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Ken Hahn Picks Penteo 4 Pro for “Live From The Met”

Stereo-to-Surround Up-mixer Delivers 5.1 from Stereo for DVD & Blu-Ray

Pictured at Sync Sound with the Penteo 4 Pro plug-in onscreen is studio co-owner and post-production mixer Ken Hahn. Photoby James David Redding III.

Ken Hahn, co-owner of New York’s Sync Sound, is one of the best-known names in both the post-production and music world. As the supervising editor on projects for TV, film and DVD , he specializes in mixing for television, film, CD and DVD, in Stereo, and 5.1 Surround. An early supporter of Penteo, he is currently running the latest version of the Penteo 4 Pro stereo-to-5.1 up-mixer.

“We do the audio post-production for all of the ‘Live From The Met’ series,” he explains. “First the operas are ‘broadcast’ live in HD into theaters across the world. Then those recordings are post-produced, and made available on DVD and Blue-ray, as well as broadcast on PBS. Almost all the music up-mixing that we do involves pre-mixed stereo, like what we do for the Metropolitan Opera here in New York, or for a TV show like FX’s ‘The Americans,’ which we also mix here, and which may use more pop recordings or specialized sound effects.”

Hahn has 25 years of experience in audio post-production and has received 2 Cinema Audio Society Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing Awards, 5 Emmy Awards, 13 ITS Monitor Awards, a Mix Magazine TEC Award for Best Audio Post Production Mixer and has engineered several Grammy Award-winning albums.

“I’ve had a number of classical artists, conductors, and producers hear the Penteo 5.1 surround version of their stereo mix, and they’ll say, ‘Oh my goodness, that’s what I expected the stereo to sound like. It’s got depth. It’s got width. I can hear placement of instruments that I didn’t across the stereo field that I wish I had.'”

In addition to the remixing of the new “live” Met Operas, Hahn also provides audio restoration services for the re-release of Met Opera archival recordings that are going to DVD. These are performances that only exist on video tape with a stereo mix. First Hahn restores the stereo mix and then generate a 5.1 mix. “Because of the historical nature of these recordings,” he comments, “it is imperative that we not alter the sound when up-mixing, and that’s why we use Penteo.”

According to Hahn, Penteo maintains the same image of the original stereo recording, but panoramically slices it into a surround field without any delays or reverb. Speaking of stereo pop music that he up-mixes to 5.1, he says, “Because of its familiarity and popularity, people don’t want to hear it in any other way than the way they’ve always heard it. That is what I am most pleased with Penteo 4 Pro. I can take a stereo mix and up-mix it to get a very, very good-sounding 5.1, and then be assured that when it is brought back down to stereo it sounds as it did when it began.”

As a post-production engineer whose work is scrutinized by serious classical critics, Hahn has a great responsibility to maintain the integrity of the music he works with. He sums up his findings with Penteo: “Simply stated, Penteo 4 Pro takes a stereo mix and make a 5.1 surround mix out of it. But here’s what’s most important: Penteo generates the 5.1 surround without adding any additional delays, equalization, frequency shifting, dynamic change, alteration, or any of those tricks. It uses a new method to up-mix that doesn’t alter the original stereo, so when folding back down to stereo, the stereo sounds just like the original.”

Read the entire Interview with Ken Hahn and other industry leaders in the Perfect Surround Master Class series:

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About Audiotech Digital Limited (ADL)
Penteo transforms any stereo recording, soundtrack, DJ mix or live television broadcast into perfect 5.1 surround sound. Developed by ADL, Penteo 4 Pro remains faithful to the original stereo mix; no artificial sound manipulation is used. The Penteo 4 Pro plug-in creates a perfect surround experience for all stereo media with zero sonic artifacts, crisp and discrete center-channel, and only Penteo is 100% ITU down-mix compatible to the original stereo. Penteo has been used by major studios on hundreds of films, TV shows and music recordings and supports AAX64, RTAS, VST and AU formats. For more information, visit the website