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AC/DC Surround Mixes Use Aria Electronics

When asked to mix the 5.1 surround soundtrack for a DVD release of AC/DC’s 1991 concert film, Live At Donington, engineer Mike Fraser expressed a strong preference to mix to analog.

When asked to mix the 5.1 surround soundtrack for a DVD release ofAC/DC’s 1991 concert film, Live At Donington, engineerMike Fraser (pictured) expressed a strong preference to mix to analog.For this project, he relied on a Studer A827 transport equipped withAria Reference Series Electronics and a custom 2-inch 8-trackheadblock, both supplied by ATR Services Inc. of York, Pa.

When asked about Aria’s Reference Series, Fraser said, “I wastotally blown away. It had very nice definition, with crisp, clearhighs, while the bottom end didn’t get murky as it sometimesdoes. What a pleasant surprise!”

The Live At Donington project was mixed at New York’sQuad Studios and mastered by Darcy Proper at Sony Studios, also in NewYork. The same Aria Electronics and headblock used for the mix at Quadwere also used for mastering, although on a different A827transport.

Al Quaglieri, who supervised the project for Epic Records, wassimilarly pleased by the sound of the much-lauded“superanalog” surround mixing format. “It reallysings,” he said. “It’s a sweet-sounding system, and Iwould not hesitate to use it again in similar circumstances.”

After finishing the project, Fraser said that he would use the Ariasystem on his next round of work. “After hearing how the mixessounded coming back off the tape, I don’t think I’d likeusing anything else. In fact, I’m seriously considering buying asystem myself.”

Although AC/DC bandmembers specifically asked Fraser to do themixes, they entrusted the veteran Canadian engineer with the selectionof all specific technology. But, according to producer Quaglieri,the Aussie power rock masters were quite happy with the resultsachieved. “I went to London and took the mixes for the firstplayback to Angus and Malcolm, and they were delighted,” hereported. “It was fun watching their reactions, because I thinkthis was the first time they had been mixed to surround. So, missionaccomplished!”

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