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The ultra fat low-end in Brian “Big Bass” Gardner’s masters
Old 16th February 2020
  #1
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The ultra fat low-end in Brian “Big Bass” Gardner’s masters

Fellow Gearslutz Members,

Greetings of the day !

Can anyone guide me on how Brian Big Bass Gardner, ex engineer at Bernie Grundman Mastering achieves the ultra-fat low end on his masters, which is probably his footprint along with his spacial treatment of masters to widen them.

I’ve thoroughly browsed Gearslutz but could not get an idea of how to do it, Watched all the videos he has on YouTube and some old Gearwire stuff available deep inside Gearslutz forums, read interviews, deeply studied his studio photos on his website’s old versions on Web.Archive.org and what not just to figure as much As I can but...

I know that he uses multiband compression on his Cubetec Computer and specialised devices like the Fatso Jr., Bedini BASE, Lavry Gold’s etc. to get the color

but the main thing is that fat low end, however one tries, Parallel Compression, Boosting the low mids and 50/60hz bands or anything, it’s simply unachievable, atleast to me

I understand that he’s a pro and that what I am asking is one of his skills which make him what he is today , but please advice if anyone of you can get that ultra fat low end

I found a song on a forum which was mastered by Brian and the user was graceful to upload both the mix and the master,

I volume normalised the tracks, and did some waveform analysis only to find that there was minimal eq on the master with a db’s boost at 50hz and 1.5/2 dB boost on 500-ish hz

I am still getting mad on how to do this

If anyone can help this high school kid, it would be really awesome

Thanks !
Old 16th February 2020
  #2
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vze26m98's Avatar
 

Have you seen the MWTM video with Mike Bozzi?

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Fv1D4xwUc1o

It used to be not pay-walled; the above is just two minutes of about fifteen. He talks about Mr. Grundman a fair bit; might’ve worked as his assistant originally?

That said, the complete Bozzi video comes off more as a promotion for the studio than a detailed breakdown of their approach to mastering. Not sure of its information vs. monetary value as a purchase.
Old 16th February 2020
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
Bichop's Avatar
Hi darkalex
Sorry for my Google English
Brian's technique may be to saturate a line preamp

In this video that I leave below you can see what happens when saturating a line preamp
From minute 2:40 to 3.05 you can see what this technique does, the comparison is at the same peak level, but the difference is brutal
I don't know if it's exactly what you're looking for
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yacapyBw3I&t=181s

Greetings

Last edited by Bichop; 17th February 2020 at 08:08 AM..
Old 17th February 2020
  #4
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by vze26m98 View Post
Have you seen the MWTM video with Mike Bozzi?

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Fv1D4xwUc1o

It used to be not pay-walled; the above is just two minutes of about fifteen. He talks about Mr. Grundman a fair bit; might’ve worked as his assistant originally?

That said, the complete Bozzi video comes off more as a promotion for the studio than a detailed breakdown of their approach to mastering. Not sure of its information vs. monetary value as a purchase.
Yup, I’ve seen this video but as you said I did not find it useful in the price vs usefulness ratio.

Thanks !
Old 17th February 2020
  #5
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bichop View Post
Hi darkalex
Sorry for my Google English
Brian's technique may be to saturate a line preview
In this video that I leave below you can see what happens when saturating a line preview
From minute 2:40 to 3.05 you can see what this technique does, the comparison is at the same peak level, but the difference is brutal
I don't know if it's exactly what you're looking for
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yacapyBw3I&t=181s

Greetings
That’s an awesome piece of gear, I could hear a difference in the mix immediately as he turned the knobs on that summing machine however that works for mixing stage for individual channels right ?

Does that work with already complete mixes used for mastering ?
Old 17th February 2020
  #6
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No One Else Would Like To Help Me ?

Pro's, Please Help !

Last edited by darkalex; 17th February 2020 at 01:09 PM.. Reason: Improvement in Language
Old 17th February 2020
  #7
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Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkalex View Post
No One Else Would Like To Help Me ?

Pro's, Please Help !
Because there is no easy & simple answer to your question.
Nothing will bring you instant results, it's something that need years of work with a great monitoring system while fine tuning your tools to match your Expectation/Taste/Need...

The only thing you can really do to match Brian's work is to listen, try and compare, listen try and compare,..., until you reach it (if so).
Old 17th February 2020
  #8
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Will The Weirdo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkalex View Post
Pro's, Please Help !
Why not fly to him and pay him to Master a song for you, while there you can see him work and ask him questions for the answers you seek.

FWIW, Brian has master some of my work in the past and he's top notch, but I did not attend the session to learn his process.
Old 17th February 2020
  #9
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Trakworx's Avatar
I'm scratching my head a little because I don't really find the low end on Brian Gardner's masters to be consistently "ultra-fat" compared to other MEs. I think his masters are generally of great quality and are well balanced throughout the frequency spectrum. Sometimes they're quite prominent in the mids and highs when that's what fits the project.
Old 17th February 2020
  #10
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John Moran's Avatar
 

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Brian did a lot of the West Coast stuff. I did a lot of the Dirty South (Geto Boyz, Scarface, Big Mike, 8Ball & MJG, Mike Dean, etc). We would both get engaged for client shootouts, sometimes he would win, sometimes I would win. Whatever, if it wasn't already in the track it wasn't going to be there, kapiche?

That said, he used the multiband in the Cubetec. I used the multiband in the TC M5000. These, along with the other usual things and monitors that would deliver accuracy+translation all the way down, are the basic tools of that trade. For lack of a better description there are also some "magic" numbers related to what instrument(s) is generating the bass / sub bass. You have to know both of those to really nail it. It all works together synergistically.

Lastly, just because I hand you a scalpel doesn't make you a surgeon.

Had a rep from Sonic Solutions visiting one day and he sat in on a session. At one point he sat up startled and exclaims, "My pants legs are shaking!"
I replied, "You've never heard someone develop a low end before." It's a skill-set that must be learned and know how/when to apply it.
Old 17th February 2020
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
Bichop's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkalex View Post
That’s an awesome piece of gear, I could hear a difference in the mix immediately as he turned the knobs on that summing machine however that works for mixing stage for individual channels right ?

Does that work with already complete mixes used for mastering ?
It was not my intention to advertise this machine, it is the saturation of the preamp
Many engineers use a line preamp to pass their mix, but I don't know if that is Brian's technique, I just wanted to add a possibility

I've been using a Silver Bullet in mastering that added to the equalization and valve hardware gave me a feeling of greatness at low frequencies, but I didn't find an example as clear as the one in this video so you could see what I mean

Like fellow Will The Weirdo, I think it is worth attending a face-to-face master with Brian and discover it for yourself
Greetings
Old 18th February 2020
  #12
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I understand from the responses that it's not an easy peasy technique that'll make my masters shine like a sun overnight but rather it's a combination of effort and specific techniques along with proper knowledge of the equipment in order to achieve it, sometimes involving specialised and custom gear for which Bernie Grundman Studios is infamous.

But can anyone at least hint me a bit of what the Big Bass effect is about or what can be a general starting point to the quality of masters BBB puts out ?

I can describe my gear which is at the moment some vintage Philips Speakers from 90s which I have designed a custom eq for in order to get the sound needed, which I did by playing multiple tracks by pros and generating a curve which makes them all sound good,

I use iZotope Ozone 8 Advanced on my Mac with a custom Class AB Amplifier for my Philips Full Range Speakers.

Thank You So Much !
Old 18th February 2020
  #13
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Strut78's Avatar
I really love a lot of Brian’s masters and for me the “big bass” in his approach isn’t as much about the subs/bass as it is about tailoring the second and third harmonics in the bass signal to translate, so his masters sound big on small speakers that won’t go anywhere below 70hz.

As a quirky side note, I have sequenced a few records for local clients who have used Brian to master their tracks (delivered as individual wav files), but the band wanted to sequence the album locally in person. One record was out 3dB out between the left and right channels. I raised it with the band as ‘did you mix this with the vocals, kick and snare panned to the right?’. The tracks were re-done by him the next day. I guess we all have off days!
Old 18th February 2020
  #14
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Greg Reierson's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Strut78 View Post
I really love a lot of Brian’s masters and for me the “big bass” in his approach isn’t as much about the subs/bass as it is about tailoring the second and third harmonics in the bass signal to translate, so his masters sound big on small speakers that won’t go anywhere below 70hz
Everybody read that again! Bass in the modern age of small speakers and headphones is about harmonic richness, not fundamental energy.

Mastering can help (poorly shaped LF is one of the most common mix issues I hear coming from small studios) but it's really a mix thing.
Old 19th February 2020
  #15
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John Moran's Avatar
 

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And it's genre dependent. Modern Country does not do low end like trunk rattling Trap. Know your style and audience.
Old 19th February 2020
  #16
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Shawn Hatfield's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Moran View Post
And it's genre dependent. Modern Country does not do low end like trunk rattling Trap. Know your style and audience.
The decade is young.. Maybe it's time Jaycen Joshua got in on the country game.
Old 19th February 2020
  #17
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John Moran's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Hatfield View Post
The decade is young.. Maybe it's time Jaycen Joshua got in on the country game.
hmm.... Pocket Full of Stones with a mandolin break. Might work.
Old 20th February 2020
  #18
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Thanks a lot for the awesome ideas

What I could understand from the same was that I have a long way to go until I reach the desired effect and that way consists of understanding sonics and frequencies along with treatment of upper harmonics in order to get these psychoacoustic techniques i.e."Big Bass"

I've understood that I've to improve upon my gear and listening skills and not rely on tricks or "presets" to master stuff, rather improve myself and achieve the desired color.

So, in the end, it's all fundamental skills rather than some secret unobtainium "Ultra x10348 Big Bass Machine" :P
Old 20th February 2020
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
cl-audio's Avatar
 

Brian mastered a **** ton of records that I’ve mixed, and whenever I could I would attend the session.
He’s very minimal in his approach, a lot of times it’s just a half dB here and there on his custom EQ, and then he slams the converter. But hearing your mixes in that room was always a revelation.

Hope this helps,

Claudio
Old 25th February 2020
  #20
Gear Guru
Probably has as much as what he doesn't do than does. Great bass is all about making room for it and understanding harmonics. Unfortunately not a simple answer and I'm sure changes with every tune he masters. Do yourself a favor and find a pro several on GS, see if there's someone in your area. I think you'll find affordable rates and someone who can help you up your game for the price of a shiny new plug in.....
Old 27th February 2020
  #21
Gear Head
 
xenozeno's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cl-audio View Post
He’s very minimal in his approach, a lot of times it’s just a half dB here and there on his custom EQ, and then he slams the converter. But hearing your mixes in that room was always a revelation.
Now that's a real kicker for all of us out there trying
Old 27th February 2020
  #22
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loji's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by xenozeno View Post
Now that's a real kicker for all of us out there trying
Shouldn't be ...

"less is more"

is something we all knew already
Old 28th February 2020
  #23
Gear Guru
The truth to most of this is great gear can help nail a sound but a lot of times not necessary. A top flight guy can make great sound with just about anything and probably had to over the course of their careers. It's really more about the time it takes them....... Most true artists never think of something as finished, just if it's good enough to put their name on.....

I look at my feeble efforts as teaching myself to be able to hear better, so I can use someone on that level. Honestly if you can't, how will you appreciate what you're being given to evaluate it and give coherent feedback?......
Old 2 weeks ago
  #24
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Updates !

Update !

So I've been trying out quite a lot of techniques to achieve the Big Bass effect on some mixes and I'm getting close to it!

Here's what I learnt:-

I've understood that less is more, so I try not to use more than 1.5:1 ratio on compressors nor I let them do more than a dB or two of gain reduction

Limiters are to be used sparingly in order to let that low-end shine otherwise the master loses the low-end punch

And the big bass effect - It's all about saturation and some wise and minimal eq on bass harmonics with multiband compression

The color on the mids is still a mystery to me but I'm sure we all can figure it out soon, and the widening process - Bedini BASE is simply unreplicable in the box so I think I cannot widen a master like brian and get those perfect stereo images or "Spread Halo's)

I'm gonna keep this forum posted with my progress irrespective of activity on the forum

Thanks a lot gearslutz for the ideas

Last edited by darkalex; 2 weeks ago at 09:07 PM.. Reason: language corrections
Old 2 weeks ago
  #25
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Slug1's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Moran View Post
And it's genre dependent. Modern Country does not do low end like trunk rattling Trap. Know your style and audience.
Mr. Moran, you’re a living legend and I’ve always been a fan of yours and Mike Dean’s work!! Thanks for coming around and sharing!!

Modern Country with trunk rattling Trap!

https://youtu.be/w2Ov5jzm3j8
Old 2 weeks ago
  #26
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John Moran's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slug1 View Post
Mr. Moran, you’re a living legend and I’ve always been a fan of yours and Mike Dean’s work!! Thanks for coming around and sharing!!

Slug, you're very kind but I'm just another dumfug trying to make silk purses most days and sometimes it works.

Mike is an incredibly talented musician who literally lived at Digital Services in the upstairs loft for a while. We spent countless hours behind the consoles together, he paid attention to what I was telling him and was a quick learner. I'm very proud of where he has taken his career along with a number of other guys who came out of Digital and went on to work with/for major acts like ZZ Top (Gary Moon), Chamillionaire/BabyBash (James Hoover), networks like ESPN (Cody Coe), and companies like SSL (Keith Risinger) as well as Willie's engineer (Larry Greenhill) who came on board when the IRS went after Willie and shut Pedernales down. So.Many.Stories.

There isn't a single piece of gear that does a damn thing without some knob twiddler making it sing for its supper.
And the difference between knob twiddlers is like an F-35 pilot can fly a Cessna to its limits, but not necessarily vice versa. Top Guns.

thanks man. never quit.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Moran View Post
There isn't a single piece of gear that does a damn thing without some knob twiddler making it sing for its supper.
This.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #28
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Slug1's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Moran View Post
Slug, you're very kind but I'm just another dumfug trying to make silk purses most days and sometimes it works.

Mike is an incredibly talented musician who literally lived at Digital Services in the upstairs loft for a while. We spent countless hours behind the consoles together, he paid attention to what I was telling him and was a quick learner. I'm very proud of where he has taken his career along with a number of other guys who came out of Digital and went on to work with/for major acts like ZZ Top (Gary Moon), Chamillionaire/BabyBash (James Hoover), networks like ESPN (Cody Coe), and companies like SSL (Keith Risinger) as well as Willie's engineer (Larry Greenhill) who came on board when the IRS went after Willie and shut Pedernales down. So.Many.Stories.

There isn't a single piece of gear that does a damn thing without some knob twiddler making it sing for its supper.
And the difference between knob twiddlers is like an F-35 pilot can fly a Cessna to its limits, but not necessarily vice versa. Top Guns.

thanks man. never quit.
Thanks for the history and encouragement!! It’s your story and it’s legendary!! I’ll keep pushing the limits of my skill and talent!!
Old 1 week ago
  #29
Gear Head
 
erickgc182's Avatar
 

If you need a ultra fast and focused low end , the Antelope Clocking can help you.
I have a Zen Tour and the low end is very fast and focused. You can see in his rig a Antelope Trinity with a custom atomic clock plus the Lavrys AD/DA converters. Bob Ludwig uses a Trinity too with Merging and Metric Halo converters.
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