My Take on Music Recording with Doug Fearn

Shawn Dealey on Dolby Atmos

March 14, 2024 Doug Fearn Season 1 Episode 90
My Take on Music Recording with Doug Fearn
Shawn Dealey on Dolby Atmos
Show Notes

Ever since its announcement, I have been interested in learning more about Dolby Atmos. I was skeptical at first, primarily because of my experience with “Quad” back in the 1970s. That 4-channel concept never gain any popularity with either the listening public nor in the recording community. I presumed that Atmos would be similar, just more speakers. The early demo sessions I attended left me convinced that this was going to be another dead end, like Quad. The early mixes I heard were gimmicky and did not serve the musical intent of the artist well.

But as I was exposed to mixers who really understood how to use the expanded format, my interest increased. And for the public? I never thought there would be much market acceptance of a system that required many speakers. But Dolby was smart about their implementation. The system knows how many speakers you have and creates a version that fits your hardware.

There’s more to Atmos, however, because of certain psychoacoustic processing that goes on, the resulting mix, in any format down to plain stereo, sounds better, with more detail and separation of sounds. I hear more things in an Atmos mix, even in headphones, than I did in the stereo mix.

Shawn Dealey is the chief engineer at Sweetwater Studios in Indiana. I have been involved with several mixing projects with Shawn over the past couple of years, and I think he has an effective approach to interpreting the producer/artist/engineer’s intent, and making it into an improved version.

In this episode, I talk with Shawn about his evolution as he explores the new format. I learned a lot from Shawn, and I think you will, too.

This episode was recorded at Sweetwater Studio B, the main Atmos mixing room. We used AEA 44 mics, a VT-2 mic preamp, and a VT-7 compressor, the same chain I use for recording most episodes.

Thanks for listening. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please pass them along to me at