The BBB Featuring Bernie Dresel

Producer's Notes

Producer’s Notes: Technical Overview Of The Monster Music® SuperDisc Auro-3D® 9.1-Channel Immersive Sound Recording Project—The BBB Featuring Bernie Dresel – Live N’ Bernin’

Gary Reber

Reber Productions

            The Monster Music® SuperDisc Auro-3D 9.1 Pure Audio Blu-ray Disc DigiPak is one of the releases in a multi-release production of The BBB Featuring Bernie Dresel – Live N’ Bernin’. In addition to the Pure Audio Blu-ray Disc release there are a audiophile Linear PCM CD, two-disc gatefold audiophile 180-gram vinyl LP, two-reel audiophile analog tape box set, and Hi-Res stereo and surround download releases.

The following are the particulars of the Monster Music SuperDisc Hi-Res Auro-3D® 9.1-channel Immersive Sound recording project that I produced—The BBB Featuring Bernie Dresel – Live N’ Bernin’. Produced under my Reber Productions company, the “Live” Recording Event took place on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 at Joe’s Great American Bar & Grill in Burbank, California.

            Bernie Dresel’s jazz orchestra, The BBB, is without question one of Los Angeles’ most exciting large jazz ensembles, if not on the planet. It is one of the most innovative and original hard-swinging large jazz ensembles ever. The BBB provides potent testimony to the sheer exhilaration of big band jazz...a combination of intense swing and fiery soloing, as well as tight ensemble playing, powered by Bernie Dresel’s extraordinary drumming talents.

            The BBB is comprised of 16 seasoned pros on the Los Angeles studio scene. Populated by LA’s finest players, The BBB delivers a contemporary, highly original sound featuring the witty, intricate, and hard-swinging compositions of established and up-and-coming composers and arrangers. And like those other famous jazz orchestras such as Buddy Rich’s, Count Basie’s, Woody Herman’s, Stan Kenton’s, Maynard Ferguson’s, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis’ and Gerald Wilson’s, the music and delivery of The BBB’s music is nothing less than astonishing when experienced live. The sound has a contemporary, dynamic, and hard-swinging energy, with a focused edge to it that is like no other jazz orchestra, though, reminiscent of Buddy Rich’s ensembles. The instrumental makeup is unique in that there is no piano but jazz/rockin’ electric guitar instead, in addition to four trumpets, four trombones, five saxophones, and upright acoustic slap bass and drums. When people hear Bernie’s BBB, the first thing that hits them is its energy and intensity.

            At the helm of The BBB is jazz drummer extraordinaire Bernie Dresel. Bernie is the first-call drummer and percussionist on the Hollywood stage for motion picture and television soundtracks. Count Basie, Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman, Duke Ellington, Buddy Rich, Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Tower Of Power, among many other established and new jazz orchestra composers and arrangers, fill the book for the music his band makes today. And like those other bands, Dresel’s rendering style is nothing less than exciting, driven by one of the most accomplished jazz drummers in the world.

            Established in 2014, The BBB plays monthly at jazz clubs in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

            Prior to forming his own jazz orchestra, Bernie backed Maynard Ferguson, the Brian Setzer Orchestra, and Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band. Bernie served 15 years for both Setzer and Goodwin. He has been the drummer on numerous Brian Setzer Grammy Award®-winning recordings and more recently on every recording that Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band has released, including the Grammy Award winners.

            Bernie’s credits with respect to motion picture and television soundtracks represent “A” movie projects and such television work as The Simpsons and Family Guy. (See full credits on The BBB Web site at www.thebbb-berniedresel.com.)

The Project

            The Monster Music SuperDisc Hi-Res Auro-3D Immersive Sound music concert release features 67 minutes of new compositions and arrangements recorded in a state-of-the-art “live” Immersive Sound concert production.

            The program features consummate drummer Bernie Dresel leading his powerhouse BBB in a “live” performance capture of original compositions and arrangements.

            The BBB Featuring Bernie Dresel – Live N’ Bernin’ concert recording is being distributed in multiple audio formats, including SuperDisc Hi-Res Auro-3D 9.1-channel Immersive Sound 96-kHz/24-bit Pure Audio Blu-ray Disc DigiPak, audiophile CD mastered from the 96-kHz/24-bit master, two-disc gatefold analog audiophile 180-gram vinyl stereo LP mastered from the 96-kHz/24-bit master, stereo reel-to-reel analog audiophile tape box set (The Tape Project) mastered from the 96-kHz/24-bit master, and 44.1-kHz/16-bit and 96-kHz/24-bit Digital Downloads (stereo and surround). The Tape Project release is a two-channel stereo mix on 15-ips (inches per second) reel-to-reel tape transferred from the 96-kHz/24-bit high-resolution master. (See www.thetapeproject.com)

            The Pure Audio Blu-ray Disc contains four Hi-Res 96-kHz/24-bit streams: Auro-3D 9.1, Linear PCM 5.1, DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1 and Linear PCM 2.0.

            The Monster Music packaging features include (depending on the release format):

            • Producers’ Notes—project background and approach

            • Photos, videos, audio, artist info and more

            • High-resolution photographs of concert

            • Exclusive interviews with Bernie Dresel and the producers

            • Discussions on Auro-3D Immersive Sound production, multi-channel recording and mixing techniques

            • The Technical Production

The Technical Production

            The live performance took place in Burbank, California at Joe’s Great American Bar & Grill, an intimate audience venue The BBB often performs in and whose acoustics are well suited to the project. The BBB performed two one-hour sets of jazz charts, with an initial 30 minutes securing sound checks. The emcee for the evening was Bubba Jackson, renowned KJAZZ 88.1 FM radio personality.

            The BBB was captured on Avid ProTools® (34 tracks), from which a Native Auro-3D 9.1-channel master audio soundtrack was derived. The performance was recorded on 34 full-range discrete digital channels with 96-kHz/24-bit resolution using ALL AEA (Audio Engineering Associates) large-ribbon microphones fed to an API mixing console with ATI 8MX2 audiophile microphone preamps, using the large MU3 Studio On Wheels remote recording truck to capture the tracks on ProTools and monitor the recording.

The AEA microphones consisted of five R88 Mk2s (stereo), five R84, nine NUVO N8, and nine NUVO N22. (See the Auro-3D Immersive Sound Mix Diagram.) AEA microphones feature the company’s Big Ribbon™ technology and are renowned for their warm, even sound with a wonderfully smooth top end and deep bass extension. Rooted in the RCA microphone tradition, all AEA microphones are designed to offer a fresh approach to the ribbon transducer and represent founder Wes Dooley’s take on the evolution of the ribbon microphone.

Our primary overall orchestra microphone was the R88 Mk2, essentially a pure ribbon stereo version of AEA’s famed R84. Each 2.35- x 0.185-inch element is a corrugated native pressure-gradient ribbon transducer that is 1.8-micron thin. The frequency response is 20 Hz to 20 kHz (useable output to 40 kHz) with a maximum SPL of 165 dB above 1 kHz! As with the R84, the sound is big and warm, yet natural and open. Five R88s, wired with Wireworld® Platinum Eclipse™ cable, were used in the recording: primary ear level front and height stereo pickup, ambient surround ear level and height stereo pickup, and overhead drum kit stereo pickup.

The AEA NUVO N8, used for instrument pickup, is perhaps the most open and natural-sounding ribbon microphone ever made. The frequency response is 20 Hz to 20 kHz (useable output to 40 kHz) with a maximum SPL of 141 dB above 1 kHz!

The NUVO N22 features the top-end clarity of a condenser design with a ribbon’s smoothness. Phantom powered and designed for close-up use with minimal proximity effect, the N22 uses a custom German toroidal transformer for 12 dB more gain.

AEA’s R84s, N8s and N22s were all wired with Monster® ProLink® Studio Pro 2000® microphone cables and used on the trombone section and upright slap bass, saxophone section, trumpet section, and the drums and electric guitar, respectively. The electric guitar was wired with Monster Studio Pro 2000 Angled Guitar cable.

The 34-track (26 band and 8 ambient) mix was stored on two Samsung 850 Pro Series SATA III solid-state drives. There was no compression, limiting or EQ applied during recording and mixing.

            The live recording mix in the Studio On Wheels remote studio was monitored on a $250,000 multi-award-winning CAT (California Audio Technology) audiophile performance two-channel CAT MBX 900 Trinity loudspeaker system, along with two CAT MBX S8 Miramar 12-inch aluminum subwoofers. A CAT engineering team was on-site to calibrate and tune the CAT MBX loudspeaker system the day of the recording using a CAT MBX 12x12 DSP (digital signal processor). The system was powered at the mixing board by a CAT MBX 300.2 FD amplifier and the revolutionary SAE 2HP-D power amplifier. The SAE (Scientific Audio Electronics) amplifier achieves an industry-leading  >128 dB of signal-to-noise ratio and THD of only .001 up to 10 watts and less than .01 at full power. The fully differential, fully balanced, push/pull ultra-high-performance Class A/B SAE 2HP-D amplifier delivers 750 watts (over 1 horsepower) per channel into 8 Ohms and over 2,000 watts of burst power (per channel). The SAE 2HP-D is world renowned for its ultra clean power, speed, accuracy, musicality and quietness. CAT’s world-class stereo audiophile performance has been given top accolades from numerous “A” list recording artists, studio engineers, and critics around the globe.

            The CAT/SAE monitoring system was connected with Monster Prolink’s finest cables.

            The 96-kHz/24-bit Auro-3D 9.1 and Linear PCM 5.1 and PCM 2.0 master audio tracks were mixed, pre-mastered and mastered at Galaxy Studios in Mol, Belgium (see http://www.galaxystudios.com/), renowned worldwide for its leading and state-of-the-art innovation in sound recording and reproduction. It is the home of Auro Technologies and the Auro-3D format (see http://www.auro-3d.com/), which became the first true 3D Immersive Sound audio format with end-to-end solutions for all markets. The mixing was performed by Tonmeister Patrick Lemmens, who recorded and mixed many albums in Auro-3D, as well as many scorings for international movies. (See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQi_bnO0tas) The pre-mastering and mastering for the releases was performed by Tom Van Achte at Galaxy Studios. The authoring of the Pure Blu-ray Disc was performed by Stefan Bock at MSM Studio Group in Munich, Germany. The 96-kHz/24-bit stereo master was recorded to a Nagra Seven two-channel digital recorder used for mastering.

            And for those guests in the venue who wished to hear what the recording engineers heard during the live capture, Monster provided a headphone listening station to listen to the “live” two-channel mix through Monster DNA Pro 2.0 Headphones.

Immersive Sound

            Immersive Sound is “Surround Sound with Height,” adding the third and missing dimension in sound reproduction. A height layer is added on top of the two-dimensional 5.1 multi-channel format. In order to experience this third dimension, the master recording is delivered on the new Pure Audio Blu-ray™ format in 96-kHz/24-bit resolution.

            The Auro-3D sound format is the next generation in audio, marking an exciting leap forward from standard Stereo and Surround Sound that increases the dramatic impact of recorded musical performances, to create a natural 3D listening experience. Thanks to its backwards compatibility, Auro-3D mixes of film or music are released on standard Blu-ray Discs, and the Auro-Matic® upmixing engine allows existing collections of music and film soundtracks, whether in 5.1 or 7.1 multi-channel, to be rendered in Immersive Sound.

            The Auro-3D format is available in many consumer applications, with mobile, automotive, and soon also gaming versions, all bringing a new immersive and true three-dimensional sound as intended by the creators to all consumers.

            The Auro-3D mix creates an exciting three-dimensional soundscape provided by the addition of Auro-3D’s revolutionary Height Layer, which creates a very specific way to produce a “vertical stereo field” all around the listener. In the case of The BBB project, more natural sound (more harmonics and depth) are perceived from the front loudspeakers while the ear-level surrounds and back height surrounds create a 3D natural Immersive Sound field reproducing the natural spatial ambience of the venue and the audience. The listening experience is like “being there.”

            Auro-3D is an exciting move from ear-level two-dimensional surround sound formats to three-dimensional sound with height and is the only sound system on the market that has both 5.1/7.1 Surround and Auro-3D 9.1/11.1 in just one standard PCM delivery file, delivering 96-kHz/24-bit high-resolution audio in each channel, making easy distribution on any system in the world possible.

The Venue

The venue was Joe’s Great American Bar & Grill in Burbank, California, which was built in 1947. This is a very small-audience, intimate club with wood walls and excellent acoustics.

Background

            Over the years I have produced and recorded a couple of amazing jazz drummers, Shelly Mann and Buddy Rich. I had followed Bernie Dresel when he was the drummer for The Brian Setzer Orchestra and Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band. Sometime in early 2011, I introduced myself to Bernie and subsequently supported his desire to form his own jazz orchestra. I recorded Bernie leading a jazz orchestra in 2011, with an amazing live performance tribute to Buddy Rich. This was particularly dear and exciting to me because in 1985, I produced and recorded Buddy’s last recordings, the Emmy® Award-winning Mr. Drums: Buddy Rich And His Band Live On King Street video concert special, including The Channel One Suite Set and The West Side Story Set, both in SQ surround. A wide variety of products were spun from those recordings.

Supporting Partners

            As I approached producing this recording project, I enlisted the support of Wilfried Van Baelen, CEO of Auro Technologies and Galaxy Studios in Belgium; Noel Lee, The Head Monster of Monster Products Inc. and Monster Music; and Brian Barr, CEO of California Audio Technology (CAT) and President of Scientific Audio Electronics (SAE) as Executive Producers.

 We expect to enlist other manufacturers of home theatre and surround music equipment and jazz organizations to support the distribution outreach for the various product releases, which include the DigiPak (SuperDisc Auro-3D Pure Audio Blu-ray Disc), audiophile CD, two-disc gatefold audiophile 180-gram vinyl LP, two-reel audiophile analog tape box set and standard- and high-resolution stereo and surround downloads.

            John Falzarano’s MU3 Studio On Wheels was used to capture the 34-track live recording (see http://recordingtruck.powweb.com). The remote studio was equipped with an API mixing console, ATI 8MX2 audiophile microphone preamps, and Avid ProTools® recording software.

            Noel Lee, The Head Monster at Monster Products provided the Monster ProLink Studio Pro 2000 microphone cables and electric guitar cable. (See http://www.monsterproducts.com)

CEO David Salz provided the Wireworld® Platinum Eclipse™ stereo microphone cables to wire the AEA R88 Stereo Microphones. (See www.thecableco.com)

             CAT – California Audio Technology’s CEO Brian Barr equipped the Studio On Wheels with CAT MBX 900 Trinity monitor loudspeakers and MBX S8 Miramar subwoofers, and performed the on-site engineering/calibration/tuning. (See http://www.calaudiotech.com)

            Brian Barr also powered the CAT monitoring system with an SAE 2HP-D amplifier. (See http://hear-sae.com)

 Auro Technologies’ CEO Wilfried Van Baelen provided the mixing and mastering of all masters at Galaxy Studios in Mol, Belgium (see http://www.galaxystudios.com/about-us).

Audio Technology Switzerland provided the Nagra Seven two-channel digital audio master recorder. (See http://www.nagraaudio.com/nagra-seven/)

            Monster Music is the release label for all formats.

Paul Stubblebine‘s, Michael Romanowski’s and Dan Schmalle’s The Tape Project is the release company for the two-reel boxed analog tape (see http://tapeproject.com/).

Outreach

            A focus of the outreach will be to promote the recordings through Drum Workshop, DrumChannel.com, Drum! Magazine and Modern Drummer to thousands of drummers internationally, and the CD release will be promoted on national and international radio stations. Additionally, a Facebook resource has been created to promote awareness and interest in the releases, and various clips and downloads will be promoted on CD Baby, iTunes Music Store, HD Tracks (stereo and surround), iTrax (stereo and surround), Acoustic Sounds (stereo and surround) and other high-resolution music outlets. (See https://www.facebook.com/thebbbberniedresel)

About

About: Bernie Dresel, Artist

            Bernie Dresel has been one of the busiest studio and live musicians in the world as both a drummer and percussionist since moving to Los Angeles in 1983 after graduating from the prestigious Eastman School of Music. He has traveled the world, occupying the coveted drum chair for Grammy Award-winning Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band since its inception in 1999. And also, for an overlapping 15 years (1992 to 2006), he was the drummer for the multi-Grammy Award-winning Brian Setzer Orchestra, selling close to 4 million records. Modern Drummer magazine’s readers’ poll named Bernie “Best Big Band Drummer” and Drum! Magazine has put him on their list of “53 Drummers Who Made a Difference in the ’90s” as well as honoring him with a Drummie® for Best Big Band Drummer. His complete list of motion picture and television credits is extensive, and are listed at www.thebbb-berniederesel.com.

About: Gary Reber, Producer

            Throughout the 1980s I produced and recorded a number of music concert video specials for cable, television, CD, LaserDisc, and DVD. These projects were produced and recorded using multi-channel digital audio, along with SQ surround sound technology. I have worked with such artists as Buddy Rich, Stan Kenton, Shelly Mann, Lionel Hampton, Rob McConnell Boss Brass, Bill Watrous, David Bowie, Dolly Parton, DEVO, and others. The various “on-location” digital audio and surround sound/concert music video programming was licensed to users such as Sony, HBO, MGM/UA, ON-TV, PBS, and others. One of the projects was a 1982 “live” pay-per-view 3D broadcast event on ON-TV on Halloween Eve with the groups DEVO and Wall Of Voodoo at the Warner Beverly Hills Theatre.

            I also produced and recorded a Concert Jazz Series, experimenting with “live” multi-track and two-track Sony professional digital audio equipment. That series was produced under my DIG•IT Recordings video and audio records label. In 1983, using the new professional Sony PCM-1610 digital processor, I released, in association with Sony Corporation of America, a Compact Disc sampler, which Sony used as a bonus CD provided to new purchasers of Sony’s first CD player, the CDP-101.

            I have recorded various private projects since founding in 1992 the serious enthusiast home theatre magazine Widescreen Review, including Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, the Buddy Rich Alumni Band, and Bernie Dresel’s BBB numerous times. Once a saxophone player, I have always had a keen interest in jazz, particularly big band orchestrated jazz, since first being introduced to Stan Kenton as a young boy, and have produced, recorded, and been associated with a number of famous jazz artists over the years.

            Related Links: (http://www.google.com/search?q=Gary+Reber+Buddy+Rich) and (http://www.widescreenreview.com)

About: Galaxy Studios

            In late May/early June, 2016 I contributed, as producer, to the post-production mix of The BBB Featuring Bernie Dresel—Live N’ Bernin’ recordings in Native Auro-3D 9.1 and other formats.

            Galaxy Studios (home of Auro-3D) is the most impressive recording and dubbing stage studio I have ever experienced, and I have experienced numerous studios and dubbing stages over the years in the United States and Europe (including Abby Road Studios in London).

            Galaxy Studios, which is located in the countryside near Antwerp, Belgium, is a bunker complex, weighing 1,500 tons, built on springs. The facility is comprised of 15 sound rooms (with record-breaking noise isolation). The full-concrete bunker construction is comprised of 33 centimeters (a little over 1 foot) of concrete foundation thickness, with an inter-room background noise floor of just 14 dBA with the air-conditioning system on. The interior spaces are so quiet that one can hear their own internal body systems. All the sound rooms have in excess of 100-dB noise isolation, down to less than 3 Hertz.

            Several rooms are equipped for Auro-3D post-production. The first room to be equipped was the result of collaboration between Galaxy Studios’ Wilfried van Baelen and AMS Neve, which produced the first Immersive Sound mixing console, the 88D. The $1-million-plus console was ordered in 2006 and delivered in 2010. This was the first-ever big room in Auro-3D. The 88D features 3D panning and 3D routing, both internally. Galaxy’s Neve console has 2,000 channels inside at 48 kHz or 1,000 at 96 kHz or 500 at 192 kHz, with 16 stereo auxiliaries, 8-band EQ, and for each channel an expander gate and compressor. Every expander and gate compressor has its own side chain filter. This is a state-of-the-art console, which was used to mix the 34-track, 96-kHz/24-bit tracks recorded for our Auro-3D 9.1-channel Monster Music SuperDisc Pure Audio Blu-ray Disc release of The BBB.

            CAT (California Audio Technology), EgglestonWorks, Genelec, Meyer Sound, and PMC professional monitors are a few of the loudspeaker systems employed at Galaxy Studios. The mixes were monitored over Genelec professional monitor loudspeakers. BGW, CAT, Perreaux, and SAE are a few of the amplifier brands employed at Galaxy Studios, which can accommodate whatever kind of brand that the engineers want for any given project.

Now It’s Time To Listen

            The recording/mix engineers, musicians, and audience truly enjoyed this unparalleled event. In particular, the recording/mix engineers enjoyed state-of-the-art audio monitoring equipment. The SAE 2HP-D amplifier meters were dancing in time with the band and the audience.

            Live N’ Bernin’ was a very challenging but exciting project to produce in Auro-3D 9.1 Immersive Sound. I hope you enjoy this SuperDisc Hi-Res Auro-3D 9.1 Pure Audio Blu-ray Disc DigiPak, as well as the other project releases – audiophile Linear PCM CD, two-disc gatefold audiophile 180-gram vinyl LP, two-reel audiophile analog tape box set, and Hi-Res stereo and surround download releases.