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Pink Floyd/The Division Bell - Ask Andy Jackson about the Mastering and the Mix

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JonUrban

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We have the fortunate opportunity to have access to Audio Engineer Andy Jackson from TUBE MASTERING to discuss the new (2014) 5.1 release of Pink Floyd's THE DIVISION BELL album.

Andy will check in here from time to time to review and possibly respond to any questions members may have regarding this release. Please be respectful and refrain from non-topic related musings. This thread will be moderated and any posts not deemed respectful or on topic will be deleted.

Please give a warm welcome to Andy when he stops by, and thanks to Andy for taking the time to stop by QQ.
 

rusinurbe

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A very warm welcome from me to Andy a man who seems to get 5.1

1st question Endless River 5.1 ?

2nd Blu ray outside of a big box ?
 

rtbluray

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Hi Andy, and thank you so much for taking the time to join us on this forum! (Thanks to Jon also for setting up this Q&A!) :51banana:

My first question is:
Can you discuss both the technical and aesthetic decisions behind your (limited) use of the center channel in the Division Bell's surround mix?

Thanks! :)
 

Clint Eastwood

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I'd just like to say that the DVD 5.1 Division Bell mix is outstanding. I just hope the marketing arm continues to offer standalone purchases like this one(or a blu ray audio)so that the surround music can reach more people. People have grown tired of buying large box sets(and marbles and accessories) to just obtain the one surround disc. Thank you for stopping by the forum and for your stellar work on Division Bell!

Live Long and Prosper!
 

Andy Jackson

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Hi all

To answer rusinurbe's questions first. Endless River? Never heard of it. If such a thing were to exist I'd imagine there would be a 5.1, but I can't possibly talk about it.

As for release schedules or otherwise, not in my control. I've seen the general dislike of having to buy the boxset to get the BD, and mentioned it to the band's management. It is they and the record co (now Warners) who determine these things. Whether this will make any difference, who knows.

One other thing I'd like to clarify, as it has come up a few times in the Div Bell thread. The Division Bell album was recorded on analogue tape, specifically two 24 track analogue machines linked (classic 48 track).

There has been mention of someone speaking to Guy who said it was hybrid. That was Momentary Lapse of Reason, which was a Mitsubishi open reel 32 track machine (48k 16 bit) and analogue tape for drums. Remember, Guy's a bass player, and therefore more a 'missing link' than an authority on anything (not true, he's a great friend and a clever chap)

The original stereo mix was also to analogue tape, and the current re-issues of the stereo are from that analogue.

When we did that mix, there were some midi elements running live on the mix. I later went back in & recorded those elements onto the multitracks. On one song, Keep Talking, I had to go to a 3rd 24 track tape to get all the elements printed (because of Gary Wallis's drum machine loops).

The orchestra (High Hopes & Great Day for Freedom) had been recorded on a separate multitrack (in multitrack form) and sub-mixed to stereo onto the master multitracks (pretty normal procedure).

On doing the surround I went back & made new orchestra sub-mixes in surround from the original orchestra tapes. This and the 3rd multitrack on Keep Talking meant that I had no choice but to transfer those elements to Pro Tools (digital workstation) in order to be able to run everything at once. So strictly speaking there are a few digital elements on the surround mix that were not digitised on the original stereo. Other wise I worked entirely from the analogue tapes.

The 5.1 mix was printed to a Sadie digital workstation (which is the system most commonly used for mastering). The 96k on the BD is those sadie files (with a recent mastering pass), the 48k used for the DVD is a transfer (analogue domain) from those. DTS & dolby encoding was done by the authoring house, but that's not really anything that there are any subjective judgements on (well these days, going back a bit it was a real time 'hardware' process & there were things you could tweak, now it's 'drag & drop' software).

The inclusion of DTS on the DVD is because this one is my call. James (Guthrie) hates the sound of DTS & won't put it on the discs he has control of. I have a few reservations about it, but take the attitude that it's you guy's choice what you listen to, & if you don't like the DTS you'll listen to the Dolby dig.

OK, that's it for now. I'll come back later for any further questions, and maybe another ramble about the way of thinking about things in 5.1 mixing, and how different mixers take different approaches (very gratifying that you seem to like the way I approach things)

andy J
 
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Clint Eastwood

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Hi all

To answer rusinurbe's questions first. Endless River? Never heard of it. If such a thing were to exist I'd imagine there would be a 5.1, but I can't possibly talk about it.

As for release schedules or otherwise, not in my control. I've seen the general dislike of having to buy the boxset to get the BD, and mentioned it to the band's management. It is they and the record co (now Warners) who determine these things. Whether this will make any difference, who knows.

One other thing I'd like to clarify, as it has come up a few times in the Div Bell thread. The Division Bell album was recorded on analogue tape, specifically two 24 track analogue machines linked (classic 48 track).

There has been mention of someone speaking to Guy who said it was hybrid. That was Momentary Lapse of Reason, which was a Mitsubishi open reel 32 track machine (48k 16 bit) and analogue tape for drums. Remember, Guy's a bass player, and therefore more a 'missing link' than an authority on anything (not true, he's a great friend and a clever chap)

The original stereo mix was also to analogue tape, and the current re-issues of the stereo are from that analogue.

When we did that mix, there were some midi elements running live on the mix. I later went back in & recorded those elements onto the multitracks. On one song, Keep Talking, I had to go to a 3rd 24 track tape to get all the elements printed (because of Gary Wallis's drum machine loops).

The orchestra (High Hopes & Great Day for Freedom) had been recorded on a separate multitrack (in multitrack form) and sub-mixed to stereo onto the master multitracks (pretty normal procedure).

On doing the surround I went back & made new orchestra sub-mixes in surround from the original orchestra tapes. This and the 3rd multitrack on Keep Talking meant that I had no choice but to transfer those elements to Pro Tools (digital workstation) in order to be able to run everything at once. So strictly speaking there are a few digital elements on the surround mix that were not digitised on the original stereo. Other wise I worked entirely from the analogue tapes.

The 5.1 mix was printed to a Sadie digital workstation (which is the system most commonly used for mastering). The 96k on the BD is those sadie files (with a recent mastering pass), the 48k used for the DVD is a transfer (analogue domain) from those. DTS & dolby encoding was done by the authoring house, but that's not really anything that there are any subjective judgements on (well these days, going back a bit it was a real time 'hardware' process & there were things you could tweak, now it's 'drag & drop' software).

The inclusion of DTS on the DVD is because this one is my call. James (Guthrie) hates the sound of DTS & won't put it on the discs he has control of. I have a few reservations about it, but take the attitude that it's you guy's choice what you listen to, & if you don't like the DTS you'll listen to the Dolby dig.

OK, that's it for now. I'll come back later for any further questions, and maybe another ramble about the way of thinking about things in 5.1 mixing, and how different mixers take different approaches (very gratifying that you seem to like the way I approach things)

andy J

I prefer DTS over "Dull-by" and I am glad you prevailed on that aspect.
 

Robert van Diggele

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Thank you Andy for stopping by at QQ and taking the time to answer our questions. ( and thank you Jon and anybody else who made this possible).

On various forums it has been mentioned that your mix was done 10 years ago. What was the reason for creating the surround mix in the first place and why was it shelved?

Your mix is a very pleasant surprise, as it come out of nowhere and it is high quality! Apart from TDB and OAI, have you done more 5.1 mixes of studio albums? I know it is slightly off topic, but Rick Wright's Broken China will sound great in surround :)
 

DuncanS

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Its a great 5.1 mix (I've the box set so got the Blu-ray), it really brings the album to life. So thanks Andy, please do some more:worthy
 

César

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Hello Andy, thanks a lot for spending your time answering to the questions of a bunch of surround freaks (music passionates overall).
On a technical side, I'd like to know which speakers you use and how's their placement and in general how's your listening environment. One of the things I admire in your mix is the three dimensional effect you achieved and how balanced the mix is.

Secondly, you've mentioned that you can live with lossy DTS while James cannot but, what's your view on SACD?

One the non tech side, may I ask why no outtakes from TDB were included? There are some circulating on the net really interesting.

And finally, did you get any involvement from the band while mixing the record? Richard's keyboards shine in the mix, did you get any feedback or input from him ten years ago?

Thank you very much!

(and hats off to Jon!)
 

timbre4

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Andy -

Thanks for sharing some of your time with the Pink Floyd fans @ QQ! We know the marketing decisions about schedules and formats are out of your hands. First that The Division Bell is even mixed in surround is a stunning, welcome surprise! Since I have been giving away the excess scarves and marbles accumulated from previous box set releases, I decided to order the stand-alone DVD and gamble that it included a DTS track and got that wish confirmed. I suspect a stand-alone Blu Ray will exist someday since all of the work has been done and this allows me to participate and enjoy it in the meantime. My copy is in transit now so I cannot ask any specific questions about the mix itself.

As for the 'Endless River' inquiry, Polly Sampson leaked this to the whole wide world just recently and it has been confirmed from multiple sources so it's safe to discuss one would imagine? If nothing can be said at this time in regards to a surround release of such title, we do have (or in my case will soon have) TDB to entertain us. How long ago was this TDB surround mix actually prepared?

Thanks again for getting the mix done well (based on the many accolades I'm reading) and for actually coming over here to inform us about this special anniversary release. Puts you way ahead of the pack! Cheers.

EDIT: Not 5 minutes later my son walks in with the disc package! Off to the listening area....
 

Andy Jackson

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OK some more responses:

Can you discuss both the technical and aesthetic decisions behind your (limited) use of the center channel in the Division Bell's surround mix?

As I'm sure many of you know, 5.1 is really a cinema format, with the centre channel used to 'hold' dialogue in particular to the centre of the screen for those sitting off centre in a theatre. How to use it in music mixing for home systems is unclear, and many people have adopted different approaches, some more successful than others. Truth is that by and large all we need is quad. Doing this album I pretty chose to ignore it, as it was a safe choice. Same is true mostly with the sub, which I only used occasionally, and then only with sound that was not also in the mains (it was a sub-harmonic generating processor). I've become a bit less conservative since, although still the basic idea that quad is enough is true.
 

Andy Jackson

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On various forums it has been mentioned that your mix was done 10 years ago. What was the reason for creating the surround mix in the first place and why was it shelved?

Your mix is a very pleasant surprise, as it come out of nowhere and it is high quality! Apart from TDB and OAI, have you done more 5.1 mixes of studio albums? I know it is slightly off topic, but Rick Wright's Broken China will sound great in surround


Oddly the question should be more why did we do the mix 10 years ago at all, when there were no plans to release it. I guess the answer is twofold, one, just to have it 'in the can' while there was nothing else going on, and the other was an act of generosity from David, I'd had a long period out with illness, and it was a really handy project to get me back working and on my feet financially, it's really nice that it's finally come out.

At this point Div Bell and OAI (and the one I can't mention) are the only studio albums I've done in surround, there have been 3 live dvds of David's but that's not the same sort of thing, as it pretty much needs to be 'what you see is what you hear', so stage at the front and hall around you. These days I don;t really work with anyone else, apart from mastering, so things are few & far between
 

Andy Jackson

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On a technical side, I'd like to know which speakers you use and how's their placement and in general how's your listening environment. One of the things I admire in your mix is the three dimensional effect you achieved and how balanced the mix is.

Secondly, you've mentioned that you can live with lossy DTS while James cannot but, what's your view on SACD?

One the non tech side, may I ask why no outtakes from TDB were included? There are some circulating on the net really interesting.

And finally, did you get any involvement from the band while mixing the record? Richard's keyboards shine in the mix, did you get any feedback or input from him ten years ago?


The mixes were done at David's houseboat studio. Speakers are all ATCs. Custom SCM150s for the front 3 and SCM50s for the rears. Due to limited space, we are actually slightly off spec. The rears are too far back, still on the circle. I also have a crappy set of cheap KEFs as a second reference, can't remeber what they are. I just went into a 'mid-fi' shop & said "what have you got that's low-average", followed by "OK, maybe not THAT bad" & ended up with them. Room is acoustically treated as you'd expect for any recording studio. There are plenty of pictures on the internet, search for Astoria

SACD sounds great, as you say James is a great evangelist for it. I don't have the position to call the shots though (strictly nor does James, he's just more inclined to argue the point!)

Outtakes: yes I've heard some of them that are around. There's one particular 'mix tape' doing the rounds. Odd thing is that some of it is real, some of it is fake. With the forthcoming 'album I can't talk about yet' a lot of things will see the light of day.

Input from the band. When I was doing it I sent David some mixes. We had a long chat about it where he basically encouraged me to be bold & not too reverent to the stereo, to do my own thing. He's quite happy to give us out head on these things. Rick has never particularly got involved in these things, strictly speaking, he wasn't 'in the band' at that point
 

Andy Jackson

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As for the 'Endless River' inquiry, Polly Sampson leaked this to the whole wide world just recently and it has been confirmed from multiple sources so it's safe to discuss one would imagine? If nothing can be said at this time in regards to a surround release of such title, we do have (or in my case will soon have) TDB to entertain us. How long ago was this TDB surround mix actually prepared?

No, still can't talk about Endless River, the 'leak' was damage limitation as a UK newspaper had got hold of the story

Div Bell was done late 2003 early 2004. So long ago that I can't remember it!
 

Clint Eastwood

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Are there any different challenges working with the blu ray format for audio? It appears a lot of people in your profession seem to avoid using blu ray for audio purposes. It seems to be ideal with it's massive storage capacity and it puzzles me why so many don't use it.
 

César

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Thanks again for the answer, glad to read that the album we can't talk about may have more contents that we can't speak about too :)
Funny thing knowing that some of the outtakes are fakes, need to listen again to them and try to guess which are the false ones.
 

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Andy, thankyou so much for your replies and love both of your mixes OAI and TDB.
Just wondering if you are aware that to make at least a DTS for the Dvd of both releases was a good choice as one should never just have it in DD(not intended for music only release)but even a better choice was available as if they had a DVD Audio layer it could/would have given a lossless option and would not have cost much more to reproduce if given to the right authoring house. Neil Wilkes who is a frequent poster from this site has authored some of the most beloved surround releases in past 10 years(Steven Wilson,King Crimson,XTC,YES,Porcupine Tree and many more) and all these releases have a Dvd Audio layer and what a joy it is to be able to play these disk's in a home as well as in car audio system and hear things as it was meant to be heard.
If a lossy option is only choice agree with you it should at least have a DTS option not sure where James Guthrie is coming from as DD only is terrible and come to think of it SACD is inferior to DVD audio as well.
I would love to have OAI and TDB in at least a Dvd Audio release or a Bluray release.

peter
 

kap'n krunch

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hi Andy , welcome to our great Forum!
Why isn't the DVD-V in 96/24 since it could've been (it was recorded amd mixed in analog ....wasn't it?)
 

timbre4

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Andy,
I'm four tracks in now and loving the enveloping quad ness and bottom end. May I enquirer as to the type of sub-harmonic processor employed?
Thanks, Tim


From QQ deep space
 

Andy Jackson

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Are there any different challenges working with the blu ray format for audio? It appears a lot of people in your profession seem to avoid using blu ray for audio purposes. It seems to be ideal with it's massive storage capacity and it puzzles me why so many don't use it.

James, who is the font of all wisdom concerning these things, has a concern around BD to do with it's copy protection. Essentially there is an encryption of the entire disc image that he says is not transparent. I have to be honest, I don't get involved in things that I can't control, life's too short and I've got other things to be doing, I've been simultaneously making my own album while I've been working on the recent project, which is a far more satisfying use of my time than badgering Sony.

My authoring guy tells me of a new 'audio only' BD format which sounds interesting: http://www.pureaudio-bluray.com/
 
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