Stories

The Holy Grail: Experiencing Sgt. Pepper in Dolby Atmos

On its 50th anniversary, the Beatles’ hit album explodes into Dolby Atmos.

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It was 50 years ago that “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” came to play. And from that day forward, it changed everything about rock and pop music forever. Giles Martin, the son of the band’s legendary producer, George Martin, says that what his father and Geoff Emmerick, the Beatles’ equally legendary sound engineer, wanted to accomplish with Sgt. Pepper was to “paint the walls of the studio with different colors of sound.” They succeeded in creating, as Martin says, “a picture of sound that no one had ever heard before.”

An immersive audio landscape
What few know, however, is that the mix of Sgt. Pepper that George Martin and Emmerick labored over was the mono mix. At that time (1967), the vast majority of music systems featured only one speaker. The subsequent stereo mix, completed at the end of the recording sessions the third week of April 1967, was in many respects, according to Martin, “almost a throw away” that his father and Emmerick created in just three days, without the band’s involvement.

Now, for the 50th anniversary this summer of the Beatles’ seminal recording, Martin teamed up with Dolby® and some of the finest recording engineers in the world to bring, as Martin says, “those studio walls to life” with a new Dolby Atmos® remix of Sgt. Pepper. It is a labor of love that takes the original mono-stereo mix and explodes it into an immersive new audio landscape with Dolby Atmos. “The whole room can (now) emanate with the sounds of Sgt. Pepper. And that’s the exciting thing about this Atmos mix.”

A splendid time is guaranteed for all
Martin and his Dolby team returned to the original 4-track tapes used for each recording in the Sgt. Pepper sessions to capture the pristine sounds the Beatles originally laid down in Abbey Road’s Studio 2.

By integrating the original sound recordings with the revolutionary audio technology of Dolby Atmos, Martin and his team have peeled away the layers of time to allow people to experience the Beatles as if for the first time: a new experience in rich, immersive, crystal clear sound that will allow listeners to, as Martin says, “almost fall into the record.”

For Martin and the Dolby team, the opportunity to remix Sgt. Pepper is one of the peak experiences of their multiple award-winning careers. It is a privilege and a celebration in immersive sound made possible by the audio technology of Dolby Atmos.

View the video to go behind the scenes with Giles Martin and the Dolby team to learn more about recording and experiencing Sgt. Pepper in Dolby Atmos. And enjoy highlights below from Dolby’s celebration of Sgt. Pepper remastered in Dolby Atmos.

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