Cambridge, UK: February 9th 2021: Colorado-based Airshow Mastering has upgraded the audio conversion in its production room by installing a Prism Sound Lyra 2 audio interface so that it can offer clients a transfer rate of 192k.
With a Prism Sound flagship ADA-8XR audio converter already in daily use in its main studio, Airshow Mastering is very familiar with the high-quality audio delivered by the company’s products. For this reason, investing in a Lyra 2 was an easy decision for Airshow’s Founder and Chief Engineer David Glasser to make when he needed a higher quality solution to secure a valuable archiving contract.
“We were using a very good converter in our production room, which is where much of our transfer work is done, and I had no complaints because it had served us well,” he explains. “However, when we received a contract for a large archiving project that specified all transfers must be at 192k, we realised we needed to upgrade because our previous converter could only do 96k.”
Glasser adds that he was aware of most Prism Sound products and assumed the company’s pedigree would be present in the Lyra 2, even though he had no previous experience of using it.
“After some initial confusion about the unit’s architecture and capabilities, the setup was a breeze,” he adds. “The Lyra sounds very open and detailed and it brings the production room’s audio conversion quality up to the level of our mastering studio.”
Glasser also took the opportunity to install Prism Sound’s Verifile software that now comes as standard with all of the company’s audio conversion products. Launched in 2018 after extensive testing by many of the world’s leading broadcast, recording, mastering and archival organisations, this revolutionary software overcomes issues of reliability by allowing computer audio recordings to be quickly checked for a wide range of errors and dropouts, without any compromise in the audio content or any additional metadata. Airshow Mastering has now incorporated Verifle into all of its QC routines.
“As audio engineers, we are passionate about music-making and proud to bring our expertise to artists’ recordings,” Glasser says. “We offer professional mastering and restoration, including MQA and Plangent technologies to take our customer’s music to a higher level. Our work is primarily mastering, but more and more archival transfer projects have been coming in lately, along with restoration projects.”
Airshow was established by David Glasser in 1983, with the aim of providing ‘shows on the air’ – in other words audio services for live broadcasts and remote recordings. Glasser’s background is in broadcasting (he started out at a commercial classical music station before moving to National Public Radio HQ in Washington, DC), but before long he was in great demand as a mastering engineer and shifted to full-time mastering in 1990, adding the word Mastering to the company’s name to reflect this new direction.
Initially, he operated from a modest studio in Springfield, VA, but in 1997 he expanded the company and moved to Colorado. The business is located in a secluded mountain property overlooking Left Hand Canyon and the Roosevelt National Forest, a short 15-minute drive from downtown Boulder. In 2016, Glasser’s old friend Sam Berkow, of SIA Acoustics, built a stunning new studio facility that was nominated for a TEC award. It is from here that Glasser and his team, who include Senior Mastering Engineer and Restoration Centre Manager Anna Frick, now operate.
Airshow’s main studio is equipped with top-notch analogue and digital equipment such as a Maselec MTC-6 5.1 analogue transfer and monitor console, a 5.1 monitoring system based around Dunlavy speakers with Ayre Acoustics amps and dual Paradigm Servo-15 subs, and various workstations including Sonic Studio soundBlade, ProTools, and Sony Sonoma.
“The studio is a Plangent Processes authorized transfer facility, using custom heads and replay electronics on our Ampex ATR and Studio A820 1/4 and 1/2” tape machines,” Glasser says. “Our latest offering is mastering for MQA (Master Quality Authenticated), an end-to-end process that assures that consumers have the same listening experience that the artist approved during mastering.”
Over the years, Airshow Mastering customers have included some of the biggest names in the music industry and the projects completed here have won numerous GRAMMY awards and collected over 100 GRAMMY nominations. A three-time GRAMMY nominee himself, Glasser has earned two GRAMMY awards for mastering and restoration of the culturally significant Anthology of American Folk Music (1997) and Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues: The Worlds of Charley Patton (2002). Anna Frick, whose work encompasses studio albums, live recordings, reissues, and compilations across an array of formats, genres and styles, has also achieved Awards recognition. She was part of the team that restored and mastered Third Man Records’ GRAMMY-winning box set, The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records, for which she wrangled metadata for the 1600-song collection.
“We bring decades of experience and a passion for music to every project,” Glasser says. “We have mastered thousands of projects for clients, ranging from major labels to first-time independents. The services we offer cover all release formats including CD, downloads, DVD, DSD/SACD, Blu-ray, vinyl and MQA.”
One band whose name keeps cropping up on Airshow Mastering’s credit list is The Grateful Dead. Glasser has been working with them since 2004 when engineer Jeffrey Norman (of Mockingbird Mastering) booked two weeks at Airshow to master the DVD release of The Grateful Dead Movie in surround.
“Jeffrey and I have worked together steadily since then – and, in fact, we installed a Prism Sound ADA-8 specifically for that movie project, before ultimately upgrading it to the XR version,” Glasser says. “I master The Grateful Dead video projects, the ongoing studio album reissues, and many of the large box sets. It’s a dream gig, and everybody involved in those releases is just terrific to work with.”
Recent releases completed by Glasser include the 50th Anniversary Editions of The Grateful Dead’s Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty; Front Street Outtakes from Jerry Garcia and Sanjay Mishra; Comet from Firefall; and On The Road: A Tribute to John Hartford, featuring a who’s who of jamgrass artists. Frick’s most recent mastering projects included releases from Wood and Wire and Cyril Neville.
Paying attention to quality and giving customers a great experience, as well as a great end result, are the key reasons why Airshow Mastering stays ahead of the game. But Glasser adds that staying up to date with the latest technology is also important – and to this end he is considering his next additions to the studio’s equipment list.
“We have a new Pyramix system that will come online once I’m comfortable using it, and I also have my eye on the new Prism Sound ADA-128, which I think will eventually replace our ADA-8XR,” he says. “The ability to record at >192k will be very helpful to our Plangent Processes work, which requires extended bandwidth for cleanly capturing the analogue tapes’ bias signal.”
For more information about Airshow Mastering, please visit www.airshowmastering.com