Studio Spotlight: Alchemy Mastering

London’s Alchemy Mastering is the subject of our Studio Spotlight, in association with AllStudios, this month.

Alchemy Mastering is a high-end mastering studio, founded in 1998 by mastering engineer Barry Grint. In 2003, while located on the 29th floor of London’s Centre Point building, and boasting outstanding views of the city skyline, Alchemy had become a firm favourite for clients both in the UK and internationally, eventually expanding to encompass the whole floor.

Unfortunately, renovation works to the Centre Point building, combined with the creation of Crossrail, led to the closure of the facility, but in 2013 the studios were relocated to Brook Green. The relaunched studios now offer a boutique mastering service for digital and vinyl formats as well as duplication and watermarking, with engineers Barry Grint, Phil Kinrade and Matt Colton at the helm.

There are two main mastering rooms on the ground floor and a third on the first floor, all with natural light. The rooms were designed in-house, because, as Grint explained, “All three of us have been mastering engineers for many years and have a very clear idea of what we are looking for from our rooms."

Fully networked Sequoia DAWs are standard throughout, with DAD, Burl and DCS converters. Other equipment includes gear from Maselec, Sontec, Dangerous Music, Gyraf, Chord, ATC, Focusrite, KEF, Studer, Mutec and Ampex.

Barry Grint is a member of the Music Producers Guild Mastering Group and has worked with the European Broadcasting Union to standardise the embedding of ISRC codes with Broadcast WAV files. He is now aiming to standardise checksums of the audio in WAV files. Grint started his career at Trident Studios in 1984, mastering many hits for artists including Madonna, Prince, Paul Simon and Bon Jovi. When Trident closed he moved to Tape One Studios and later Abbey Road, where he mastered for Oasis and Pulp, among others. He then left to pursue a fleeting career in radio, before founding Alchemy. Recent clients include The Strypes, Slaves, Thom Yorke and Everything Everything.

Phil Kinrade started his career as a runner at Dick James Music (DJM) in 1978 before moving into their recording studios and operating the editing and transfer room. When DJM was bought out by Phonogram, Kinrade founded the Sound Basement with Murray Harris, offering mastering and duplication. 

“This is where I first met Barry," Kinrade called. "Digital audio at that time was recorded onto U-matic tapes, but we didn’t have a player, so we would send them to Barry at Trident to transfer for us. Barry would also often cut the vinyl masters for releases that Sound Basement were cutting the CD and cassette masters for. Particularly for labels such as Chrysalis, Arista, RCA, MCA and IRS. Then in 1990 we joined Chop Em Out until the Sanctuary buy-out in 2000, at which time I came to Alchemy.”

Kinrade has recently completed work for the likes of The Beat, Nick Cave, Donna Summer, Belinda Carlisle, Desmond Dekker, Status Quo, Cerys Matthews, Leo Sayer and Showaddywaddy.

Matt Colton was awarded the Music Producers Guild Mastering Engineer of the Year in 2013. A mastering engineer since 1997, Colton joined Alchemy at Centre Point having previously worked at Porky’s, Kinetec Mastering and Optimum Mastering. He then spent four years at AIR Studios until he re-joined Alchemy to relaunch the company with fellow directors Phil and Barry. Having previously worked with Coldplay, James Blake, FKA Twigs and George Michael, Matt’s recent projects include Hot Chip’s Why Make Sense?, Leftfield’s Alternative Light Source, Sleaford Mods’ Key Markets and Muse’s Drones (half-speed Vinyl LP).

For those thinking of visiting Alchemy, parking is available right outside the door, while Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush stations are nearby. The facility also offers unattended mastering sessions for international clients and those unable to attend their session in person.

For more information on Alchemy Mastering, including contact details, click here.