Very, very interesting history
DSI was founded in 1995 during a time when mastering was not affordable for independent artists and home studio musicians. Digital audio recording was in its infantile stages but was cheaper than analog recording. While the quality of digital circuitry was (and in some ways, still is) inferior to analog, the end result of a well-mastered tune, even in the digital domain, was worlds beyond an un-mastered record. This was the niche that DSI entered into.
In the years, foot traffic grew considerably, and we traveled in the opposite direction of most studios by moving away from digital and adding more and more analog toys. Ironically, over the last decade, we've retraced our digital roots by re-incorporating the regular use of plugins.
In our experience, we have found little value in listing in detail which toys we own and use. Instead, we prefer to discuss, more generally, our philosophy and approach: when the objective is to use a pristine processor, we feel that there is nothing as colorless as one that has no circuits at all, such as well-developed plugins from Universal Audio, Waves, Fab Filters, Precision, and others. Not only is there literally nothing in the audio path, but in addition, the convenience of recall is simply not available in the analog domain.
When the objective is to use a colored processor, we feel that most analog processors sound better than their digital counterparts, especially when working with tubes. Our addiction includes devices from SPL, Manley, Black Box Analog, and Neve.
That being said, there is no “secret sauce” or standard template. Every artist is different, every record is unique, and the most effective tool for audio evaluation is the human ear.
Please listen to the following pre/post mastered samples with high quality headphones or speakers. Because our masters are intended to be listened to on a wide range of systems, the difference is clearly audible with most listening devices; however, if you want to hear the full range of difference, we encourage you to listen with something better than earbuds. The samples begin with the mastered track, and swap between the pre-mastered source.