Philosophers Barn workshop and tools

“To say that Eric James takes audio quality seriously is something of an understatement.”  

Sam Inglis - Editor in Chief, Sound On Sound

Professional Mastering requires audio engineers with experienced ears, working in an acoustically neutral room, equipped with state of the art analogue and digital music processing, and the highest resolution accurate monitoring.

The Mastering Workshop at PBM has all three.

The Workshop is housed in a converted barn, on a small farm in the quiet countryside of the wilder side of the North Norfolk coast.

 The room was re-designed and acoustically optimised by Dr Douglas Doherty at DACS Ltd.

A second converted Barn houses the client lounge, featuring the best espresso coffee in Norfolk, a wonderful view of fields and churches and – on clear days – the North Sea.

There are currently just five deerhounds in residence.

Analogue tools

Knif Soma Passive Valve Mastering EQ
Maselec MLA-3 Tri-band Mastering compressor
Thermionic Culture Pullet Passive EQ
Grace Design 801R Preamp
Pendulum OCL-2 Valve Opto-Compressor
Bettermaker Analogue Mastering Limiter


Matrix X-Sabre Pro DAC
Soulution 520 Pre-amp

digital audio work stations

Mastering DAW: Sequoia with EQ + dynamics from
DMG, MAAT, Sonoris and Tone Projects.

Classical Editing DAW: Pyramix Pro
with Flux EQ and dynamic processors.

digital tools

Weiss EQ1 Mk2 DYN/LP (24/96)
t.c. Electronic Mastering 6000
Forssell MADA-2a ADDA Converter

Analogue and digital Playback

Nottingham Analogue Dais Turntable
Origin Live Illustrious Arm
Dynavector DRT XV-1s
Soulution 520 Phono Stage
Digital Playback: Esoteric K-01 CD/SACD Player

Senior Mastering Engineer

Eric James

Eric has been involved in the music business as musician, producer and classical engineer for over 30 years. He had a parallel academic career until 2011 when he resigned his university tenure in order to accommodate an increasingly busy mastering facility. He is still active with historical research, non-fiction editing and writing.

Eric brings to Philosophers Barn both a unique perspective and a very high level of musical and technical knowledge. He conceived and edited the first two editions of Bob Katz’ Mastering Audio: The Art and the Science and is a regular contributor of technique and review articles to Sound on Sound magazine.



Business Manager


Carrie is the main voice of reason for Philosophers Barn and deals with all of the financial and scheduling side of the business.

She is also a very dedicated keeper of deerhounds.

PBM Deerhounds

Ascher, Dodie, Hobbes, Tygger and Gryff

The five deerhounds are an integral part of Philosophers Barn Mastering operations. Their friendliness and dopiness offer guaranteed, fast acting. stress relief for residents and visitors alike.