Mike Mettler

Mike Mettler  |  Feb 27, 2024  |  0 comments
How The Moody Blues co-created the hybrid music genre known as orchestral rock by going all-in on making their groundbreaking audiophile-favorite masterpiece, November 1967’s Days of Future Passed.
Mike Mettler  |  Feb 23, 2024  |  1 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  |  Feb 02, 2024  |  0 comments

Call him the Thin White Chameleon. As pioneering as the late, great David Bowie was as a multitalented artist who came of creative age during the initial wave of the rock era, what comes across most prominently in Moonage Daydream — a provocative documentary helmed by multi-hyphenate director/producer Brett Morgen — is his deeply philosophical nature as a man constantly questioning norms, pushing social mores and cultural boundaries, and seeking cosmic truths.

Mike Mettler  |  Jan 29, 2024  |  3 comments

Burning Dinosaur Bones

Soundgarden was catching fire. The proto-headbanging Seattle-bred foursome began to emerge from the misnomered grunge ooze with their second LP, September 1989’s aptly named Louder Than Love, with tracks like “Loud Love” and “Big Dumb Sex” deftly adding observational tact to the band’s already thunderous bouillabaisse. And then, in October of that forever-hallowed alt-rock emergence year of 1991, Soundgarden swerved into even more progressive-leaning hard-metal lanes with the unrelenting Badmotorfinger.

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  |  5 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  |  Dec 26, 2023  |  0 comments
Photo: Trinifold Archive


Life House was intended to be Pete Townshend’s life’s work, so to speak, following the somewhat unexpected runaway success of The Who’s May 1969 groundbreaking 2LP rock opera,Tommy. But for various reasons, portions of Life House were instead transmogrified into the nine songs that comprise one of the truly seminal albums of the rock era, August 1971’s Who’s Next.

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  |  Nov 21, 2023  |  0 comments
Photo by Martyn Goddard


40th Anniversary Monster Edition & Vinyl Edition Box Sets

Like many rock bands that initially emerged from the free-flowing nether-reaches of the 1960s, Jethro Tull had a decision to make upon entering the 1980s — namely, stick with their signature sound, or embrace the emerging technology of the new decade? Tull mastermind Ian Anderson chose the latter, initially going all-in on the electronic-tinged aural front with August 1980’s A. While A was certainly an eclectic and challenging jumping-off point, its follow-up, April 1982’s The Broadsword and the Beast, was a much better marriage of classic neo-Tull with the more modernized electro-Tull. Two new 40th anniversary box set offerings for Broadsword — a 5CD/3DVD smorgasbord subtitled the Monster Edition, and a relatively extensive companion 4LP collection — tell the album’s expanded sonic-swashbuckling tale quite well in their respective ways.

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. . .