Abbey Road online marks 'death of traditional studio'

Abbey Road studios launches online mastering service - does this mark the death of the traditional studio?
Abbey Road studios launches online mastering service - does this mark the death of the traditional studio?

If you fancy letting some of the UK's leading music and sound engineers from London's world famous Abbey Road Studios master your music then you just might be in luck.

Musicians and producers can now upload their music at to have it mastered for CDs (from a mere £90 per track) or vinyl (from £150 for a 7-inch single) "to put the Abbey Road finish to their music."

The new service gives musicians the "opportunity to have recordings mastered by Abbey Road Studios' award winning engineers in their famous mastering suites" with your CD or vinyl delivered to you within five working days beginning from point of purchase.

Total Guitar magazine's Stuart Williams reminded TechRadar that "mastering is the often expensive, rarely fully understood final stage in the recording process… it's the icing on the cake of your mixes."

And, Williams added: "While there are plenty of mastering processors and packages available on a relative budget, top end equipment, experienced ears and a transparent acoustic environment are usually premium commodities. Abbey Road's new online mastering service opens up a world class level of quality at a project level price-point."

Abbey Road online

So how do you get your tunes mastered by the best? Simply head over to upload up to 2GB of uncompressed stereo WAV or AIFF audio files to a secure server (with a bit depth of 16 or 24 bits and a sampling frequency of 44.1kHz).

The studio's press release adds: "Abbey Road Online Mastering work will be carried out in its mastering rooms which house a varied range of classic analogue equipment and the latest in digital hardware and software technologies; namely the original and exceptional EMI TG mastering consoles with the SADiE 5 PCM8 digital audio workstation.

"The Studios are all also equipped with Neumann cutting lathes for vinyl, Meyer and B&W main monitoring, Benchmark A/D/A's, outboard from the likes of Prism, Weiss, Junger, SPL and TC Electronics and an extensive range of the CEDAR software plug-ins."

Jonathan Smith, General Manager, Abbey Road Studios, added that they were "delighted to launch our online mastering service and offer the expertise of our engineers to producers and musicians anywhere in the world" and that the initiative was "a fantastic opportunity to make that Abbey Road sound available to emerging talent whilst continuing our tradition for innovation within music technology."

Death of tradition

All of which begs the question - is this latest move from Abbey Road the final nail in the coffin for the traditional studio?

"Yes, the traditonal studio is dead," agrees Joe Wilson, lecturer in Popular Music at the University of Gloucestershire.

"It is very diffcult for studios to make money from just recording acts, when technology has allowed artists do it themselves and in their own environment(though with a detriment of standard).

"With Abbey Road offering this service they are cashing in on their heritage status, but it is telling that a studio with this reputation has to offer this service."

Adam Hartley