30 years after it debuted at No. 1 in the UK charts, Seal’s eponymous first album has been remixed in Dolby Atmos, allowing fans to enjoy his timeless music in this exciting new immersive audio format.
UK loudspeaker manufacturer PMC made its Dolby Atmos-equipped London demo facility available for the re-mix, which was undertaken by internationally acclaimed producer Trevor Horn, who produced the original album.
Seal signed to Trevor Horn’s Warner-distributed art-house label ZTT In 1990, soon after the success of Killer – the No. 1 single he recorded in collaboration with DJ/Producer Adamski. Over the following months Horn recruited a group of trusted session musicians and the album was recorded in several different studios, including the legendary Sarm West in London’s Notting Hill. Following its release in May, 1991, it won Best British Album at the 1992 Brit Awards, while the track Killer, which was re-worked for the album, won Seal an Ivor Novello award for songwriting.
To create the Dolby Atmos Music mix of Seal, Trevor Horn and his engineer Tim Weidner spent three days in PMC Studio London, a world class facility that is helping to spread the word about Dolby Atmos mixing among UK-based artists and producers.
“PMC has championed Dolby Atmos for music for more than five years and has built Atmos monitoring systems for many top studios including Capitol in Los Angeles and Dean Street Studio in London,” says PMC’s CEO Jeff Willcocks. “As part of our forward-looking remit we are keen to promote the Atmos format to artists and producers who might not otherwise have considered it. For this reason, we are very happy to make our demo facilities in London, Los Angeles, Nashville and New York available to those who want to push the boundaries.”
Trevor Horn was invited to mix the Seal project at PMC Studio London by PMC Studio Manager Heff Moraes. An acclaimed recording and mix engineer who began his career at Horn’s Sarm Studios back in 1984, Moraes is now based at PMC Studio London where he acts as a brand ambassador for PMC products and works closely with producers and artists to introduce them to the Dolby Atmos mixing process.
Horn and Tim Weidner spent two days at PMC Studios and both felt it was an enjoyable experience, particularly because the room is set up for mixing music rather than sound to picture projects.
“I have always liked PMC speakers because they are very accurate and don’t colour the sound,” Trevor Horn says. “In that way they are like a scientific instrument – and one that can be relied on. Mixing in Atmos does require a lot of speakers and at present my own studio isn’t set up for this. However, I am in the process of installing a Dolby Atmos system and this will incorporate PMC ci Series monitors.”
Horn adds that while mixing in Atmos was straightforward, the biggest challenge the project faced was collating the original stereo multitracks for the Seal album.
“It took a lot of time to track down the original tapes,” he explains. “We eventually found most of them, and what we didn’t have we worked around by using 5.1 mixes or live recordings. This was my first experience of mixing in Dolby Atmos and it was an interesting experiment, especially for someone who has mainly recorded in stereo for the last 50 years.”
Tim Weidner adds: “PMC speakers have such fantastic clarity that they made our lives much easier when mixing this project in Atmos. The songs on this album are quite sonically complex so the clarity that PMC delivers was extremely helpful in achieving great Atmos mixes.”
Heff Moraes says: “It is a great privilege to be associated with such a ground-breaking and iconic album. The original stereo mixes were beautifully complicated and very carefully constructed, but Dolby Atmos adds another dimension, allowing more space for the listener to experience these wonderful tracks on a new and exciting immersive platform. It was very exciting project for both PMC and Dolby Atmos.”
The Dolby Atmos version of Seal will be available soon through streaming services.