© 2016 Total Sonic Media · all rights reserved.

Biography

Total Sonic Media's mastering engineer,

Steven Berson, began his love of all things

audio at an early age.

 Raised in the suburbs of Maryland by musical parents (his father is an accomplished pianist favoring Chopin Nocturnes, his mother was a vocalist and member of the Annapolis Chorale), he started his musical education with piano lessons at the age of 7, and at age 10 began playing alto saxophone in his school's ensembles.   At age 15 he took up the electric bass guitar, studying the instrument with guitarist Richard Shaw, and performing with a number of rock bands as well as in his school’s jazz ensemble.  It was at this point, under the guidance of his older brother, he began recording his friends and his own musical efforts, overdubbing while bouncing tracks from a cassette deck to a 2-track reel to reel to enable primitive multitracking.

In 1985 he decided to seriously pursue his musical passions

and enrolled in Boston's renowned Berklee College of Music,

where he studied both performance and composition. 

Outside of the school he studied West African derived percussion and rhythm with master drummer Nurudafina Pili Abena, performed regularly in Boston clubs with his own group, The Bohemian Angels, and recorded solo and ensemble projects frequently on his own 4- track and at area studios. After graduating from Berklee in 1989 with a Bachelors of Music degree, in order to form the funk-punk/world-beat band False Face Society with a number of other former Berklee students, he relocated to Baltimore, Maryland.  It was here in 1992 that he started working as an assistant at Multimedia Productions, a recording, mastering and duplication facility.  It was also here that his interest in mastering began while learning the intricacies of audio engineering from Multimedia's president Erik Steensen and chief engineer Michael Cochran.  Multimedia was the first studio in the area to offer a brand new technology - digital audio editing and pre-mastering using the Digidesign Sound Designer II workstation, and Steve quickly gravitated to focusing on using this and other tools to enhance completed mixes and to create cohesive albums.  While at Multimedia Steve gained his initial mastering experiences, with credits for releases by DJ Equalizer, Jag, W.O.D. and AIM Records among others. After Multimedia closed in 1994 Steve opened his own home based studio, The SAWroom, centered around what was initially a 386-40 PC running S.A.W., the first PC native Digital Audio Workstation software capable of recording and editing multiple tracks at once.  At The SAWroom Steve did recording, digital editing and pre-mastering for numerous projects, including releases by Under The Noise, Octopus, Short Bus Records and the American Holocaust Project.  While living in Baltimore Steve performed regularly as a solo multi- instrumentalist under the name "Acoustitronics," and as a bassist with Jo Connor, The Delicate Prey, U-Nation, Chris Cochrane, The Michael Raitzyk Jazz Orchestra, Charm City Klezmer and 3 Pigs Cafe.  During this period he also worked part time for Budda Amplification, assembling tube guitar amps under the direct supervision of "tone guru"/amp designer Jeff Bober.

In 1997 Steve relocated to New York City to pursue the

greater potentials it offered for those interested in creative

music. 

After a short stint as a pro-audio gear salesman at Manny's Music he was hired in 1998 as a production assistant for Europadisk, a unique facility that provided CD pressing, vinyl record pressing, and graphic design and audio mastering studios under a single roof .  He was quickly promoted to become the Production Manager for the entire vinyl record department, for which he supervised the scheduling and quality control of all product made.  During this time Steve learned the inner workings of the processes for manufacturing both optical discs and vinyl records - knowledge that has become invaluable to him when mastering for these formats today. In 2002 Steve left Europadisk to form the first version of his own company, Total Sonic Media, providing CD-R duplication and audio mastering services for numerous independent artists and labels.  Credits during this time include mastering of releases for Al Duvall, Substantial, Drilann Entertainment, U4RIA, Floxy Bee, Christian Pincock Quintet, Goduar, and Mark Dresser.   Other credits during this period include composing and recording the soundtrack for Michelle Cutler's short film "Funeral," and mixing for Erik Friedlander's score for the PBS documentary series "The Kingdom of David."

In 2004 Steve was hired back by Europadisk to replace the

long time mastering engineer, who had moved on to work

at another facility.  At this point Steve studied the art of

vinyl record mastering directly from Europadisk's president

Jim Shelton 

Benfefiting from Jim Shelton’s ability to communicate his 30 years of experience mastering records for the likes of Telarc, Strictly Rhythm and RCA's Red Seal labels, Steve was then able to quickly pick up on the intricacies of the Direct Metal Mastering system.  Direct Metal Mastering (aka "DMM"), where a specially designed lathe uses a diamond stylus to cut the grooves into copper covered steel plates (instead of the usual sapphire stylus cutting into lacquer), was the final improvement in vinyl mastering technology introduced by Neumann & Teldec, and Europadisk was the last studio in North America to offer DMM to the public. Steve under took the task of upgrading Europadisk's mastering studio himself, installing a SAWStudio workstation there that allowed him to cut vinyl record masters directly from hi-res digital 24bit/96kHz sources, and aquiring the Rupert Neve designed Medici analog mastering equalizer and Lavry digital audio converters he uses to this day.   Personal high points to Steve's work at Europadisk includes nearly all of the AV8 Records releases of 2004 & 2005 (remixes on vinyl only of a literal who's who of past and present hip-hop stars including artists like Notorious BIG, Nas, Jay-Z, Ciara, Lil' Jon, Snoop, Fat Man Scoop, etc.); the vinyl and CD single for Martha Wash's "You Lift Me Up," avant-jazz legend Henry Threadgill's Zooid release "Pop, Start The Tape, Stop," the vinyl for Yellow #5's "Demon Crossing", releases on Signature Sounds for Erin McKeowan & Josh Ritter; painstakingly reproduced reissues for the Japanese market of Wayne Wonder, The Wiseguys and Naughty by Nature issued by Eon Music; CD's for  Jose Castellar's "The Man From San Juan" (featuring jazz legends Cachao, Roy Campbell & John Tchichai), and underground hiphop heavy "Shake-A-Vel," the LP for drone-rock heavies "Om", and the vinyl for the special edition 4-LP set of the Foo Fighters' "In Your Honor."

After Europadisk closed permanently in 2005, Steve made

the decision to reopen Total Sonic Media.  The focus of the

business was firmly reset to provide the highest quality of

audio mastering possible, but at rates that would make it

affordable to the budgets of independent musicians.

He carefully gathered the finest analog and digital mastering tools he could find (including several items aquired from the auction of Europadisk's gear, such as the unique Sony/MCI JH110-M 1/4" & 1/2" analog reel playback deck), and refined numerous acoustic treatments for his room to create an extremely accurate listening environment.  After months of these preparations he opened the doors of his studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn to the public in March 2006.  Since then he has mastered for numerous releases from the likes of Daptone Records, Lustre Kings Productions, Bernie Worrell, Erik Friedlander, Ljova, and hundreds of others.

In June 2014, after 17 years of being a resident

of New York City, Steve relocated to Austin,

Texas and opened a new studio for Total Sonic

Media there in October 2014.

This move allowed to Steve to further refine his studio’s facilities,  improving the acoustic accuracy in comparison to his previous studio,   adding a Sterling Modular desk as the centerpiece for improved workflow, upgrading digital audio converters with the excellent Lynx Hilo to compliment TSM’s Lavry Blue and Apogee converters, and adding an Avalon AD2055 class A equalizer to his arsenal of analog processors. Since the move Steve has continued to service clients from all over the world, as well as added credits from artists working in Austin’s excellent local music scene, such as Dan Dyer, Omar Bowing,  Western Youth The Derrick Davis Band, and Brownout. Steve has remained an active musician throughout this time.  From 1999-2009 he performed as cellist with alternative string quartet Invert (with whom he has toured the USA and released three CD's), in 2006-2007 he toured the West Coast and Europe as cellist with Rebecca Moore, from 2008-2012 performed numerous shows with the 20-piece This Ambitious Orchestra, and performed as cellist from 2011- 2013 with Red Bedlam.   He also produced two albums (released in 2009 and 2014) of spoken word over electronic-beats in collaboration with poet Messiah-el Bey as Warlock Asylum, with whom he performed on electric bass and electric cello at live shows from 2011 - 2014 as well. 
digital & analog audio mastering · info@totalsonic.net · 718-594-0859 Austin / Cedar Park · Texas · USA
photo by Jade Ng 2013
© 2016 Total Sonic Media

Biography

Total Sonic Media's mastering

engineer, Steven Berson,

began his love of all things

audio at an early age.

 Raised in the suburbs of Maryland by musical parents (his father is an accomplished pianist favoring Chopin Nocturnes, his mother was a vocalist and member of the Annapolis Chorale), he started his musical education with piano lessons at the age of 7, and at age 10 began playing alto saxophone in his school's ensembles.   At age 15 he took up the electric bass guitar, studying the instrument with guitarist Richard Shaw, and performing with a number of rock bands as well as in his school’s jazz ensemble.  It was at this point, under the guidance of his older brother, he began recording his friends and his own musical efforts, overdubbing while bouncing tracks from a cassette deck to a 2-track reel to reel to enable primitive multitracking.

In 1985 he decided to seriously pursue his

musical passions and enrolled in Boston's

renowned Berklee College of Music,

where he studied both performance and

composition. 

Outside of the school he studied West African derived percussion and rhythm with master drummer Nurudafina Pili Abena, performed regularly in Boston clubs with his own group, The Bohemian Angels, and recorded solo and ensemble projects frequently on his own 4-track and at area studios. After graduating from Berklee in 1989 with a Bachelors of Music degree, in order to form the funk-punk/world-beat band False Face Society with a number of other former Berklee students, he relocated to Baltimore, Maryland.  It was here in 1992 that he started working as an assistant at Multimedia Productions, a recording, mastering and duplication facility.  It was also here that his interest in mastering began while learning the intricacies of audio engineering from Multimedia's president Erik Steensen and chief engineer Michael Cochran.  Multimedia was the first studio in the area to offer a brand new technology - digital audio editing and pre- mastering using the Digidesign Sound Designer II workstation, and Steve quickly gravitated to focusing on using this and other tools to enhance completed mixes and to create cohesive albums.  While at Multimedia Steve gained his initial mastering experiences, with credits for releases by DJ Equalizer, Jag, W.O.D. and AIM Records among others. After Multimedia closed in 1994 Steve opened his own home based studio, The SAWroom, centered around what was initially a 386-40 PC running S.A.W., the first PC native Digital Audio Workstation software capable of recording and editing multiple tracks at once.  At The SAWroom Steve did recording, digital editing and pre- mastering for numerous projects, including releases by Under The Noise, Octopus, Short Bus Records and the American Holocaust Project.  While living in Baltimore Steve performed regularly as a solo multi-instrumentalist under the name "Acoustitronics," and as a bassist with Jo Connor, The Delicate Prey, U-Nation, Chris Cochrane, The Michael Raitzyk Jazz Orchestra, Charm City Klezmer and 3 Pigs Cafe.  During this period he also worked part time for Budda Amplification, assembling tube guitar amps under the direct supervision of "tone guru"/amp designer Jeff Bober.

In 1997 Steve relocated to New York City

to pursue the greater potentials it offered

for those interested in creative music. 

After a short stint as a pro-audio gear salesman at Manny's Music he was hired in 1998 as a production assistant for Europadisk, a unique facility that provided CD pressing, vinyl record pressing, and graphic design and audio mastering studios under a single roof .  He was quickly promoted to become the Production Manager for the entire vinyl record department, for which he supervised the scheduling and quality control of all product made.  During this time Steve learned the inner workings of the processes for manufacturing both optical discs and vinyl records - knowledge that has become invaluable to him when mastering for these formats today. In 2002 Steve left Europadisk to form the first version of his own company, Total Sonic Media, providing CD-R duplication and audio mastering services for numerous independent artists and labels.  Credits during this time include mastering of releases for Al Duvall, Substantial, Drilann Entertainment, U4RIA, Floxy Bee, Christian Pincock Quintet, Goduar, and Mark Dresser.   Other credits during this period include composing and recording the soundtrack for Michelle Cutler's short film "Funeral," and mixing for Erik Friedlander's score for the PBS documentary series "The Kingdom of David."

In 2004 Steve was hired back by

Europadisk to replace the long time

mastering engineer, who had moved on

to work at another facility.  At this point

Steve studied the art of vinyl record

mastering directly from Europadisk's

president Jim Shelton 

Benfefiting from Jim Shelton’s ability to communicate his 30 years of experience mastering records for the likes of Telarc, Strictly Rhythm and RCA's Red Seal labels, Steve was then able to quickly pick up on the intricacies of the Direct Metal Mastering system.  Direct Metal Mastering (aka "DMM"), where a specially designed lathe uses a diamond stylus to cut the grooves into copper covered steel plates (instead of the usual sapphire stylus cutting into lacquer), was the final improvement in vinyl mastering technology introduced by Neumann & Teldec, and Europadisk was the last studio in North America to offer DMM to the public. Steve under took the task of upgrading Europadisk's mastering studio himself, installing a SAWStudio workstation there that allowed him to cut vinyl record masters directly from hi-res digital 24bit/96kHz sources, and aquiring the Rupert Neve designed Medici analog mastering equalizer and Lavry digital audio converters he uses to this day.   Personal high points to Steve's work at Europadisk includes nearly all of the AV8 Records  releases of 2004 & 2005 (remixes on vinyl only of a literal who's who of past and present hip-hop stars including artists like Notorious BIG, Nas, Jay- Z, Ciara, Lil' Jon, Snoop, Fat Man Scoop, etc.); the vinyl and CD single for Martha Wash's "You Lift Me Up," avant-jazz legend Henry Threadgill's Zooid release "Pop, Start The Tape, Stop," the vinyl for Yellow #5's "Demon Crossing", releases on Signature Sounds for Erin McKeowan & Josh Ritter; painstakingly reproduced reissues for the Japanese market of Wayne Wonder, The Wiseguys and Naughty by Nature issued by Eon Music; CD's for  Jose Castellar's "The Man From San Juan" (featuring jazz legends Cachao, Roy Campbell & John Tchichai), and underground hiphop heavy "Shake-A-Vel," the LP for drone-rock heavies "Om", and the vinyl for the special edition 4-LP set of the Foo Fighters' "In Your Honor."

After Europadisk closed permanently in

2005, Steve made the decision to reopen

Total Sonic Media.  The focus of the

business was firmly reset to provide the

highest quality of audio mastering

possible, but at rates that would make it

affordable to the budgets of independent

musicians.

He carefully gathered the finest analog and digital mastering tools he could find (including several items aquired from the auction of Europadisk's gear, such as the unique Sony/MCI JH110-M 1/4" & 1/2" analog reel playback deck), and refined numerous acoustic treatments for his room to create an extremely accurate listening environment.  After months of these preparations he opened the doors of his studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn to the public in March 2006.  Since then he has mastered for numerous releases from the likes of Daptone Records, Lustre Kings Productions, Bernie Worrell, Erik Friedlander, Ljova, and hundreds of others.

In June 2014, after 17 years of

being a resident of New York

City, Steve relocated to

Austin, Texas and opened a

new studio for Total Sonic

Media there in October 2014.

This move allowed to Steve to further refine his studio’s facilities,  improving the acoustic accuracy in comparison to his previous studio,   adding a Sterling Modular desk as the centerpiece for improved workflow, upgrading digital audio converters with the excellent Lynx Hilo to compliment TSM’s Lavry Blue and Apogee converters, and adding an Avalon AD2055 class A equalizer to his arsenal of analog processors. Since the move Steve has continued to service clients from all over the world, as well as added credits from artists working in Austin’s excellent local music scene, such as Dan Dyer, Omar Bowing,  Western Youth The Derrick Davis Band, and Brownout. Steve has remained an active musician throughout this time.  From 1999-2009 he performed as cellist with alternative string quartet Invert (with whom he has toured the USA and released three CD's), in 2006-2007 he toured the West Coast and Europe as cellist with Rebecca Moore, from 2008-2012 performed numerous shows with the 20-piece This Ambitious Orchestra, and performed as cellist from 2011- 2013 with Red Bedlam.   He also produced two albums (released in 2009 and 2014) of spoken word over electronic-beats in collaboration with poet Messiah-el Bey as Warlock Asylum, with whom he performed on electric bass and electric cello at live shows from 2011 - 2014 as well. 
info@totalsonic.net +1-718-594-0859