The move to AAX plug-ins in the post world is going well except for one crucial area - stereo to surround upmixing. Currently there is only one plug-in available and that is the Waves UM225/226 plug-in, but all the big players in the upmix sector seem to be taking their time.
TC Electronic UnWrap
This is probably the most waited for plug-in and as I have discussed before TC Electronic seem to be focussing on their hardware. It seems I am not alone in this concern, on a thread on the DUC started by friend of the site Mike Aiton, Thirerry says this..
Seems like a re-wrapped hardware version of Unwrap when I see the screen…it’s unfortunate tc electronic doesn’t seem to have the intention to update Unwrap to AAX. I also have their System 6000 which is great, but I specifically bought Unwrap as a plug-in (after having tested both the plug-in and System 6000 version), as it made more sense in a multiple studio setup…
Bob Schaper says…
All the plug-ins had unacceptable artifacts or sound field alterations. TC is the only one I’ve ever been able to tweak on a dub stage to fill up the room and not violate a record. Orchestral stems delivered stereo are one thing but rock, dry pop and vintage country all complain when thus tortured. There are various techniques for handcrafting without plugs but I’ve kept an outdated TDM accel system just as an outboard TC Unwrap garage for the time being. (Given the economics and user base, I can’t imagine TC updating or porting this software.
Come on TC Electronic we need to know if you are going to convert Unwrap to AAX. If you leave it too long then you risk missing the boat as users will find alternatives. So if anyone from TC Electronic is part of the community then please do let us know.
I reviewed the RTAS version of this earlier this summer and we know that the team are working hard on the AAX 64 bit version but as to a potential release date all we are being told is “soon”. As you will see from my review this is a serious contender for being the new go to upmix plug-in especially if you want transparency and a perfect downmix. Branko Neskov c.a.s. says…
I have a completely different experience with TC Unwrap and Penteo. To me, Penteo sounded way more open and just the benefit of stereo surround places it above the Unwrap. Compared to Penteo, surrounds in TC Unwrap sound muddy and smeared. OTOH, Penteo’s interface is a bit basic, and the level handling was, ahem, weird. Otherwise I find it superior to TC.
Penteo introduces no artifacts. It upmixes to 5.1 and then back down to 2.0 perfectly. I use it for any music upmix that I really care about. Other upmix plugins are useful for sfx, backgrounds and underscore. But listen carefully to the stereo fold down and look at them on a good 5.1 display. What they introduce to make a interesting upmix usually causes problems when brought back down to stereo.
I reviewed this one back in January 2012 in RTAS mode and in general I liked it although it is known as being a processor hog. When I talked to Soundfield at IBC this year, it is being recoded for AAX 64 bit and they are reworking the code to that it isn’t as processor hungry. Mark Hensley says simply…
I like the UPM-1 a lot.
Auro Technologies Auro-Matic Pro
I have no personal experience of this one, Peter Cole says…
I compared the Downmix of Penteo vs. Auro and the Auro sounds fuller to my ears.
I was at Peter Cole’s place about a month ago with 9 other mixers and we all preferred the Auro to the Penteo. Auro just sounded better . We had all the major upmix plug ins available and the Auro sounded the best.
We need good sounding believable upmixing tools that will downmix well, Before AAX, the TC Electronic Unwrap was the go to plug-in for a lot of users, but the longer they take to even announce if they are going to rework the TDM plug-in for AAX 64 bit the more likely we are going to find alternatives when they come out in AAX 64 bit.
What’s your experience?
Which upmix plug-in do you use? Have you tried any of these? How have you found them? Please do share your experiences…
A couple of community members have been in touch to ask why the Iosono Any Mix Pro wasn’t included in this review. Firstly AnyMix Pro wasn’t really covered in the discussion on the DUC and secondly I had considered that AnyMix Pro as more of a surround panner especially with its feature to pan the sound outside the sound image. But of course you are right, it does have an upmix section. As you may have seen from this story you won’t have long to wait for an AAX 64 bit version of Anymix Pro to run on Pro Tools 11 and as soon as I can get my hands on it I will give the upmix section a thorough test.