Tag Archives: Michael Romanowski

Coast Mastering Digs In for New Facility

Coast Mastering - before
Michael Romanowski literally undermined his house to create the new home of Coast Mastering, excavating 10 feet beneath the edifice to create space for a mastering facility and accompanying live room.

Berkeley, CA (December 23, 2020)—It took 18 months for Michael Romanowski to build the latest iteration of Coast Mastering under his Bay Area house, during which time he and his wife were without heat. “The furnace was the first thing to go; it was like camping,” he says.

Berkeley-based Pancoast Construction dug down 10 feet below the house, which is on a slope, to accommodate Romanowski’s plans for a mastering room that supports today’s leading immersive formats. Acoustical consultant Bob Hodas tuned the room and devised an ingenious bass trap that makes use of a three-foot cavity above the 11-foot ceiling. Studio design consultant Bob Levy was also involved from the start of the project.

Coast Mastering
Michael Romanowski in his finished mastering space.

The finished room is outfitted with a 9.1.6 monitoring setup for Dolby Atmos Music work (Romanowski consulted with Dolby’s Ceri Thomas from the get-go) and can additionally accommodate Auro-3D. With the addition of two front floor-level speakers, the room can also handle Sony 360 Reality Audio projects.

Three Focal Scala Utopia EM speakers deliver the LCR channels with six Focal Utopia Diablo Evo speakers providing side and rear zone coverage. “I found I was drawn to the sound of the inverted beryllium dome tweeter—it’s very natural—and how Focal handle their drivers seamlessly across octaves,” he says. A Meyer Sound sub provides LFE.

Romanowski’s quest to replace his aging Pacific Microsonics Model Two converters led him to Bricasti. “The pairing of the Focals and the Bricastis has worked out great,” he says. For overheads, he installed Neumann KH 310 speakers, on tracks, to allow repositioning. “I like how their high frequency dispersion works with the Focals. It gives me a nice fullness from the ceiling without any compromises.”

There is no mastering console. Instead, Romanowski’s gear is within easy reach, with just a workstation screen and keyboard in front of him, where he uses Steinberg’s WaveLab. “It uses the same engine as Nuendo,” he notes. Nuendo, it turns out, is what he uses for tracking, mixing and now immersive mastering since it can handle ADM files within Dolby Atmos. The new facility includes a tracking room, and he’s been mixing Sony 360 Reality Audio projects for Sonic Studio’s Jon Reichbach and his Streamsoft Artist Connection music service.

Literally undermining his house was no simple task, but it was worth it, says Romanowski: “Immersive music is ripe for so many problems—phase issues, presentation issues. If we’re going to get it right, we need rooms like this to keep the bar high.”

Coast Mastering • www.coastmastering.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Coast Mastering Opens Immersive Room

Mastering engineer Michael Romanowski recently completed a new facility at Coast Mastering
Mastering engineer Michael Romanowski recently completed a new facility at Coast Mastering

Berkeley, CA (November 19, 2020)—Mastering engineer Michael Romanowski recently completed a new facility at Coast Mastering that is outfitted to handle projects up to Dolby Atmos 9.1.6.

The new mastering room was designed by Romanowski along with acoustical consultant Bob Hodas, who also tuned the room. California-based audio engineer and studio design consultant Bob Levy worked closely with the build-team from the beginning of the project.

Coast Mastering features equipment chosen over Romanowski’s 30 years as a recording, mixing, and mastering engineer, both in Nashville and the San Francisco Bay Area. On the audio software side, Romanowski has been mastering immersive audio projects using the Steinberg Nuendo software for many years.

Compiling the Box Set of America

A main feature of the new studio are the Focal Scala Utopia EM speakers for left, right, and center channels which tower at almost six feet tall, and Focal Utopia Diablo Evo speakers for the six surrounds, which are all paired with Bricasti amplifiers and converters, and Wireworld cables. The subwoofer is by Meyer Sound, while the six height speakers are by Neumann. Stillpoint Aperture acoustic treatment was used throughout the new studio.

“As a music fan, I have really been enjoying the variety of styles of music that I have mastered in Atmos, with Alicia Keys, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, The U.S. Army Field Band, Fantastic Negrito, The Devil in California, and a local Bay Area Latin fusion band, Vibrason, among many other projects,” said Romanowski.

“I built my first mastering room in 2000 for 5.1 surround with Paul Stubblebine, then moved to immersive sound adding height speakers in 2018. My new mastering room was built specifically for immersive formats including Dolby Atmos. It’s such a joy to work in and to really hear the music as it is, so I can make the best decisions for my clients.”

Coast Mastering • www.coastmastering.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com