High-quality, affordable mastering for all formats (including vinyl mastering!).
Welcome to 1979 is an analog-centric studio in Nashville. With 7,000 square feet of space, all your needs from pre-production, to tracking, to mixing, to mastering (and vinyl cutting/electroplating) are housed under one roof.
Our mastering department (led by head mastering engineer Margaret Luthar), has all the analog gear (as well as digital plugins) you might want. In addition, we have a Neumann VMS-70 lathe from 1973 used to cut the lacquer masters - step one of the record manufacturing records. After we cut your lacquers - we also do the electroplating, the second step. These metal parts are then sent to the pressing plant of your choosing.
Our goal for the mastering process is to make a collection of songs sound whole, as consistent as possible, across all mediums. This includes dynamic range adjustments, coloration from various analog gear and plugin emulation (transformers, tubes, etc.), as well as level matching, EQ, and noise removal. Any adjustments made should enhance, not detract from, the final product. That being said, just like any creative process, input and feedback from the client ultimately determines the direction taken.
Contact us for a more extensive list of credits and references! We look forward to working with you!
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5 ReviewsEndorse Welcome To 1979
Maggie did a great job mastering my songs. Very nice and fast communication. I hope to work with her again in the future.
Maggie is top-notch. My favorite thing about her work in comparison to other MEs i've used is that she doesn't stomp all over your mix. She knows how to highlight the best parts out and leave it alone!
She knows how to let the music breath and how to keep the life in it.
She truly... lives for dynamics.
Maggie is a rock star! She's communicative and super talented at what she does. Great mastering engineers can highlight the nuances and dynamic range within your recordings without sacrificing them for loudness. It's an art that I think comes down to taste and she totally nails it.
Maggie did an awesome job mastering an album for my band, Grain Thief. Open line of communication throughout, fast turnaround, and incredible sonic results. VERY pleased!
Maggie is a super talented and friendly mastering engineer. Highly recommended!
Interview with Welcome To 1979
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I'm going to say...both! Tape and and tubes and digital EQs are all tools. Sometimes one tool works better on a project than another. Tape is lovely, but it can hurt a mix just as much as it can make it better. And I can use a digital limiter plugin artistically and also destructively. I try to tailor what I use for each project specifically for what it needs. I try to be transparent (pun intended!) about my process, which I think helps people understand it's not all a "smoke and mirrors" aspect of the production process.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: To do the best job I can without trying to make it seem like it's some sort of "dark art" to be a mastering engineer. It's not. You need to have good ears, the technical knowledge, and the ability to communicate well with your clients. I try to do those things to the best of my ability, and charge a price that people can afford.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That mastering is simply about making things "louder." Simply, mastering is a very elaborate QC process where we make sure the audio sounds similar across all listening formats. I wouldn't use the same limiter settings on files destined for CD as I would for those destined for vinyl. Repeatability, consistency, and an ability to understand the artistic expectations of different genres of music - all these things are important for a mastering engineer to know and understand. There isn't one way to do things. Every project is different!
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: I have a standard questionnaire that I email to every prospective client, which is a bulleted list that answers questions about their project - it helps me learn quickly about their needs as well as get them a proper invoice for things. Some standard questions: artist, song titles/order, ISRCS or not?, what formats are you releasing on, and if vinyl what pressing plant, etc. Mastering engineers have to get to know a client quickly - a mix engineer might be working with a band for months, we have to learn about the artist seemingly overnight and be able to deliver to them a product that makes them happy! so it's important to get all the details up front.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been doing this for nearly a decade. I went to school for music industry (Syracuse University) and then graduate school at NYU. after that, I traveled and was a sound recordist at music festivals in Colorado and Banff. That led me to Norway, where I started on my mastering journey. I lived there for about 6 years in total and moved back to the USA in 2016. I learned to cut lacquers at Chicago Mastering Service (where I worked form 2017 to 2019), and now I'm here at Welcome to 1979. I'd like to think that my life experiences has made it easier for me to communicate and understand others, the world around me, and clients' needs.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Being a mastering engineer means getting to listen to all genres of music! We bring the same attention to detail and feeling to all projects we work with, whether it be rock, hip-hop, classical, etc. Keeps ears fresh and my workflows varied.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: We try to enhance the vibe and feel of a song, while correcting any technical errors and making the overall balance appropriate for streaming services, CDs, etc. From a vinyl mastering perspective, the goal is to provide the most seamless and transparent transfer of your music to a record - taking into account the anomalies and nuances of the medium. Before starting the process, we like asking clients about what they are looking to achieve through the mastering process. It helps make the process more efficient and accurate!
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: For unattended mastering, we will start by providing you with two “reference” tracks out of all the songs you need mastered. If you have a preference for which two we start with, let us know. We’ll work with those two songs and get them how you like them before working on the rest of the album - we can use them as a rough “guide” for the rest of the tracks. For attended mastering, we’ll work through the whole album with you and then you can evaluate the masters in listening environments you are familiar with. The “full reference” will be an encrypted DDP (Disc Description Protocol, the Redbook CD audio format) player which allows you to see track titles, names, etc. as well as hear spacings and transitions between songs. When you approve the digital mastering, we’ll provide you with appropriate deliverables for each format. The next step, if needed, will be preparation for vinyl.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Most of the work we do is either: 1) working from the "ground up," mastering a project for both digital and vinyl formats and 2) taking mastered material and optimizing it for vinyl, subsequently cutting the lacquer masters.