated by the process, though not really understanding what it was, I agreed and spent six months under the guidance of our in-house mastering engineer Kevin Metcalf. I had no idea at the time that this training was going to lead me to a whole new career so many years later.

Kevin’s cutting room was fantastic. As you went in the door there was a small desk set in the middle of the room facing a massive pair of speakers (Tannoys I think). The desk was purpose built with eq’s and compressors built-in and there were two Studer 1/4″ 2 track tape recorders next to the desk.

Modern Neumann Cutting Lathe

There was a great long window letting in loads of natural light and under the window was the massive Neumann cutting lathe. This was an amazing piece of kit. Essentially, it was a record turntable, very finely balanced with a precision cutting head that was treated with the utmost care because it was so fragile and it was this cutting head that would actually cut the groove into the blank disc. The blank discs are called acetates and I remember that they were very heavy with the most distinctive smell to them and they still use the same acetate discs to this day.

Kevin was a very patient teacher and together we cut virtually every kind of music you can think of, most of which was recorded in one of our four recording studios…..film soundtracks, pop music of course, but we also specialised in cutting the most authentic reggae music ever. Kevin had a client who used to send the original master tapes from Jamaica where they were recorded and produced so this music was the real deal, made by the top reggae artists of the day.

Of course it was all tape in those days, no digital technology and I remember that these tapes used to arrive through the post encased in polystyrene cases. The master tapes were loose cakes of tape in a box and my first job was to very carefully transfer the tape from these boxes onto metal spools so that we could mount them on our tape machines and play them.

Kevin was a master at his craft and I am so lucky to have learned from him and many years later when I started producing records myself, it was Kevin who did all my mastering for me. He is still a good friend to this day and someone who I admire and respect a great deal so I would like to take this opportunity to thank the legendary Kevin Metcalf for giving that young lad the chance of a lifetime, it literally changed my life.

At TCM Mastering we take pride in providing a professional, fast and affordable service to musicians of all genres. So if you’re looking to get a record deal or simply releasing your own material on CD, why not contact us for more information to see how we can help you put that final polish on your tracks.

Explore posts in the same categories: Music, Recording Artists, Recording Studios, Sound Recording

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