1999 A defining moment.

I’d played the drums on an album, enjoyed hanging around for the mixing process and at the end, I thought we were done, but when the producer started wrapping the mixes to be couriered to Nashville to be mastered, my curiosity was piqued. I asked him why he was sending it, and when he told me what the mastering engineer would do, it was as though everything in my life that had happened before that moment suddenly made sense. I’d discovered a creative contribution that married art with engineering, and which perfectly suited my particular orientation to music. I’d describe myself as a ‘musical aestheticist’ because I’m less interested in the lyrics and more interested in the presentation.
I went home, pulled out the booklets from my entire CD collection and discovered that about a third of my collection had been mastered by one man – Bob Ludwig. I wondered just how much influence Bob Ludwig had on my enjoyment of music.

2002 Taking the plunge.

I was lucky enough to marry an amazing woman who wanted me to live my dreams. We married in 2003, and two months later we were on a plane heading for England. I spent ten months in England, dreaming and planning my mastering studio. I cashed in the pension from my corporate job and added it to the money from the sale of my apartment to buy the best gear I could to get me started: WaveLab, a set of Dynaudio BM15A and an RME interface.

2005-2006 Stepping up.

The first year brought a few exciting opportunities and a steep learning curve. In my second year, my mastering workload grew five-fold as the South African industry responded positively to the new guy. I moved to Magix Sequoia, invested in a pair of BM12S Dynaudio sub-woofers, two Cranesong Hedds, a Manley Massive Passive EQ (Mastering Edition), a Manley Vari-Mu (Mastering Edition), and began making plans for the next studio which was to be a definitive step forward for me.

2007-2012 Build!

Built in 2007, and met with massive support from the South African music industry, the Bryanpark studio allowed me to employ Ross, my first and only assistant, to help me meet the demands of my clients.
Friends and family helped me build what was at the time the studio of my dreams. It was in there, overlooking the western horizon from Johannesburg’s northern suburbs, that I learned that I may be have been mastering, but I was actually trading in the dreams of the people who trusted me with their music.

2015 - 2017 Question everything. Double down.

There were signs that plugins were a viable alternative to analogue gear, but I wasn’t ready to give up my expensive gear habit just yet. Instead, I started a fresh round of investment. I moved to a studio in an existing studio complex, bought the Prism ADA 8XR and the API 2500 and fired up a fresh round of marketing hype around the new pieces. Clients responded positively and I had exciting projects in the diary. Still, it was there that I learned the limitations of the hardware I was using. A trusted and experienced client persuaded me to experiment with plugins instead of the tube gear I was in the habit of reaching for, and his observations on my work with plugins arrested my attention. I was being rudely awoken from my analogue dream with all its flashing lights and was beginning to grapple with the prospect of being able to do a better job with all digital tools.

In studio

Bop Studios, 1999

2002 Humble beginnings.

2005-2006 The Blairgowrie studio.

2021 and beyond!