L.A.'s Chace Audio Celebrates Two Decades

May 13, 2004 12:00 PM, Editors


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Chace Audio, well known for sound preservation and restoration, celebrated its 20th Anniversary in April 2004, marking an important milestone for the Los Angeles area facility. Having witnessed the birth of digital audio, and its transformation and widespread acceptance over the last two decades, Chace Audio remains one of the preeminent independent providers of stereo remastering for film soundtracks. The facility is regularly called upon by leading studios to resurrect and transform film soundtracks damaged by the effects of time into stunning 5.1 or 6.1 multichannel stereo for DVD or theatrical re-release. Of the American Film Institute’s list of the Top 100 films of all time, Chace Audio has lent unique services to an impressive 86 titles.

Chace’s strength has always been an ability to maintain a focus on the interrelated process of preserving, restoring and remastering the sounds for which Hollywood is famous. Over the previous 20 years, Chace has restored, preserved or remastered cinema masterpieces that include Gone With The Wind, The Wizard Of Oz, Close Encounters Of the Third Kind--The Director’s Cut, Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Seven, Singin’ in the Rain, Easy Rider, and The Godfather trilogy. For each project it undertakes, Chace seeks not only to restore or re-master the soundtrack itself, but also to preserve and understand the history of audio in cinema. Ultimately, the goal of preservation, restoration and remastering is to maintain what facility founder Rick Chace dubbed, "the original look, sound and feel of every project." Twenty years later, the passion for this mission still remains true.

A big part of the remastering process incorporates the proprietary Chace Digital Stereo® processor (CDS), first conceived and invented by Chace in the 1980s. The CDS processor is a patented, programmable, workstation-based system for making true directional stereo with stereo surrounds from monaural sources. No sounds are added; none are removed. The CDS processor is not merely a 5.1 panning device, nor is it a stereo width expander. Rather, it is an advanced, integrated and fully programmable system that transforms mono audio into natural and real 5.1 surround stereo.

“We have relied on Chace Production’s mix of talent and technology many times to restore and remaster the soundtracks to many classic MGM titles,” states John Kirk, director of technical operations for MGM. “Films including three Blake Edwards’ Pink Pantherclassics, Mad Max, and The Battle of Britain were all remastered into 5.1 for DVD release by MGM Home Entertainment using Chace Digital Stereo technology with captivating results. What impresses me most is the respect the Chace engineers hold for artistic integrity with which these diverse titles were made and the meticulous attention to detail they demonstrate throughout each project.”

Over the last two decades, Chace Productions has expanded from its original 7,900-square foot building to now include a four-building complex, encompassing over 26,000 square feet. Dubbing capabilities in the renowned THX®-certified Rick Chace Theatre, ADR/Foley and optical sound recording (in SR-D and DTS) are located in the Rick Chace Film Center – a separate 7,000-square foot complex around the corner from the main compound. Chace’s two newest buildings include a 5,000-square foot short-term storage vault with segregated storage for severely deteriorated elements and a 6,800 square foot administrative and research and development building.

“The last two decades have seen tremendous changes in both the film and audio industries, and we are extremely pleased to still be a leading service provider to the entertainment community,” states Bob Heiber, president of Chace Audio. “Within the last five years, the growth of home theater has powerfully demonstrated the capabilities of the multichannel stereo format. As a facility with the longest legacy working in this medium, we look forward to the next 20 years.”

He concludes, “New equipment for handling elements in extremely difficult conditions, along with a fourth generation optical reader, is already in the works. We’ll only get to the future by recovering the past, so we want to be as ready for it as possible.”

For more information about Chace, go to their Website at www.chace.com.

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