Author Archives: PhiBarnMaster

I am Eric, the Senior Mastering Engineer at PBM. I have more than a couple of decades in the music business, first as a musician, then as a classical music engineer and producer, and now entirely focussed on mastering. I am also a (very happy) ex-academic. I recently resigned my university tenure, but I continue to publish freelance on academic matters and other non-fiction writing. My academic blog is forthcoming at and my more general blog about the freelance life is already up at

A Neverending Story: PBM Monitoring

There are no such things as the perfect converter, perfect amplification, and perfect monitors. There is a certain high level of accuracy required in the whole mastering monitoring situation – which includes the room as much as the equipment in it – but beyond that a great deal hangs on taste and preference, perhaps on […]

Mastering as Unmasking

As I might just have mentioned once or twice before, there are no special mysteries in mastering, mainly just fairly common issues in real-world sound scenarios – including real-world irritations – and fairly straighforward ways of overcoming them. Here’s a real-world example of a common EQ problem. I was sitting in the PBM monitoring chair, […]

PBM from the Egg

Before describing the evolution of the mastering/monitoring chain and its present form I’m going to say something about the evolution of the business itself, as that might help to explain some of the oddities, peculiarities  particular choices. PBM is a part of URM Audio Ltd which began in Hong Kong in the 1990’s as a classical […]

Up on the Farm

At the end of November 2014, PBM closed its studio in mid-Norfolk and moved everything to a small farm up near the North Norfolk coast. The farm is in a lovely rural location, and has a range of flint outbuildings just perfect to be renovated and rebuilt for a growing business. The first of these […]

Favourite Mixes/Mixers – Olympians “Filling My Heart With Weird Dreams”/Dave Pye

IMNSHO Probably the best band in Norfolk – except they’re not in Norfolk anymore … Mixed by Dave Pye, Mastered at PBM and thoroughly enjoyed by all …  

PBM Mastering Workflow

The PBM mastering workflow has been in development for over 15 years. In that time I have done a lot of equipment evaluation – and I’m pretty sure that I now have a settled inventory of top-notch equipment that enables me to do anything I might be called on to do in mastering projects. Here’s […]

Favourite Mixes/Mixers – Andrew Balkwill “Bad, Bad Luck” Neil James Rogers @Half-ton Studios

We’re pretty lucky at PBM and work with a number of very talented recording and mixing engineers, but although he has stiff competition, Neil James Rogers (Bugs) is one of our very favourite collaborators. His work is wonderfully open and dynamic, his drum sound is simply the best around, and over the past 5 years […]

Favourite Mixers/Mixes – Dave Pye: Sargasso Trio

I have mastered a goodly number of projects with Dave Pye over the past 4 years or so, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed just about every single one – Dave is not only a first-class engineer, he has the knack of working with fascinating musicians (with many more to come in this series). Early on in […]

Favourite Mixes – Richard Formby/ILT

This song, ‘Mnemosyne’ from the album The Shallows, is the very first track we ever mastered for Producer Richard Formby and for the band I Like Trains – it was a wonderful introduction … We’ve subsequently worked on superb material with both parties (a re-mastering for vinyl of another extended EP for ILT is in our current schedule) and we will […]

Favourite Mixers/Mixes – The Travis Waltons

“Homewrecker” – Mixed by Bugs @ Halfton This is the first in a possibly infinite series featuring personal PBM favourite mixers and their mixes – all mastered here, of course. The Travis Waltons are an extraordinary band: the brain-child of songwriter/singer/guitarist Daniel Flay – him of the unique voice, unique way with guitar parts, and lyrics […]