Optimum Mastering

"We make good music into great records."

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Optimum Mastering Engineers - Shawn Joseph & Rhys Crouch

A decade of gig-going when he should have been studying towards a Physics degree gave Shawn a unique perspective on how music moves people. The dulcet tones of John Peel provided knowledge equally engaging as the theories of Newton and Heisenberg. Not so much a misspent youth but as he would put it, a truly comprehensive education.

While temping in the records shops of the capital in 1990, a chance meeting led to Shawn's first real Mastering job at The Exchange. With their generous policy of offering 'hands on' experience, it didn't take long for Shawn to realise his true vocation. Over the next 14 years, he plied his trade from Soho to Fulham applying his encyclopaedic knowledge of music to a vast range of genres. Returning clients became friends outside of the studio and word spread of a trusty pair of ears. Literally thousands of tracks have benefited from his touch whether it be an international smash or a home-grown demo.

In 2004, he returned to his West Country roots to set up Optimum with some like-minded label owners. The idea was to offer a more personal, empathetic mastering service, far from the production-line he had encountered in London. Today his skills are called upon by some of the biggest names in the industry from every corner of the globe.

Rhys began his career at recording studios (Moles & Toybox), working alongside the likes of Dan Austin, Gil Norton, Ali Chant, Danny Byrd & Idles. After a brief stint as Studio Manager at Optimum he transitioned into the studio, learning the craft from both Jack Adams & Shawn Joseph. Rhys' specialty is vinyl. Not only does it require exemplary mastering skills to prepare but also the meticulous attention to detail that lacquer cutting demands. Over the last 5 years, he's gone from strength to strength, building a diverse catalogue of credits taking in everything from Charles Mingus to J Dilla and Portishead to Salsoul.

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