Lowland Masters: audio mastering worldwide, from local artists to Grammy winners.
Lowland Masters is a UK audio mastering studio, founded by Nigel Palmer in 1995. Based in rural Essex, our clients include artists, producers, record companies and institutions worldwide. With quality tools in a neutral listening environment, we're about presenting your audio at its best with masters for CD, digital distribution (we're an Apple Digital Masters provider) or vinyl.
What they say (more at www.lowlandmasters.com):
JZ: ‘You are... sensitive to the physicality and sensuousness of what I’m trying to get across and you refine it in a way that actually does make the record better than it was before.’
Louder Than War music/culture website, Chameleons remasters review for Dali’s Picture and Auffuhrung in Berlin: ‘The remastering here, on both albums, by Nigel Palmer is exemplary and highlights a young band bursting with creativity, verve, and fire.’
MW: ‘I’m listening now in the studio and….my God…you’ve done a really superb job…It sounds Fantastic!!! Wider, contained but with more detail. Brilliant job!’
DH: ‘I just wanted to say… thank you for all your work on my new album. You did a great job as always and it’s hugely appreciated. It was just great to know it was in safe hands!’
AS: ‘You are... the most reliable, prompt, kind, professional collaborator I’ve ever worked with.’
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Interview with Lowland Masters
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: To do only what's needed to the best of my ability. It probably took me the first ten years of mastering to learn when to leave stuff alone, one of the core skills. Mastering is unusual in that you can do little or even nothing with a given project and still have a good working day and a happy customer.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Currently passing through are remasters of production music albums originally released in the 1980s; tracks for Nashville-based veteran Christian band The Choir; a single for new US artist Joy Clark, and collating/editing content for a music MA degree course: it's nothing if not varied!
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: My experience is that on remote sessions customers don't tend to have many questions beyond the mechanics of sending files, payment and so on, but rely on me to take the approach I think best. While there's usually a reason (word of mouth, heard something I've done, worked with me before etc.) that a client wants to come here, there's a lot of trust on their part that they'll get the right outcome, and I take that seriously.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That mastering is only about processing audio. While that may or may not be what's needed in a given situation, the first and foremost requirement is listening.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: After a spell as a musician, I started as a sound engineer, mixer and producer, moving into mastering in 1995. Having covered non-mastering roles in the production chain has made me aware of what clients have been through before their music arrives here, and it helps establish a rapport.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: I retain a musician's perspective, and enjoy talking to people about their music: how they feel about it and what they hope to achieve.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: I probably wouldn't bother! With the exception of a great room and monitoring, while gear has its place it's not the be-all and end-all of mastering - customers are rarely interested in what equipment I use on their material anyway, and much more focused on results. You could say the most useful gear I have here is the phone - so much can be achieved liaising with clients and understanding their needs.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I recently mastered a double CD and vinyl for the Tubular Bells 50th Anniversary Celebration with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which included much of Mike Oldfield's early music as well as the title album. It was beautifully realised with everyone involved on their 'A' game - an outstanding project.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both or either, depending on the application.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Every day is usually different: it could be Inuit throat singing and Swedish death metal today, orchestral, funk and EDM tomorrow - love it all!
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Listening skills mature over time, so those who have been mastering for a while will likely have more to offer.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My mastering room is in a purpose-built, acoustically designed building in the garden of my home. Overlooking fields, the room has a neutral sonic footprint coupled with accurate and revealing monitoring. I use a hybrid analogue and digital mastering approach, with some of the best hard- and software available - full gear list at http://www.lowlandmasters.com/?page_id=626.