360 Mastering Chooses PMC Monitors for New Facilities

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

PMC at 360 Mastering

PMC MB2S XBD-A speakers are the reference monitors of choice at 360 Mastering’s new facility in Hastings, East Sussex. 360, founded by respected mastering engineer Dick Beetham in 2000, moved into the purpose-built facility in late 2012, following the expiry of the lease on its former studio in south-west London (now demolished to make way for luxury flats).  

Walking into 360 Mastering, you pass through a reception area on the way to the main studio. It’s lined with awards given to Beetham and his colleague Dave Turner for their work for a bewildering range of record labels, from majors to small independents, and for artists including Tinie Tempah, Girls Aloud, KT Tunstall, Hard Fi, Scissor Sisters and Pet Shop Boys. As the 360 web site (www.360mastering.co.uk) reminds visitors, Dick and Dave have mastered over 50 UK number one singles and over 20 UK number one albums in a dozen years. 

360 Mastering’s new studio is built in a former office and workshop premises built into the side of a hill in Hastings. At first sight, its location, surrounded by housing on either side, seems unsuited to mastering records through PMC loudspeakers at high volume, but great care was taken during construction to ensure that the adjoining houses would not be disturbed; Beetham engaged David Hawkins of Eastlake Audio to ensure that the isolation was up to scratch. After six months of preparation and build, the studio was completed, inside a spring-mounted high-density concrete shell completely isolated from the structure of the building and mounted directly on the bedrock of the Hastings hillside (a necessity, as the total weight of the studio is over 65 tons). The external walls of the building were also acoustically reinforced with separately mounted high-density concrete blocks. “It’s all about wanting to be a good neighbour, really,” explains Dick Beetham. “And of course, it means we can make serious amounts of noise here without disturbing anyone.  

The chief noise-makers at 360 Mastering, are, of course, the PMC MB2S XBD-As. “I’ve loved PMC Speakers since I first worked with them nearly 20 years ago.”, comments Beetham. “As a mastering engineer I need resilient but extremely accurate and revealing speakers. For whatever type of music I’m mastering, the PMC large-format active speakers do the job perfectly. In a commercial mastering studio a lot is asked of a main monitoring system; on some sessions it needs to be working flat out, delivering bass-driven club and urban music, often with extended low frequencies at high levels. The other end of the scale has sessions where the presentation needs to be more ‘hi-fi’, and a lot of music being made today combines both of these elements. For my PMC Active Monitoring system none of this is ever a problem. It lets me hear what I need to hear in order to make any mastering corrections or enhancements, in an easy to understand and appealing way.

“I started out working with the MB2S XBD-A system, and then changed to the BB5 XBD-A when I opened my own studio in 2000. 13 years later, I’ve come back to the MB2S XBD-A system; it suits my new room perfectly, and gives me the unbeatable combination of world-class sound and reliability that I’m privileged to work with on a daily basis. They look amazing as well. When clients come to hear their music being mastered, it’s important for the studio to look good as well as sound good, and with a large pair of PMCs standing in the room, that is certainly taken care of.  

I've also just bought a pair of DB1S-As, PMC’s compact nearfields, and I’m really getting on well with them; they sound great. 

Now that 360’s Hastings studio is up and running, Dick’s plans for 2013 include opening a second facility back in the capital. “We’re ironing out the final details at the moment,” he explains, “but one thing is for sure; the new room will have a PMC active monitoring system at its heart.  

With one world-class facility to work in and another in the planning, 360 Mastering has put the closure of its previous studio behind it and is looking to the future. Recent projects include albums by Alt-J, Paloma Faith and Stereophonics, and number one singles by The Saturdays, James Arthur and One Direction. So those MB2S XBD-As are being kept busy!