Sunday, October 23, 2016
  • Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016
Sonichead founder Jeff Mullen opts for NUGEN Audio's Halo
Jeff Mullen, founder and owner of Sonichead
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Jeff Mullen, a sound designer and mixer based in Washington, D.C., has adopted NUGEN Audio’s new Halo Upmix tool for automated upmixing of stereo audio to 5.1/7.1 surround. As founder and owner of Sonichead, a full-service audio post facility specializing in television productions, Mullen uses Halo Upmix to produce both a high-quality 5.1 upmix as well as a stereo mix for a wide range of projects.

Mullen has more than a decade of professional audio experience, with a specialty in long-form and short-form video content as well as commercials, promos, 5.1 surround, and stereo. In 2015, he was on the team that produced the Daytime Emmy-winning 2014 preview campaign for PBS. The ability to create an upmix to 5.1 surround from stereo components is a standard requirement for many Sonichead projects, and Mullen is typically under a very tight timeframe to produce the upmix. He had tried other upmixing tools previously, but they tended to add unnatural reverb and delay to the original signal.

“Other upmixing tools would produce a 5.1 output that sounded very different from the original. I was spending too much time tweaking parameters to make the upmix sound natural and bring it up to my clients’ quality standards. NUGEN Audio has a stellar reputation for audio plugins that are technically advanced and produce very high-quality output, so when I heard early last year that they were releasing an upmixing product, I knew it would be something special,” Mullen said. “I have not been disappointed — Halo Upmix is a tremendous improvement over anything else on the market. With Halo, the phasey artefacts, strange reverbs, and delays are now gone and the mid-range is no longer over-hyped. In fact, the upmix sounds identical to the original stereo source material.”

As a beta user of Halo Upmix, Mullen has used the tool on stereo ambiences and backgrounds for a range of projects. The tool’s intuitive GUI not only gives Mullen an at-a-glance view of upmix parameters but also enables him to ensure that the downmix output precisely matches the source material. In addition, he relies on Halo Umpix’s time-saving automation for every parameter and its dialogue isolation feature, which offers the ability to keep vocals anchored in the center channel in a surround mix.

“Jeff is not only an Emmy winner, but a very highly respected audio professional whose music background informs every aspect of his work — with final mixes that closely mirror the original intent of the musicians and other content creators,” said Jon Schorah, creative director, NUGEN Audio. “As such, he was an ideal customer to participate in our beta program for Halo Upmix. After putting Halo Upmix through its paces, Jeff was able to demonstrate the tool’s power not only for the downmix compatibility needed for TV sound production, but also for delivering the creative malleability required by today’s audio engineers.”