Separation Stories: Jay Graydon and Bill Evans talk TRAX Pro and remastering “Airplay”
Jay Graydon and Bill Evans talk TRAX Pro and remastering Airplay
Musicians and audio engineers around the world use Audionamix software every day to create, remix, and restore. Recently, Grammy-winner Jay Graydon and engineer extraordinaire Bill Evans used TRAX Pro to help in the remastering of a classic album.
Jay Graydon on how TRAX Pro helped solve a remastering challenge:
David Foster and I are Airplay, and recorded an album by the same name in 1979. It went Gold in Japan and continues to sell well around the world. The record company recently asked that I remaster the mixes for an upcoming re-release, but there was a problem: the vocals needed remixing…and the multi-tracks weren’t accessible.
The song, “Stranded” needed the most help. On the stereo mix, I’d added major EQ in the low frequency area (120 shelf) as well as rolling out EQ at 2.5 k area. But this left the vocals too low! So, I asked Bill if it would be possible to extract the vocals from the mix.
Tom [Price] and Bill worked on it, and I received the finished audio of the instrument track along with three vocal tracks. When playing the music and the vocal tracks together, it matched perfectly with the original. BUT then it was time to hear what happens when bringing up the vocal level…I brought up the vocal level between 1 to 3 dB using automation in Pro Tools and I WAS AMAZED…IT SOUNDED PERFECT, MEANING NO ARTIFACTS WERE HEARD!!!!
The full story of the re-mastering of Airplay (with audio examples of the before and after for the song “Stranded”) will be posted on my website (www.jaygraydon.com), as well as where to get the re-mastered version of Airplay [to be released by SONY].
— Jay Graydon
Bill Evans on using TRAX Pro for creating the vocal separation tracks:
When Jay asked me about doing this, I was intrigued and a little nervous—Jay is renowned for having some of the best ears in the business. Not to mention David Foster. And I had no idea how to separate multiple vocal tracks to the degree he needed…no one I spoke to had heard of it being done. But I figured if anything could handle the heavy lifting, it was Audionamix tech.
I spoke to Steve Oliver at Audionamix, who was kind enough to discuss their technical approach to the problem. I was hooked, and we dove in. Jay created MIDI guide files for the vocal melodies, and my assistant Tom used TRAX Pro to produce the three separate vocal separation tracks, as well as the instrumental tracks. He (and TRAX Pro) did an amazing job, and TRAX’s post-processing tools helped further improve the results (particularly in removing high-end drum bleed that coincided with vocal consonants).
If there was only one vocal track, we’d have been finished. But the three vocal tracks still needed to reassemble, simultaneously, without frequency cancellation. So Tom used a spectral editor (SpectraLayers) for post-processing on the frequency overlaps, and the project was complete.
It was a privilege to work with Jay Graydon, and I look forward to working with him (and TRAX Pro) in the future!
— Bill Evans