Acoustic Sounds acquires Doug Sax’s The Mastering Lab

Global audiophile recording supplier Acoustic Sounds’ CEO Chad Kassem has purchased The Mastering Lab from the estate of legendary mastering engineer Doug Sax, who passed away in April.

The acquisition comes just three months after Acoustic Sounds bought 13 vintage record presses to meet the surging demand for vinyl LPs.

The sale pairs Quality Record Pressings (QRP), a division of Acoustic Sounds and a well-established audiophile LP manufacturer with the Grammy Award-winning sound engineering and LP lacquer cutting business started four decades ago by Sax, who was known for his work with the likes of Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Barbra Streisand and dozens more.

Kassem said his strategy behind the purchase was to create the only vertically integrated vinyl LP production facility in the US. From mastering and record pressing to graphic design and printing to direct-to-consumer sales, the company’s chief believes QRP now has all the capabilities needed to bring LPs to market.

“Expanding and rounding out our capabilities to meet the growing demand for vinyl was the key to this acquisition,” commented Kassem. “That, coupled with the history of The Mastering Lab and Doug’s reputation, makes this purchase very gratifying.”

As a result of the sale, The Mastering Lab will now relocate from Ojai, California to Acoustic Sounds’ headquarters in Salina, Kansas.

“I’m very confident that Chad will do everything he can to honor Doug’s legacy by maintaining his high standards for quality,” added Bill Schnee, a veteran producer/engineer and multiple Grammy Award winner. “It’s also comforting to know there’s going to be a little bit of Doug in everything that QRP produces."

Sax was considered by many to be a true legend in the music industry, as well as a mentor and friend to numerous audio engineers, producers and musicians. With partners Lincoln Mayorga and older brother Sherwood Sax, he opened the doors to The Mastering Lab – thought to be the first independent mastering facility – in Hollywood in December 1967, and moved the facility further north to Ojai in 2006.

The Lab’s custom, all-tube electronics and console are all designed and handcrafted by Sherwood Sax.

The studio has earned more Grammy nominations for engineering than any other mastering facility and has turned out many classic rock albums over the years, including Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Who’s Next by The Who, The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers and the debut album from Eagles. Sax was also known for establishing a pioneering set of procedures for testing and evaluating audio components by ear. .

Sax and Robert Hadley were also the first mastering engineers to win a Grammy Award for ‘Best 5.1 Surround Album’ for Ray Charles’ Genius Loves Company in 2004.

“Maintaining Doug’s reputation for quality will be our company’s challenge and our reward,” Kassem concluded. “We’ll keep Doug’s legacy alive by offering the highest-quality audio mastering done to standards matching Doug’s, using his equipment that he used to produce so many fine, award-winning recordings.”