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Silverline DVD-A Winners & Losers

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steelydave

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When I was looking up all the Silverline credits for the Notable Multichannel engineers thread (my contributions start here) I noticed a bit of a pattern. All of their mixes were done by a company called 5.1 Entertainment Services, who didn't seem to realize that by agreeing to upmix mono and stereo material to 5.1, they were undercutting the importance of doing real 5.1 mixes in the first place. However, there does seem to have been a bit of a heirarchy:

Real Mixes
Ken Caillat
Chris Haynes
Gary Lux

James Stone

I believe Caillat was one of the owners of the company - both he and Lux did 5.1 remix work for Warner's DVD-A program (Caillat did the Fleetwood Macs, and Lux did Alice Cooper for example) and they get a lot of the best material, along with Chris Haynes, who referred to himself as 5.1 Ent's "Chief Engineer" in a tweet about the Motorhead's Ace of Spades 5.1 mix somewhat recently, and the James Stone seems to get the majority of the remainder of "real" 5.1 remix work.

Mixed Bag (most discs with 'Live' in the title are fake)
Rich Fowler
Ken Ramos
Claus Trelby

When you think of "bad Silverline," Fowler is responsible for the great majority of it - a lot of the 'From the Front Row...Live' discs are him, as well as various other live, greatest hits and anthology type releases upmixed from mono or stereo. Ramos and Trelby seem to be variously credited on other releases for both mastering and DVD authoring so I'm guessing they were basically junior level people at 5.1 Ent that got pressed into service when they needed something upmixed that no one else wanted to risk their reputation for. But by the same token both seem to have done a "real" 5.1 mix: Ramos did rf 'interno' and Trelby did a few as well.

Definitely Fake
Anything that only credits "5.1 Entertainment Services"

Yeah I almost laughed out loud when I came across these - I'm not sure how many there are, maybe 10 or 20? Where there's no specific credit other than a vague "surround mix prepared by 5.1 Entertainment Services" - proof to me anyway, that they knew that what they were doing wasn't the right thing.

So yeah, that's it really - there are definitely some exceptions to these tiers, but if you're blind buying any of these discs you have some idea of what you're gonna get based on who mixed them. I think the vast majority of it is pretty underwhelming, both from a surround and content perspective, but there are probably more "real" 5.1 mixes amongst all the crap than people give Silverline credit for.


Oh, and just from my personal experience, Corrosion of Conformity's America's Volume Dealer, despite someone earlier in this thread saying was a real 5.1 mix, is definitely an upmix, albeit a pretty decent one for the time. It's a real shame, because it's a very good album (although maybe not on par with their two previous major label releases, 1994's Deliverance and 1996's Wiseblood) and could've easily been a great discrete 5.1 hard rock mix in the vein of the Foo Fighters' One by One. For my money, CoC might be the most underrated hard rock/heavy metal band of the late '90s - the three albums I mentioned take everything I love about vintage hard rock and heavy metal from the '70s and bring it into the modern era with a fresh twist.
 

fredblue

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When I was looking up all the Silverline credits for the Notable Multichannel engineers thread (my contributions start here) I noticed a bit of a pattern. All of their mixes were done by a company called 5.1 Entertainment Services, who didn't seem to realize that by agreeing to upmix mono and stereo material to 5.1, they were undercutting the importance of doing real 5.1 mixes in the first place. However, there does seem to have been a bit of a heirarchy:

Real Mixes
Ken Caillat
Chris Haynes
Gary Lux

James Stone

I believe Caillat was one of the owners of the company - both he and Lux did 5.1 remix work for Warner's DVD-A program (Caillat did the Fleetwood Macs, and Lux did Alice Cooper for example) and they get a lot of the best material, along with Chris Haynes, who referred to himself as 5.1 Ent's "Chief Engineer" in a tweet about the Motorhead's Ace of Spades 5.1 mix somewhat recently, and the James Stone seems to get the majority of the remainder of "real" 5.1 remix work.

Mixed Bag (most discs with 'Live' in the title are fake)
Rich Fowler
Ken Ramos
Claus Trelby

When you think of "bad Silverline," Fowler is responsible for the great majority of it - a lot of the 'From the Front Row...Live' discs are him, as well as various other live, greatest hits and anthology type releases upmixed from mono or stereo. Ramos and Trelby seem to be variously credited on other releases for both mastering and DVD authoring so I'm guessing they were basically junior level people at 5.1 Ent that got pressed into service when they needed something upmixed that no one else wanted to risk their reputation for. But by the same token both seem to have done a "real" 5.1 mix: Ramos did rf 'interno' and Trelby did a few as well.

Definitely Fake
Anything that only credits "5.1 Entertainment Services"

Yeah I almost laughed out loud when I came across these - I'm not sure how many there are, maybe 10 or 20? Where there's no specific credit other than a vague "surround mix prepared by 5.1 Entertainment Services" - proof to me anyway, that they knew that what they were doing wasn't the right thing.

So yeah, that's it really - there are definitely some exceptions to these tiers, but if you're blind buying any of these discs you have some idea of what you're gonna get based on who mixed them. I think the vast majority of it is pretty underwhelming, both from a surround and content perspective, but there are probably more "real" 5.1 mixes amongst all the crap than people give Silverline credit for.


Oh, and just from my personal experience, Corrosion of Conformity's America's Volume Dealer, despite someone earlier in this thread saying was a real 5.1 mix, is definitely an upmix, albeit a pretty decent one for the time. It's a real shame, because it's a very good album (although maybe not on par with their two previous major label releases, 1994's Deliverance and 1996's Wiseblood) and could've easily been a great discrete 5.1 hard rock mix in the vein of the Foo Fighters' One by One. For my money, CoC might be the most underrated hard rock/heavy metal band of the late '90s - the three albums I mentioned take everything I love about vintage hard rock and heavy metal from the '70s and bring it into the modern era with a fresh twist.
Mr. Haynes was definitely their most consistent engineer and he also did the Britney Spears 5.1 for Jive that got almost universal praise back in the day. he did have the odd off day though can't remember exactly which off the top of my head i'll pluck the exceptions out when i get a chance.. Caillat put his name to at least one dud, the Bird3 DVD-A which was a load of upmixed balls iirc.
 

Karonte

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When I was looking up all the Silverline credits for the Notable Multichannel engineers thread (my contributions start here) I noticed a bit of a pattern. All of their mixes were done by a company called 5.1 Entertainment Services, who didn't seem to realize that by agreeing to upmix mono and stereo material to 5.1, they were undercutting the importance of doing real 5.1 mixes in the first place. However, there does seem to have been a bit of a heirarchy:

Real Mixes
Ken Caillat
Chris Haynes
Gary Lux

James Stone

I believe Caillat was one of the owners of the company - both he and Lux did 5.1 remix work for Warner's DVD-A program (Caillat did the Fleetwood Macs, and Lux did Alice Cooper for example) and they get a lot of the best material, along with Chris Haynes, who referred to himself as 5.1 Ent's "Chief Engineer" in a tweet about the Motorhead's Ace of Spades 5.1 mix somewhat recently, and the James Stone seems to get the majority of the remainder of "real" 5.1 remix work.

Mixed Bag (most discs with 'Live' in the title are fake)
Rich Fowler
Ken Ramos
Claus Trelby

When you think of "bad Silverline," Fowler is responsible for the great majority of it - a lot of the 'From the Front Row...Live' discs are him, as well as various other live, greatest hits and anthology type releases upmixed from mono or stereo. Ramos and Trelby seem to be variously credited on other releases for both mastering and DVD authoring so I'm guessing they were basically junior level people at 5.1 Ent that got pressed into service when they needed something upmixed that no one else wanted to risk their reputation for. But by the same token both seem to have done a "real" 5.1 mix: Ramos did rf 'interno' and Trelby did a few as well.

Definitely Fake
Anything that only credits "5.1 Entertainment Services"

Yeah I almost laughed out loud when I came across these - I'm not sure how many there are, maybe 10 or 20? Where there's no specific credit other than a vague "surround mix prepared by 5.1 Entertainment Services" - proof to me anyway, that they knew that what they were doing wasn't the right thing.

So yeah, that's it really - there are definitely some exceptions to these tiers, but if you're blind buying any of these discs you have some idea of what you're gonna get based on who mixed them. I think the vast majority of it is pretty underwhelming, both from a surround and content perspective, but there are probably more "real" 5.1 mixes amongst all the crap than people give Silverline credit for.


Oh, and just from my personal experience, Corrosion of Conformity's America's Volume Dealer, despite someone earlier in this thread saying was a real 5.1 mix, is definitely an upmix, albeit a pretty decent one for the time. It's a real shame, because it's a very good album (although maybe not on par with their two previous major label releases, 1994's Deliverance and 1996's Wiseblood) and could've easily been a great discrete 5.1 hard rock mix in the vein of the Foo Fighters' One by One. For my money, CoC might be the most underrated hard rock/heavy metal band of the late '90s - the three albums I mentioned take everything I love about vintage hard rock and heavy metal from the '70s and bring it into the modern era with a fresh twist.
Thank you so much for this post and the more extensive one collecting names and info, really useful.

I've got the three from Motorhead and I can really understand the difference among them now. I could grab them from some chinese sellers at Ebay really cheap some years ago. And I bought a couple more like Queensryche's Tribe or Dokken's Erase The Slate.

I often watched some Corrosion Of Conformity or Ministry albums but they're not my favourite bands and I wasn't sure if the mix was good enough for justifying the purchase.

Again thank you for such a great work!!!(y)
 

jimfisheye

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Nice detective work!

There are two points for me that stand out as a negative on some of these releases that obscure the positive. A mix or remix that only turns out so well is one thing. It is what it is and who can complain about having another mix to check out! It's the dismissal of original work that comes across poorly.

Including a new remix while leaving an original surround mix off the disc as though it never existed is maddening. It always appears as though that happened because no one involved was aware that there was an original surround mix with this label. Billion Dollar Babies for example.

Not respecting original nuance in the mix can be insulting. An intentional change is one thing. That kind of thing usually comes with an explanation in the liner notes with opinions around it. These titles have the feel of being mixed by someone that never heard the originals. This is especially frustrating when you have a remix with better fidelity than an original copy but at the same time with no attention to detail. These Silverline remixes really nail that frustration!

Fidelity is supposed to be (and usually is) the hard part! It's maddening that someone could go through all the work to make the production happen with a clearly accomplished engineer but leave that big disconnect. One person that could have piped up and said "Hey where's the original quad mix? What do you mean 'what' quad mix?! Here! Now put this up for reference during your remix and then we'll see if the remix makes the cut to include as bonus to the original."
 

fizzywiggs41

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Despite the fake 5.1 prevalent on these discs, I have several of the "Inside The Music" releases and have found the audio quality on this particular series to be better than what I can get from other sources.
I agree .
There are some upmixes that are actually pretty good . Seems like their best 5.1 upmixes and actual mixes are in the first year or 2 , and the final year or so .

Most of their upmixes seem to be from Sanctuary tapes that they accessed in the middle years of their operation.
And like everyone else I think the worst of the lot are their live creations . I believe most of them are Sanctuary as well.

There are a few bad ones I have that I don't mind , but of course that's mainly because of the artist finally being in surround .
 

fredblue

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Nice detective work!

There are two points for me that stand out as a negative on some of these releases that obscure the positive. A mix or remix that only turns out so well is one thing. It is what it is and who can complain about having another mix to check out! It's the dismissal of original work that comes across poorly.

Including a new remix while leaving an original surround mix off the disc as though it never existed is maddening. It always appears as though that happened because no one involved was aware that there was an original surround mix with this label. Billion Dollar Babies for example.

Not respecting original nuance in the mix can be insulting. An intentional change is one thing. That kind of thing usually comes with an explanation in the liner notes with opinions around it. These titles have the feel of being mixed by someone that never heard the originals. This is especially frustrating when you have a remix with better fidelity than an original copy but at the same time with no attention to detail. These Silverline remixes really nail that frustration!

Fidelity is supposed to be (and usually is) the hard part! It's maddening that someone could go through all the work to make the production happen with a clearly accomplished engineer but leave that big disconnect. One person that could have piped up and said "Hey where's the original quad mix? What do you mean 'what' quad mix?! Here! Now put this up for reference during your remix and then we'll see if the remix makes the cut to include as bonus to the original."
either these people dismissed the Quads altogether as vintage relics from an experimental era unfairly portrayed as a flop.. or dared not include the Quads lest their shiny new 5.1 mixes suffer by comparison... 🤔
 
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