Mastering Engineer David Kutch Gets Dangerous in NYC
Grammy-Nominated Engineer Opens New Mastering Studio with Dangerous Music Equipment at its Center
Edmeston, NY — Grammy-Nominated mastering engineer David Kutch has opened The Mastering Palace, a new mastering studio in New York City. In only a few short months of opening, Kutch has already mastered a range of top artist releases from The Roots, Natasha Bedingfield, Erykah Badu, Estelle, to classic Al Green. At the core of his new studio setup are two key pieces of analog equipment: the Dangerous Master and the Dangerous Monitor. These Dangerous Music components allow Kutch to be assured of the quality of his analog signal path, where he spends most of his time bringing out the best in a piece of recorded music.
Over the past two decades, many mastering studios and engineers have become familiar with Dangerous Music through Chris Muth. Kutch explains his own connection, “The entire professional mastering community knows Chris Muth. I’m sorry – ‘Relies’ on Chris Muth. If your 1630 [tape] machine needed alignment you called Chris Muth. If your Neumann cutting lathe was acting up, you called Chris Muth. If you had a technical need where the equipment to complete a task did not exist yet, the first thing anyone did was call Chris Muth. Chris tweaked, repaired or invented mastering equipment better than anyone else, period! Dangerous Music and its products are far from being new players in the pro audio gear world. It has all been evolving in Chris’ brain and in mastering studios for over 20 years. He truly is a Mad Genius!”
Integrating Dangerous Music gear into his own studios has been an easy choice, according to Kutch, “While at Masterdisk [famed NY mastering studio] I had been using a Muth Audio Designs Mastering Console and Monitor box (the big black one). The gear never breaks down and is very transparent. When I moved to Sony Music Studios [former 54th Street headquarters] they built me a brand new mastering room. When they asked what type of Mastering console I wanted, the answer was a no-brainer: ‘Anything from Chris!’ — which by this point was the Dangerous Master because he was no longer making the ‘MAD’ console.”
In his new studio, The Mastering Palace, Kutch explains how he centers his outboard connections around Dangerous Music designs. “The Dangerous Master brings all of my analog processing gear together in one place. The stereo signal comes in, gets left and right adjustments if need be, then hits my 3 inserts. One of the things that most attracted me to the Dangerous Master is that there are only 3 inserts. More inserts equals more noise. In this scenario: LESS IS BETTER! At this stage I can insert any of my analog equalizers or compressors as needed. I can also insert an EQ or de-esser into the ‘S&M’ or Mid–Side circuit [of the Master] so I can process the mono and stereo program material independently, as well as increase or decrease the stereo width without messing with the phase. I’ve tried other devices that claim to do this but they do not even come close.”
“My Dangerous Monitor lets me have control over speaker volume as well as listening to my different analog and digital signal inputs. The best feature is the onboard D-to-A converter. It switches from one AES input to another without any pops, glitches or latency — again, a rare feature. This way I can compare pre- and post- processing with the same D-to-A conversion on both sources,” added Kutch.
Asked of his experiences dealing with artists in his studio while mastering with Dangerous Music equipment, Kutch concludes, “I’ve had Erykah Badu here as well as Questlove from the The Roots. Besides having my system sound as good as it can, the gear just does not break down when the client is present. Since the Dangerous Music equipment is what ties my all of my gear together it has to work ALL the time. If it went down, the session would be dead. I’ve been using equipment designed by Chris [Muth] for 11 years and I’ve never had a piece break. It just works!”
In addition to the Dangerous Master and the Dangerous Monitor, Kutch of course has a host of other mastering equipment. For playback, The Mastering Palace studio is based around a Studer A820 half-inch analog tape machine and a Digidesign Pro Tools HD system. As an editor, Kutch uses Magix’s Sequoia DAW. Along with a host of boutique analog compressors, other key ingredients are his Prism Sound stereo converters and Maselec EQ, and for digital processing the TC Electronic System 6000. Critical listening depends on Kutch’s Focal Solo 6 monitors, and Legacy Focus monitors.
David Kutch Credits
Kutch began his career in recording with some of New York’s finest producers, ranging from Phil Ramone to Puff Daddy. In 1997 Kutch helped build the legendary Powers House of Sound Mastering Studios with Herb Powers Jr. There he worked on albums for Biggie, Puff Daddy, Lauryn Hill, Jill Scott, and Missy Elliot. In 2002, Kutch was nominated for a prestigious Grammy in the category of ‘Album of the Year’ for mastering Outkasts’ “Stankonia” LP that included the hits “Miss Jackson” and “So Fresh, So Clean.” Some of the tracks and albums Kutch mastered at his studio within the famed New York 54th Street Sony Mastering Studios, were for Kanye West, The Roots, Jamie Foxx, DMX, and Sarah McLaughlan. He has also completed DVD mastering for Rod Stewart, Angie Stone, Iron Maiden and Anthrax releases. Right before opening The Mastering Palace, Kutch spent the summer of 2007 mastering Alicia Keys’ “As I Am” album at her studio on Long Island, as well as other artists’ projects.
Contact David Kutch and The Mastering Palace at 1-(212) 665-2200 or visit the website at: http://www.themasteringpalace.com