Our congrats to the 2004 Technical Grammy award winners: mastering engineer/technologist/record producer Douglas Sax and audio console manufacturer Solid State Logic.
In his long career as a mastering engineer, Douglas Sax has worked with many of the industry’s top artists, including The Who, Tina Turner, the Dixie Chicks, James Taylor, Rod Stewart, Carly Simon, Pink Floyd, Bette Midler, Ray Charles, and Aerosmith. With partners Lincoln Mayorga and older brother Sherwood, Sax opened The Mastering Lab — one of the world’s first independent mastering facilities — in 1967. Featuring all hand-built equipment, the studio was soon turning out many of the top hits of the ‘70s, including Who’s Next, Nilsson Schmilsson, the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers and the Eagles’ eponymous debut. As a part of The Mastering Lab, Sax established a pioneering set of procedures for testing and evaluating audio components by ear. The Lab also manufactured loudspeakers and preamps that have been used industry wide.
In 1970, Sax and Mayorga realized a lifelong dream with the founding of Sheffield Lab Recordings, an audiophile label dedicated to producing state-of-the-art, direct-to-disc classical and jazz albums. Sax acted as Executive Producer on all of Sheffield Lab’s recordings, which were distributed worldwide and elevated the public’s awareness of sound excellence. For this, Sax was awarded the prestigious AES honorary lifetime membership in 1988. Additionally, the three-time Grammy nominee pioneered test methods to correctly evaluate the effects of passive components such as resistors, switches, relays, potentiometers, capacitors, wire, inductors, and transformers. Through his body of work, Sax has inspired a generation of engineers. He continues to play an active role in the contemporary music scene, mastering many of today’s top albums, including Rod Stewart’s Grammy-nominated As Time Goes By and the recent surround sound SACD release of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon.
Solid State Logic (SSL), the world’s largest manufacturer of pro analog and digital audio consoles for music, broadcast, post production and film, has pioneered advances in console technology with the relentless goal of providing an intelligent and efficient means to assist the creative process. When SSL debuted its SL 4000 B Series console in 1977, it revolutionized the music industry. The console was the first production blend of an advanced in-line audio console with a computer-automated operation. It was followed four years later by the SL 4000 E Series, which took automation to yet another plateau with its Total Recall system. This earned SSL the prestigious UK Design Council Award, a Queen’s Award for Export Achievement, and the respect and admiration of generations of audio professionals as it set the bar for future console performance.
The SL 4000 Series consoles were followed by other industry-leading audio platforms. SSL’s ScreenSound pioneered the use of nonlinear digital audio for video; SoundNet became the world’s first multi-purpose digital audio networking system; and the award-winning SL 8000 G Series was introduced for music and film surround sound work. When SSL launched the SL 9000 J Series mixing console and its all-new “Super Analog” technology, top music recording facilities around the world quickly embraced it. The C200 introduced a powerful new digital operational core, and the XL 9000 K Series established new standards in analog console performance. Solid State Logic also set benchmarks for customer technical support by establishing regional offices around the world. With more than 3,000 SSL-equipped facilities operational today, the unrivaled sonic quality, superb ergonomics and outstanding automation of SSL consoles is universally recognized. Whether tracking, overdubbing, mixing, or scoring film and television, an estimated two-thirds of the popular music made over the last 30 years was in some way touched by SSL.
The first Technical Grammy was awarded in 1994. Past recipients include Geoff Emerick, Shure Incorporated, Robert Moog, Apple Computer, Les Paul, Digidesign’s Pro Tools, Dr. Thomas Stockham Jr., Ray Dolby, Rupert Neve, George Massenburg, Sony/Philips, Georg Neumann GmbH, Bill Putnam, and AMS Neve, plc. Technical Grammy Award recipients are determined by the vote of the members of the Recording Academy’s Producers &Engineers Wing and presented to individuals and/or companies who have made contributions of outstanding technical significance to the recording field.