FINALLY - A #1 Album!!! -- Sort of...

A compelling story of cooperation and triumph across Continental borders -- Keane's "Strangeland" album hits #1 on the U.K. Charts. "Deluxe" material mastered here at MASSIVE Mastering -- By Robin Schmidt of 2496 Mastering in Germany.

I'm probably more stoked about this than anyone else, but it really is pretty cool… At least I can say that material from a #1 album was mastered at Massive Mastering…

Robin Schmidt is the owner and Grammy nominated mastering engineer of 24-96 Mastering in Karlsruhe, Germany. Several times now, when he is in the United States and something pressing comes up, he stops in here at MASSIVE for a day or two to get the work done.

This latest time was less than 48 hours after Robin was attending the 54th Grammy Awards, where he was nominated in the Best Surround Album category. Robin was at the controls here - I was just chillin' in the client seats contributing an occasional comment or opinion here and there. The album was Keane's "Strangeland" -- The album material was mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering, the "Deluxe" release material by Robin here at Massive.

Q. But mastering engineers are back-stabbing types that never help each other. How can something like this happen?

A. There might be some -- uh -- "less cooperative" types in the field, but that's really not the case most of the time. Competitive? Sure. But what industry isn't? Usually, you put two or more of us in the same room and we just go on and on about who makes the best coffee.

Q. But you guys are *so* picky about your gear and your rooms - How can one guy work in another guy's place?

A. Also true. To some extent, I have to thank the (other engineer's who've heard them call it) "user friendliness" of my Tyler Acoustics D1's, along with just friendly cooperation again. The previous visit by Robin had him working on my previous speakers (B&W Nautilus 802's). While fine gear to be sure, they definitely take a bit of practice - in every different space. While the D1's seemed "much more natural sounding" (as Robin put it - and as I do for that matter). There was certainly still an occasional "confidence check" (the over-the-shoulder "how's that sounding to you"), which is totally normal when working in an unfamiliar space. But the heavily controlled console position here, combined with that "user friendly" monitoring chain makes those confidence checks much less frequent and more of a formality.

Q. I thought this was about the "Number One Album" thing - What gives?

A. Sorry - I get sidetracked easily. A big Congrats all around to all involved and I'm very happy to have contributed a small part by supplying the tools, the room and the "backup ears" -- Looking forward to Robin's next visit. And if I ever find myself in Karlsruhe, I hope I have some pressing project that needs immediate attention so I can go to 24-96 and bug him for a bit. :-)