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Clannad

Discography Mixing

including recording, digitising, remastering and mixing

The work we did with Ireland’s folk-rock legends Clannad was as much archaeology as it was immersive mixing. With access to their rich discography, spanning over 5 decades, we were tasked with transforming digitised tape recordings into a cutting-edge immersive catalogue. When working with a legacy catalogue, it can be difficult to obtain all original assets: much of the material we were sent was unmixed tape recordings – and the majority of these tapes included several takes of each song. On top of that, because of the analogue nature of tape recording, none of the stems we received perfectly matched the length of the masters. So, our first job was to scour hundreds of original tape recordings to find the takes which matched their corresponding stereo master. Then, using elastic audio, we’d employ time-compression-expansion to the stems to warp them to the master length: an extremely time-consuming task, due to the varying speed of tape.

 

After, we had to check the presence of every stem against the master, ensuring all parts on the final released track were present in the unmixed stems. Often, they weren’t: so, this meant returning to the label to seek out further tapes and deep-diving into archives to find further tapes.

 

When all stems were present and accounted for, the next step was to, as closely as possible, recreated the original master mix. The stems we received were completely unmixed – no spectral, dynamic nor spatial processing had been done and there were no other effects whatsoever. So, we created new Pro Tools mix sessions and did the job of a stereo mix engineer while referencing the original master mixes. Having had our re-mixes approved by the band, the final step was to commit the new approved stems for them to be taken into the studio for final tweaks with band member Pól, ahead transferring the files into the suitable software to begin the 360º mixing process.

 

When the mix work was completed, we hosted a week of attended listening sessions for the artist, made suitable tweaks, and finally produced a reaction video at the studio, recording interviews with the band as a retrospective of the whole project.