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Sync Sound Prepares 5.1 Audio for DVD Release of ‘Music of Majestic Spirit’

Sir Gilbert Levine (left) and Ken Hahn with the Penteo PostPro Desktop processor at Sync Sound in New York City.

Photo: James David Redding

Sir Gilbert Levine conducted Germany’s WDR Symphony, WDR Radio Choir and the NDR choir of Hamburg performing Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9 and rendering of “Te Deum” in Germany’s famed gothic Cologne Cathedral. The performance was originally recorded in stereo for DVD and broadcast on public television, and will be available in 5.1 Penteo Surround for its DVD release.

“Sir Gilbert was very happy with his live stereo recording,” explains Sync Sound studio co-owner and re-recording mixer Ken Hahn. “And he was thrilled with the 5.1 upmix made possible with the new Penteo Surround processor. Unlike other 5.1 conversion methods, Penteo adds no coloration. It is absolutely true to the original stereo mix, and this is especially true of classical works and opera.”

Hahn, winner of five Emmy Awards and a TEC Award for Best Audio Post-Production Mixer, co-founded Sync Sound in 1984. Hahn specializes in mixing for television, film, home video, CD and DVD, in stereo and 5.1 surround. “Upmixing from stereo to 5.1 usually introduces coloration and delays are induced, which causes phase issues and other artifacts. Penteo doesn’t do any of that. What you put is in what you get out.”

Sir Gilbert Levine has conducted major orchestras in Europe including the Royal Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, L’Orchestre de la Bastille and Staatskapelle Dresden, and in the U.S., the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and the Pittsburgh Symphony. This is his 14th international television concert. Prior to the PBS broadcast premiere of Bruckner’s “Te Deum,” a private surround sound screening and champagne reception was held at the Tribeca Film Center in New York City.

Sir Levine remarked on the new 5.1 audio post-production of the performance: “Recording in Cologne Cathedral is a real challenge. The remarkable professionals at the WDR did a masterful job of capturing our performances in that soaring space in the original stereo. Ken Hahn at Sync Sound was expert in mixing the sound for the PBS broadcast. His suggestion to add the Penteo Surround Sound afforded the viewer of Music of Majestic Spirit, the PBS version of the concert, the awe-inspiring sense of being truly present, live in the cathedral, hearing Bruckner’s gorgeous music in magnificent sound reproduction. I love the sound on the PBS DVD.”

Hahn adds, “There are plenty of stereo productions that need additional processing to make them effective in 5.1, but not this production of Bruckner’s 9th, which has over four seconds of reverberation time created by the 145 meters long cathedral acoustics. The last thing you would want is to add more delay time and any other effects.”

Penteo’s PostPro Desktop and Penteo PostPro Rackmount units were introduced at the April 2010 NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) convention, and are now shipping. For more information, visit Visit Sync Sound at