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Brainworx bx_masterdesk (UAD & Plugin Alliance)
Old 22nd August 2018
  #241
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgood View Post
But it’s also the gear... and the room... and monitors... again way more variables than just one or two things

Again... I dig plugins like this... I own it and luressen and latest ozone advanced and a butt ton of other plugs... I think of all of them as mix finalizers more than real mastering

But, I’m an old
I did mention the room and monitors earlier, and its true.

Having said that, its all about having a few "reliable" frames of reference. If you're familiar with a set of headphones and how a good master sounds on them, then you would know how to make a master sound good on them.

I's still say monitors are also important so you can have a sense in "how it moves the air" as well. The equipment is more about anything that allows low rations and fine levels adjustments, other than that there are just so many different modules and plugins you can use these days that will do the job.

I'm just trying to open people's mind to the fact that its not a dark art and just about anyone can "learn" to do it. Like everything else worthwhile it takes practice and time.
Old 22nd August 2018
  #242
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Blues Bird's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by simon.billington View Post
People think of mastering as this kind of black art that requires really special equipment and years and years of training to do it. You'd actually be thinking of a surgeon, mastering doesn't really require anything too special, not if you're already a sound engineer that is. The learning curve from there isn't that steep.

True it heaps to have an ideal listening environment with a great set of monitors, outside that its just practice and experience with tools you already know. Most mastering engineers use just one specific chain with exactly the same devices, others mix these devices up a little bit, but fundamentally their technique remain the same. What this translates too, is a small select of processes and certain moves you use to get the final product. That's how they are able to pump through mastering songs so quickly. They're not doing anything groundbreaking and have figured out their chains and techniques so they can go through it very quickly while keeping the ears fresh.

Considering all this, its totally conceivable you can capture mastering chains and certain techniques in a single plugin. If you find it's missing one or two things for a particular song, just do what they do, place an extra process before their chain. Most likely this will be an eq.

If the mix needs more than that then more than likely its the mix, not the process. They would just call up the mix guy with a couple of requests before proceeding. It happens all the time.
Please don‘t take that personal, but all these self entitled „mastering experts“ are the plague and one of the reasons why music often sounds so ****ty these days.

What has become of the good, old „ cobbler stick to your last!“ ?
Old 22nd August 2018
  #243
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blues Bird View Post
Please don‘t take that personal, but all these self entitled „mastering experts“ are the plague and one of the reasons why music often sounds so ****ty these days.

What has become of the good, old „ cobbler stick to your last!“ ?
There's lots of reasons music sounds so s&*tty these days. Lack of musical talent, poor recording skills, over tuned vocals, poorly writing songs, poorly arranged songs, egos greater than ability, etc... How people master are the least of your concerns here.

Masters produced with modern processes still often com up better than albums of yesteryear. They lack in bass, lack in definition, can often sound wooly or muffled, often distort a bit too much.

Of course mastering engineers are creating much better work this day and age, but even most poor masters are still better than those old albums.

There is nothing we can objectively say about the matter, however, since we need to measure and analyse stuff, compare results and decide unanimously what constitutes a good master.

This is a very subjective thing, subject to taste and hard to argue. In eluding my opinions. Take them with a grain of salt. I'm not trying to really sway anyone, just hopefully engage people's critical thinking skills a bit more as oppose to rely on a default reaction.
Old 22nd August 2018
  #244
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Some ME offer files before and after mastering. Did you find any files where the ME engineer should retire because of BX_Masterdesk?
Old 22nd August 2018
  #245
Gear Head
 
a.l.e.'s Avatar
 

Still today there is someone who hopes there is a magic formula, a sequence of operations that allows to pack the perfect product. The software is just the tools that help to get to the goal, but first of all we need to understand what is this and here comes the only thing that matters, the head, the ears, the heart and humility. If you do not have these things it is possible that the instruments combined among them can generate something good, but it will be more a factor of randomness that will not have taught anything .... Let's remember, the difference in each step is in the previous one ... .
Old 22nd August 2018
  #246
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Coyoteous's Avatar
 

I'm not saying this because I've done a lot for a long time, but I think anyone should have done a great deal of mastering before having much of an objectively valid opinion about how easy or hard it is... but, that's just me (ME).

I get the looser definition of 'dark art' here, but for me, it's more of an eastern philosophy thing... along with euphemisms like 'do no harm' and even the obvious 'make it sound better.'

Most of the time people aren't making things sound better, just different and louder in a heavy-handed way... anyway, think Aikido or Jujitsu vs. MMA or boxing.

Even with a fixed architecture rig or plug-in chain, settings are obviously very important... guess for the latter, you could have a thousand random presets and try them until you found one that made things quantifiably better.

Or, if you had enough decent un-mastered material, you could practice with that until you legitimately made it better... but, being an ME is really the only way to learn to be a good one.

Natural talent and general audio experience will help you stumble less while you get better... it's one of those Catch-22/Ouroboros professions, to be sure.

On the other other hand, great mixes can nearly master themselves... and I've gotten to the point where I prefer unadulterated mixes and even rough mixes to many recordings' overtly 'mastered' counterparts, for my own ocassional listening enjoyment.

(One thing that's kind of fun work with is/are particular early CDs mastered fairly straight-up from original tape masters, since many lack the mastering done kind of live-to-record)
Old 28th August 2018
  #247
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They say that having your mix mastered by an ME is like getting a second opinion... it doesn't mean you have to agree with their opinion though.

There's no doubt that a good ME can help polish off a production and take it to that extra level, but even ME's themselves vary in approaches and the "sound" of a finished product. Give 100 mix engineers a copy of a track and they will come up with 100 different variations. They can't all be wrong. Surely there is a point that what mix should sound like when it's mastered is purely subjective. There isn't one answer.

So if there isn't one answer what's to say that a master a mix engineer comes up with or even produced within this software isn't as good. I've seen the results of a blind test a little while back, mastering engineers versus online services, most, if not all people couldn't tell who did what. Not that I'm praying online services, I'm just pointing out that what constitutes a "good master" isn't set in stone and its within the realm of possibility the it can be achieved by anyone with enough experience and modern software tools.
Old 29th August 2018
  #248
I've just finished using Master Desk on a project and can say it's the real deal. Like others have mentioned, I prefer to use other devices for final loudness/peak management (L16, Slate FG-X, and others). I don't think Master Desk should be used on all projects, but it's quite good at moving some genre into the zone. Mostly for music formats that historically included the fattening final modifiers on the master bus as part of their creative process. I don't find it necessary for most singer/songwriter and acoustic arrangements. The more electric a song becomes, though, the more I will now consider MD as a final step.

Regardless of the mastering chain, the most important thing I do when mixing is to first select for comparison 2-3 songs of a similar style and highly regarded as mixing benchmarks. That's the only consistent way I can calibrate my ears. Then, when mixing for a similar match, the tools for the master bus tend to suggest themselves. Master Desk is a nice addition for me.

Last edited by rustyd100; 30th August 2018 at 03:05 AM.. Reason: Clarity
Old 31st August 2018
  #249
Is there any plugin that does the foundation thing? I'm reading it's some kind of a tilt eq, but it seems to do quite a lot and nicely. I'm not sure I need the whole masterdesk, but the foundation knob surprised me.

Thinking if I should get this or townhouse with the vouchers available now. Liking townhouse quite a lot.

Just feels a bit weird using this after investing on other mastering plugins.
Old 31st August 2018
  #250
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raymondwave View Post
Is there any plugin that does the foundation thing? I'm reading it's some kind of a tilt eq, but it seems to do quite a lot and nicely. I'm not sure I need the whole masterdesk, but the foundation knob surprised me.

Thinking if I should get this or townhouse with the vouchers available now. Liking townhouse quite a lot.

Just feels a bit weird using this after investing on other mastering plugins.
Just reading online about the Foundation knob - it is described as a basic tilt filter, nothing more.

So if you're after that effect, there are some good cheap or free ones around. HOFA 4U (free), HoRNet Angle (free), Matthias Kock Tilt EQ (free), Venomode Pivot tilt EQ (cheap), Boz T-Bone, TDR SlickEQ (cheap), Plug & Mix Deluxe Tilt ($10 sometimes), Softube Tonelux Tilt.

My favourites are Pivot, Slick and T-Bone.

You can also do very transparent manual tilting with a lot of EQs...
Old 4th September 2018
  #251
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by brainrox View Post
Release in a few days.
PUBLIC BETA OUT NOW via Plugin Alliance.




Info & Public Beta:
Brainworx bx_masterdesk - Plugin Alliance

Manual:
https://files.plugin-alliance.com/pr...esk_manual.pdf

This will be a dual-release for UAD & PA.

Enjoy.
Dirk.
Enjoying it so much!

Sounds stunning, looks fantastic!

Glued to the last spot on my digital mix buss before my da - ad loop.

Danke Dirk!
Old 5th September 2018
  #252
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kelvyn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by simon.billington View Post
There's lots of reasons music sounds so s&*tty these days. Lack of musical talent, poor recording skills, over tuned vocals, poorly writing songs, poorly arranged songs, egos greater than ability, etc... How people master are the least of your concerns here.
Just a tad off topic... I’m not really sure about this ‘Music sounds so ****ty these days’ generalization. There are a ton of very original, innovative and very well arranged and recorded productions from artists and groups of all different persuasions and genres out there at the moment. One just has to take the time and effort to search them out as they are not so above surface as they once were... like in those golden oldie days of incredibly eclectic and diverse pop charts.

Back on topic... It’s great to experiment with different in the box mastering solutions like Softube S73, IK Multimedias Lursson, Slates FG-X or the Masterdesk to see which one works best. But as someone already mentioned, ears, room, speakers (and your knowledge of them) and ability all play a part when it comes to mastering professionally. As I possess none of the required attributes it’s down to using in the box solutions for rough demos and layouts or a professional.
Swings and roundabouts
Old 7th September 2018
  #253
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kelvyn View Post
Just a tad off topic... I’m not really sure about this ‘Music sounds so ****ty these days’ generalization. There are a ton of very original, innovative and very well arranged and recorded productions from artists and groups of all different persuasions and genres out there at the moment. One just has to take the time and effort to search them out as they are not so above surface as they once were... like in those golden oldie days of incredibly eclectic and diverse pop charts.

Back on topic... It’s great to experiment with different in the box mastering solutions like Softube S73, IK Multimedias Lursson, Slates FG-X or the Masterdesk to see which one works best. But as someone already mentioned, ears, room, speakers (and your knowledge of them) and ability all play a part when it comes to mastering professionally. As I possess none of the required attributes it’s down to using in the box solutions for rough demos and layouts or a professional.
Swings and roundabouts
I actually agree with you too, believe it or not. That is a retort token slightly out of context regarding how we will suddenly see more “****ty” mixes out there because of bx_masterdesk and other products like it.

So naturally I just pointed out that there are lots of reasons for bad mixes and that they exist, reguardless of products like this.

Yes there is lots of great stuff out there too. I’m not stuck in the past, hanging on to my favourite music from high school with a death grip. There’s lots to like out there... but with the good comes the bad. As with anything.
Old 10th September 2018
  #254
Gear Guru
A poor workman blames his tools..... Honestly, with all the great tools out there, ain't a problem with that. You're just hearing all the crap that never made it to broadcast....

Anyone who can't make a good sounding mix with even what's available in a DAW, just needs to spend more time with it, and have some god given talent. The rest is just shortcuts....
Old 11th September 2018
  #255
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Would a future expert mode require a paid update or could we expect to get it free on both platforms?
Old 16th September 2018
  #256
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardis View Post
A poor workman blames his tools..... Honestly, with all the great tools out there, ain't a problem with that. You're just hearing all the crap that never made it to broadcast....

Anyone who can't make a good sounding mix with even what's available in a DAW, just needs to spend more time with it, and have some god given talent. The rest is just shortcuts....
YES!! Thank you!! For once a voice of reason. Absolutely true.

Don’t let the simple interface deceive you people. Consider them as macros for something a lot more detailed happening beneath the surface.

There’s a good chance it won’t get all mixes 100% there. Just put a decent eq before it, possibly a multiband compressor or a dynamic eq and you will be well armed to tackle any mix.
Old 16th January 2019
  #257
Here for the gear
 

There is an economic component to this conversation that is not being addressed. While it is absolutely true that professional mastering is indispensable, it is not always “the best solution” given certain variables in the real world. Some recording budgets are no longer able to sustain the cost of professional mastering UNLESS the artist wishes to make a significantly reduced payday on his/her album. Because of file sharing, record sales have plummeted to such an all time low that, in many cases, the advance on a record deal is the main source of income to be derived from the project. Because of this the artist is now the producer, recording studio, engineer and mastering house all rolled into one - if he or she wishes to earn a living from said record deal. So the education in these processes is extremely important to survive in our new paradigm - at least at the level of smaller record label budgets. There are arguments that will suggest that the recorded material is merely a tool for the promotion of live performances, but that puts the entire creative process into a neat little “one size fits all” that is not accurate for all situations.

There‘s a nuanced area in between the old days of Doug Sax and the Garage Band amateur. Within this world born of necessity, is a place for the application of mastering that bridges the gap between a big recording budget and one that helps keeps the studio lights on.
Old 21st January 2019
  #258
Gear Maniac
 
2Low's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by M2E View Post

Maybe LUFS?


Yes please !
Old 24th January 2019
  #259
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EarthWalk Studio View Post
There is an economic component to this conversation that is not being addressed. While it is absolutely true that professional mastering is indispensable, it is not always “the best solution” given certain variables in the real world. Some recording budgets are no longer able to sustain the cost of professional mastering UNLESS the artist wishes to make a significantly reduced payday on his/her album. Because of file sharing, record sales have plummeted to such an all time low that, in many cases, the advance on a record deal is the main source of income to be derived from the project. Because of this the artist is now the producer, recording studio, engineer and mastering house all rolled into one - if he or she wishes to earn a living from said record deal. So the education in these processes is extremely important to survive in our new paradigm - at least at the level of smaller record label budgets. There are arguments that will suggest that the recorded material is merely a tool for the promotion of live performances, but that puts the entire creative process into a neat little “one size fits all” that is not accurate for all situations.

There‘s a nuanced area in between the old days of Doug Sax and the Garage Band amateur. Within this world born of necessity, is a place for the application of mastering that bridges the gap between a big recording budget and one that helps keeps the studio lights on.
Agreed. Of course s proper mastering engineer is ideal. However, the ironic thing with idealism is that we actually DON’T live in an idea world.

Expect compromises!!
Old 28th January 2019
  #260
Here for the gear
bx Masterdesk UAD; User review...

Rather than belabor the controls, just the bullet points.

1. I am not a big fan of fixed ratio compression, but you get 4 choices. Why not just have 4 presets and let the user adjust it from there?

2. The tilt is 'decent' when used sparingly, too much and it buries the mix...if you have to turn it up past "2" then you probably should look at your mix again...

3. I like the notch filters at times, but I find that it is better to use the bx Digital V3 EQ to adjust the problem frequencies until you don't need to use the notch filters as they can dig in a little heavy...not subtle.

4. I tend to lower the threshold of the THD to about -72 db's or not at all...unless it's rock/metal/grunge

5. The Turbo Limiter could be useful, but I just use the FabFilter L2 and it's much better...again, fixed settings with the bx...

6. The best overall feature is the tape like/ circuit analog warmth it imparts.

7. The width control is nice used sparingly...

8. Monomaker at about 120Hz is the highest I push it...

Despite the limitations, I find I like the texture on 'thin' sounding content, or digitally harsh content from older recordings. It will never compete with something like a Portico MBP, but if you don't have 4K laying around, why not...
Old 5th February 2019
  #261
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esaustew View Post
Rather than belabor the controls, just the bullet points.

1. I am not a big fan of fixed ratio compression, but you get 4 choices. Why not just have 4 presets and let the user adjust it from there?

2. The tilt is 'decent' when used sparingly, too much and it buries the mix...if you have to turn it up past "2" then you probably should look at your mix again...

3. I like the notch filters at times, but I find that it is better to use the bx Digital V3 EQ to adjust the problem frequencies until you don't need to use the notch filters as they can dig in a little heavy...not subtle.

4. I tend to lower the threshold of the THD to about -72 db's or not at all...unless it's rock/metal/grunge

5. The Turbo Limiter could be useful, but I just use the FabFilter L2 and it's much better...again, fixed settings with the bx...

6. The best overall feature is the tape like/ circuit analog warmth it imparts.

7. The width control is nice used sparingly...

8. Monomaker at about 120Hz is the highest I push it...

Despite the limitations, I find I like the texture on 'thin' sounding content, or digitally harsh content from older recordings. It will never compete with something like a Portico MBP, but if you don't have 4K laying around, why not...
There’s quite a few points I agree with you on. Especially not having 4k lying around!! Haha!!
Old 20th March 2019
  #262
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TonStrom's Avatar
What does this video mean?

Old 20th March 2019
  #263
Gear Guru
Guys professional mastering can be very reasonable pricewise. Really. Do some research and I think you'll find it a bargain. I for one am willing to forgo the next mastering plug in and pay someone with better ears and equipment to master a tune that I really care about.

Tools like this are great to get you in the ballpark as a reference, and really useful to see where you want to end up. The extra step of a ME will make it that much better......
Old 20th March 2019
  #264
Gear Addict
 
BadYodeler's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonStrom View Post
What does this video mean?

It looks like this guy is wasting his and possibly other people's time by trying to find a difference between the UAD and the Brainworx native version of the plugin. But holy sh_t, I had to turn off that thing after like 20 seconds as that piece of "music" is the most ridiculous garbage I've ever heard
Old 9th April 2019
  #265
Here for the gear
 

The promotion video was shot at SSR Manchester, an audio school, and they pretend it to be a mastering engineer's studio. They fool you guys! This is at most an educational experimental plugin. No serious engineer will use this. See UAD's review
Old 22nd April 2019
  #266
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What this is... is Dirk Urlich's plugin process bundled into simplified interface, much like Lurssen did one with IK.Would they use these tools. YES, very likely. The whole reason why they created this is to simplify their process, make it saveable and easily recallable along with the session. According to a recent Andrew Scheps non-affiliated interview he says he uses Scheps Omni "easily" 90% of the time. It's simplified and sped so much up for him. That same would be true for Dirk.

Would it work in 100% of their situations, NO, because they simplified the UI to make it accessible too many. That means they don't have full configurability, but that's when they can always fall back on the original equipment and signal flow. It may not be compatible with every style of mix, or everyone's approach to mastering, that's also something to be considered. As they though, "It's the ear, not the gear." If you insert a nice transparent eq, before it, it suddenly becomes ALOT more flexible. If you add a clean compressor too, that might even make it a hell of alot more flexible. Let's not forget that it doesn't limit, so adding your own limiter on the ned of the chain is going to do lots as well, with a potential to change it's character.

The trick is not to think of it in isolation. That's rarely ever the point of these things.
Old 8th August 2019
  #267
Gear Maniac
 

I didn't really give this a fair shot when I demo'd on release. As a new sub I decided to push it a bit and dig in. For me it's not a one stop shop for mastering my tracks. It is however my new finalizer with automation. Basically I fine tune the loudest part of the track and set the foundation (i understand it's a tilt!). During the verse I like to drive the bass a little more so I tilt the foundation a tad towards the lows and then open up the dense chorus sections by tilting back towards the highs (where I felt the foundation sat nicely to begin with). Also fun to tilt a little more extremely for bridges and such. I guess I find the plug easier to automate and that helps with creativity and movement in a mix at the final stage where subelty can go along way! I also like to automate the presence. A little more dull in the verse and open in the chorus. To taste with tthe foundation moves. Not to mention the stereo width (which nothing moves guitars wide like it!). All ear candy and a lot of fun because I don't have to do the usual automation moves for 3 different plugs in the mastering chain to get the same results. My new Output Chain (so mastering guys don't get stirred up) is IK Tape Machine / Balance Magpha EQ / DSM (captured curve of the track and mainly used as a lite compressor / de-cymbalizer! / Hi-Mid Tamer) / BX Masterdesk (automation heaven!)
Old 22nd September 2019
  #268
Gear Addict
 

On sale right now for PA customers for $59.00 for 24 hours.
Old 22nd September 2019
  #269
Lives for gear
 
bgood's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BadYodeler View Post
It looks like this guy is wasting his and possibly other people's time by trying to find a difference between the UAD and the Brainworx native version of the plugin. But holy sh_t, I had to turn off that thing after like 20 seconds as that piece of "music" is the most ridiculous garbage I've ever heard
Bad music on developers’ demos has stopped me cold in my tracks from buying stuff... is silly? Yes! But, if I have to gauge what their product does by listening to music that physically repels me I figure that the dev and I have a different aesthetic.

There’s one dev is particular whose stuff people here on GS rave about, but, his videos are like a public access cable show where a Trekkie plays awful electronica while talking about math... it’s too much
Old 1 day ago
  #270
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Esaustew View Post
5. The Turbo Limiter could be useful, but I just use the FabFilter L2 and it's much better...again, fixed settings with the bx...
You can't deactivate the limiter. So you are using a brickwall limiter after brickwall limiting which is detrimental for your mix.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JfromRVA View Post
I didn't really give this a fair shot when I demo'd on release. As a new sub I decided to push it a bit and dig in. For me it's not a one stop shop for mastering my tracks. It is however my new finalizer with automation. Basically I fine tune the loudest part of the track and set the foundation (i understand it's a tilt!). During the verse I like to drive the bass a little more so I tilt the foundation a tad towards the lows and then open up the dense chorus sections by tilting back towards the highs (where I felt the foundation sat nicely to begin with). Also fun to tilt a little more extremely for bridges and such. I guess I find the plug easier to automate and that helps with creativity and movement in a mix at the final stage where subelty can go along way! I also like to automate the presence. A little more dull in the verse and open in the chorus. To taste with tthe foundation moves. Not to mention the stereo width (which nothing moves guitars wide like it!). All ear candy and a lot of fun because I don't have to do the usual automation moves for 3 different plugs in the mastering chain to get the same results. My new Output Chain (so mastering guys don't get stirred up) is IK Tape Machine / Balance Magpha EQ / DSM (captured curve of the track and mainly used as a lite compressor / de-cymbalizer! / Hi-Mid Tamer) / BX Masterdesk (automation heaven!)
It is good but you can't get it loud.
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