vern's verbal vibe

 

Thoughts from Toronto singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Vern Nicholson. I pontificate mostly on music (of course), with a smattering of sports, language and other fun miscellany.

Virtual Ballpark Experience 

As COVID restrictions, which I'm in full support of, continue in Ontario, one thing that I really miss is going to baseball games. To compensate, I've devised what I call the virtual ballpark experience. Here's what you need:

  • an interest in baseball (obviously)
  • subscription to MLB TV or MLB Audio (the latter is dirt cheap: US $19.99 for one year)
  • a device with which to watch a game
  • ballpark-esque food of your choice
  • (optional) a scorecard. This is the one I use; you might prefer something more or less elaborate
  • three to four distraction-free hours

If you have MLB TV, you can watch any game, live or archived, subject to blackout restrictions. Those of us on the cheaper plan can access home and away radio broadcasts of any game, including postseason, with no blackouts. Now, you'll note that earlier, I used the word "watch." How do you watch a game if you're limited to radio feeds? Simple. Every day in the regular season, the fine folks at MLB offer a free game of the day that radio listeners can access. And if you find the TV commentary too minimalist, which I often do when I'm scoring, you can overlay the radio feed. Of course, it helps if the free game of the day involves at least one team you care about, enough to cheer for or against them.

I've had some fun with the food aspect. I try to limit myself to food I can buy at my local ballpark, Rogers Centre. So, my dinner of choice is two mustard-drenched Yves veggie dogs, Smartfood Movie Night Butter popcorn (expertly mimics the dry stadium variety), a can of Coke and a bowl of Breyers chocolate ice cream. To really make it authentic, the Coke is served in the commemorative plastic cup ("White Sox, 2005 World Series champions") I got at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, where I saw Mark Buehrle's no-hitter in 2007. Over the years I've collected a fair number of those batting-helmet souvenir ice cream cups, and to honour my beloved cat (surely a Tiger fan), I serve the ice cream in a Detroit Tigers mini-helmet. I must admit, I do cheat a bit with the veggie dog toppings—grated old cheddar and diced tomatoes, neither of which are available at the ol' ball yard.

Once the food is ready, it's a matter of munching away, watching the game and filling out your scorecard. I can't think of a better way to spend a few hours. You're as "at" the ballpark as you can be, arguably more comfortable than the fans in the actual seats on a frigid April night at Fenway Park (a game I watched from home a few weeks ago). The only bummer is having to prep the food and do the dishes afterwards. Still, you can pause the game to cook, clean up, use the facilities, whatever, and not miss a single pitch. The MLB TV interface helpfully includes an in-progress box score and play summary, which makes scoring a breeze.

And you know, that old adage remains true: go to a baseball game and you never know what you'll see. The Seattle/Boston tilt I watched had the Mariners winning in extras, scoring 7 runs on 3 hits. The Seattle radio crew informed me that it's only the eighth time since 1901 that a team has scored seven or more runs on three or fewer hits (last time it happened was 1994). Also, I recently had the pleasure of scoring Joe Musgrove's historic no-hitter, the Padres' first (they went 52 years, 1 week or 8,205 games without one).

So, take yourself out to the ballgame! No need to leave your living room. You won't catch a foul ball or home run, but you can do the seventh-inning stretch if you'd like—a nice little wrinkle I'll try to remember for next time.

Restore Blue Jays Radio 

E-mail recently sent to Sportsnet, media conglomerate responsible for broadcasting all things Blue Jays:

---------------------------------------------------------------

Hello,

I'm writing to express my outrage at Sportsnet's decision to axe the Blue Jays radio broadcasts. I've been a Jays fan since 1977, and my primary means of processing information is auditory. As such, I don't even own a TV. I fell in love with the game on the radio—first with Tom Cheek and Early Wynn, then the legendary tandem of Tom and Jerry. Both are sorely missed, but in recent years I've enjoyed the quality work of Ben Wagner and Mike Wilner.

For those of us who aren't visual or are visually impaired, radio isn't a frill or an add-on. We need a dedicated radio broadcast in order to follow the game. Your stated reason for ditching the radio broadcasts (COVID-related travel concerns) simply doesn't pass muster. Ben and Mike did a phenomenal job in 2020 broadcasting off monitors from a Toronto studio. Don't kid yourselves. We, the fans, see this decision for what it is: a short-sighted cost-cutting measure.

Though you may not know or believe it, baseball is made for radio. The slower pace of the sport allows the broadcaster to weave into their commentary stories, stats, and baseball history. A great radio voice paints a picture for the listener, enabling us to effectively "be" at the ballpark through the magic of sound and experience the timeless feel of this grand old game.

Alas, as the 2021 spring slate begins, I have no way of following my team. The radio booth lies empty for the first time since 1976. Many Jays games have no radio coverage at all, and those that do feature the opposing team's broadcast. Obviously, their focus is not on the Blue Jays, who are just "the other team" on the field. Lest you think this won't affect my fandom, know that I'm seriously considering switching allegiances to one of the other 29 teams. Unlike you, they recognize the value for money that radio provides.

You also need to understand that I'm not a lone voice. I draw your attention to this petition, which has been signed by over 2,100 irate Blue Jay fans: https://www.change.org/su/p/rogers-media-keep-toronto-blue-jays-radio-broadcasts-alive/f

I urge you to end this travesty and restore to the airwaves a dedicated Blue Jays radio broadcast. Canada's only major-league team deserves better than bush-league media coverage.

Gear Spotlight: Vox Mini3 G2 Modelling Amp 

Peanut butter and jam. Snow and ice. Sand and surf. Certain things just naturally go together, don't they? Here's a more musical example: Vox amplifiers and Rickenbacker guitars, the epitome of mod cool in the '60s, '70s and beyond. While I save up to acquire the second component, a Rickenbacker 360 12-string, I recently acquired its mate. Introducing the Vox Mini3 G2 modelling amp:

Coming in at a very reasonable $200, the Vox Mini3 G2 is ostensibly a practice or busking amp, but don't let those three watts of output fool you: it packs quite a punch. At a little over 10 inches wide, it fits snugly into the corner nook of my tiny apartment. Size requirements aside, the main reasons for my purchase were twofold: one, to have an amplifier, period (I've not had one since I've been living in apartments—20 years now); and two, having a genuine Vox to pair with the coming Rickenbacker.

And I'll tell you, for $200, Vox has been more than generous in terms of features. The Mini3 G2 models 11 amplifiers, has two dedicated effects sections and a separate mic input with trim and effects send should you wish to busk or play a small club date. For you buskers out there, yes, it can run on batteries. There's also a simple tuner and a headphone out for late-night practice or, more importantly, a direct in to your recording device.

Let's dive in first to the effects, which are really quite impressive for this price point. The main effects section consists of compressor, chorus, flanger and tremolo, all controlled by an easy-to-use pot that increases either the depth or speed, depending on the effect. You can only use one of the four at a given time, but hey, for $200, I'll take it. (Back in my day, even high-end amplifiers had at most two effects: tremolo and reverb.) The second bank of effects features analog delay, tape echo, spring reverb and room reverb. Again, you can use only one at a time. The pot controls the dry/wet balance this time, but you can adjust the speed of the delays via an adjacent "tap" button that also doubles as a tuner.

The amp models, and what I think they're modelling, are:

  • BTQ Clean (Dumble Overdrive Special, clean channel)
  • Black 2x12 (Fender Twin Reverb)
  • Tweed 4x10 (Fender Bassman)
  • AC15 (Vox AC15)
  • AC30TB (Vox AC30, top boost)
  • UK '70s (Marshall JTM45)
  • UK '80s (Marshall JCM800)
  • UK '90s (Marshall JCM900)
  • Cali Metal (Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier)
  • US HiGain (Soldano SLO-100)
  • Line (tube preamp; i.e., neutral clean sound with no modelling)

Gain, tone and volume round out the controls, and what with the choice of amp models and two concurrent effects, this little dynamo produces a wide range of tones. I'm more the jangly, '60s/'70s singer-songwriter type, so the shred-o-rama models (UK '90s, Cali Metal, US HiGain) don't do much for me. Though I've found that even these can produce useful sounds if you turn down the gain.

The many models and effects are a bonus, but I was really after a Vox amp. And who better to model Vox than Vox, right? I put both Vox models through their paces with my Epiphone Les Paul, and they're fantastic: gritty, chimey, the sound of the swinging '60s. By switching between pickups on the guitar and adjusting gain and tone, a broad sonic palette is easily achieved with just the AC15 and AC30TB models. The UK '70s and Black 2x12 are terrific as well. The Tweed is very mid-range-y, perhaps excessively so, but might be useful in some applications.

Rather like buying the licence plate and bumper stickers before you get the car, along with the amp I bought a guitar strap, a stand and an extra set of strings. That way, when I finally pull the trigger on my coveted Rickenbacker 360/12, I can confidently and easily drive it straight off the lot, so to speak. More on that in the coming months ...

A Cautionary Tale: President Abbie Hoffman 

Imagine, if you will, an alternate reality where counterculture radical Abbie Hoffman was somehow elected president of the United States in 1972. Ridiculed as a lunatic by his opponents and considered a long shot even by ardent supporters, Hoffman lost the popular vote to incumbent Richard Nixon. But, due to a quirk in America's voting system, he squeaked through a narrow victory in the electoral college and, on January 20, 1973, assumed the presidency.

Predictably, sweeping and radical changes came swiftly to the US government. In March, Secretary of Defense Eldridge Cleaver was tasked with withdrawing all troops from Vietnam, followed by a complete dismantling of the military and all police forces. By July, Secretary of the Treasury Jerry Rubin had closed the New York Stock Exchange and eliminated the dollar as the basis of US currency, stating that money would henceforth be "free, because it's yours."

In 1974's infamous War on Sobriety, drug czars Grace Slick and Jerry Garcia oversaw the legalization of all drugs and the introduction of LSD into the country's water supply. 1975 saw Attorney General Allen Ginsberg grant clemency to all state and federal prisoners, in the process converting the country's empty prisons into ashrams and zendos. Ginsberg's other pet project was a month-long attempt to levitate the Pentagon via chanting.

By mid-1976 the United States was in tatters, and with Republican challenger Gerald Ford rising steadily in the polls, Hoffman published Steal This Election, a manifesto warning of the dire consequences of a Ford victory. In it, he insisted that Ford's candidacy was a CIA- and Mafia-backed plot, and indeed a threat to democracy itself. Ford's ascendancy in the polls, Hoffman argued, was nothing but a sure sign that the November election would be rigged. In the book's final chapter, Hoffman urged his supporters—hippies, yippies, anarchists and "lovers of freedom"—to take direct action should the November results be in Ford's favour.

Ford, of course, won the 1976 election handily, but Hoffman refused to concede. Scores of lawsuits alleging voter fraud were summarily tossed, even by such Hoffman-friendly judicial appointees as Bobby Seale and Bernadine Dohrn. As the president's conspiracy-themed rantings grew increasingly shrill and unhinged, Vice-President Huey Newton tried to talk him down from what had become his fixation: a violent revolution that would enshrine him in his rightful role as president ... for life.

One way or another, things had to come to a head. On January 6, 1977, two weeks before Ford's inauguration, thousands of self-styled "patriot freaks," fuelled by speed, cocaine and an early-morning rally with President Hoffman, stormed the US Capitol. Any remnants of a security force were swamped in minutes, as the rioters smashed windows and doors, desecrating the hallowed halls of Congress. "Start the steal!" they shouted as the melee unfolded. "The people's house belongs to the people!"

America, you have just endured four years of Abbie Hoffman's mirror image.

Reaction to the US Election 

After several nail-biting days, the US presidential election has finally been called in favour of Joe Biden. And though the current occupant can spew all the lawsuits and fury he wants, his case that the election was "rigged" has no merit. Zero. It's over, he's fired, and all that's left is for the authorities to drag him from the White House in handcuffs come inauguration day. (Yes, I'm convinced it'll come to that.)

CNN asked its viewers/readership how we felt about Biden's victory, and here's what I wrote:

"On this warm autumn day in downtown Toronto, I look out my front window and see that the house across the street has decorated its front railing in red, white and blue bunting. We're celebrating with you in our understated Canadian way. Your closest neighbours (yes, that's a 'u' in there; trust me, it belongs) are relieved and elated to welcome back the America we once knew: a beacon of freedom, decency and truth. We look forward to working alongside you to create a better, more equitable and sustainable future for all. May God bless, protect and guide Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, elected officials of all stripes, and the American people. Warmest congratulations to the new administration."

Listening to Biden's victory speech, I was struck by his conciliatory tone and how much he sounded like ... a traditional president-elect. How refreshing this is after four years of chaos, childish name-calling and "alternative facts." As CNN commentator Van Jones said in reaction to the speech, "Boring is the new thrilling. Predictable is the new exciting. And normal is the new extraordinary."

Cycling and Staycations 

Like many of you, I've been itching to travel but hesitant to do so, as safe conveyance remains an issue. That's especially true for those of us who rely on public and intercity transport to take us where we're going. Enter the venerable bicycle, which will take a non-athlete like me modest distances and get me some good exercise, too.

I bought a new bike recently, not out of indulgence but necessity. I seem to have reached old age a bit early, because back in May I fell off my old bike while trying to get on it. Lifting my leg that high has always been a challenge, but this was the final blow. Right then I realized I could no longer ride my bike safely and needed a new model with a lower crossbar. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Specialized Crossroads 2.0 Step-Through:

Now, back in the day, we used to call this a women's bike. As a certified male I'm grateful for the modern rebranding of "step-through," because whatever you want to call it, a bike like this is what I needed to keep cycling.

I'm very lucky to have procured mine, and here's why: even though it's a 2020 model, they're already impossible to find. The guy at my bike shop told me I snagged one of the last ones. See, back in the spring when the pandemic made public transport a dicey proposition, everyone took up cycling and mid-range bicycles like this flew off the shelves. From what I was told, it's hard to find any new bike these days for under $1500. In any case, the Specialized Crossroads 2.0 Step-Through has been out of stock on every bike-shop website under the sun since mid-June. There really aren't any left.

I won't bore you with bike-tech details, but here's what sold me on the Crossroads 2.0: (1) the lower crossbar, obviously; (2) 21 speeds, accessed by thumb-operated shifters; (3) mechanical disc brakes; (4) puncture-resistant Armadillo tires; (5) the reasonable price ($749). It's a beauty in appearance, handling and comfort—the perfect bike for recreational and fitness riding.

Now that the days are getting cooler, I'm starting to venture out a bit. Last weekend I had a picnic at Taylor Creek Park, which can be accessed from where I live almost entirely on bike paths. Yesterday's outing took me to The Beaches, again mostly on off-road trails. I'm aiming to bike out to Long Branch next weekend, and this I'm planning as a multi-modal trek, using GO's Lakeshore West train to shorten the ride back. In the coming weeks, weather permitting, I hope to make even more use of the GO train. With careful planning, I can take the train to far-flung places like Barrie and Burlington, tool around there on my bike and ride the rails back.

If you live in the Golden Horseshoe and are interested in active-transportation staycations, check out these helpful pages from GO Transit and the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail. If you're not a cyclist, not a problem. You can skateboard, roller-blade, hike ... whatever suits your fancy. As for me, I aim to squeeze in as many bike trips as I can before autumn's chill sets in.

Woodstock at 51 

As you all know, about a year ago I spent a three and half frenetic days recording XPNStock, WXPN's real-time broadcast of the entire 1969 Woodstock Festival in honour of its 50th anniversary. I'd missed out on the 38-CD box, and this was my one and only chance to grab its treasures—for free, no less. I then spent the better part of August and September painstakingly evaluating almost 36 hours of recorded audio: editing, trimming, patching and polishing it up until it positively sparkled. Problem was, by the time I was finished I was so burnt out that I couldn't bring myself to actually listen to it.

That's what 51st anniversaries are for. I'm a bit early, but I did all of Day 1 today: cranked up the old computer speakers and (finally) got to kick back and enjoy the music. I'm still amazed at how good it sounds, and so grateful to have procured the lot for nothing but dedication and diligence. Takeaways: Richie Havens' opening set was, well, groovy. Sweetwater featured a unique sound and some great jamming, but must work on the harmonies, kids. Bonus points  for the flat-out weirdest song performed at the festival, "My Crystal Spider." Bert Sommer was a top-rank songwriter, and it's a shame his career never took off. His is the great "lost" performance of the festival. Tim Hardin's performance, though wildly uneven, really had its moments. Ravi Shankar? Less talk, more rock. I loved what was played but grew impatient with the musicology class he threatened to turn his set into. Melanie is not my cup of tea at all, but even she had a couple of gems amongst the caterwauling. Arlo Guthrie's performance was by turns ragged, hilarious and inspired, and Joan Baez capped off the day in fine form.

WXPN is reprising XPNStock, but they're playing the sets over a full week, in prime time, in what looks to be a bit of a random order. Had I missed anything last time I'd tune in, but I'm pretty sure I got all there was to get. Now it's time to enjoy. Day 2 coming up ...

Mixing Like It's 1965 

So, I'm recording a cover of "Spanish Harlem Incident" by The Byrds. It's really a cover of a cover, as their version is a rearrangement of a Bob Dylan song. With some covers, I like to give the song a little twist or take it in a new direction. Others are so perfect as they are that my goal is to faithfully reproduce them. For me, "Spanish Harlem Incident" falls into the latter camp.
 
Right off the top I was in a bit of trouble, as I don't own a Rickenbacker 360 electric 12-string, which is what Roger McGuinn plays on this track. I put my Takamine acoustic 12 through a Line 6 Pod to create a facsimile, but it's really not the same. (Until I can summon the 3,645 Canadian pesos it takes to purchase my dream guitar, I'll have to live with the electrified acoustic.) Fortunately, I can replicate pretty much everything else. Michael Clarke, especially in his early years, was a very paint-by-numbers sort of drummer and so am I, so programming his parts was easy. For David Crosby's rhythm guitar, I simply had to think 1965. There were no guitar effects yet, and if you wanted a little crunch you just turned your amp up. Crosby, I think, played a Gretsch of some sort; I used an Epiphone Les Paul. I created a custom preset on my Bass Pod to simulate Chris Hillman's tone: very warm and just a bit fuzzy. Chris's bass of choice was a Guild Starfire, and my Epiphone Jack Casady proved to be a perfect substitute.
 
So far, so good. But to really make it sound like 1965, I wanted to simulate the stereo panning they used, which by today's standards is nutty. McGuinn's guitar is alone, hard left. His vocal, along with Crosby's and Gene Clark's harmonies, is in the middle. Everything else is panned hard right: that would be the entire drum kit, bass, rhythm guitar and tambourine.
 
Why would anyone record (and pan) in this way? Well, consider that four-track machines were barely available in 1965. My guess is that The Byrds and producer Terry Melcher recorded the Mr. Tambourine Man LP on a three-track at Columbia Studios, Hollywood, in early 1965. So, the session for this song may have gone down something like this. For the backing track, McGuinn's guitar was recorded on Track 1 with the rest of the band on Track 2, likely all in the same take. That left only one track, Track 3, for the vocals, which would have been sung simultaneously and mixed on the fly. (And in this case "mixing" probably meant, "David, you're too loud. Can you stand back about six feet? No. Make it four. That's good.")
 
Panning in 1965 was also limited. You had your choice of three fixed positions: left, centre and right. Given all these recording and mixing limitations, the wacky panning scheme actually makes sense. You're stuck with all the instruments save McGuinn's guitar on one track not because you want it that way—there was simply no other way to record the whole band at once and give some prominence to the main instrument, the chiming 12-string.
 
Back here in 2020, I live in a world of 24 tracks, my recording studio is about half the size of a pillow and I can record a whole album in my bedroom. Recording 1965-style doesn't come naturally. For this song, I laid down each piece of the drum kit separately, later overdubbing the tambourine, bass and rhythm guitar. Nevertheless, I'm sticking the lot on the right side like The Byrds did, in a spirit of homage and as a fun mixing challenge. And let me tell you: when you've got kick drum, snare, hi-hat, three cymbals, floor tom, bass guitar, rhythm guitar and tambourine all in your right ear, it's quite difficult to tell what's too loud, too quiet and just right. Try it and you'll gain an appreciation for how brilliant some of these '60s producers and engineers really were.

Finger Issues 

So, it's now been three months since I injured my left ring finger in a cycling accident. Getting proper medical attention in the midst of COVID-19 has been a challenge, but to date I've had one in-person doctor's appointment, an x-ray, an ultrasound and several phone appointments with my doctor. Diagnosis is progressing even if treatment isn't.
 
I still don't have an exact diagnosis—the ultrasound revealed some swelling and inflammation of the tendon, and that's it—but we know what it isn't: there's no fracture, dislocation or break. The next step is an appointment with a plastic surgeon to discuss whether or not I should have surgery, and it may take a good while to schedule said appointment.
 
Medical considerations aside, how is my finger? Well, it's bent and swollen, but it looks worse than it feels. There's no pain, and I can type as if nothing happened. (This is very good indeed, because I type for a living.) I've found no discernible impact on any of my daily activities but one, and it's a big one: playing my stringed instruments. Again, there's no pain. The problem is limited mobility. Certain chords, like F#m and any minor barre chord in that position right up the neck, are impossible to play; others, I can play but it takes several seconds to change to and from them. Sort of a "This finger goes here, and that one goes there, and then this one goes over here" approach. Yes, Gsus4, I'm talking 'bout you.
 
Fortunately, I can still record music and am doing so as we speak. I'm not the greatest guitarist to begin with, so I often stitch parts together on different tracks then bounce them to create a composite whole. The damaged finger only means there's more stitching than usual. I recently pieced together a pretty hot solo that sounds like a fluent guitarist who really knows what he's doing. It's all done with mirrors, and even more so than before. But that's okay. What matters is that the final product sounds good. I've yet to encounter anything I cannot play if I break it down into sufficiently small bits.
 
It's performing I'm increasingly concerned about. As it stands, I can't play several songs in my repertoire, including some of my own. At least not without the "Hey, folks, wait for five seconds till I can find the next chord" thing. Capos and alternate fingerings may yet offer viable workarounds, but still, it's disheartening. On the bright side, I suppose this is as good a time as any to be unable to perform, as most venues remain shuttered.
 
Anyway, until I chat with the surgeon I'm not sure what I'll do. Whatever this is, it doesn't seem to be improving on its own. But surgery brings its own concerns, not the least of which is how long I'll have to be the incredible one-handed typist.

Mastering and Deep Editing, or How to Bake a Cake Through Music 

In the course of mixing and mastering my latest creation, a cover of The Flamin' Groovies' "Shake Some Action," I realized anew that the Zoom R24's mastering presets are woeful, and only deep editing will salvage them. (See February's post for a full critique.)

As I noted back in February, mastering a song is kind of like icing a cake. To further the analogy, you want to apply the right icing—e.g., chocolate icing on a chocolate cake, not strawberry-peach-mint—in the right amount, and whatever you do should enhance the cake's inherent good qualities, not fundamentally alter them. The R24's presets, without exception, fail on all three counts.

Of the unit's 20 presets, 18 are so abysmal as to be useless even as starting points for editing. Two are marginal. Continuing with the cake metaphor, the built-in presets give you way too much strawberry-peach-mint icing on what was supposed to be a chocolate cake and they'll change your cake into cornbread. You're left with a monstrosity that sounds nothing like your original mix.

I've tried editing the marginal presets (14 Clarify and 20 Maximizr, for the record). Unfortunately, I'm groping in the dark. The parameters are named such that it's impossible to set EQ and compression the way you would in a DAW. I can adjust things like "Mix High," "Sense Mid," "Xover Lo" and so on, but don't know what exactly it is I'm cutting or boosting. I have only my ears as a guide. Anyway, I've toned down Maximizr so it's not quite so crazy with the level boost and squashing, but still haven't achieved the desired result, which is a subtle enhancement of my mix.

Initial experiments with Clarify have been more promising. In its original form, Clarify sucks up your bass and low mids and adds a harsh, brittle high end, almost like a transistor radio. In other words—icky kiwi-fruit icing, too much of it, and it changes your chocolate cake into shepherd's pie. I've dialled down a few settings and subtly boosted others, and after A/B'ing my untreated mix with the modified preset, I think I'm close to what I've been after all along: a subtle enhancement. In other words, a dash of high-quality chocolate icing on a chocolate cake, bringing out le gâteau's chocolatey goodness.

If you own a Zoom R24 and want to try this out yourself, here's precisely what I did. My changed values are in bold, in brackets; if a value isn't listed, I left it as is.

Mastering Preset 14 Clarify - Vern's Modification

3Band Comp

Xover Lo: 200 Hz (125 Hz)
Sense Mid: 5 (8)
Sense Low: 4 (9)
Mix Low: -2 (1)

Normalizer
 
Normalizer: 2 (4)

3Band EQ
 
Bass: -1 (1)
Middle: 0 (1)
Treble: 0 (1)

Dimension/Reso

Type: None (Dimension)
Rise1: Off (6)
Rise2: Off (6)

Total
 
Patch Lvl: 25 (20)
ZNR: 10 (Off)

This edit was then saved as a new preset: 22 V Clear. Further tweaking might be necessary, but now I've got a mastering preset that broadly does what it's supposed to—add a level boost, a little brightness and some subtle compression to my mix. And my chocolate cake is still a chocolate cake!