2014 Schedule
Interactive: March 7–11  •  Film: March 7–15  •  Music: March 11–16

Exploring Mystique in the Art of Music Mastering

Despite the industrial infiltration of low-grade listening, the mastering field has maintained its relevance and progress of precision. Without this finalizing step from birth of an idea to its sonic realization, the energy and excitement that is most desired in music would be lost. Mastering's essentiality is heard in the refined grooves of a vinyl record to the restrained output of an mp3 format alike. Much remains obscured to artists and consumers regarding where and how mastering engineers mold the elaborate signals into an alluring whole.



Gavin Lurssen

Pres, Mastering Engineer

Lurssen Mastering

Since 1991, Gavin has established himself as a prominent mastering engineer in the industry having earned 3 Grammy Awards including 2 for Album of the Year for “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” And Alison Krauss/Robert Plant’s “Raising Sand”. He also won a Latin Grammy for Diego Torres’ “Distinto” for Best Engineered Album in 2010. Gavin has worked on Oscar nominated projects including the soundtracks for “Crazy Heart”, “Up”, “Cars”, and “Slumdog Millionaire”, and has numerous Gold and Platinum records to his credit.

Artists include:

• Elton John/Leon Russell • Robbie Robertson • Gregg Allman • John Mellencamp • Eric Clapton • Matchbox Twenty • Lucinda Williams • Steve Earle • B. B. King • Elvis Costello

Gavin’s work has been recognized with two TEC Awards for Mastering and for Outstanding Facility as well as a Berklee College of Music Distinguished Alumni Award. Gavin has also served on the Board of Governors for the LA Chapter of NARAS.


Joe Palmaccio


The Place For Mastering PC

Born in rural South Carolina, Joe Palmaccio began his musical journey early. His mother, a piano player and enthusiastic music fan, instilled a musical appreciation for all genres of music. Laying the groundwork for his career as a professional listener, Joe regularly heard the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Buddy Rich Big Band and an abundance of live music during his formative years growing up outside Chicago.

While earning his BA at Indiana University Joe worked with the storied music school’s rich variety of ensembles and opera productions. After graduation he migrated to New York City spending the next 16 years working as a mastering engineer for PolyGram Records, Sterling Sound and Sony Music Studios.

In 2006 Joe moved to Nashville, TN to open The Place...For Mastering. Joe’s Place was set-up to easily accommodate the explosion of independent artists and labels that now make up the music business landscape. In the past 12 months Joe has mastered artists as varied as Nas, Amy Stroup, The Allman Brothers Band, Joey Hyde, Heart, Casting Crowns, Gwen Sebastian and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Joe is a frequent guest lecturer on mastering at Belmont University and MTSU. He also drums with two Nashville-based bands. Last month Joe won his fourth Grammy award for mastering Bill Withers The Complete Sussex and Columbia Albums.


Chris Athens

Mastering Engineer

Chris Athens Masters

Chris Athens is a musician, sound designer, mix engineer and mastering engineer.

Chris began his engineering career at Sony Music Studios, working his way up from tape librarian to mastering engineer. He built his reputation over 13 years as a senior mastering engineer at Sterling Sound in NYC.

In 2009 Chris' first project as a sound designer and mixer for a feature film "Made In China" won the SXSW Grand Jury Prize award.

In 2012 he opened Chris Athens Masters in Austin TX where he lives with his wife and two children.

Chris' discography includes records for Coldplay, The Beastie Boys, Erykah Badu, Ben Folds, Drake and many more.

Recent credits include:

J. Cole, R. Kelly, Drake, Andrew Stockdale [Wolfmother], Ingrid Michaelson, The Pet Shop Boys, Black Prairie, Sleigh Bells and Childish Gambino.


Michael Romanowski

Chief Engineer/Owner

Michael Romanowski Mastering

Michael Romanowski is the owner and chief mastering engineer at Michael Romanowski Mastering, based in San Francisco. Since 2002, Michael has worked to support the tradition of the San Francisco sound (having trained with Paul Stubblebine, who apprenticed with George Horn) and has become a national expert in the art and science of mastering (Mix Magazine, Electronic Musician, ProAudio News, AES, NAMM).

Michael started his audio career as a musician and live sound engineer in Nashville, where he quickly progressed to recording, mixing and producing pop, rock and alternative acts. In 1994, he relocated to the Bay Area to apprentice at Rocket Lab with Paul Stubblebine and Ken Lee, learning the craft of the mastering engineer. In 1999, he became the chief mastering engineer for Sausalito’s Plant Studios, and then reunited with Paul Stubblebine at the famed Studio C of Hyde Street Studios. In 2002, Michael and Paul built the two state of the art 5.1 mastering rooms at the Coast Recorders building, with expert advice from acoustician Bob Hodas. The business continues to thrive here today.

Michael serves as President of the The Recording Academy San Francisco Chapter (NARAS), Chair of the Presidents Council, and serves on the National Advisory Council to the Producers & Engineers Wing. He teaches at San Francisco State University, and is an active panelist at conferences such as TapeOp, AES, CES, VSAC and NAMM. He is a co-owner of a music label, with Paul Stubblebine and Dan Schmalle, The Tape Project, which exclusively releases direct copies of original analog masters on ¼” and now ½" analog tape. And, he continues to record, mix, produce and perform.

Michael is a Grammy nominated engineer who's credits include Third Eye Blind, Pat Monahan, Badfinger, Too $hort, Will Kimbrough, Tommy Wommack, The Dynamites, !!! , Dredge, Blame Sally, Jacqui Naylor

Andrew Mendelson

Owner/Chief Mastering Engineer

Georgetown Masters

Andrew Mendelson is the owner and Grammy Nominated Chief Mastering Engineer of Georgetown Masters in Nashville, Tennessee. Following a three-year stint at the highly regarded Telarc Records, Mendelson moved to Nashville to apprentice under Georgetown’s storied co-founder Denny Purcell. Andrew took over as Chief Engineer in 2002 and eventually acquired the company in 2004.

Andrew’s clientele is as diverse as it is impressive. He has mastered numerous #1, Grammy winning, and gold and platinum projects by artists including: The Rolling Stones, The White Stripes, Kings of Leon, Mariah Carey, Elton John, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Little Big Town, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Casting Crowns, Ricky Skaggs and Willie Nelson. In addition to his traditional mastering work for CD and digital download release, Andrew works extensively on stereo and surround sound projects for DVD, Blu-Ray and Broadcast.

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