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SURROUND SOUND EXPLAINED BY AUDIO ENGINEER DAN SHORES FROM GRAMMY® AWARD-WINNING LABEL SONO LUMINUS

GRAMMY® Awards’ Best Surround Sound Album category for the following album: 

Sprung Rhythm

Recording Team:  Daniel Shores, surround mix engineer; Daniel Shores, surround mastering engineer; Dan Merceruio, surround producer (Richard Scerbo & Inscape)

Label: Sono Luminus 

Artists:  Inscape, Richard Scerbo conductor

The term “surround sound” is one of those much used but little understood terms frequently heard in audio discussions. Wikipedia says: “Surround sound is a technique for enriching the sound reproduction quality of an audio source with additional audio channels from speakers that surround the listener (surround channels), providing sound from a 360° radius in the horizontal plane (2D).”

For a more interesting explanation, I turned to recording engineer Dan Shores, whose GRAMMY®-winning label Sono Luminus is nominated in the 2014.

Dan explained the Sono Luminus approach to “surround sound” in this way: 

“Instead of recording everything and then "mixing to surround" or recording the ensemble and then putting the room ambience in the rear surround channels we went with a fully immersive approach, i.e., we setup 7 microphones in the middle of the room (one for each channel in the 7.1 surround array) and then, based on the music, positioned the musicians around the microphones. We "mixed" with the musicians based on their proximity to the microphones, and their position in the room. 

We varied the setup of the ensemble based on the writing and instrumentation of each piece. At some points we would split up the traditional sections of the group (strings and winds) to highlight call and responses, or other music elements that the composers had written in the score. Nathan Lincoln-DeCausitus and Justing Boyer were there and reviewed all of the positioning changes we made in the moment. You will notice on the recording that in "Collection of Sands" you have the piano behind you in the surround mix - because that is where it was in the room but in "Chopin Syndrome" the Piano is in the front.

Since each of the pieces was a different instrumentation (varying from 12 - 4 instruments, and one work with voice), we aimed to accentuate each pieces unique sonic signature. 

One of the biggest strengths of the ensemble Inscape, beyond their expert musical ability, is their extreme flexibility, and willingness to experiment to achieve the best sonic experience possible. For their next album we have 1 full day booked just to work on positioning for the different pieces.   We have recorded Hindemidth's "Herodiade " with Inscape for a digital release in early 2014.  They will be returning to the studio January 13 to record their second album "American Aggregate".”

For a complete list of nominees in the Best Surround Sound Album category, please go to:  http://sono-luminus.blogspot.ca/2013/12/sono-luminus-team-nominated-for-2014.html.  The 56th Annual GRAMMY® Awards will be announced on January 26, 2014. 

 

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