SRT has a long history of mastering from the early days of cutting master discs for vinyl production, to being a pioneer of Digital Mastering for Compact Disc.
The company was one of the first studios to embrace the revolutionary Sony 1630, as well as Analogue to Digital conversion systems and 20 Hz monitor systems, which in the early days of Digital technology enabled for the first time the full audio spectrum to be reproduced on the final consumer product.
Many of today’s top engineers trained at SRT, which has four decades of history serving the Music Industry.
Final preparing of EQ and PQ production masters and compilations for CD manufacture, either to PMCD Disc or DDP factory glass master ready digital masters.
Any format of digital file to include MP3, FLAC and WAV files for iTunes, all Masters provided to Mastered for iTunes standard.
EQ production masters ready for Master Disc cutting. Vinyl digital masters prepared to take into account special requirements required for this analogue medium which is very different from the specification for compact disc or digital files.
Source masters can be provided via the internet and delivered to clients and DDP masters direct to manufacturers.
Mastering equipment includes the hardware main frame TC Electronic System 6000.
SRT has been associated with video for over two decades. David Richardson’s new Chapel PLC facility open in 2006 in Kensington and included a substantial broadcast standard Avid post-facility, where clients included Mercedes-Benz. The Kensington studios also saw many post-production projects, including for documentary footage on Princess Diana, as well as creating a new 5.1 soundtrack for the DVD/Blu-ray re-release of the The Prisoner series. Video restoration work was completed alongside a completely recreated audio track for a Gerry Anderson TV series. DVD authoring for countless DVD projects was also completed at the studios.
As of 2019, projects include the creation of a motoring project based on women’s passion for cars (Working title Women Love Wheels).
David Richardson, the owner of SRT was born in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, he is an English music producer, audio engineer and musician. He founded Sky Studios with rock band Jethro Tull. This studio later became leading facilities house, Sound Recording Technology (SRT).
David learned piano from the age of four and developed a passion for electronics and sound recording. By his teens, he was already recording top Jazz artists of the day; this included names such as, Kathy Stobart and Ian Carr. As a young producer he had production contracts with major labels that included CBS (now Sony Music) and George Martin's Air label, distributed by EMI.
The original SRT Studios were based in Guildford Street, Luton, where bands such as McGregor's Engine recorded. It was this band, with local guitarist Mick Abrahams, drummer Clive Bunker and bassist Andy Pyle that formed the foundation of Jethro Tull, which with the addition of multi-instrumentalist Ian Anderson, went on to sell over 60 million albums. Andy Pyle featured on many early SRT recordings and later became a member of Wishbone Ash.
In the mid-1980s, to serve the company's own label and other clients, he started a record factory in St Ives, Cambridgeshire with business partner George Bellamy (formerly of The Tornados and father of Matt Bellamy of rock band Muse). As an engineer, he became specialised in process control, and as a challenge set to him by RCA (now Sony Music), he created a method to produce a perfect five-piece extrusion moulding; the first perfectly playable audio picture disc. Previously, no one had been able to create discs within a constant tolerance and without severe warping. In this procedure he was the first engineer to incorporate fuzzy logic into the process control of the record press by building his own logic controllers. Clients included Virgin, Island and other major record companies with hundreds of chart-topping products, including Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Eurythmics Madonna and Boy George. Additional facilities were later added in Dagenham & Islington, representing the largest independent manufacturer of records and cassette tapes in the UK.
After vinyl started to decline, David turned his passion towards Digital Audio. Inspired by his experience in cutting the master acetate discs for vinyl record manufacturing, he became interested in developing mastering for the Compact Disc. One observation he made was that many people were transferring analogue tapes raw to digital, not realising the cutting engineer in the past would have added EQ compression and even reverb to the final disc cut. He found that using his skills as a producer and recording engineer he could add the final audio touch to the digital masters. His work rapidly became a big success and SRT's audio facility grew to contain six studios. He was one of the first people in the world in the mid 1990s, to use 32-Bit Digital EQ. David created the audio for a wide range of back catalogue giving older recording new success, some of which included the chart topping album One Step Beyond and the biggest selling Jazz CD of the 1990s, Jazz on a Summer's Day, making new hits of "Take Five" and "The Girl from Ipanema". Being an engineer at the start of the digital audio revolution, his work, plus the training of many technicians, made a contribution towards establishing the present importance of audio mastering, now a standard embellishment process for most commercial audio products and in particular CD audio.
In addition to his work on commercial audio products, he was also a leader in creation of the first 20-bit recordings and an early exponent of Sony's Super Bit Mapping noise shaping. With a team of staff under his supervision, he recorded over 120 high bit classical albums with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, working with some of the world’s leading performers and conductors, such as the late Yehudi Menuhin and Sir Charles Mackerras. The narration for Peter and The Wolf was produced by David and recorded in London with the actor Sir John Gielgud. Sound Recording Technology's classical team recorded the RPO series on its own Mitsubishi 20-bit reel-to-reel machines in many locations, including CTS Studios in Wembley, Watford Town Hall, Abbey Road and at SRT's own studios in Edison Road, St Ives, Cambridgeshire. Each of the recordings were subject to 20-bit Sadie music editing, plus 32-bit sound enhancements. The final recordings received critical acclaim in the leading classical publication Gramophone and most of the recordings are still widely available. In 1997, he and his music team collaborated with Buckingham Palace to produce the official recording to commemorate the decommissioning of HMY Britannia. The recording was of British music performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Carl Davis; it includes material such as "Coronation Scot", "Jerusalem" and "Rule, Britannia!". The production team included: music producer, Matthew Dilley; location sound recordist, Richard Millard; Editor, Andrew Lang; and David who was executive producer. The final edited 20-bit master was treated with 32-bit sound processing and then scaled to the final master using a new format at the time, HDCD.
In 1999, David took a break from Sound Recording Technology, spending more time in his Spanish home. For a number of years he hosted a late night chat show on Central Radio in Andalucia.
In 2006, he opened mastering and post production facilities in Kensington, under the name Chapel Kensington. This included a busy voice over and Avid video editing facility. Amongst the many projects included video work for a Mercedes Benz advertisement.
At the audio studios, projects included creating a new 5.1 surround soundtrack for the original cult series The Prisoner, which was re-released having been visually restored from the original film footage.
Voiceover customers included the international tour bus operator, the Big Bus Company.
The Chapel Kensington studios saw audio mastering work for hundreds of major artists, which included a new hit, tv promoted album for Eddy Grant. This was alongside work for clients such as Notting Hill Music, which included mastering for Beyonce, Will Smith, Pussycat Dolls, Level 42, New Order and Bronski Beat to name but a few. The new music for the TV show Hollyoaks and audio for Dancing on Ice were worked on at the studios.
Further projects have included work for Demon Music Group (a division of BBC Worldwide), mastering new CDs and vinyl releases of the Average White Band, Squeeze, Buzzcocks, Rick Wakeman, OMD, Ten Years After, Uriah Heap, Spandau Ballet, Gary Numan, Fairport Convention, Asia, Lindisfarne, Sad Café, The Strawbs, Belinda Carlisle and Wishbone Ash. Recent restoration work has included masters of classic standard repertoire from Quincy Jones to Frank Sinatra, as well as jazz artists including Miles Davis.
Chapel Kensington's London studio was moved in June 2015. The studio operation is now working under the original brand name SRT (Sound Recording Technology), thus embracing four decades of reputation and concentrating on mastering for all audio formats, including online mastering, as well as both video production and post. It is based in David's original and present hometown of Harpenden, Hertfordshire. Also working in the business is his son Jack Richardson.
In September 2015, Richardson featured in a programme broadcast on BBC Radio 4, where he spoke about the early history of SRT's studio in Luton.
The present business includes an online download and streaming label under the brand Techniche, distributed through Sony that has a catalogue of successful products, from classic hits like Etta James’ At Last to the most popular version of Elgar's Nimrod, produced by David with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In Japan, SRT has its own label of high quality 96K Jazz Albums distributed by Onkyo. These have had huge chart success and in June 2019 had 20 albums in the top 50 with 10 albums occupying the entire top 10.
New projects include a TV video production and post production with son Jack, plus the development of a catalogue and new software and hardware system to deliver seamless music entertainment to retail premises.