Wednesday, 6th May 2020

Senior Mastering Engineer

Eric James has been deeply involved in the music business as a musician, producer and engineer for over 30 years; until 2011 he also pursued a parallel academic career as an historian of medicine. He resigned his university tenure in order to accommodate an increasingly busy mastering facility, but he is still active in historical research, non-fiction editing and a new area (for him) of non-fiction writing. 

Eric brings to his mastering work both a unique perspective and a very high level of musical and technical knowledge. He conceived and edited the first two editions of Bob Katz’ Mastering Audio: The Art and the Science (Focal Press) and is a regular contributor of technique and review articles to Sound on Sound. 

Audio Equipment


Professional audio mastering requires an acoustically neutral and silent room, top quality analogue and digital signal processing, and the highest resolution accurate monitoring.

At Philosophers Barn we have all three.

Our facilities are housed in a superb converted oak-beamed barn, acoustically optimised by Munro Acoustics, and located deep in the quiet North Norfolk coastal countryside. In addition to the mastering suite a further Barn houses a dedicated client listening area and lounge (featuring the very best coffee in Norfolk and a wonderful view of fields and churches and - on a clear day - the North Sea).

Audio workstations: our main mastering DAWs are a hardware based Pyramix (v.6) with Flux EQ and dynamic processors, and a native based Sequoia DAW (v.14) with EQ and dynamics from DMG and Sonoris, and use Izotope RX7 for restoration projects.

Analogue Outboard:

  • Knif `Soma' passive valve mastering EQ
  • Knif Vari-Mu II valve mastering compressor 
  • Maselec MEA-2 mastering EQ
  • Maselec MLA-3 tri-band mastering compressor
  • Thermionic Culture Pullet customized passive analogue EQ
  • Pendulum OCL-2 Class A Vacuum Tube opto-compressor
  • Grace 801 pre-amp

Digital Outboard:

  • t.c. electronic Mastering System 6000 with Massenburg Hi-Res EQ
  • Weiss EQ1 Mk2 DYN/LP (24/96)
  • Forssell MADA-2a digital conversion



Coincident Statement Tube Linestage

Esoteric C-03 Pre-amp

Custom dual-mono passive monitor controller

Esoteric K-01  SACD playback and monitor DAC

ATC SCM 50 ASL main monitors

Audeze LCD-2 and Sennheiser 600 headphones


Analogue Transfer

Nottingham Analogue Dais turntable

Origin Live Illustrious arm; Dynavector DRT XV-1s Cartridge

GT Tron Convergence Reference valve phonostage.




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