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David Masters The Music

9th March 2005

A new mastering engineering business based in Wick is hitting all the right notes since opening at the start of the year.

Norwick Mastering was set up by David Shearer who spent over 12 years as a mastering engineer with Grampian Records Ltd. Prior to that he spent six years as a professional musician, working in recording studios in Northern and Southern Ireland, Nashville Tennessee, England and Scotland.

Mastering engineering is the process of taking an audio recording and turning it into a production master by putting the final professional polish to the mix, and bringing out its full potential. It takes the recording up to a commercial standard, using very high quality specialist equipment, providing a final production CD ready to replicate, enabling the recording to compete more effectively with other commercially produced CD's.

David received support and investment from his local enterprise company, Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE), to set up his new business. He received a development grant of 2,500 to assist with the purchase of specialist equipment and business start-up assistance of 3,600 paid in twelve monthly instalments. Business start-up grants provide people with a guaranteed income in the first year of their business, typically the most difficult time when establishing a new business.

David said: "I could see that there was a definite demand for a professional mastering service in the North of Scotland. Since the closure of Grampian Records it seemed the logical step forward to provide my own mastering service. A lot of time had been spent at Grampian Records learning this specialist craft which I am very grateful for, and it seemed such a waste to throw it all away.

"After meeting with CASE, I was given clear, practical advice on how to take the project forward and now the studio is up and running with orders coming in from all parts of Scotland, England and even Ireland."

A web site has been set up http://www.norwickmastering.com describing all the different services David can provide. These include mastering a new project or restoring old analogue recordings. Old vinyl, tape or damaged recordings can be restored producing amazing results and analogue quarter inch reels can be transferred onto digital format before they are lost forever as analogue tape degrades with storage.

David is happy for people to visit the studio for a demonstration, to see what Norwick Mastering can do. He said: "No matter what type of project you may have whether it is an amateur low budget recording or a professional album, Norwick Mastering will bring out the very best in your project before you turn it into large quantities of CD's.

"Mastering engineers often pick up on something that has been overlooked during the recording process. We can correct it before the project has been turned into thousands of replicated CD's - a costly mistake if the recording doesn't meet the required standards."

One of David's main customers so far has been Birnam CD of Dunkeld, a CD replication business. Martin Hadden, owner of Birnam CD, said: "Since Norwick Mastering came into being at the start of this year, we have sent a range of very different masters to them for final mastering, including a community song project, piping, modern jazz and stress control. The results have been uniformly excellent.

"We previously used a number of studios around the country for this type of work, but I feel that a dedicated mastering house is a great boon to the music industry in Scotland. I'm looking forward to a long and happy relationship between our companies."

Commenting on David's new venture, Ian Thomson, a development manager with CASE, said: "We were happy to assist this highly specialised project and are delighted to retain David's skills locally. He offers a valuable service to customers throughout the UK and further afield and we wish him and Norwick Mastering every success in the future."

 

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