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Chartmakers Mastering Studio expands into mixing with an SSL AWS 948

Renowned Helsinki mastering studio installs an AWS for sum-mixing

Feb 28, 2012

Henkka Niemisto & AWS 948 @ Chartmakers Green Room

HELSINKI, FINLAND – Chartmakers, a high-end mastering studio used by major European performing artists including Rammstein and Amorphis, has installed an AWS 948 Hybrid Console/Controller in its Green Room studio. Chartmakers purchased the AWS to expand its business into mixing, a new direction for the facility. Chartmakers’ engineers chose the AWS to preserve the analogue workflow they already have, while gaining advanced DAW control to work with their clients’ project files.

“We have found that by running an existing mix through the AWS from Pro Tools we can really enhance the overall sound of a track before it is finalized. Our in-the-box clients are now lining up for our services because of the AWS,” says Henkka Niemisto, mastering engineer for Chartmakers. “As a mastering facility, we see that artists are finalising their music mixes mainly in the box using programs like Logic, Pro Tools® and Cubase,” says Henkka Niemisto, mastering engineer for Chartmakers. “In the past, when those files arrived here for mastering, the mix could sometimes sound thin, narrow and dull, so we would start the process of rescuing the sound – with our analogue equipment – at the mastering stage. Now that we have the AWS for mixing, with its extremely good analogue sound, we can achieve sonic excellence for a track right from the start. This means by the time we bring an AWS project to the mastering stage, we don’t have to worry about doing any more rescuing, we can just do the fine-tuning. The AWS allows us to expand our business in a new direction – what we call sum-mixing – while enhancing our primary mastering business.”

Chartmakers began operations in 2004 when mastering engineer Svante Forsbäck and long-time associate Henkka Niemisto decided to form a company dedicated to serving Finnish and international clients interested in high-quality audio mastering services for CDs, vinyl and DVD. Chartmakers has since grown its client base and has launched Emakers, an online mastering service designed for independent artists and small labels to submit tracks for mastering over the Internet. Forsbäck and Niemisto chose the AWS 948 for Chartmakers because they wanted high-quality analogue electronics for mixing. While trialling the console, they worked on a project with Finnish star Chisu and this experience sealed the deal for the console and encouraged them to expand into mixing new business direction.

“Chisu is a very talented young lady who writes, performs, produces, records and mixes her own projects,” says Henkka. “We mastered her first project, and for the second project we worked with six stereo stems which we individually tweaked to improve the overall sound of the track. We won accolades from distributor Warner Music for the improved sound quality of this second release. Then for the third project we used the AWS 948 that we were evaluating together with Chisu's engineer Arttu Peljo from Fried Music and the results were excellent. Based on this experience, we bought the console and our process now is to sum-mix tracks as a form of pre mastering before final mastering.”

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