Emmy Award-winning sound designer and mixer Jeff Mullen has adopted Nugen Audio's new Halo Upmix tool for automated upmixing of stereo audio to 5.1/7.1 surround.
As founder and owner of Sonichead, a full-service audio post-production facility based in Washington D.C. specialising in television productions, Mullen uses Halo Upmix, which we reviewed back in October to produce both high-quality 5.1 upmixes as well as a stereo mixes for a wide range of projects.
Mullen has more than a decade of professional audio experience, with a specialty in long-form and short-form video content as well as commercials, promos, 5.1 surround, and stereo. In 2015, he was on the team that produced the Daytime Emmy-winning 2014 preview campaign for PBS. Upmixing to 5.1 surround from stereo components is a standard requirement for many Sonichead projects, and Mullen is typically under very tight timeframes.
"Other upmixing tools would produce a 5.1 output that sounded very different from the original. I was spending too much time tweaking parameters to make the upmix sound natural and bring it up to my clients' quality standards. Nugen Audio has a stellar reputation for audio plugins that are technically advanced and produce very high-quality output, so when I heard early last year that they were releasing an upmixing product, I knew it would be something special," Mullen commented.
"I have not been disappointed – Halo Upmix is a tremendous improvement over anything else on the market. With Halo, the phasey artefacts, strange reverbs, and delays are now gone and the mid-range is no longer over-hyped. In fact, the upmix sounds identical to the original stereo source material."
As a beta user of Halo Upmix, Mullen has already used the tool on stereo ambiences and backgrounds for a range of projects, relying on Halo Upmix's time-saving automation for every parameter and its dialogue isolation feature, which offers the ability to keep vocals anchored in the centre channel in a surround mix.
"Jeff is not only an Emmy winner, but a very highly respected audio professional whose music background informs every aspect of his work — with final mixes that closely mirror the original intent of the musicians and other content creators," said Jon Schorah, creative director, Nugen Audio. "After putting Halo Upmix through its paces, Jeff was able to demonstrate the tool's power not only for the downmix compatibility needed for TV sound production, but also for delivering the creative malleability required by today's audio engineers."