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

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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.

I thought Hackney Diamonds mix was fine for the material. It's not a hugely active mix, but The Stones' music is pretty straightforward blues/rock. To me it's just not going to lend itself to the same immersive experience as something like I/O or the The Harmony Codex does. And I think that's OK. The Atmos mix offers a better experience than the 2ch and keeps with the character of the material. Can't comment on the rest.
 
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In a perfect world, all mixes would just be 12 channel now and exist on their own merits. This 'mix contest' bad attitude thing would never be a thing. "Hmmm... Does this mix deserve to use 2 channel stereo? This could have been done in mono." We're not doing that, right?

But I sure as hell don't want surround to be watered down for the stereo or soundbar masses! Surround is audacious and special and very much needs to stay that way! So that leads right back to... "Hmmm... Is this mix special enough?"

I'm probably already self censoring. I know not to expect much from a Silverline DVDA so I'm not buying one and then freaking out that it isn't a grammy award winning mix. So I'm not streaming lossy Taylor Swift or Kanye West Atmos mixes either. The above are the worst I've stumbled across so far. And I think the fact that people are making audacious art like 12 channel music mixes in this commercial plastic world is amazing!
 
In a perfect world, all mixes would just be 12 channel now and exist on their own merits. This 'mix contest' bad attitude thing would never be a thing. "Hmmm... Does this mix deserve to use 2 channel stereo? This could have been done in mono." We're not doing that, right?

But I sure as hell don't want surround to be watered down for the stereo or soundbar masses! Surround is audacious and special and very much needs to stay that way! So that leads right back to... "Hmmm... Is this mix special enough?"

I'm probably already self censoring. I know not to expect much from a Silverline DVDA so I'm not buying one and then freaking out that it isn't a grammy award winning mix. So I'm not streaming lossy Taylor Swift or Kanye West Atmos mixes either. The above are the worst I've stumbled across so far. And I think the fact that people are making audacious art like 12 channel music mixes in this commercial plastic world is amazing!

I can agree with the idea that spatial should be as available as 2ch and I don't want a lackluster effort either.

But I think the music should to a degree dictate how a mix develops. I could say that the multichannel Miles Davis - Kind of Blue isn't as aggressive or active in comparison to some of the best Atmos, but should it be? It's a creative tightrope to me. Should an intimate Jazz album be attempting to create huge head space of detail and texture like say The Harmony Codex? Would that be better? To me, the answer is no. The approach to Kind of Blue was in my opinion the right one. Keep the intimacy of the performance and use the extra channels for clarity and separation. In the same vein the gritty blues/rock of Hackney Diamonds was well suited by the approach of making the 2ch sound bigger.

Now would I be happy if someone made an Atmos mix of an artist like say Enya or ELO and it was very front centric and lacking in surround? Not at all. I would want those to be revelations like The Tipping Point recently was for me. I want it to become a world of sound highlighting all of the aural textures that don't have room to shine in the 2ch space.
 
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 don't think any of the mixes currently out there are actually "fake"; I know at least Apple has been pretty adamant that upmixes are not accepted. It's more a question of whether a mix is any good or not.
 
This thread has been completely derailed... We may be the 1% of all listeners on this forum, but within the forum I can say with conviction that nearly 100% are using some dedicated speaker setup (with some clear exceptions). The spirit of the thread was which Atmos mixes are not great and perhaps the caveat should be added: on an Atmos or surround setup. We can argue till we're blue in the face on whether headphone Atmos is real Atmos; in the end, if people really like headphone Atmos, more power to them, but I think it's clear that most people here are talking about listening on a home theater setup.
 
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.
I had wondered about the titles you've listed and my suspicions. Given the cost of them here in Oz, thanks for the heads up.
 
Streaming-exclusive Atmos mixes of classic jazz albums seem to be universally:

1. Generate center channel from stereo
2. Reproduce center signal in surrounds with -5db cut and treble rolled off
3. What are height channels?
4. Repeat on the 4 to 7 other albums you're doing today
 
Streaming-exclusive Atmos mixes of classic jazz albums seem to be universally:

1. Generate center channel from stereo
2. Reproduce center signal in surrounds with -5db cut and treble rolled off
3. What are height channels?
4. Repeat on the 4 to 7 other albums you're doing today
That's certainly what most, though not all, of the classic--and even contemporary--albums on Blue Note sound like, at least to my ears (and, I guess to yours). It just seems to be the "house style." Steve Genewick, who may still supervise all the Atmos mixing for Blue Note (he certainly used to), has explained that it's actually more complicated, at least where the classic albums are concerned: his technique involves recreating, with reverbs and recorded playback over top-end speakers, the sound and ambiance of the studios where the recordings were originally made. A distinction without a difference as far as I'm concerned, but that's the philosophy. And maybe he and/or Don Was have decreed that the same philosophy should apply to current acoustic jazz releases on Blue Note, too? I've found that most of them aren't any more adventurous, sonically speaking, than the classic titles, although a handful are. (And albums like Robert Glasper's Black Radio series, which incorporate more electric instruments and effects, are much gutsier.)

The situation on Verve is a little less clear-cut: most of the classic reissues also have ho-hum Atmos mixes, although once in a while we get something like Ella Fitzgerald's Gershwin Irving Berlin Songbook that sounds as if they could have used stem-separation technology.
 
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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 can mostly get behind this list. Fleetwood Mac's 1975 album might be the very worst Atmos mix of a classic album I've heard (how did "Blue Letter" make it past QC in this state?), but the handful of songs that seem to be the genuine article on Tango sound pretty good to me - "Seven Wonders" especially.

One more I'd add is Riverside's ID Entity. It's a really fun album (and they were awesome live on tour last year), but the Atmos mix somehow manages to suck all the excitement out of it. Nearly all the instrumentation falls flat against the front wall, and then there are these random bits of disconnected activity in the other speakers that stick out like a sore thumb.
 
I can mostly get behind this list. Fleetwood Mac's 1975 album might be the very worst Atmos mix of a classic album I've heard (how did "Blue Letter" make it past QC in this state?), but the handful of songs that seem to be the genuine article on Tango sound pretty good to me - "Seven Wonders" especially.

One more I'd add is Riverside's ID Entity. It's a really fun album (and they were awesome live on tour last year), but the Atmos mix somehow manages to suck all the excitement out of it. Nearly all the instrumentation falls flat against the front wall, and then there are these random bits of disconnected activity in the other speakers that stick out like a sore thumb.
Fleetwood Mac and Automatic for the People are troubling downgrades from their 5.1 DVD counterparts.
 
That's certainly what most, though not all, of the classic--and even contemporary--albums on Blue Note sound like, at least to my ears (and, I guess to yours). It just seems to be the "house style." Steve Genewick, who may still supervise all the Atmos mixing for Blue Note (he certainly used to), has explained that it's actually more complicated, at least where the classic albums are concerned: his technique involves recreating, with reverbs and recorded playback over top-end speakers, the sound and ambiance of the studios where the recordings were originally made. A distinction without a difference as far as I'm concerned, but that's the philosophy. And maybe he and/or Don Was have decreed that the same philosophy should apply to current acoustic jazz releases on Blue Note, too? I've found that most of them aren't any more adventurous, sonically speaking, than the classic titles, although a handful are. (And albums like Robert Glasper's Black Radio series, which incorporate more electric instruments and effects, are much gutsier.)

The situation on Verve is a little less clear-cut: most of the classic reissues also have ho-hum Atmos mixes, although once in a while we get something like Ella Fitzgerald's Gershwin Songbook that sounds as if they could have used stem-separation technology.
I will say that Blue Note at least broke from the "house style" with Dexter Gordon's One Flight Up. Because it doesn't use the center either, just the fronts.

In a dream world, give Jake Nicely AI separated stems. Dude absolutely killed it with an acoustic ensemble on The Bluegrass Sessions.
 
Fleetwood Mac and Automatic for the People are troubling downgrades from their 5.1 DVD counterparts.
No argument there re: Fleetwood Mac, but I rather like the Atmos mix of Automatic. Mike Mills’ backing vocals in “Find The River” are loud and clear, whereas they’re kind of buried in the old 5.1 mix.

Plus, the first acoustic guitar in “Drive” coming from the front left height speaker is a really cool way to start the album.
 
No argument there re: Fleetwood Mac, but I rather like the Atmos mix of Automatic. Mike Mills’ backing vocals in “Find The River” are loud and clear, whereas they’re kind of buried in the old 5.1 mix.

Plus, the first acoustic guitar in “Drive” coming from the front left height speaker is a really cool way to start the album.
I also like Automatic, maybe because it was the first Atmos disk I purchased and played on what at that time was a 5.1.2 system. The guitar in the LH got me hooked immediately.
After many listens, I still love the music and the mix, I would never include it on the losers list.
 
The situation on Verve is a little less clear-cut: most of the classic reissues also have ho-hum Atmos mixes, although once in a while we get something like Ella Fitzgerald's Gershwin Irving Berlin Songbook that sounds as if they could have used stem-separation technology.
Funny thing Michael… I was just trying to find this after you reminded me of how amazing a vintage classic Jazz album can sound when they decide to mix discretely. After a couple of minutes of putting in Etta James sings George Gershwin - the penny dropped! I have too many albums and artists hanging around in my brain - a good thing… 🙂

I don’t know what voodoo they used to enable the separation for an album recorded in 1958 to have such a good Atmos mix - but it sounds amazing! This is the way to do it! And frankly it means there are no excuses…

Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Irving Berlin Songbook…
 
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