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Beatles Producer Talks Spatial Audio on Apple Music

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Giles Martin, producer for The Beatles, talked about Apple Music’s Spatial Audio feature in an interview with The Rolling Stone, delving into how the legendary band’s albums, some of which have been around for 50 years, fare with the much newer Dolby Atmos technology.

Spatial Audio for Apple Music, powered by Dolby Atmos, was unveiled last month along with Lossless audio quality. When the feature was first announced, Martin said it was a “quantum leap in technology”.

Martin, who produced the Dolby Atmos mixes for both Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and Abbey Road, says the former album “doesn’t sound quite right” in its current form.

Sgt. Pepper’s, how it’s being presented right now, I’m actually going to change it. It doesn’t sound quite right to me. It’s out in Apple Music right now. But I’m gonna replace it. It’s good. But it’s not right. Sgt. Pepper’s was, I think, the first album ever mixed in Dolby Atmos.

Martin goes on to say that this particular Beatles album lacks “a bit of bass and a little bit of weight behind it”, which is why it couldn’t be translated into Spatial Audio as well as the producer had hoped.

Despite being over half a century old in some cases, most of The Beatles’ songs sound spectacular in Dolby Atmos. Martin goes on to explain why that’s the case:

With Beatles mixes, because we have, I suppose, the money to do it, and the luxury of time, what I and [engineer] Sam Okell tend to do, opposed to using digital effects, is we’ll place speakers back in Studio Two [the Abbey Road space where the Beatles originally recorded]. And we’ll re-record John’s voice in Studio Two, so what you’re hearing are the reflections of the room he’s singing in. It brings the vocal closer to you.

“The [source separation] software is getting a lot better,” added Martin, hinting that the best of The Beatles in Dolby Atmos is yet to come. Martin is also clearly keen on remastering existing Dolby Atmos tracks to make sure they sound better, so waiting to hear The Beatles in spatial audio might just pay off well.

Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, previously said that Spatial Audio is the future of music.

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