Angel Mountain Works on Universal Music Releases

Dec 16, 2003 12:00 PM, Editors

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During the past few months, Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get it on and the Allman Brothers’ Live at the Fillmore East have both received 5.1 remixes at Angel Mountain Productions & Sound in Bethlehem, Penn.

Pictured from left: Carl Cadden-James, director of audio engineering for Angel Mountain and the Pro Tools engineer for both projects; Jeff Glixman, senior director, studio operations, Universal Mastering Studios-East, who supervised the mixes; Cal Harris, former director of recording engineering for Motown Records, now retired, who was the original stereo mix engineer for the Let’s Get it on album, and who consulted the surround remix; and Harry Weinger, VP of A&R for Universal Music Enterprises. Photo: Kim Fallon

The 5.1 projects were spearheaded by Universal’s senior director of studio operations east, Jeff Glixman. A veteran producer (Kansas, the Georgia Satellites, Black Sabbath and Yngwie Malmsteen), Glixman chose Angel Mountain because "the equipment and the sound of the room are always an important consideration, and Angel Mountain certainly delivers in that regard. However, the most important aspect to me is the people, and the staff at Angel Mountain not only performs to the highest professional standards, but interfaces transparently with my staff and me.”

For Gaye’s album, Glixman and Angel Mountain’s chief engineer Carl Cadden-James took great care to stay true to the original record while shaping the surround mix, even going so far as to fly in the album’s original engineer Cal Harris to join the team. “Harry Weinger [Motown re-issue producer/VP of A&R] and I wanted to take the original album and turn it into 3-D, so there was a lot of referencing back to the original mix,” Glixman said. “We found a lot of previously undetectable glitches that became apparent as we started repositioning items across the 5.1 spectrum. Carl and I worked to correct these glitches when necessary, and then replicate the original mixes in the 5.1 landscape. The end result is much cleaner and more listenable than the original. I think it puts the album in broader perspective.”

Glixman returned to Angel Mountain with the 5.1 mix of the Allman Brothers’ album, where the overriding goal of Bill Levinson [re-issue producer/ VP A&R] and Glixman was to preserve the feel of the original record when making the move to 5.1. Glixman and Cadden-James only retained the crucial elements and ambience of the performance, but also restored the feel of a continuous live concert by eliminating the fades that appeared between each song on the original mix. They also sharpened the focus of the sound, particularly the guitar interplay between Duane Allman and Dickie Betts.

“There were several open mics onstage that really detracted from the image of the recording and the tonality of the guitars,” Glixman said. “Carl and I were able to take advantage of automation and eliminate those sound sources from the panorama, which really improves the mixes. With this mix, we are able to provide guitar tones that are much truer to what Duane and Dickie played, as well as compensate for limitations in the original recording. I’m very, very pleased with the way it came out.”

Both of the mixes were done in Angel Mountain’s “A” room, which features a Solid State Logic XL 9000 K console. “The XL is my console of choice,” said Glixman. “I like the ergonomics and the sound. Certain consoles require a lot of outboard gear to achieve the sounds I want, but the XL just sounds terrific. It’s very versatile—it’s transparent when I want it to be, but if needed it can get aggressive sonically, as well.”

Each album will be initially released as an SACD hybrid featuring SACD 5.1 and SACD stereo, with Redbook audio on a second layer for listening in a standard CD player. The SACD releases are slated to be followed approximately 90 days later by DVD-A versions. Glixman said that he plan on returning to Angel Mountain for future projects, including the Allman Brothers’ Eat a Peach, which is in the works. “From a 5.1 and large-format mixing standpoint, I consider Angel Mountain my home studio,” Glixman concluded. “Different places work for different people, and this one works for me.”

For more information, visit Angel Mountain at www.angelmtn.com.






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