Nathan James

Analog Mastering - Grammy Wins

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6 Reviews (4 Verified)
Nathan James on SoundBetter

Hi, my name is Nathan James. I own and operate Vault Mastering and have been fortunate enough to work at some amazing studios in my career (Classic Sound, The Hit Factory, Jigsaw Sound, Masterdisk) and with some really great artists.

I built Vault Mastering for the independent musician, to give them access to a better acoustic listening experience, a higher level of technology, and over two decades of experience mastering recordings. Since its inception, I've mastered records from over 50 countries and have had numerous releases chart.

Part of that success is because I treat every project with the individual care it deserves. This includes listening to all mixes prior to mastering and providing feedback that in all cases produces a better mix going into the mastering session.

An acoustically superior space, my mastering studio combines the best in analog mastering technology with modern mastering techniques. Sontec, Manley, Lavry, Prism, Knif, Pendulum, Cranesong, Weiss, and Duntech....these are just some of the names that build the system.

Please contact me if you think my work would be a good fit for your project!

- Nathan

Click the 'Contact' above to get in touch. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Credits

AllMusic verified credits for Nathan James
  • Joey DeFrancesco
  • James Harman
  • James Harman
  • James Harman
  • Albie Micklich
  • Andrew Campbell
  • Julian Velard
  • Kash'd Out
  • Paradise Winds
  • Matthew Nelson
  • Catalin Rotaru
  • Wan Ting Yu
  • Darren English
  • Manta Percussion Ensemble
  • John Ericson
  • Too Many Humans
  • Buddy Guy
  • David Wax Museum
  • Joey DeFrancesco
  • Takuya Kuroda
  • Shallow Side
  • John Medeski
  • Shallow Side
  • The Long Lost
  • Transit
  • Mike Wexler
  • Laura and Will
  • Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds
  • Langhorne Slim
  • Nathan James
  • The Rhythm Scratchers
  • Nathan James
  • The Rhythm Scratchers
  • Nathan James
  • The Rhythm Scratchers
  • Nathan James
  • The Rhythm Scratchers
  • Nathan James
  • The Rhythm Scratchers
  • Nathan James
  • The Rhythm Scratchers
  • Nathan James
  • The Rhythm Scratchers
  • Nathan James
  • The Rhythm Scratchers
  • The Inner Banks
  • Bobby Doran
  • Dead Cat Bounce
  • Alexander Turnquist
  • Cold
  • Tania León
  • Gretchen Parlato
  • Mike Clark
  • Meeco
  • Mark Salling
  • Jimmy Gnecco
  • Oran Etkin
  • The Silent League
  • Fat Cat Big Band
  • Anna Ayers
  • Jar-E
  • Civil Twilight
  • Towner Galaher
  • Alan Cohen
  • Thomas Dybdahl
  • Thomas Dybdahl
  • Evan Brum
  • Fat Cat Big Band
  • James Day
  • James Day
  • James Day
  • James Day
  • Gretchen Parlato
  • Oran Etkin
  • Jonah Smith
  • Suresh Singaratnam
  • Fat Cat Big Band
  • Luminescent Orchestrii
  • Luminescent Orchestrii
  • Jesse Marchant
  • Patrick Cleandenim
  • Musiciens Sans Frontieres
  • Rod Mitchell
  • John Krondes
  • Saint Bernadette
  • Lettie
  • John Shannon
  • Buddahead
  • Jesse Lewis
  • Matthew Brookshire
  • Dr. Manhattan
  • Gilfema
  • Gilfema
  • Saint Bernadette
  • The Lost Tricks
  • Astrograss
  • : Papercutz
  • Eivind Opsvik
  • Ben Willmott
  • Jason Rigby
  • Nick Vayenas
  • The Epochs
  • Agraceful
  • God or Julie
  • The So So Glos
  • : Papercutz
  • John Krondes
  • John Krondes
  • Ariel Aparicio
  • Speed of Life
  • Cyrus Chestnut
  • Rachel Z
  • Dept. of Good and Evil
  • Adrianne
  • Jennifer Newman
  • Zerobridge
  • Jean Racine
  • Jean Racine
  • Jupiter One
  • Last Years Model
  • Earlymay
  • David Abbinanti
  • Asen Doykin
  • Die Romantik
  • Nerse
  • Ferenc Nemeth
  • Towner Galaher
  • Kindergarten
  • Billy Nichols
  • Nell Bryden
  • Kathy Zimmer
  • The Attorneys
  • Hints
  • Alma Micic
  • The Paislies
  • The States
  • Dayna Stephens
  • Dive
  • The Pierces
  • Puny Human
  • Jar-E
  • [Velvet]
  • Pietro Tonolo
  • John Krondes
  • John Krondes
  • The Blue Van
  • Juniper Sky
  • New Heathens
  • Audra Rox
  • Ian Love
  • Charlie Hunter
  • Loudlife
  • Patrick Cornelius
  • Lone Wolf & Cub
  • New Years Day
  • The 101
  • Beans
  • The Fabulous Entourage
  • Paul Evans
  • Paul Evans
  • Nuttin' But Stringz
  • Logjam
  • Staind
  • Reuben Rogers
  • Martian Colony
  • Lourds Lane
  • Mace Hibbard
  • John Krondes
  • John Krondes
  • John Krondes
  • Planeside
  • The Silent Type
  • No-Neck Blues Band
  • Renee Heartfelt
  • Nels Andrews
  • Adrianne
  • Michelle Samuels
  • Adam Pascal
  • Draw Tippy
  • Irish Repertory Theatre Cast
  • Alma Micic
  • Janek Gwizdala
  • City Center Encores!
  • Wadada Leo Smith
  • Wadada Leo Smith
  • Pablo Ablanedo
  • Jonah Smith
  • Rale Micic Quintet
  • David Russell
  • Morpholinos
  • Dave Douglas
  • John Pizzarelli
  • Voodoolulu
  • Deborah Voigt
  • The Fray
  • Northern State
  • Pharaoh's Daughter
  • John Zorn
  • David Russell
  • Tim Heidecker
  • Anoushka Shankar
  • Philharmonia Orchestra
  • Benjamin Zander
  • Camilla Tilling
  • Rale Micic
  • Matt Olson
  • Abraham the Poor
  • Marie Therese
  • Miles
  • Mel Flannery Trucking Company
  • Uri Sharlin
  • Dogcat Ensemble
  • Uri Sharlin & the Dogcat Ensemble
  • Jesse Stacken
  • Bobby Cole
  • Bob Ferrel
  • Michel Reis
  • Michel Reis Quartet
  • D'Amadeus
  • Yarn
  • Will Goble
  • Columbus Symphony Orchestra
  • Wish and the Well
  • Unhinged Sextet
  • Visible from Space
  • Michael Kocour
  • Jonah Smith
  • The Well Pennies
  • Micah Sheveloff
  • Donnie Sundal
  • Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds
  • Cicero
  • Taft
  • Michel Reis
  • J. Woo
  • Julia Haltigan & The Hooligans
  • Angel Black
  • Maximum Penalty
  • The Upset Victory
  • Peter Sterling
  • Michael McArthur
  • Running From Bears
  • Evan Russell Saffer
  • Michel Reis
  • Marc Demuth
  • Paul Wiltgen
  • The Michael Treni Big Band
  • Peter Robbins
  • EnglishKils
  • Peter Sterling
  • Salvo Randazzo
  • Peter Sterling
  • Eleanor Dubinsky
  • Blue Largo
  • Blue Largo
  • Blue Largo
  • Blue Largo
  • Blue Largo
  • Blue Largo
  • Nick Vayenas
  • The David James Band
  • Mike Wexler
  • Emily Zuzik
  • Patrick Sheridan
  • Harry Watters
  • Every Boy
  • Nicolas Masson
  • Tony Hoylen
  • Margarita Shamrakov
  • Jared Kf Jones
  • Tony Grey
  • Michael Wilkinson
  • Snowflake
  • Future Wife
  • Zach Hillyard Band

6 Reviews

Endorse Nathan James
  1. Review by Birgitte Turøy Uleberg
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    Great working with Nathan! Super professional and communication is rigth on point.

  2. Review by Patrick
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    Nathan was extremely professional, responsive, and very helpful with suggestions. I look forward to using him again in the future.

  3. Review by Michael Zhang
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    Very professional, flexible and communicative. Our masters came out great and Nathan was super accommodating with all of our needs. Would definitely work with him again!

  4. Review by Bryan David Johnson
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    Nathan's work is top-tier! He knew exactly how to execute his perspective on the music while retaining mine. His communication is excellent and He is a professional all around. Thanks, Nathan. Looking forward to working with you again soon!

  5. Review by Nathan L.
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    Excellent work, very professional. A great guy to work with!

  6. Review by Benjamin J.
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    Nathan did an excellent job mastering my song. He made my jazz song sound warmer, more open, and sonically beautiful. I highly endorse Nathan, who has the knowledge, technical ability, and musical sensibilities to improve upon an already good mix. Nathan was very professional, a good communicator, and delivered a superbly mastered track, on time.

Interview with Nathan James

  1. Q: What are you working on at the moment?

  2. A: I'm auditioning new tubes for my tube line amp and am loving what I'm hearing. Something so unique, I'm excited to start using it on my projects. Also being a better dad.

  3. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  4. A: Both. It doesn't have to be either or.

  5. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  6. A: My best work at all times regardless of the project.

  7. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  8. A: My situation allows me to spend the right amount of time in the studio and also to get outside and enjoy nature. There is something meditative about connecting to the core of a song and its sound that reminds me of connecting with the mountains and the trees. There's a rhyming there that I love.

  9. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  10. A: Mastering is misunderstood. Many people believe it's just specialized bus processing but it's much more. The human element of crafting a sequence, establishing a connective flow to the tone of a record or within a single, that's not something that occurs with robotic mastering or spending a couple minutes with a preset. It takes decades of experience and is the difference between hiring an inexperienced engineer vs. an experienced one.

  11. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  12. A: Find the records that you love the sound of and call the mastering engineer listed in the credits. People can create whatever persona they want online but the results of their work are what matters. Hire someone who specializes in mastering and you'll be better off than using someone out of convenience.

  13. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  14. A: A water filter, a knife, flint stone, rope, and a blanket. Mastering would be the last thing on my mind.

  15. Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?

  16. A: I trained as a cellist and went to a small conservatory in Cleveland to study audio engineering. Worked at an audiophile label (Telarc) doing editing / mastering to pay for college. Got a gig at Tanglewood Music Festival which lead to securing a job as an assistant to a well known mastering engineer in NYC. Mentoring with him lit the fire and my passion for mastering and after 5 years of studying the craft from him I started my own business.

  17. Q: How would you describe your style?

  18. A: I don't.

  19. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  20. A: Novo Amor. Just heard them on Pandora and fell in love. The feels.

  21. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  22. A: Learn to trust your ears and your gut. Forums, meters, the desperate attempt by companies to get you to buy shit. Filter that out and do the hard work with what you have first. Avoid information paralysis at all cost and keep it simple. Your mixes will thank you!

  23. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  24. A: All genres. No bounds.

  25. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  26. A: Persistence. I don't give up.

  27. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  28. A: There's something inherent in every recording that wants to speak or come alive. Every song has it. The difficulty comes with how to express it and let it shine through. It's a 6th sense that I've cultivated for over 22 years.

  29. Q: What's your typical work process?

  30. A: Communication is key for my clients. They receive constant updates so they know where we are in the process. After an initial conversation about the project and associated costs, I'll start with a preliminary listen to their project. This helps me identify any potential hurdles or stumbling blocks prior to beginning the work. If requested, it also allows the opportunity for me to give feedback on the mix, the results of which can lead to a better mastered end product.

  31. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  32. A: My room was designed by Walters-Storyk Design Group who did two of my rooms back in NYC. It's closely resembles my room at The Hit Factory and at Masterdisk as well. My tools are primarily high end analog and I'm monitoring through a pair of Duntech Sovereign 2001s with Cello amplification.

  33. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  34. A: I'm humbled by the incredible work I hear coming out of some of my home studio clients these days. The mixing engineer - mastering engineer relationship is vital to this...a bit of a symbiosis of creativity can happen with a mature relationship developed. So yes, I've been impressed there.

  35. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  36. A: Most of my repeat clients come to me for stereo mastering services. We work with all genres but have definitely found a niche within the rock / singer-songwriter / jazz / classical fields. Vocals, guitars, drums, bass....and just acoustic instrument in general...

Terms Of Service

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Gear Highlights
  • Custom room design by WSGD Design Group
  • Duntech & Cello Monitoring
  • Sequoia (DAW)
  • Sontec
  • Lavry AD
  • Prism AD
  • Forsell AD-DA
  • Cranesong
  • Pendulum
  • Avalon
  • Masalec
  • Millennia
  • Schoeps
  • DPA
  • AEA
  • Fab-filter
  • iZotope
  • Oxford
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SoundBetter Deal

Reduced rate available for SoundBetter clients. SoundBetter mastering takes place every Thursday. 12 song slots available.