Greg Calbi Interview

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A couple of years ago, Fab mixed the Kirk Whalum record (that went on to get a couple of Grammy nominations) which was mastered by Greg Calbi, one of the greatest mastering engineers in the world today.

At the time, listening to the mixes, Greg wondered how Fab could have gotten the bottom he got on the record. That was the beginning of Greg's relationship with the Dangerous BAX EQ. A few weeks ago we went with a camera to check on him (and his BAX) on behalf of our friends at Dangerous Music. During the interview he went on about many other things which we found very interesting so we thought we'd share.

Take a few minutes and listen to genuine audio wisdom from one of the few who can speak with a flawless track record.

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Greg Calbi

Greg calbi, a managing partner and senior mastering engineer at sterling sound, has mastered more than 7,500 albums in his 40 years of mastering.

Greg started his career in 1972 as an assistant studio engineer at the famed Record Plant. Eventually his path led to the mastering room. After only two years as an assistant, he began cutting vinyl for such 70?s classics as John Lennon's "Walls and Bridges", David Bowie’s “Young Americans” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run”.

Greg joined Sterling Sound at the inception of New York’s punk music scene. Greg mastered albums for The Ramones, Television, The Talking Heads and Patti Smith. In the mid 1980?s, after mastering Paul Simon’s “Graceland”, he began to add jazz and world music to his discography, including artists: Bill Frisell, Joshua Redman, Joe Lovano, Michael Brecker and Branford Marsalis.

Today, Greg Calbi continues to expand his eclectic discography.  Some of the acclaimed recent releases he has worked on include: The National’s “Trouble Will Find Me,” St. Vincent’s “Birth In Reverse,” Tame Impala’s “Lonerism,” Sara Bareilles’ “The Blessed Unrest,” The Beatles “The U.S. Albums [Boxset]” and Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett’s “Cheek to Cheek.”


Bruce Springsteen

John Lennon

Talking Heads

Paul Simon

Sarah McLachlan

David Sanborn

What do you have to say?
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2016 Jan 27
stems seem like such great way to work, but 1db up or down is such a massive change when so many instruments are included in one fader.....more subtle changes are the way to
2016 Jan 02
Love this! A lot of insight gained.
2015 Nov 26
Not sure I understood about the stem. Would I do the best mix I can then mute everything but the drums, everything but the vocals, everything but the guitar etc. So I would send the whole mix and some stem? Would that make the Mastering more expensive but allow more flexibility to the master engineer?
2015 Jan 08
Mastering is - 1> knowing what the song should sound like or how it needs to be adjusted aka finding problems, 2> knowing the environment/room/speakers where you master, 3> knowing your equipment (outboard) and software really well, 4> and being good with listening to client requests. That sums it up I think.
2014 Aug 11
Is this a sales pitch for the Bax or an educational video? I love the videos here on Pure Mix but this comes across like a shameless plug. I'm probably wasting my time with this comment as I have yet to see them post a negative comment and I've seen one of mine disappear. Prove me wrong and post it. I'm a paying customer and would rather see honest reviews of the videos. One more thing....the whole idea of stem mastering puts the mastering engineer in the position of the mix engineer. I remember seeing a video with George Massenburg being very critical of the whole idea of stem mixing.
2013 Jun 12
I work at a house of worship and the youth pastor and music director are both drummers. They LOVE CRASH-BANG cymbals.. They refuses to believe how detrimental that is to a live mix. Of course it does not help that they perform in a gym with minimal sound treatments.. You can only imaging the pain I go through trying to reign in the drums and the suffering I have trying to get the vocals out in front where they belong ... I am going to play them this video, especially the last 2 minutes, so they know it's not just me that suffers from "Cymbalitis".. Thanks!! Dano
2012 Jul 11
Haha, great interview, the end is funny.
2012 Jun 29
Fab,, Im using an analog compressor and eq along with some plugins into pro tools 10 to do my mastering..I using record at 48k 32 bit float.and my question is i use dither to 16bit on my slate fx virtual mastering processor plugin and print my track into pro when I'm exporting the track do i use the 16bit 44k option or leave it at 48k 32 bit float since the fx virtual mastering processor plugin was dither to 16 bit at the end of the chain before printing in pro tools??please someone clear this out for me.. Thank you
2012 May 09
Fab, Thanks A lot!! even if i print and export from protools..i do not use the bouncing option..
2012 May 09
@reymusic: you do not need to dither out of ProTools because the L2 basically empties the bottom 8 bits of every word on that digital stream, it leave sa bunch of zeros in there. You just need to truncate that to 16 and move on.
2012 May 09
Hey Fab, I master my track in protools in 48,24bit and use an external compressor and go back into pro tools also add the L2 Limiter plugin add the end of the chain..when I'm ready to print my track i dither the L2 in 16 bit and export the track in 16bit, i need to dither in pro tools as well or dither the L2 in 16bit at the end of the chain will bring my tack to 44,16bit?
2012 May 07
Very Informative coming from a true mastering Guru .. Nice, Julio Abreu
2012 Apr 30
Hey Fab! Great Video... Thanks for sharing! I had the pleasure of working with Greg on several projects! Truly is one of the GREATEST! Outstanding, down to earth human being as well! All the best, ~Iz