Nick Squillante taps Nugen Audio for Atmos mixes

Similar to many others in the music industry, Mixing and Mastering Engineer Nick “Squids” Squillante has been taking his mixes to the next level with Dolby Atmos. Squillante began his career alongside seven-time GRAMMY® Award-winning Mixer Michael Brauer at Electric Lady Studios, where he had the opportunity to work on records for the likes of Bon Jovi, Frank Ocean and Mumford & Sons. He has since become a seasoned professional in immersive mixing, which is currently his specialty. Squillante’s notable projects include mixing records for prominent artists like Aloe Blacc and Akon, as well as immersive mixing for the motion picture, “The Retaliators,” from his private, Dolby Atmos studio.

After discovering NUGEN Audio’s Halo Upmix plug-in on social media, Squillante immediately knew this was something he had to check out, and that “The Retaliators” soundtrack would be the perfect project to use it on. “I tried out the demo and immediately thought ‘this is a game changer.’ Halo Upmix provides an entirely new way to think about mixing in Atmos,” he says.

Squillante says the brand’s Halo Upmix software enhanced his workflow for this project. “Without this plug-in, my approach used to be going through each stem and picking out the pieces I felt I could accentuate without ruining the mix,” he continues. “What Halo Upmix did for me is life-changing. Let’s say I have a drum stem; I’ll run it through Halo Upmix and, boom, my drums are immediately filling the speakers in a perfect way. The presets also provide such a great starting point ― I don’t have to adjust much.”

According to Squillante, Halo Upmix also provided him with full flexibility, elevating his creativity on this project. “My favorite thing to do is to put vocals through the plug-in,” he adds. “I love what I can do with them using this software. There is a distinct change in presence and area that you cover with it!

“After experimenting more, this plug-in became my go-to tool, especially for this soundtrack,” he continues. “It helped me decide what was going to sit in the beds, be constant and help the listener stick with the tune the whole way. It also supported the other little things. For instance, if I have a synth arpeggio, maybe I’ll wrap that around your head, move it left or right, or put it above you in the Atmos spectrum. But, all the while, the drums are still smashing the right way and the bass is chugging along, holding down the bedrock of the mix.”

In addition to the brand’s Halo Upmix software, Squillante also uses NUGEN Audio’s convolution reverb, Paragon. “Just like with Halo Upmix, the Paragon plug-in offers a new level of flexibility. I love starting with presets and adjusting from there, and the NUGEN ones are unmatched. I just feel like, in this day and age, you should be able to move fast with confidence ― good presets help make that possible.”

For Squillante, NUGEN Audio has not only become an essential part of his workflow but is a brand he feels is innovative in its solutions. “With NUGEN, you don’t get a new version of a past thing; you just get new. And progress is so important in the mixing space.”

 

Welcome to issue 7 of Audio Media International