The Grammy Award for Best Immersive Audio Album, formerly Best Surround Sound Album, was first awarded in 2005. Since then, the Recording Academy has annually recognized the best of the best in surround sound and immersive audio experiences.

The release dates for albums to be eligible for nomination are between October 1, 2021, and September 30, 2022. We’ve outlined some choices below, for your consideration.

Artist: Marillion
Title: Fugazi (1984)
Label: EMI/Parlophone
Format: 5CD /Blu-Ray
Immersive Mix By: Andy Bradfield & Avril Mackintosh (5.1)
Release Date: 9/10/21

marillion fugazi deluxe blu-ray 5.1

Fugazi (1984) was longtime British progressive-rock outfit Marillion’s second full album, and the second of a four album run that featured original songwriter/lyricist Fish (real name Derek William Dick) on lead vocals. It’s the sixth album to be remixed in stereo & 5.1 as part of an ongoing reissue campaign intended to cover the band’s entire eight-album output while signed to EMI from the early-1980s to late-1990s.

If you’re looking for an engaging surround sound experience, this might be the best of all the Marillion 5.1 remixes thus far. The remixing team of Andy Bradfield and Avril Mackintosh have opted for a full-on ‘listener-in-the-center-of-the-band’ perspective, with loud, isolated instruments frequently bursting from the rear channels.

Artist: The Tragically Hip
Title: Road Apples (1991)
Label: UMe
Format: 4CD /Blu-Ray
Immersive Mix By: Richard Chycki (5.1, 7.1 & Dolby Atmos)
Release Date: 10/15/21

tragically hip road apples blu-ray deluxe 5.1 atmos

The Canadian rockers’ second studio album celebrated its 30th anniversary with a massive reissue including multiple LPs, CDs, and an audio-only Blu-Ray disc with Richard Chycki’s stereo & immersive remixes.

In April 2022, Chycki told us the following about the project:

 “An artist like The Tragically Hip is very earthy and organic, so a more stripped back immersive environmental approach was definitely the way to go. Imagine leaning against the pool table in the room where the band was performing and watching them perform a track: that was the mix approach.

I was very fortunate that [original engineers] Bruce Barris and Don Smith captured the ambience of various parts of the mansion in which they recorded the album, offering me a great template to re-create a multichannel version of it. Effects and placements are definitely three-dimensional, but the amount of mix motion is limited as that would quickly come across as gimmicky in this particular situation.”

Read the rest of IAA's interview with Chycki here!

Artist: The Pineapple Thief
Title: Nothing But The Truth (2022)
Label: Snapper/KScope
Format: Blu-Ray
Immersive Mix By: Bruce Soord (5.1 & Dolby Atmos)
Release Date: 10/22/21

pineapple thief nothing but truth 5.1 atmos blu-ray

Originally performed live via streaming to a worldwide audience in April 2021, Nothing But The Truth is a roughly 90-minute concert film shot on an elaborate soundstage with multiple cameras. Each song was truly recorded in one take, with minimal editing or other studio trickery. Due to popular demand, the band have reissued the film on Blu-Ray disc complete with new 5.1 & Dolby Atmos immersive mixes.

The 5.1 & Atmos mixes are rather clever in the sense that the position of each band member’s instrument or vocal matches their position on-screen. Bandleader Bruce Soord is in the center of the soundstage, with the band and camera crew surrounding him. Gavin Harrison’s drum kit faces him, while session guitarist George Marios is standing directly behind him. Bassist Jon Sykes is off to the left and keyboardist Steve Kitch is on the right.

In July 2022, Soord told us the following about the project:

“Yeah, that was almost perfect. We're all in a circle with the camera going around: Gavin’s drums in the front, [rhythm guitarist] George [Marios] in the back. Steve on one side, and [bassist] John [Sykes] on the other. I placed everything in surround just as it was in the video. It worked really well and sometimes when the camera was moving, you could get away with moving some things around as well. It was good fun.”

Read the rest of IAA's interview with Soord here!

Purchase Nothing But The Truth in the IAA Shop!

Artist: Tori Amos
Title: Ocean To Ocean (2021)
Label: Decca
Format: Streaming
Immersive Mix By: Adrian Hall (Dolby Atmos)
Release Date: 10/29/21

tori amos ocean atmos apple streaming

Ocean To Ocean is Tori Amos’ sixteenth studio album and first immersive release. Mixed in stereo & Dolby Atmos by Adrian Hall, the album is demo material for anyone with an Apple Music or Tidal subscription. Right from the beginning of “Addition Of Light Divided,” vocals swirl around the listening position and distinct percussive elements appear largely-isolated in the height speakers.

Artist: Air
Title: 10,000 Hz Legend (2001)
Label: Warner/Rhino
Format: 2CD/Blu-Ray
Immersive Mix By: Bruce Keen (5.1 & Dolby Atmos)
Release Date: 11/5/21

air legend 5.1 atmos blu-ray deluxe


Though Air’s 10,000 Hz Legend (2001) was released right around the time that the major record labels began their short-lived foray into 5.1 surround music (via the audiophile Super Audio CD and DVD-Audio formats), fans would ultimately have to wait two decades for a surround sound edition. The new 20th anniversary Blu-Ray disc includes not only a 5.1 surround remix, but a Dolby Atmos version of the album as well.

This is a full-on immersive experience, with the rear speakers utilized for far more than just ambient reflections. There are synthesizers and harmony vocals popping up from behind and even swirling around the room on occasion. The voices in “Radio #1” alternate from different speakers, while “The Vagabond” features harmonica and percussion isolated in the center channel.

Artist: Kiss
Title: Destroyer (1976)
Label: UMe
Format: 4CD/Blu-Ray
Immersive Mix By: Steven Wilson (5.1 & Dolby Atmos)
Release Date: 11/19/21

kiss destroyer blu-ray 5.1 atmos steven wilson super deluxe

In a first for Kiss, the 45th anniversary super deluxe reissue of Destroyer (1976) includes an audio-only Blu-Ray disc with new 5.1 surround & Dolby Atmos remixes from Steven Wilson. Originally produced by Bob Ezrin, the album features the classic songs “Detroit Rock City” and “Shout It Out Loud.”

Wilson’s immersive mixes are revelatory, with the car sound effects in “Detroit Rock City” swirling around-the-room as backing vocals burst from the rear channels. The famous twin guitar solo midway through comes blasting from above. You’ve never heard the album quite like this.

Artist: The Band
Title: Cahoots (1976)
Label: UMe
Format: 4CD/2LP/Blu-Ray
Immersive Mix By: Bob Clearmountain (5.1 & Dolby Atmos)
Release Date: 12/10/21

band cahoots blu-ray 5.1 atmos super deluxe bob clearmountain

Following the format established for the deluxe editions of Music From Big Pink (1968), The Band (1969), and Stage Fright (1970), Cahoots (1971) features several CDs, vinyl, and an audio-only high-resolution Blu-Ray disc with new stereo & immersive remixes.

The 5.1 surround mix drops the listener right in the center of the band, with the rear speakers utilized primarily for horns (most notably in the opening track, “Life Is A Carnival”), Robertson’s electric guitar, and Garth Hudson’s keyboards. The bulk of the rhythm section is isolated in the center speaker, while The Band’s trademark threepart harmonies are mixed left-center-right across the front stage. There are even some fun swirling effects, like the guitar solos in “Smoke Signal” gradually moving from speaker to speaker around the room.

Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: The Zealot Gene (2022)
Label: InsideOut/Sony
Format: 2CD/Blu-Ray
Immersive Mix By: Jakko M. Jakszyk (5.1)
Release Date: 1/28/22

jethro tull zealot gene deluxe 5.1 blu-ray jakko jakszyk

It’s been nearly twenty years since Jethro Tull released what was once thought to be their final studio album, The Jethro Tull Christmas Album (2003). Since then, there have been line-up changes, tours, a brilliant reissue series, and three solo studio albums from frontman Ian Anderson (including 2012’s brilliant Thick As A Brick 2, a sequel to Jethro Tull’s classic 1972 album Thick As A Brick).

The 5.1 mix is breathtaking and unquestionably the best way to experience The Zealot Gene.  The surround effect is often subtle, but effective. The backing vocals are frequently placed in the rear speakers, while Anderson’s lead vocal is isolated in the center channel. Overall, the album sounds very inviting and engages the listener differently than the regular 2-channel stereo mix.

Artist: The Bob James Trio
Title: Feel Like Making LIVE! (2022)
Label: EvoSound
Format: SACD, CD/Blu-Ray, CD/Ultra-HD Blu-Ray
Immersive Mix By: Hideo Arimajiri (5.1, Dolby Atmos & Auro-3D)
Release Date: 1/28/22

bob james 5.1 atmos blu-ray evosound

Perhaps best known for a string of hits in the mid-1970s, such as “Angela” (used as the theme to the television series Taxi Driver), "Westchester Lady,” "Tappan Zee,” and “Nautilus” (often cited as one of the most-sampled songs of all time), jazz pianist Bob James celebrates his 81st birthday with this fantastic new live-in-the-studio release.

The 5.1 surround mix is surprisingly effective, considering there are only three instruments (electric piano, upright bass, and drums) in play for the majority of the album. Bob James’ Rhodes piano is mixed in stereo across the left side of the room, while Billy Kilson’s drum kit spans the right side of the room. Michael Palazzolo’s bass is mostly isolated in the center speaker, though some dry signal does spill over into the front channels.

Artist: Paul Draper
Title: Cult Leader Tactics (2022)
Label: Snapper/Kscope
Format: 3CD/DVD
Immersive Mix By: Paul ‘P-Dub’ Walton (5.1)
Release Date: 1/28/22

paul draper cult leader tactics deluxe dvd 5.1

Paul Draper is a British singer-songwriter best known as the frontman and lyricist for the art-rock band Mansun, who achieved commercial success and cult status in the U.K. throughout the late-90s with their albums Attack Of The Grey Lantern (1997) and Six (1998). Cult Leader Tactics, his latest studio album, is a conceptual project that satirizes the idea of self-help books while also addressing heavier themes relating to politics and human nature.

The deluxe edition features two extra CD’s worth of acoustic renditions and outtakes, plus a DVD with Paul ‘P-Dub’ Walton’s stereo & 5.1 surround mixes. Walton’s 5.1 take on the album opens things up nicely, with the rear speakers engaged for percussion, synthesizers, backing vocals, and some sound effects. There’s a particularly fun bit in “U Killed My Fish” where Draper’s voice bounces from speaker to speaker.

Artist: Tears For Fears
Title: The Tipping Point (2022)
Label: Concord
Format: Blu-Ray
Immersive Mix By: Steven Wilson (5.1 & Dolby Atmos)
Release Date: 2/25/22

tears for fears tipping point blu-ray 5.1 atmos steven wilson

The Tipping Point is Tears For Fears’ first studio album since Everybody Loves A Happy Ending (2004) and the third to receive a surround sound release, following the 30th anniversary remixed re-releases of Songs From The Big Chair (1985) and The Seeds Of Love (1989).

Initially intended only for spatial audio release on streaming platforms, Paul Sinclair of SuperDeluxeEdition.com was able to convince Concord Records to release the immersive mixes on a limited-run Blu-Ray disc. The DTS-HD 5.1 mix is a complete deconstruction of the album, with every last detail of the dense production exposed in the expanded soundfield. All the various processed or double-tracked vocal layers have been separated into different speakers while the lead stays focused in the center channel, stripped of all effects.

In July 2022, Steven Wilson told us the following about the project:

“Since it was a new record, I felt I had license to do things a bit differently. There was a track called “End Of Night” that I felt was too cluttered. So I took a few things out, and Roland [Orzabal] agreed that the original mix was a bit congested. I figured if he felt that way, then I’m going to be a bit more revisionist. I replaced some of the reverbs with spring reverbs, to try and get the track a bit more organic-sounding. I was definitely more bold with that project, in a way I wouldn’t have been if this was a song that's been out there for years already.”

Read the rest of IAA's interview with Wilson here!

Artist: Giancarlo Erra & Tim Bowness
Title: Memories Of Machines (2011)
Label: Snapper/Kscope
Format: CD/DVD-Audio
Immersive Mix By: Giancarlo Erra (5.1)
Release Date: 2/25/22

memories of machines bowness erra dvd 5.1 deluxe

Originally issued in 2011 under the title of Warm Winter, Memories Of Machines is a collaboration between British musicians Tim Bowness (half of the duo No-Man, along with Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson) and Giancarlo Erra (lead vocalist and songwriter for Nosound).

The 5.1 surround mix doesn’t disappoint. Most songs have Bowness’ voice front and center (though not solely in the center speaker), while the hard-panned acoustic and electric guitars are pushed further out towards the back corners. The drum kit fills up the entire listening space, with even a fair amount of dry kick signal in the rear speakers. Some of the backing vocal parts (such as Bowness’s refrains in “Before We Fall” and “Lucky You, Lucky Me”) and mellotron flourishes appear directly behind the listener’s head, while the keyboard solo in “Schoolyard Ghosts'' spans the right side of the room.

Artist: Rush
Title: Moving Pictures (1981)
Label: UMe
Format: 3CD/5LP/Blu-Ray
Immersive Mix By: Richard Chycki (5.1 & Dolby Atmos)
Release Date: 4/29/22

rush moving pictures super deluxe blu-ray 5.1 atmos chycki

Moving Pictures (1981) is the latest classic Rush album to receive a deluxe reissue, following the box sets of Permanent Waves (1980), Hemispheres (1978), and A Farewell To Kings (1977) in 2020, 2018, and 2017 respectively. Longtime collaborator Richard Chycki was tasked with remixing the album in 5.1 & Dolby Atmos, despite having already created a 5.1 mix in 2011 for the DVD-Audio and Blu-Ray Audio releases.

Artist: Robert Fripp
Title: Exposure (1979)
Label: DGM
Format: DVD/Blu-Ray
Immersive Mix By: Steven Wilson, David Singleton (4.0, 5.1 & Dolby Atmos)
Release Date: 5/20/22

fripp exposure super deluxe 5.1 atmos steven wilson david singleton blu-ray

Discipline Global Media capped off their acclaimed King Crimson reissue campaign with a huge celebration of founder Robert Fripp’s 1979 debut solo album. The Exposures box set features a whopping 32 discs, including multiple versions of the original Exposure album - plus the additional solo works Under Heavy Manners and The League Of Gentleman - remixed in stereo, 5.1 & Dolby Atmos by longtime collaborator Steven Wilson. For the casual fan, a more economical CD/DVD edition includes Wilson’s stereo & 5.1 remixes of the Exposure “4th Edition.”

Artist: The Pineapple Thief
Title: Give It Back (2022)
Label: Snapper/KScope
Format: Blu-Ray
Immersive Mix By: Bruce Soord (5.1 & Dolby Atmos)
Release Date: 5/20/22

pineapple thief give it back blu-ray 5.1 atmos bruce soord

Issued in the midst of their 2022 Versions Of The Truth tour, The Pineapple Thief’s latest studio release revisits older material in a fresh new light. Recorded during the COVID-19 lockdown, Give It Back (2022) is a collection of twelve older songs from the albums 137 (2002) Ten Stories Down (2004), Little Man (2006), and All The Wars (2012) re-recorded, remixed & “re-wired” with Gavin Harrison’s drumming and new vocals by Bruce Soord.

The 5.1 surround sound mixes are every bit as impressive as fans have come to expect from Soord. Harrison’s drums and Soord’s vocals hold down the fort upfront, while the rear speakers fill up with backing vocals, keys, rhythm guitars, and percussion. The highs are crisp yet not overbearing, whereas the low end is powerful but not excessive. The band sounds absolutely huge and even more powerful in this format.

Purchase Give It Back in the IAA Shop!

Artist: xPropaganda
Title: The Heart Is Strange (2022)
Label: ZTT
Format: Blu-Ray
Immersive Mix By: Stephen Lipson (5.1 & Dolby Atmos)
Release Date: 5/20/22

xpropaganda heart is strange blu-ray 5.1 atmos stephen lipson

The second limited-run immersive Blu-Ray release from SuperDeluxeEdition.com continues the ‘80s synth-pop revival, complete with 5.1 surround & Dolby Atmos mixes. The Heart Is Strange retains Propaganda’s unique synth-pop/new-wave sound (complete with passages of German spoken word) while also updating it for the 21st century.

The 5.1 surround mix is excellent, with the rhythm section and lead vocal nailed down to the front channels while synthesizers, backing vocals, brass, and the occasional guitar appear in the rears. The call and response vocals in “Beauty Is Truth” alternate between the front and rear speakers, and the sax solo in “The Wolves Are Returning” frenetically swirls around the room. Curiously enough, this is actually a quadraphonic mix in all but name: the center speaker sees minimal use for the duration of the album.

Artist: Porcupine Tree
Title: Closure/Continuation (2022)
Label: Music For Nations
Format: 3CD/Blu-Ray
Immersive Mix By: Steven Wilson (5.1 & Dolby Atmos)
Release Date: 6/24/22

porcupine tree blu-ray 5.1 atmos deluxe steven wilson gavin harrison

Porcupine Tree had been inactive since concluding their world tour for The Incident (2009) in 2010, and frontman Steven Wilson’s public comments in the ensuing few years seemed to indicate a permanent hiatus – until early 2021, that is, when he commented that the band may reform when fans least expect it. True to his word, Closure/Continuation was announced in October 2021 with minimal advance publicity.

Both the 5.1 & Dolby Atmos mixes are up to Wilson’s usual extremely high standard, with the additional speakers used for distinct instrumentation rather than merely delays and reverberation. The Dolby Atmos mix is an incredible listening experience, with the various guitar, synth, vocal, and percussion layers occupying all angles of a three-dimensional dome of sound.

Artist: Mary Fahl
Title: Can’t Get It Out Of My Head (2022)
Label: RIMAR 
Format: CD/Blu-Ray
Immersive Mix By: Ronald Prent (5.1)
Release Date: 7/22/22

mary fahl mark doyle blu-ray 5.1 ronald prent darcy proper

Perhaps best known for her tenure as lead singer of the band October Project in the late 1990s, American singer/songwriter Mary Fahl quickly became a well-known figure in the immersive music community following the re-release of her From The Dark Side Of The Moon (2006) album on Blu-Ray in March 2020. Over two years later, Fahl and Dark Side-collaborator Mark Doyle have re-emerged with an eclectic covers album once again available in 5.1 surround.

Overall, the 5.1 surround mixes are excellent. Listeners should expect little in the way of swirling and other motion-related trickery, but they do provide a nice ‘enveloping’ feel with much of the orchestration and harmonies coming from behind. What really sets the 5.1 experience apart from the already excellent stereo mix is the isolation of Fahl’s vocals to the center speaker; it really feels like she’s right there in the room during some of the sparser passages.

Purchase Can’t Get It Out Of My Head in the IAA Shop!

Artist: The Grateful Dead
Title: American Beauty (1970)
Label: Warner/Rhino
Format: Streaming
Immersive Mix By: Steven Wilson (Dolby Atmos)
Release Date: 8/20/22

grateful dead american beauty dolby atmos apple steven wilson

Much to the surprise of the audiophile world, immersive mixing wizard Steven Wilson announced on social media in late August 2022 that he’d remixed The Grateful Dead’s classic 1970 album American Beauty in Dolby Atmos.

Unsurprisingly, Wilson’s Atmos mix is absolutely incredible. What he’s achieved is simply remarkable, especially for an album of this vintage. Nearly every instrument is assigned to its own speaker for an ultra-wide immersive presentation, yet the massive soundstage still gels and retains the feel of the original stereo mix.

Artist: A Bad Think
Title: X (2022)
Label: Windmark Recordings
Format: Blu-Ray
Immersive Mix By: Bob Clearmountain (Dolby Atmos)
Release Date: 8/19//22

X - A Bad Think - Dolby Atmos

Just over a year after the release of his prior solo album Lifelike (2021), musician/producer Michael Marquart has impressively managed to write and record an entirely new 11-track album. To the delight of audiophiles and immersive music fans, Bob Clearmountain is involved once again. This time, he’s mixed the stereo & Dolby Atmos concurrently with no unique 5.1 option.

As with most Clearmountain 5.1 and Atmos mixes of studio material, the separation of the instruments is extreme. The center channel once again acts as the focal point of the surround presentation, featuring not only dry lead vocals but also bass guitar, kick drum, lead guitar, and percussion. The song “One More Chance” starts off sounding almost like a mono recording pinned to the center speaker.

Purchase X in the IAA Shop!

Artist: Alan Williams
Title: Currents (2022)
Label: Blue Gentian Records
Format: Blu-Ray
Immersive Mix By: Alan Williams (5.1)
Release Date: 8/19//22

alan williams currents 5.1 blu-ray deluxe

Alan Williams is a New England-based musician and chairman of the Department of Music at UMass Lowell, currently performing both solo and with the folk / rock trio Birdsong At Morning. Currents marks a strong continuation from Wiliams’ prior solo release Evidence Unearthed (2020), with even more variety in terms of style, arrangement, and instrumentation.

The 5.1 surround mix is equally engaging. “Think Of The Night” makes for an explosive opening number, with the massive-sounding drum kit filling the entire listening space. Williams’ commanding lead vocal emanates from the front and center speakers, with acoustic guitars and strings percolating from the rear.

Purchase Currents in the IAA Shop

Artist: Bill Nelson’s Red Noise
Title: Art/Empire/Industry (The Complete Red Noise) (1978-79)
Label: Cherry Red/Esoteric Recordings
Format: 5CD/DVD
Immersive Mix By: Stephen W Tayler (5.1)
Release Date: 8/26/22

bill nelson red noise esoteric deluxe 5.1 dvd stephen w tayler

As a sort of capstone to Esoteric/Cherry Red’s successful Be-Bop Deluxe reissues, Art/Empire/Industry captures the entire output of Bill Nelson’s Red Noise. Stephen W Tayler has created new stereo & 5.1 surround mixes of the entire Sound-On-Sound (1979) album plus several never-before-heard bonus session recordings.

Artist: Marillion
Title: Holidays In Eden (1991)
Label: EMI/Parlophone
Format: 4CD/Blu-Ray
Immersive Mix By: Stephen W Tayler (5.1)
Release Date: 9/16/22

marillion holidays eden 5.1 deluxe blu-ray stephen w tayler

The seventh entry in Marillion’s successful EMI reissue series, the Holidays In Eden 4CD/Blu-Ray set includes new stereo & 5.1 surround mixes from Stephen W Tayler.

In March 2022, Tayler told us the following about the project:

“It was fascinating to be invited to re-address this album. I was not familiar with the music itself, moreso with the production and engineering techniques of the time period in which it was originally released. There was a particular type of sound from around 1989-91 that seems to have not aged well, particularly the roomy ‘gated’ drums and the use of SSL consoles.

When it came to mixing Holidays In Eden, I wanted to bring more groove, color, and weight to the rhythm section, with a bit less emphasis on the off-beat snare for a bit more timeless sound.

I wanted to keep the character of the original mix, but give it a bit more analogue warmth, punch and emotion – and of course create the surround experience – along with awesome great bonus material! Such lovely chaps to be involved with, a complete pleasure.”

Read the rest of IAA's interview with Tayler here!

Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: Animals (1977)
Label: Legacy Recordings
Format: SACD, Blu-Ray
Immersive Mix By: James Guthrie (5.1)
Release Date: 9/16/22

pink floyd animals 5.1 blu-ray james guthrie roger waters

Pink Floyd’s classic 1977 concept album Animals is set to be reissued at last in mid-September 2022, with new stereo & 5.1 surround mixes courtesy of longtime Floyd collaborator James Guthrie. Though the remixes were completed in 2018, infighting between band members resulted in a delayed release.

Artist: Ultravox
Title: Rage In Eden (1981)
Label: Chrysalis/Parlophone
Format: 5CD/DVD
Immersive Mix By: Steven Wilson (5.1)
Release Date: 9/30/22

The follow-up to 1980’s Vienna, Rage In Eden (1981), is set to be reissued in late September 2022 in the same 5CD/DVD configuration as 2020’s successful Vienna deluxe edition. Once again, Steven Wilson has been tapped to create new stereo & 5.1 surround mixes.

Wilson made liberal use of motion in the 5.1 soundfield throughout his Vienna remix, with synthesizers and guitars wildly roving around the room in nearly every song. The separation of the various instruments and voices is so extreme that, at times, it almost feels like the listener is intruding on the recording sessions. One can only hope for similar results with Rage In Eden.

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