AIRSHOW HAS GROWN over three decades into a well-rounded audio service provider. With our diverse and experienced staff, we offer professional mastering, mixing, tracking, and restoration to take your music to a higher level.
Clients have come to value our versatility, with a depth of talent in many types of music and a broad selection of tools that enable us to record, mix, and master for virtually any release medium.
In recent years, we’ve handled music for CD, film and video, vinyl, online distribution, video games, and iPhone apps. We’ve also helped bring notable tape archives to light. We’re proud of both our career credits and our most recent works, and excited about the music and formats we’ll get to work on tomorrow and over the next three decades.
Efficiency, the ability to meet the tightest of deadlines, a consistent workflow, and rigorous quality control practices are the practical underpinnings of our creative processes, regardless of budget or release medium.
MASTERING IS THE FINAL creative step in the artistic process of recording and involves assembling the artist’s mixes into a finished presentation. The result is an equalized, leveled, and sequenced master for replication as CD, high res release, vinyl, audio for picture, or compressed download.
Critical to achieving great results consistently is the wealth of analog and digital tools at our disposal, all within a custom-designed and -built high res monitoring environment.
Airshow’s engineers have experience working in a wide variety of musical genres and styles with artists, engineers, producers and record labels from around the world.
Projects mastered at Airshow have won numerous Grammy awards and collected over 100 Grammy nominations. Our clients’ continuing confidence in our work is the highest accolade.
Check out these tips before your session for ways to “Make the Most of Your Mastering Session.”
STEREO AND SURROUND MIXING is available in Takoma Park, combining ProTools HD with a wealth of plug-ins and outboard gear.
In Takoma Park, full-range surround and stereo mixing is available in Studio A, along with stereo mixing in Production A. We designed and equipped Studio A and all of our near-field rooms with ProTools and popular plug-ins to create a familiar working environment for visiting producers and engineers.
Producers are invited to work with one of our experienced mix engineers or rent one of the production rooms for their own use. Airshow mix clients appreciate the proximity to the mastering studios – and access to the mastering engineer – to reality-check their mixes while still in progress.
AIRSHOW NOW OFFERS full-service tracking facilities.
Sam Berkow of SIA Acoustics designed the Takoma Park recording space to achieve both a critical performance and listening area and an environment that is relaxed and conducive to the creative process. An open and spacious surround sound control room is paired with an acoustically balanced live area. An extensive collection of microphones, preamps, and signal processing equipment further support the creative process.
RECORDED AUDIO SALES now favor digital over physical media in virtually every genre. During the same period, we have observed steady progress in high resolution audio:
• In 2001 a compressed MP3 with 128kbps resolution was considered standard; the minimum acceptable compressed download resolution is double that, and uncompressed and 24-bit downloads are readily available.
• Physical media that deliver audio resolution beyond CD quality include vinyl, DSD/SACD, and Pure Audio Blu-ray. Large audio collections and “box sets” commonly offer 24-bit .wav files on flash drives.
• While stereo music DVDs were once common, the standard for music DVD release is now multi-channel.
To ensure our clients are prepared to take projects beyond CDs, Airshow embraced DSD/SACD technology, multi-channel mixing and mastering, and mixing and mastering for film and video. Nearly all Airshow rooms are built and equipped for multi-channel audio.
To be ready for high res release options and licensing opportunities, we advise recording and mixing to 24 bit PCM at sample rates up to 192 kHz, or to DSD, or analog; all of these options are available to mixing clients at Airshow.
CD mastering sessions are conducted in high res and archived in high res for future releases or for vinyl masters. We urge our clients to maintain their own valuable master archive at the highest native resolution.
Airshow wrote “The Artist’s and Producer’s Guide to SACD” several years ago. The information about releasing for Super Audio CD and other multichannel formats remains relevant.
Here is a selection of our SACD, DVD, and surround credits.
AIRSHOW’S ENGINEERS have deep experience recording and editing spoken word audio for a variety of media – video soundtrack, literary audio and audiobooks.
A description of our resources for spoken word audio production and a selection of our credits are found here.
RESTORATION SERVICES, whether for digital transfer of tape archives or sonic restoration for commercial release, require precision, care and accuracy.
Airshow is the music studio provider of analog master tape transfer for clients using Plangent Processes restoration services. Plangent processing brings unprecedented clarity and increased image depth and focus to master tapes using a proprietary technology to remove wow, flutter and other speed perturbations. We’ve written about the method here.
Some of the most cherished reissues of recent years have benefitted from restoration at Airshow, including the GRAMMY winning collections “The Anthology of American Folk Music” and “Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues: the Worlds of Charley Patton.” Audio restoration – the nuanced, detailed application of noise reduction processes, click and pop removal, and distortion reduction – contributes clarity to releases of archival and historic material.
THE RESTORATION CENTER for AUDIO ARCHIVES
In 2003, Airshow created the Restoration Center, a suite of services to assist cultural heritage institutions and record labels to digitize analog audio archives and make them accessible electronically. Digitization services, available in Boulder and Takoma Park, include real-time transfer from cassette, disc, any open-reel tape format, and PCM and DAT Digital sources. After digital conversion, files can be post-processed to enhance listenability for scholars or to a commercial standard for use in exhibits or release.
Information on archival services through the Restoration Center is available here.
COME SHARE OUR SQUARE FOOTAGE!
In an era of project rooms, the ultimate luxury in audio production is the volume of the studio. Airshow’s rooms have the added advantages of acoustic design by Sam Berkow of SIA Acoustics, a generous complement of gear, and professional level hospitality.
In Takoma Park, guest engineers and producers are welcome to work in some of our large, well-tuned rooms. Studio A includes a superb tracking room with an 11’ ceiling and a sonically revealing control room.
To explore working on your project in one of our rooms, please contact the Takoma Park Studio Manager. We’re happy to give you a tour.