Thursday, 30th March 2017

Senior Mastering Engineer

Eric James has been deeply involved in the music business as a musician, producer and engineer for over 25 years; he has also pursued a parallel academic career as a philosopher and historian of medicine.

His work in music encompasses the entire spectrum, and his credits range from the classical finesse of Alfred Brendel, the Lindsays and Leslie Howard, the musical intricacy of the John Taylor jazz trio, Bill Anschell and Mick Hutton, to the subtle electronica productions of Rollo Armstrong and Richard Formby and the alt/indie rock of Max Rafferty and Boy Cried Wolf.

Eric recently resigned his university position to accommodate the time pressures of an increasingly busy mastering facility, but he is still active in research and a new area (for him) of non-fiction writing.  He brings to his mastering work not only a unique perspective but also a very high level of both musical and technical knowledge. He is the editor of both editions of Bob Katz’ Mastering Audio: The Art and the Science and is a regular contributor of technique and review articles to Sound on Sound.

Audio Equipment

Professional audio mastering requires an acoustically excellent room, top quality signal processing, and the highest resolution monitoring. At Philosophers Barn we have all three. Our facilities are housed in a superb converted 17th century, 50 foot, oak-beamed barn, buried deep in the quiet Norfolk countryside. As well as the mastering suite the Barn has a dedicated listening area and lounge (featuring the best coffee in Norfolk and a wonderful view of the neighbourhood cows...).

Audio workstations: our main mastering DAW is the hardware based Pyramix (v.6) with Flux EQ and dynamic processors, alongside a SADiE PCM8 (v.6) with CEDAR DeNoise and ReTouch restoration software for classical editing. In addition we have the native based Sequoia DAW (v.11) with EQ and dynamics from Sonnox and Sonoris, and use Izotope RX2 for restoration projects.

Digital Outboard:

  • t.c. electronic Mastering System 6000 with Massenburg Hi-Res EQ
  • Weiss EQ1 Mk2 DYN/LP (24/96)
  • DD-2 Ambience Processor (with Z-sys EQ)
  • dCS 904, 954 and 974 Digital conversion and upsampling
  • Forssell MADA-2a digital conversion

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 Phoenix mastering valve compressor (Ltd `Mullard' edition)
  • Thermionic Culture Pullet passive analogue EQ (customized)
  • Pendulum OCL-2 Class A Vacuum Tube opto-compressor
  • Grace 801 pre-amp


  • Crookwood Custom Mastering Console/Nagra and Viva custom all-valve pre-amp
  • Mark Levinson No.37 CD transport
  • Lector CDP7Class A valve CD player
  • ATC SCM 50 ASL main monitors
  • Stax SR 404 Signature headspeakers/ SRM006t tube driver
  • AKG K-701 and Sennheiser 600 headphones

Analogue Transfer

Nottingham Analogue Hyperspace turntable; Origin Live Encounter arm; Transfiguration Spirit III Cartridge; Whest 0.20 phono stage



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