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MILES SHOWELL Half-speed mastering

Universal has just released six classic albums which have been through a half-speed mastering process at Abbey Road. MusicTech speaks to Miles Showell, the engineer behind the process, about his setup and why half speed is better than full…

Abbey Road is certainly maintaining its status as one of the world’s busiest studios at the moment. As well as being ‘that’ iconic recording studio, it is the place to record film soundtracks, and has now become a centre of mastering excellence with a half-speed mastering service recently used on six famous albums from the Universal back catalogue, including The Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main Street; Ghost In The Machine by The Police and Simple Minds’ New Gold Dream. The remastered albums are available as limited editions, pressed on 180g vinyl, and with ‘deluxe packaging that includes a certificate of authenticity from Abbey Road’.

And the winner of this issue’s Show Off Your Studio award is… Miles Showell. All glory to the monolithic PMC MB2 XBD monitors, which Miles describes as: “truly fabulous”, with “incredible detail”

Half-speed mastering is a process that aims for ‘a superior listening experience with a new level of depth and clarity’, via superior high-frequency response and very solid and stable stereo images. The mastering engineer behind this process is Miles Showell, who has worked in the area of mastering or post production since 1984, where he started as a junior engineer at Utopia Studios in Primrose Hill:“making countless cups of tea and coffee and in charge of making export analogue-tape copies of production masters and the running of tens of thousands of cassettes.” He worked there for five years before being “let loose on the Neumann disc-cutting lathe un-supervised”. From there, he moved to Copymasters/Masterpiece in 1989, then Metropolis in 1998, before joining the team at Abbey Road in 2013.

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About MusicTech

The new issue of MusicTech magazine is on sale Thursday May 19th, and this month we bring you a glimpse of a dynamic new touchy-feely music making future in our whopping cover feature looking at getting literally hands-on with your music. Also we bring you 6 ways to create a cool studio, 6 of the best mixers, the latest reviews, tutorials for every major DAW and a sad farewell to the Moog Voyager…