Polster and Holley were duly invited to Paul’s studio to see his Merging rig in action; what they witnessed was game-changing.
Determined to bring the same clarity and accuracy of DSD to their own cuts - without the risk of damaging irreplaceable analog master tapes - Polster later met with Merging representatives at the 2018 AES Conference in Virginia. Three years later, Well Made Music received its first HAPI unit and the equipment has been in daily use ever since, surpassing the quality of the studio’s previous generation mastering-grade D/A conversion, with limited PCM playback.
Thanks to Pyramix Pro and HAPI, the team - Polster, Holley and Associate Cutting Engineers, Michael Fanos and Harrison Hunt - can now feed material into its Neumann SAL 74B lathe cutting amplifiers, replicating the full resolution of the original source, with no signal degradation.
As well as its DSD playback ability, Merging’s Pyramix Pro and HAPI combination also allows Polster to send three discrete stereo outputs simultaneously to the cutting rig, conserving lacquer cutting space during quieter musical passages, thus optimizing groove spacing and depth.
Neumann VMS-70 disc cutting lathe
Using a Cisco managed network switch and the highly flexible RAVENNA protocol for every cut, from PCM to DSD, Polster has integrated a second redundant cutting computer set-up, in the event of the main computer experiencing technical issues. He maintains it’s as close to a “zero downtime” guarantee as any mastering studio can offer, allowing him to confidently quote project timelines and meet release deadlines with ease.
The studio’s flagship project using Merging was the LP, ‘By Myself’, by renowned cellist, Abdul Wadud. Cut from DSD, the album was meticulously transferred from the original 1977 master tapes by Concord Music’s Paul Blakemore, using a Merging HORUS and Pyramix. The sublime and long-awaited reissue was highly acclaimed by the New York Times, amongst others.
Eager to deepen their experience of Merging Technologies, Polster and his team at Well Made Music are excited at the prospect of Merging's new ANUBIS Premium, seeing it as a reasonably priced and accessible method of capturing pure DSD recordings and transfers: “ANUBIS Premium could be the key that allows us to source higher-resolution recordings from all over the world,” confirms Polster. “These are exciting times we live in!”
Pyramix and cutting lathe