Windmark Records presented a special immersive workshop titled “The Anatomy of Immersive & Surround Sound Audio,” featuring the music of A Bad Think as well as select tracks from the Universal Music Group’s catalog at the PMC studio located within LemonTree Studios in Highland Park, Los Angeles on the evening of December 11, 2019.
An invited audience of producers, engineers, composers, musicians and mixers that included Al Schmitt, Vance Powell, JJ Blair, Joe Barresi, David Reitzas, Rafa Sardina, Brent Fischer and others was treated to playback of several tracks in 5.1-surround from The Savior by A Bad Think, a one-man project led by singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Michael Marquart, interspersed with a panel discussion featuring Marquart and his production collaborators. The Savior is currently nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Immersive Audio Album category.
The panel, moderated by engineer and producer Niko Bolas (Neil Young, Prince, The Mavericks), also included Grammy-winning engineer Dave Way (Fiona Apple, Echo In The Canyon, Ringo Starr, Michael Jackson, Macy Gray), who co-produced the project with Marquart, and multi-platinum award-winning producer/engineer Bob Clearmountain (Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Bryan Adams, The Cure, INXS), who mixed the double-album project in both stereo and 5.1 surround. Marquart recounted the first time he heard Clearmountain’s 5.1 mixes: “I said, it should only be listened to in this kind of environment.”
For his part, Clearmountain explained his approach to mixing each track in stereo then 5.1 and offered insights into his use of processing, particularly reverbs, delays and harmonizers, to create an atmosphere appropriate to each song’s character.
Later in the evening’s program, three-time Oscar-winning film dialog re-recording mixer Chris Jenkins, who is also executive VP, Digital Studio at Universal Music Group, talked about mixing the music in Dolby Atmos on Ron Howard’s new documentary Pavarotti. “I just want to be able to tell stories and get the shortest distance between the voice of the person who creates it and the listener,” he said of his approach to Dolby Atmos Music mixes. Jenkins then went on to play and deconstruct several tracks in Dolby Atmos and discussed the importance of giving credit to the mix engineer who created the original tracks, a topic that was embraced by the attendees.