Atmos Mix Hall Of Shame (A List of Fake and/or Very Conservative Atmos mixes)

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Mistee

300 Club - QQ All-Star
Joined
Oct 14, 2014
Messages
331
I recently noticed a Quad thread like this but couldn't find an Atmos version. When I asked on the quad thread, someone suggested perhaps I should start one. I do hope others might be interested also. And in truth, I am more interested in what others might have to say on this topic rather than have a lot to contribute myself, being new to Atmos. ... Except to say, the new Trevor Horn blu-ray, as good as the album and 5.1 mix are, probably ought to be close to the top of an Atmos hall of shame list.

Anyway, looking forward to any comments on what to avoid buying...
 
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Mick Fleetwood and Friends Celebrate the Music of Peter Green, which is a live concert video. While a lot of live concerts in Atmos are usually not overly active with the surrounds and height speakers, this one in particular has almost nothing of value in anything except the front speakers. It's just a bit of crowd noise with a dash of reverb. It actually has great fidelity, some great songs, and some amazing performers, but the Atmos on this is the most "why even bother?" I've ever heard. It looks great, sounds like an incredible stereo mix, and it's a great show, but the Atmos is pointless.
 
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I doubt anyone would agree with this, the Atmos mix as heard on Apple Music is excellent-sounding and very adventurous.
It could be the setup I heard it on, to be honest. The speaker angles were all off. It's been quite a while I think I heard it way back when it came out. I just remember not having a good impression of it.
 
Trevor Rabin - Rio. A great album and great production by Rabin. He did everything but the surround mix. I think he should have done that too. Such a disappointment.
 
Trevor Rabin - Rio. A great album and great production by Rabin. He did everything but the surround mix. I think he should have done that too. Such a disappointment.
I'd heard this elsewhere as well. A real shame. I'd have gone for this. :(
 
I want it to sound like I'm at a concert, not like someone took a flyswatter and went splat with the mix. I do not want to be surrounded by floating instruments.
I do want to be surrounded by floating instruments. :)
I like hearing musical sounds. Upfront or not upfront. 🤪

For a surround mix to be a surround mix, it has to use the surround channels in a meaningful way. Whether that means floating instruments or ambience, it's up to the music for what it CALLS for.

This thread, like the quad thread, is there to highlight Atmos mixes that are called Atmos mixes, but do not utilize the non-stereo speakers in the way the music deserves.

For example, it's perfectly reasonable to expect a solo singer and a single guitarist to be upfront in an Atmos mix, and have the surround channels support with room ambience. In fact, if the guitarist was behind me, it would be distracting!

I like to think about it this way. The more elements a song has, the more justification to have instruments appear in surround channels, and even move around.

I think Atmos titles that don't utilize any of the extended soundfield should be given more importance in this thread rather than surround mixes that fail to use the height channels effectively but use the rears well. But that's just my opinion. One could very well make the case that an Atmos mix is not an Atmos mix without effective height channel utilization.

Anyway after a revisit of the Daft Punk Atmos mix it definitely does NOT belong in the Atmos Hall of shame (the other two titles I mentioned do), however, I do have OTHER gripes with the mix that frankly is a pure personal opinion and doesn't belong here.
 
I like hearing musical sounds. Upfront or not upfront. 🤪

For a surround mix to be a surround mix, it has to use the surround channels in a meaningful way. Whether that means floating instruments or ambience, it's up to the music for what it CALLS for.

This thread, like the quad thread, is there to highlight Atmos mixes that are called Atmos mixes, but do not utilize the non-stereo speakers in the way the music deserves.

For example, it's perfectly reasonable to expect a solo singer and a single guitarist to be upfront in an Atmos mix, and have the surround channels support with room ambience. In fact, if the guitarist was behind me, it would be distracting!

I like to think about it this way. The more elements a song has, the more justification to have instruments appear in surround channels, and even move around.

I think Atmos titles that don't utilize any of the extended soundfield should be given more importance in this thread rather than surround mixes that fail to use the height channels effectively but use the rears well. But that's just my opinion. One could very well make the case that an Atmos mix is not an Atmos mix without effective height channel utilization.

Anyway after a revisit of the Daft Punk Atmos mix it definitely does NOT belong in the Atmos Hall of shame (the other two titles I mentioned do), however, I do have OTHER gripes with the mix that frankly is a pure personal opinion and doesn't belong here.
Couldn't agree more. Mixes that seem to just utilize the front three channels I call the "why did they bother" mixes.
 
I doubt anyone would agree with this, the Atmos mix as heard on Apple Music is excellent-sounding and very adventurous.
...with Apple 2nd or 3rd Generation earphones or AirPods Max of other Dolby Atmos approved headphones. Otherwise, all bets are off for excellent sounding Atmos mix.
 
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Everything I'm about to say ONLY APPLIES TO HEADSET LISTENING, not speakers.

I agree that the Daft Punk Random Access Memories ATMOS mix is done well, at least with headphone-binaural listening. I will also say that right now in the audio "wild-west" of Spatial Audio, making an informed opinion is almost impossible. You just don't know if people are actually listening to what they think they are listening. Not apples to apples comparisons happening.

For example, ATMOS on non-ATMOS headset gets the STEREO MIX DOWN of the ATMOS mix, this is not immersive ATMOS. To get the binaural ATMOS mix, the one with a Dolby HRTF you must have both an ATMOS device and an ATMOS headset.
 
Congrats: you're on the wrong forum.
So there is no place for my desires? We have to follow YOUR rules?

I like the realism of being in a church or concert hall. Give me the sensation of actually being there.

I seek out live performances that sound like the listener is actually at the concert when played in RM.

Cases for vocals and instruments all around:
- The Berlioz Requiem. It is performed by musicians in front of, behind, and on both sides of the listeners.
- I was at a rock concert where the first song started instrumentally, then the vocalists appeared behind us and ran up the aisles singing.
- Many churches have the organ and/or choir behind the listeners, often on a balcony. This is one place for back height channels.
- My first quadraphonic mix had ghost voices coming from various directions as the artist wanted it.
 
So there is no place for my desires? We have to follow YOUR rules?
You're taking my comment way too seriously. I was merely pointing out that your preferences are diametrically opposed to those of most other QQ members, with a little humor thrown in for good measure.

My question to you: why limit a mix to what can be heard in real life? The beauty of recording, mixing, and reproduction technology is that the only limits to what can be achieved are physics, channels/objects available, and an engineer's imagination. I don't go in expecting a studio rock/pop/electronic recording to sound like real life, whether in mono, stereo, or multichannel/immersive, because that is not the usual desired effect. Likewise, if a live and/or classical/jazz/folk recording isn't lifelike in its presentation, I'm not immediately turned off. Are there limits on what can be done with placement to still achieve a cohesive, enjoyable sound? Of course, and those will vary from listener to listener, just as with any other aspect of sound reproduction. I just don't understand the headspace of realism being the only acceptable mix philosophy.
 
So a recap!

Based on what has come up so far from the above reports of ‘fake or very conservative Atmos mixes’, and eliminating where a mix has been contested, i.e. Daft Punk, and of course acknowledging these may otherwise be good albums, we have:

Trevor Horn’s – Echoes Ancient and Modern.

Mick Fleetwood and Friends – Celebrate the Music of Peter Green.

Taylor Swift – 1989.

Rolling Stones – Anything by them

Trevor Rabin – Rio.
 
Ha, what's wrong with the Trevor Horn release? That was one of my faves from last year!

The Taylor Swift 1989 is the real deal I'm pretty sure. It's a John Hanes mix (who has had a few hits and misses). I didn't think it sounded great but that was more down to it sounding slightly wonky with the re-record more than anything. The folklore album however is one of my top records to listen to from streaming in Atmos.

Rolling Stones do have some fake/awful mixes in Tattoo You, Honk and Forty Licks (but Goats Head Soup and Hackney Diamonds are real and pretty good). The Live At The El Mocambo album is very tame granted but it's a live album credited to Bob Clearmountain no less. It's just done in that aforementioned 'as live' boring style.

Yeah I mean unfortunately there are quite a few floating around. The majority of the Classical releases would probably qualify. Of course there was also the Warner Upmix fiasco that still has some relics haunting the playlists. Of the big albums with hugely disappointing mixes then I'd personally (just from memory) add -

Coldplay - A Rush Of Blood To The Head
U2 - Achtung Baby
Foo Fighters - Greatest Hits
Sam Fender - Seventeen Going Under / Hypersonic Missiles
Fleetwood Mac - Fleetwood Mac (S/T) / Rumours / Tango In The Night (Partially fake)
Billy Joel - The Nylon Curtain / An Innocent Man
Blur - The Ballad Of Darren
Dire Straits - Money For Nothing (Compilation)
The Police - Greatest Hits
The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground & Nico

I'm sure there's loads I've forgotten...
 
.. I just don't understand the headspace of realism being the only acceptable mix philosophy.
Indeed. Tends to demand a reference level system too. Which is great to have either way! But hyper realism all the way for me! (Realism can still be great of course.)

There's something that immediately turns this into a mix contest and vetting if a 12 channel mix is worthy of the format. It's probably the money spent on 4 or 6 new speakers and amp channels and hanging 4 from the ceiling and wiring everything up and calibrating it! If I only hear a mostly stereo mix after all that... well, someone has failed! In the same spirit that you don't buy a color TV to only watch black and white movies.

The other thing that can happen with a remix sometimes is it isn't as good/interesting/creative as the original. Even if it uses more speakers!

My 12 channel listening isn't as aggressive as it should be. I'm not on any streaming service and frankly will wait for the tech to catch up to offering lossless for that. Fidelity comes before more channels or it turns into a gimmick real quick! I'll take hi-fi mono over any of that.

My Atmos hall of shame list so far:
Rolling Stones - Goats Head Soup
Rolling Stones - Hackney Diamonds
Ten Years After - A Space In Time
Deep Purple - Machine Head

These aren't just trash mixes. No volume war or shrill harshness or any of that. But poor use of surround beyond stereo. The TYA and DP have original quad surround mixes that make the new attempts sound like amateur novelty.
 
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