The sale is Wohler's first in its capacity as a new U.S. distributor for SoundField. The UPM-1 systems will be used among AMV's various OB vehicles to upmix videotape and archive material for 5.1 transmission, in AMV's uplink truck, and at its Gateway teleport station in New Jersey to upmix audio for opera simulcasts from the Met in New York.
"SoundField upmix solutions for recording and processing in stereo and multichannel surround formats are renowned for their quality, which will enable AMV to maintain very high audio quality across the live performances and events the company covers," said Michael Descouteau, vice president of sales, North America, at Wohler. "The UPM-1 is a perfect fit."
AMV covers large-scale outside broadcast events including the MTV Video Music Awards and international sports fixtures such as the U.S. Open golf tournament and IAAF World Championships in Athletics. It also handles the OB and uplink requirements of the Metropolitan Opera's regular international simulcasts to cinemas in Europe and Asia.
For live-to-theater events, AMV transmissions typically play in theaters equipped with surround sound systems. Because many edit houses and production companies can't handle 5.1, and because recorded audio content coming off of tape is stereo, upmixing stereo to 5.1 is a common requirement in delivering such transmissions. AMV will use its new UPM-1 systems from SoundField to replace a variety of older upmixing boxes and to improve the overall audio quality of the 5.1 output, particularly for musical performances.
"Our older boxes work well on interview material and film soundtracks, but I've felt for some time that there was room for improvement on musical content," said Ian Vysick, All Mobile Video's head audio engineer and audio development specialist. "Tweaking things on those older processors involves accessing a lot of deep menus and repeated button-pressing, so when Wohler suggested I try the UPM-1, I asked them to bring one to a live musical event I was mixing. I couldn't have hoped for a better test, as the show covered the three major types of content we always have to get into 5.1: music, film soundtracks, and dialogue. I compared the UPM-1 with our existing processors, and it took all of about 30 seconds to decide which was best.
"The UPM-1 was exactly what I'd been looking for, as it was easier to set up and more natural-sounding than other boxes. You put the audio in, adjust a few controls, and an amazing-sounding 5.1 upmix comes out. The sound is so impressive that while I was working with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the broadcast mix engineer there mistook the UPM-1's 5.1-from-stereo upmix for a discrete-channel mix from his 5.1 stems. He said it was the only viable upmix he'd ever heard, and he couldn't believe how good it sounded."