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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Sep-16 > Beau Thomas TEN EIGHT SEVEN MASTERING


The MusicTech Mastering Special continues with a focus on Ten Eight Seven Mastering. Beau Thomas has gone from being a DJ and drum ’n’ bass artist to one of the most sought-after mastering engineers in the country. Here, he lifts the lid on the dark art…

MT Mastering Special Beau Thomas

Beau Thomas began life in the music industry as part of drum ’n’ bass acts Babylon Timewarp, The White House Crew and Intense. He was then offered more lucrative work by cutting engineer Shane McEnhill, who offered him a job as a vinyl cutter at Heathmans Mastering. After Heathmans folded and following a brief stint at Masterpiece Mastering, Thomas took the plunge, rented a studio and took the mastering-engineer hot seat.

Ten Eight Seven Mastering was the name of the new outfit in 2012 and now Thomas specialises in vinyl and CD mastering for a varied client list, including Wilkinson (RAM Records and Virgin), Icarus (Sony), a lot of work for Aphex Twin, dBridge and the Hyperdub label. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience in mastering analogue and digital formats, making him one of the go-to engineers, especially with the recent resurgence in vinyl that has meant that his cutting lathe is never out of action. Here, he tells MT about digital and vinyl mastering and offers plenty of advice, too…

MusicTech: So tell us how your interest in mastering began?

Beau Thomas: In 1999, everything fell apart a little bit and I needed a job. A great cutting engineer called Shane McEnhill, who now owns Finyl Tweek, used to work at Heathmans Mastering and he got me a job there. I was a runner, hand-copying CDs. There were CD mastering rooms and vinyl rooms, and that’s when the appeal started to kick in. Although I was doing digital mastering at first, my world was vinyl. I’d already cut loads of dub plates and I wanted to be the best I could be. Back then, vinyl mastering rooms were the bigger rooms. They had the better speakers and lathes.

MT: How did you initially attract clients?

BT: If I’d have spoken to artists direct – like Fabio And Grooverider – and told them I was cutting, they’d have been like, ‘Beau who?’. Then I bumped into Quiff of Total Science and told him I’d cut him a free dub plate if he sent me two tracks. He sent me 18 by the following Monday! He then told Fabio and various other people, and before I knew it, I had artists ’phoning up and wanting me to cut dub plates. Dub plates are a great way to start in mastering, especially vinyl, because if you fuck one up, you can just redo it. It’s not like the record stage where you get test pressings that have to go off for processing and if they come back shit, you have to recut the lacquers and send them all off again. So that was a massive kick-start for me. I don’t think I cut an album for five or six years – all I did was singletrack sides.

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About MusicTech

The new issue of MusicTech is all about mastering your music, and mastering it for everywhere! These days you have to master for various outlets so your music needs to sound professional not just in the studio but online too. We have guides to the whole process, the whys, and hows. We also interview leading mastering engineers about the joys of vinyl mastering and other challenges modern mastering experts face. There's well over 1GB of free samples on the DVD plus 2 hours of tutorials and a bumper set of reviews and workshops too. Make music and master it now!