The Master of Mastering: Phil Nicolo


Humble Beginnings

Phil Nicolo and his twin brother Joey got their start in the late ’70s in their parent’s attic. By 1978 they had upgraded to their first true studio, Half-Track. In 1980 they made yet another jump and moved to Center City and opened Studio 4. Studio 4 recorded the likes of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince and the hooters. Fast forward to 1988, Phil and Joey created Ruff House Records. Some notable artists that worked with Ruff House were the Fugees, Lauryn Hill, and Cypress Hill.

It was at this point that the brothers started producing together and thus the Butcher Brothers were born. Working together as the Butcher Brothers, Phil and Joey worked with several large names in the industry including The Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, Sting, Amy Grant, and Aerosmith. When first starting they were known as re-mixers, but people quickly learned that the brothers were jacks of all trades; recording, mixing and mastering.


What is Mastering

Mastering is the final polishing of the track before it goes out to the public in all its forms, be it CD, Vinyl or Digital Download.  Mastering is important because as Phil says there is always something that can be slightly improved in a mix.  Whether it is volume, EQ or texture there is always something that can be done.  One of the most important tools to master is the AD/DA converter or analog to digital converter. This is the piece of gear that takes the recording and brings it into the digital world.  From there hardware is used to process the recording digitally. Finally, the next step is the mastering software in which you have access to compression, equalization, texturing, leveling, etc.  The whole process of mastering is multi-tier and it has steps you need to follow for the best results.





Wrap Up

Just like mastering, music is something that is created in sequential steps. Your latest project is written, recorded, and mixed. When you’re ready to take the next steps, American Musical Supply makes it easy to create a master, burn a CD, and duplicate your product for distribution. Transform your studio into a complete production house. Whether you are in need of a CD recorder or a Solid State Recorder. Or if you need some mastering software or a mastering processor to ensure consistency across all copies. If you are an ambitious composer ready to create a polished master, AMS has you covered.





Click HERE to check out mastering equipment at American Musical Supply

Click HERE for an introduction to music production

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