Spatial Audio File

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Mike Mettler  |  Feb 23, 2024  |  3 comments

Whenever the calendar turns over to a new year, there’s a pretty good chance a new Steve Hackett solo album will also be in tow and ready to greet our collective ears. And lo, what do you know—early 2024 has indeed blessed us with the presence of the onetime Genesis guitarist/vocalist’s (yes) 30th solo album, The Circus and the Nightwhale (InsideOut Music). Naturally, the 1CD/1BD mediabook version of the genre-straddling Circus includes a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix of its 13 tracks done by Hackett’s longtime keyboardist, Roger King. During a recent Zoom interview, music editor Mike Mettler and Hackett discussed the importance of sound placement in the Nightwhale surround mix, what his favorite Genesis song in 5.1 is, and what Genesis track they’d both like to hear most in Atmos.. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Jan 26, 2024  |  1 comments

With apologies to the late, great Tom Petty, we do know how it feels to be Ryan Ulyate, thanks to the open book approach the acclaimed producer/engineer has taken with the songwriting and subject matter that dominates his very first solo album, Act 3, which has also been nominated for a Best Immersive Audio Album Grammy. During a recent Zoom interview, music editor Mike Mettler and Ulyate discussed how he learned about his Grammy nomination, why the immersive Atmos palette gives him the additional space needed to take more of an orchestral approach with his mixes, and why the cover image for Act 3 is the perfect full-circle choice to best reflect his life’s work. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Dec 29, 2023  |  6 comments

It seems like everyone is riding the immersive audio wave these days, which ultimately isn’t such a bad thing at all to see our favorite format reach the ears of as many spatially interested and Atmos-curious listeners as possible. With that in mind, here are my choices for the ten best and most thoroughly immersive audio albums of 2023, which appear as follows in reverse order from 10 to 1. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Nov 30, 2023  |  0 comments

Phil Manzanera likes thinking in 360 degrees. Ever since Steven Wilson turned in a stellar 5.1 mix of his band Roxy Music’s self-titled June 1972 debut album for inclusion in a 45th anniversary 3CD/1BD box set released in February 2018, he’s been hooked. Nowadays, the guitarist/composer is looking forward to hearing what Roxy will sound like in Dolby Atmos—and he just might get that wish granted sooner than later. Recently, Manzanera and music editor Mike Mettler got on Zoom to discuss which early Roxy Music track will be better served in Atmos, how Wilson’s 5.1 mix enhanced the palette of the band’s self-titled debut, and which Roxy release he feels will be the “ultimate” Atmos album.

Mike Mettler  |  Oct 31, 2023  |  1 comments

Trevor Rabin is all in on leaping directly into the Atmos-mixing universe, having immersed himself in composing in surround sound for the 50 or so films he’s scored over the past three-plus decades—plus the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix he supervised for his new solo album, Rio. Recently, Rabin—the onetime Yes guitarist/vocalist/composer behind the somewhat unexpected No. 1 hit single from November 1983’s 90125, “Owner of a Lonely Heart”—and music editor Mike Mettler got on Zoom to discuss the creative surround arc of Rio, how his mentor influenced his compositional-oriented way of thinking, and what songs from his era of Yes would benefit the most from new surround mixes. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Sep 29, 2023  |  3 comments

When The Orb and David Gilmour came together over a decade ago to produce the two-part, 49-minute ambient soundscape dubbed Metallic Spheres, there almost seemed to be a bit of unfinished business attached to what we were hearing—and now we know why. To take its music to the next level, original Metallic Spheres producer Youth has just recast it in Dolby Atmos as a more concise 40-minute edition duly renamed Metallic Spheres in Colour. Recently, Youth and music editor Mike Mettler got on Zoom to discuss how Metallic Spheres morphed into its current full-bodied Atmos Colour and shape, what notable Orb song seems ready-made for an immersive remix, and what else he’d like to mix in Atmos next. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Aug 25, 2023  |  2 comments

ABC didn’t exactly fit into the expected early-1980s new-wave mold—and that was just fine with the band’s co-founding lead vocalist and chief songwriter, Martin Fry. To that end, ABC’s debut album, June 1982’s The Lexicon of Love, cut a wide compositional swath that deployed a mixture of broadstroke keyboard flourishes, grand orchestral swells, and call-and-response vocal passages—and now, it sounds even fuller in its just-released 40th anniversary Dolby Atmos mix on Blu-ray. During a recent Zoom call with S&V music editor Mike Mettler, Fry discusses producer Trevor Horn’s and ABC’s original intentions for how The Lexicon of Love ended up sounding, why he feels listening to it in Atmos is akin to “climbing inside a crystal kingdom,” and what he likes best about how Steven Wilson mixed it for Atmos playback. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Jul 30, 2023  |  First Published: Jul 31, 2023  |  3 comments

It’s no surprise that Stewart Copeland and Ricky Kej’s collaborative effort Divine Tides won a Grammy Award in February 2023 for Best Immersive Audio Album for the 360 Reality Audio version of it done by the ace surround-sound mixing team of producer Herbert Waltl and mixer Eric Schilling. Here, Waltl and Schilling discuss how they created that richly expansive 360RA mix, as well as the key differences between stereo mixes and immersive mixes, how to best tap into emotional responses in a spatial audio setting, and how they strive for their mixes to get you to experience hearing certain mix elements both well above and well below your ear height. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Jun 30, 2023  |  0 comments

After scoring big last year with his stellar Atmos mix of The Beatles’ seminal August 1966 album Revolver, producer Giles Martin was more recently tasked with giving the Atmos treatment to The Beach Boys’ benchmark May 1966 release, Pet Sounds. Martin got on Zoom with music editor Mike Mettler from across the Pond to discuss how he made sure his Pet Sounds Atmos mix stayed true to the music’s “real” intent, what his approach to dealing with all those infamous Beach Boys vocal stacks entailed, and how he made sure “God Only Knows” comes across as being nothing short of heavenly in its Atmos incarnation. Read on to glean all the immersive details accordingly. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Apr 28, 2023  |  1 comments

Rush’s September 1982 album Signals celebrates the release of its 40th anniversary Super Deluxe Edition today, April 28, 2023—and it’s a spatially inclined box set that contains a stunning new Atmos mix of the core album by longtime Rush confidante and noted producer/engineer Richard Chycki on Blu-ray. In a recent Zoom interview, Chycki and music editor Mike Mettler discuss the esteemed producer’s overall Atmos mixing M.O. for Signals, the one specific request from Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson that was honored in “Subdivisions,” and why “Countdown” truly lifts off into the stratosphere in Atmos. Read on to decipher all the fine immersive signals accordingly. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Mar 31, 2023  |  0 comments

Producer/engineer Josh Evans has been tasked with bringing Pearl Jam’s storied catalog into the Atmos universe, and he’s already spearheaded a number of great immersive mixes for various catalog entries of theirs ranging from the band’s explosive 1991 debut Ten to the broader strokes of 2020’s Gigaton. Recently, Evans got on Zoom with music editor Mike Mettler from the friendly confines of his studio HQ in Seattle to discuss why Pearl Jam trusts his Atmos instincts, the rigorous multitrack tape-to-digital transfer process he follows, and why it’s important to sometimes just let the music breathe. Read on to immerse yourself accordingly. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Feb 24, 2023  |  1 comments

Guitar maestro Joe Satriani has been making strange beautiful music for well over four decades and counting. Given his penchant for exploring the very concept of space itself and all of its dimensions, it should come as no surprise that Satch has wholly embraced the concept of having his music mixed in Dolby Atmos. Recently, Satriani and I got on Zoom together to discuss just how cosmically cool his benchmark October 1987 instrumental album Surfing With the Alien sounds in Atmos, which specific track benefits the most from its Atmos mix, and what earlier surround mix from his storied catalog he considers to be “the most beautiful thing ever.” Read on to discover all the Satch-in-Atmos answers that await. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Dec 30, 2022  |  2 comments

Where did all the time go? Time, flowing like a river. Time is on my side (yes it is). Time to play B-sides. Are you eye-rolling at all my lyrically borrowed time comments yet? Anyway, it’s high time to take stock of what we’ve heard and what we’ve learned this past calendar year, seeing how a) time flies, and how b) time is indeed all around us—just like the best Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos mixes are, in fact.

With all this time sensitivity in mind, it seems to be the exact right time (last one, I promise) to comprise my Top Ten list of the best immersive audio tracks of this past year. As always, I’ve thoroughly spec’ed and checked all of the tracks I’ve selected here by way of my personal deep-dive listening sessions on both my home system and headphones alike. You’ll find each and every one of them amidst the cavalcade of Made for Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos tracks within the ever-expanding immersive audio libraries on Apple Music Unlimited, Amazon Music, and Tidal.

Enough with all the time-wasting—here are my choices for the ten best, thoroughly immersive audio tracks of 2022, which are, in reverse order from 10 to 1. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Nov 28, 2022  |  2 comments

Tom Petty always, always knew how to ensure the music he made over the course of his long and storied career would sound the absolute best it could during playback in any format. Petty’s longtime engineer and production partner Ryan Ulyate continues to both carry that torch and up the ante, as evidenced by his stellar mixing of all 18 tracks found on Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ November 1993 Greatest Hits collection in Dolby Atmos. Recently, Ulyate and I got on Zoom together to discuss how he created the stems for these Atmos mixes by accessing the original masters, which songs on Greatest Hits are the most immersive and why, and what Tom himself would have said upon hearing his music in Atmos—perfect topics all for deep-dive coverage in this month’s Spatial Audio File, methinks, so read on. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Oct 28, 2022  |  5 comments

The Beatles’ Revolver further solidified the creative validity of the rock album format when it was released in August 1966. Seeing how Revolver’s Super Deluxe Edition multidisc LP/CD box set incarnations have been officially released via Apple/UMG today, October 28—not to mention the inherently excellent Revolver Atmos mix by producer Giles Martin concurrently being made available digitally—I had to find out why I needed to get that Atmos mix into my listening life. Therefore, Martin and I got on Zoom together recently to discuss exactly that. He also shared with me what his late father, original Beatles producer George Martin, thought of his multichannel mixing skills. These are all perfect topics for this month’s Spatial Audio File (he said he said), so read on, read on. . .

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