Ahern Mixes 5.1 Projects on Yamaha DM2000

Mar 3, 2003 12:00 PM, Editors


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Working from his Easter Island Surround facility in Nashville, producer Brian Ahern has been working on the re-release of Emmylou Harris’ 1980 album, Roses in the Snow, and the Johnny Cash album Silver (released on SACD in February), which were both mixed on the Yamaha DM2000 Digital Production Console to create a 5.1 mix.

"What I like about the DM2000 is Yamaha’s acknowledgement of ADAT technology," said Ahern. "This soon-to-be obsolete recording device was made fresh again by Yamaha’s double-channel technology. So all these people who had ADATs on the shelf are now dusting them off and hooking them up to Yamaha consoles and mastering on them at 24/96k. I’ve been mixing 5.1 surround sound records to my old ADATs, and whatever’s in that DM2000, the mastering engineers are very impressed with it.

"I’ve always tried to mix surround sound in four sound stages: the normal stereo, the back sound stage in the rear speakers, and the right and left sides," Ahern continued. "Most people mix the front and back but ignore the sides. I’m experimenting on some reverb tweaks that will simulate a corridor on each side. On some records, I put a bass right in the middle of the room, so all four speakers share in the reproduction of that low-end instrument. If you keep the bass all in the front—which are many people’s instinct—then you’ve wasted all of the energy available from the other speakers. I discovered that while mixing Johnny Cash: There was more room front and center for his thunderous chest tones!

"Another thing I like about the DM2000 is the Solo Contrast," noted Ahern. "On other consoles, when you pressed a Solo button, it’s either/or. Sometimes you want to evaluate one track against the band, but you want it to stand out and be featured a bit, not necessarily by itself. So, having that Solo Contrast is an amazing tool, as it cuts way down on mental fatigue. Fatigue is a big thing when working in surround sound because there’s so much to keep track of."

After completing the Roses in the Snow remix, Ahern’s next project is stereo reissues of the first six Emmylou Harris albums. "I’m adding bonus tracks, things that I’ve kept in the basement or Warner Brother’s vault. I affectionately like to call it Pack Rat Payoff."

For more on the DM2000, visit www.yamaha.com/proaudio. Visit Easter Island Surround at www.baammusic.com/luminaries/gallery/pages/e_sur.html.

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