Warner Music Dolby Atmos Upmixing (Unacceptable!)

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popshop

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A couple weeks ago I added all of the 10000 Maniacs and Natalie Merchant to a playlist without really thinking about it. Saw some chatter about it and checked them. All upmixed as far as I can tell. Thoughts?
I suppose the most of anyone so far too.
Bummer.
I also see that neither the band nor Merchant (now two separate entities) have said a word about atmos mixes.
 

jamesc

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A few mixes that I remember seeing reported as fakes have just become unavailable on my tidal playlist. West End Girls from Pet Shop Boys also certainly disappeared, among a few others I can't find anymore.
Is this a good sign that this scandal is being recognized by someone?
Can anyone report how it is on other platforms?
I was surprised to hear this since I was checking out the various Tidal Dolby Atmos lists yesterday and saw Pet Shop Boys - West End Girls on several including the Staff Picks list. The Pop Classics list even uses their picture for the artwork.

The track still shows up in those lists this morning but if I try to play it I get a message to the effect "the label doesn't allow streaming of this track". I tried a couple of others, New Order - Blue Monday 88 and Echo & the Bunnymen - The Killing Moon and same message. Other tracks on the list play fine though.

So, hopefully this issue is being addressed or at least investigated. Thanks for sounding the alarm @MrSmithers!
 

humprof

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Not that the new boss will have any more direct oversight of Atmos streaming QC than the old boss did, but maybe the fact that he comes from the streaming world means...something? He's gotta earn his 15 mil somehow.
 

zeerround

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Actually Atmos is built on a 5.1 (or 7.1?) base. The Atmos metadata pulls things out of that and moves them around.

That is not accurate/correct or at least a confusing simplification.

Yes there is a "bed". It could be anything but might be as large as 7.1.2 (or larger, see below). The dolby render tools default to a 7.1.2 bed (at least the now "old" version that I have).

To go beyond the bed you use objects. Objects can be stationary but can also be moved around.

I guess I'm objecting to the "pulled out of that" as being misleading. Atmos can be lossless, for home theater up to 9.1.6 at least, if not 11.1.8 so nothing is "pulled out" of 5.1. All the channels can be fully decoded. Yes downmixes can also be decoded, as can legacy ac3 cores.

For streaming media Dolby Digital Plus, with Atmos extensions is used. This is lossy. Each streaming service does it differently but in the case of Tidal the "bed" is actually 1 channel (LFE) and then there are 15 (stationary) objects, which can be decoded to 9.1.6 or any smaller speaker layout. Not all tracks have sound in all 16 speakers (e.g. some are only old quad mixes).

I'm guessing they do it that way to minimize bandwidth but I don't really know. I haven't done the comparison.

When I ddp + atmos encode, using Amazon elemental media conversion, I get a 12ch bed (which I don't know how to do with my dolby encoder, which as I said is limited to a 10 ch. bed), but that is the same stream rate as Tidal with 1 bed channel and 15 objects.

Lots of knobs...
 
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MrSmithers

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Just a reminder: this is a thread about "upmixed" tracks & albums from Warner Music.

And here's the latest offending example that I've found:
Sad to see they are continuing this dreadful trend. Is this the original or the Fatboy Slim remix?

I've noticed a few quite random others in the last week. ..

The Hollies - The Air That I Breathe
The Pogues - Fairytale Of New York
The Proclaimers - I'm Gonne Be (500 Miles)
All Saints - Bootie Call
The Donnas - Dancing With Myself

I don't know where this is going to end, but it really makes Warner look pretty shoddy. Whoever is upmixing - please stop!!! Either do a proper, well worked mix or don't do it at all!
 

humprof

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Sad to see they are continuing this dreadful trend. Is this the original or the Fatboy Slim remix?

I've noticed a few quite random others in the last week. ..

The Hollies - The Air That I Breathe
The Pogues - Fairytale Of New York
The Proclaimers - I'm Gonne Be (500 Miles)
All Saints - Bootie Call
The Donnas - Dancing With Myself

I don't know where this is going to end, but it really makes Warner look pretty shoddy. Whoever is upmixing - please stop!!! Either do a proper, well worked mix or don't do it at all!
It gets even more baffling, as I posted in the "Listening..." thread. On the pop side, WMG have done some brilliant Atmos mixes for select new releases, even as they bury us with phony Atmos crap from the back catalog. Meanwhile, on the classical side, Warner Classics have actually done all right by some titles from the Angel/EMI and Erato catalogs, even as Nonesuch--whose roster includes prominent contemporary composers like Steve Reich and Caroline Shaw, much of whose work would be really well suited to an adventurous Atmos mix--is now wasting everyone's time with the functional equivalent of all-channel stereo. Who in holy hell is minding the store at Warners? And will someone please explain to them that copying-and-pasting the stereo image from the fronts into the rears, sides, and overheads does not constitute "Atmos"?
 

humprof

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Hmmmmm, interesting development. Alan J. Han is no longer on Instagram. For the past two years he's posted images of the songs and albums he's mixed and I don't see his account now.
Yep--it's vanished. His LinkedIn page has disappeared, too. (His website is still up, although I could swear that when I looked at it a couple of weeks ago, it featured a block paragraph touting the names of all the artists he'd mixed--including a slew of WEA legacy artists + contemporary ones like Caroline Shaw & Attaca quartet, etc. That might have been on his LinkedIn, though, which doesn't exist on the Wayback Machine. Website hasn't been updated since 2021.)

Han does still show up on the "team" page of Audible Reality--the Canadian AI "3D Audio" company--as well as on the website of their "Spatial Mastering" sister company, whose services include Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 RA Mixing and Mastering, Multitrack/Stem Mix Preparation, and Bulk Catalog Work, and whose front page prominently displays a whole bunch of WMG albums and label logos. Hard to tell how recently either site has been updated. (Confusing, too, as there seems be a different, UK-based company with the same name and offering many of the same services. Both companies have active Instagram pages.) They invite inquiries at matt at spatialmastering dot com.

Again: I don't think we should jump to conclusions, let alone demonize anybody or even send angry/accusatory emails. But I'd really like to get the facts.
 

popshop

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@humprof Indeed, good buddy.
A couple weeks back I messaged him on Instagram and asked which mix was his favorite - though no response. I agree that direct negativity or conflict is not a good plan.
I will continue to try to identify fake mixes and notify Dolby, Warner, and Apple.
Hopefully we can stop this nonsense.
 

humprof

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Here's another bizarre choice: the first movement of contemporary classical composer John Adams's Hallelujah Junction, from the album Road Movies, a 2004 release on Nonesuch.
It's the now all-too-familiar stereo-image-pasted-into-all-channels, with slight reverb applied to the heights and rears.

I'm connecting conspiracy dots here based on little more than animus, frustration, and circumstantial evidence--see pages 3 and 4 of this thread--but is this effectively what Audible Reality's AI-based 3D Audio amounts to? (Their "team" page still features a name familiar to fellow conspiracists.) Cause it sure as hell ain't Atmos in any meaningful sense of the word.

I put this track in the same basket as those solo Pat Metheny and solo Loudon Wainwright tunes that popped up last week. At first it seemed like Warners were tormenting us by faking Atmos mixes of well-known hits by classic pop artists from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Now it's as if whoever is responsible for this sh*t has been given access to a huge swath of the WEA back catalog, on which they've turned loose a roomba-like program that randomly vacuums up tracks to process with their automated fakery. There are plenty of John Adams pieces on Nonesuch that deserve thoughtful and imaginative Atmos mixes; ditto for Metheny. This isn't one of them.
 
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mlrocker

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I've skimmed thru this entire thread.
#1 good job detecting and raising awareness on this front.
#2 stinks, that's what my son said. I agree
#3 I'd be pissed too if I spent money on chasing ATMOS, you should be pissed.
#4 Good job on using the internets to find a culprit.
#5 Kudos to the guy coming on board to speak for the "music industry", but I don't agree with the idea of giving mercy here.
#6 I have faith that it's going to get better, but it may take longer than we expected.
 

fredblue

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Well, now they're f*[email protected] with Mingus. Three random tracks on the Passions of a Man compilation so far (plus the albums they originally appeared on), "Reincarnation of a Lovebird," "Moanin," and "E's Flat Ah's Flat Too":
Also two new Aretha fakes, "See Saw" and "You Send Me":
When will this stop?
its semi-understandable for the Mingus tracks (although i still abhor the practice and method used to upmix) but for the Aretha tracks where there are Quad mixes they could and should utilize it is unforgivable!!
 

quicksrt

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I've skimmed thru this entire thread.

#5 Kudos to the guy coming on board to speak for the "music industry", but I don't agree with the idea of giving mercy here.
It took all my self control to keep from replying to him. Basically I took from that post that "see geepers, a guys gotta make a living even if it is supplying fraudulent extractions from stereo, and calling them "Atmos mixes" because the client is paying, not the up-mixer's or our fault for taking the money and running.
 

ummagumma

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It's depressing that record execs or "someone" in a position of authority, is deliberately creating crappy atmos mixes purely to get on the bandwagon, with no regard to using the formats potential.

It's misleading, lazy, cheap, and derogatory to the industry. Kudos to anyone who tracks this, so we as consumers can make informed decisions about what we spend our money on.

It's not the engineer's fault that some schmuck is paying them to spew out drivel. They may not have a choice if they are employed directly, otherwise a big client gets what they want. If they want garbage, garbage is what they get.

It is a lot of work to create a decent surround mix, so the cost concerns are real. It took me nearly as long to do a surround mix of a project, as it did to record & mix it in stereo. It's a shame it's coming to this though. And it will turn many off the format.
 
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