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How Does Tom Baker Do It?
Old 10th July 2005
  #1
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How Does Tom Baker Do It?

I've been pretty disgusted with most Rock Cds as of late but I find my self time and time again loving the sound of CDs mastered by Tom Baker at Precision mastering. They are loud, they are thick, and the drums are always punchy. I looked at his gear list and it looked pretty normal. What does he use for "loudening".. if you've had him master your stuff, does he use the db/lavry gold mkII analog saturation and just SLAM into it? Does he use the onboard limiting that the Lavry has? I'm beginning to wonder if the sound I hear from a lot of the top mastering engineers is the overloading of the lavry gold a/ds coupled with their saturation and limiting options. Any thoughts?
Old 10th July 2005
  #2
Nut
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I'm going to be a really newbie here and ask a question..

Wouldn't the mix engineer be mostly responsible for punch and thickness ? Mastering is a finishing touch, not the defining moment... correct ? I'm asking, not telling. Educate me !
Old 10th July 2005
  #3
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He uses a sonic screwdriver.






(this comment may baffle any of the non-Brits on here, I guess!)
Old 10th July 2005
  #4
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Sergievsky's Avatar
 

I'm Filipino, but I get it! heh In fact, I actually thought the thread was about him!
Old 10th July 2005
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StuartMac
He uses a sonic screwdriver.






(this comment may baffle any of the non-Brits on here, I guess!)

nice one...
Old 10th July 2005
  #6
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Mark's Avatar
 

Jon Pertwee used to reverse the polarity heh
Old 10th July 2005
  #7
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It's all the nice outboard in K-9
Old 10th July 2005
  #8
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Messiah's Avatar
 

I guess we are all showing our nationality here then... heh

When I saw the thread title I immediately thought it was something to do with voice overs, and dulcet tones, etc, ('how does Tom sound SO authorative?')...

I was quite disappointed to find that not to be the case... maybe a Doctor thread is called for somewhere!?
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Old 10th July 2005
  #9
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He did a couple hip-hop projects for me not too long ago, actually the day after he did that NIN record that so many people seem to be crapping on. I dropped by breifly and noticed the main place he was getting loudness from was the Cubetec Loudness Maximizer, and the main eq was the Sontec. Those VPI's are no joke.
Old 10th July 2005
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e-cue
He did a couple hip-hop projects for me not too long ago, actually the day after he did that NIN record that so many people seem to be crapping on.
heh heh heh heh heh heh

Thank you, e-cue, for giving me my most surreal Gearslutz experience yet; it took me a moment to get my head back on-topic there, and for a glorious ten seconds or so I had an image of one of Britains best-loved TV actors rapping.
Old 10th July 2005
  #11
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zmix's Avatar
 

I think he uses Jelly Babies to sort of "glue" the mixes together.
Old 10th July 2005
  #12
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EngineEars's Avatar
 

I know that the gear he uses is pretty important, but even before his current chain of sorts he nailed it. He mastered a rock project I mixed in 1999 and even back then before Cubetec was his platform he got a really loud yet punchy masters with huge bottom.

The main thing I noticed that had changed, other than loudness and clarity was the kick and bass came back with a little colored distortion that brought out the best of the whole bottom end spectrum.

Tom Baker does excellent work!!!
Old 11th July 2005
  #13
Gear Nut
 

Why the hell haven't I heard about this cube tec? Is it really better sounding then VST? Whats funny is that its all the SPL plugins that used to be in the Steinberg Mastering edition. I remember using the Loudness Maximizer plugin and LOVED it. But I completely forgot about it and now push the A/D and use the Timeworks limiter for the extra gain because the raves it gets here. HOWEVER, the Timeworks makes things sound a bit tinnier and thin. Is there really a difference between loudness maximizer VST and VPI? Its the same code from SPL no? I can't wait to try using it again, I still have it somewhere on my machine. So does anyone know if Tom relies both on the Loudness Maximizer plugin AND pushing the db A/D?? I have a Sontec on the way to try because everyone raves about that EQ for mastering. Thanks for your comments and if anyone has used Tom to master rock stuff, please spill the beans on what he does. E Cue, do you know how hard he pushed the Loudness plugin?
Old 11th July 2005
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Analog
I've been pretty disgusted with most Rock Cds as of late but I find my self time and time again loving the sound of CDs mastered by Tom Baker at Precision mastering. They are loud, they are thick, and the drums are always punchy. I looked at his gear list and it looked pretty normal. What does he use for "loudening".. if you've had him master your stuff, does he use the db/lavry gold mkII analog saturation and just SLAM into it? Does he use the onboard limiting that the Lavry has? I'm beginning to wonder if the sound I hear from a lot of the top mastering engineers is the overloading of the lavry gold a/ds coupled with their saturation and limiting options. Any thoughts?
I don't know what it is!
I have mastered two albums with him and they all sound GREAT!
Everything I send to him comes back HUGE, LOUD, WIDE and OPEN!!!

Especially for ROCK albums he is probably the best there is!

Highly recommend TOM BAKER, great guy too!
Old 11th July 2005
  #15
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e-cue's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Analog
Why the hell haven't I heard about this cube tec? Is it really better sounding then VST? Whats funny is that its all the SPL plugins that used to be in the Steinberg Mastering edition. I remember using the Loudness Maximizer plugin and LOVED it. But I completely forgot about it and now push the A/D and use the Timeworks limiter for the extra gain because the raves it gets here. HOWEVER, the Timeworks makes things sound a bit tinnier and thin. Is there really a difference between loudness maximizer VST and VPI? Its the same code from SPL no? I can't wait to try using it again, I still have it somewhere on my machine. So does anyone know if Tom relies both on the Loudness Maximizer plugin AND pushing the db A/D?? I have a Sontec on the way to try because everyone raves about that EQ for mastering. Thanks for your comments and if anyone has used Tom to master rock stuff, please spill the beans on what he does. E Cue, do you know how hard he pushed the Loudness plugin?
Dunno why you haven't been exposed to Cubetec. Seems to be gaining more & more popularity among mastering circles.

I'm assuming the VST and VPI formats are different. Those VPI's are quite pricey, but I've been very impressed with them. A lot of analog purist ME's I work with have stepped over to the darkside with them.

I really didn't notice Tom pushing any convertors. On my project he was pretty conservative with the Loudness Max. I told him I was less concerned about winning the loudness war than preserving my detail. I used 2mix processing as well, so not much was really required. I'm sure each project is different.

He's supposed to do another (rap) record for me in a week or two. I'll mention the thread to him- maybe he'll log on.
Old 11th July 2005
  #16
Gear Nut
 

Apparently Tom just got that Cub Tech system so the releases that I've heard (papa roach, alterbridge, drowning pool) I assume he didn't use it. The punch and fatness of the transient on those releases is great, I wish someone here could give me an idea about the final stages of his gear chain for them.

Now about this Cube Tec thing. I am very skeptical about it. For 12,000 bucks, you get 24 AES i/o, a dell computer, and 64 bit version of Wavelab. Hmmm. Oh, and then for 1500 dollars each, you get these "VPI"s which function just like VST plugins (in fact I presume they ARE VST plugins, but the funny thing is, they are the plugins you get when you buy the Steinberg branded SPL plugins like the ones in the Mastering Edition... ie Free Filter, Loudness Maximizer, etc. Same controls and functions.) Is anyone here to believe that the company who wrote the code for these plugins (houbart something) originally released poorly coded versions of the software, but now the code is improved so that it can bear the name VPI instead of VST and sound "better", like 1500 bucks better? I don't believe it. Apparently VPIs and VST plugins can run along side each other (probably because they are same thing) so has anyone compared the Loudness Maximizer VST plugin to the Loudness Maximizer VPI? Is the code REALLY different??

To me, its like this. Hi end mastering studios that charge 400 per hour don't want to use a 350 dollar plugin package called Steinberg Mastering Edition and a 400 dollar software called Wavelab for their clients, its not expensive enough. They get the cube tec workstation and get the same plugins only now for a grand total of 12,000 bucks and this way they can feel justified about using it on major releases. I can be totally wrong and these VPIs may actually be improved code but who knows, looking forward to comments.
Old 19th May 2011
  #17
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papaslam's Avatar
I have been using Tom for almost 20 years starting at Future Disk, then Oasis and now Precision. I have had recording I've worked on mastered by just about everybody and I find Tom to be the best I have found. Every project is different - he respects the work, the vision of the artist, the producer and the engineers with his 'subtle' approach. In that time I have heard / seen him use different gear, monitors and rooms with great results each time. I have had the pleasure of working with him on acoustic music,
rock, etc. and have always liked the records MORE after Tom puts his touch on them.
Old 19th May 2011
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Messiah View Post
I guess we are all showing our nationality here then... heh

When I saw the thread title I immediately thought it was something to do with voice overs, and dulcet tones, etc, ('how does Tom sound SO authorative?')...

I was quite disappointed to find that not to be the case... maybe a Doctor thread is called for somewhere!?
Hahaha. That was my first thought. I love those old Who episodes! Been watching since the 70's.
Old 30th September 2011
  #19
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I wouldn't use Tom Baker for mastering. He is well known for his unerring knack of thwarting a Master.

Maybe you should try his arch nemesis?



By the way, MSN have a lot of Tom Baker era Dr Who up to view for free. I just watched The Talons of Weng Chiang last night
Old 30th September 2011
  #20
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by binarymilton View Post

By the way, MSN have a lot of Tom Baker era Dr Who up to view for free. I just watched The Talons of Weng Chiang last night

Oh good call!!!

TB is 'my' Dr, (which totally shows my age) I'll be watching them later ta!

:D
Old 30th September 2011
  #21
I thought it had something to do with the spatio-warping abilities of the Tardis. Goof!
Old 30th September 2011
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorBonkers View Post
I thought it had something to do with the spatio-warping abilities of the Tardis. Goof!
Yes indeed, his mixes are larger on the inside.............

LK
Old 5th November 2011
  #23
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I just got some radio single mixes back from Tom, and by George!

He's quick, and will work closely with you on things when needed. He even helped me convince the band I'm working for that their "image" for the record wasn't the best in terms of mix quality.

I've been in bands that had EP's and records mastered by Tom, but this is the first set of mixes that I've done that Tom worked on. I have to say, he nailed it. Even for mixes specifically mastered for the radio, they're loud yet retain the dynamic of the tracks. Tom's the man, and any project that has the budget will be going to him from here on out.
Old 6th November 2011
  #24
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Red Black's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jordon View Post
I just got some radio single mixes back from Tom, and by George!
Awesome! Are you able to post any before and after snippets Jordon?
Old 6th November 2011
  #25
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
Tom has mastered a couple albums I have produced. Great work both times. The artist wanted the stuff REALLY loud and Tom delivered without obliterating my mixes.
Old 6th November 2011
  #26
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ns
Old 6th November 2011
  #27
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I personally think he is the best ME on the planet.

At the very least, he is as good (IMHO) as anybody out there and no doubt is in the top 10 in the world.

With an ME like him you don't really have to be as good as Andy Wallace; if you can just get somewhere in the ballpark then he'll nail it and the final product will be up there sonically with the big wigs.

He likes headroom and healthy dynamics in the mixes delivered to him as well. When you see the kind of loudness he can get out of a good mix, you'll want to really beat yourself up if you were stupid enough to smash your 2 buss in the mixing process.

Leave that to a top tier pro like Ice Baker T !!

Old 6th November 2011
  #28
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This is what happens when you get (Doctor) Tom Baker in the studio!!
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