Tuesday, 18th December 2018

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. 

His personal account of mastering at Philosophers Barn is on the Philosophers Barn Blog 

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 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.11) with EQ and dynamics from Sonnox and Sonoris, and use Izotope RX5 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)
  • DD-2 Ambience Processor (with Z-sys EQ)
  • dCS 904, 954 and 974 Digital conversion and upsampling
  • Forssell MADA-2a digital conversion



Viva LF1 custom all-valve pre-amp

Custom dual-mono passive monitor controller

Mark Levinson No.37 CD transport

Esoteric K-01  SACD playback and monitor DAC

ATC SCM 50 ASL main monitors

Audeze and Sennheiser 600 headphones

Analogue Transfer

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


For further details of this equipment and how we use it, please visit Philosophers Barn Blog


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