Ken Candelas Does it all With NUGEN Audio

The Multi-talented Musician and Audio Engineer Designates the Brand’s Plug-ins as a ‘Tried-and-True’ Tool for all his Work

NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 13, 2024 Ken Candelas is a busy professional musician and audio engineer with an extensive resume exemplifying his great success in all areas of the music and sound industries. A previous member of the audio team for Good Morning America, Candelas later went on to work on live and broadcast performances with some of today’s most celebrated performers, such as Wyclef Jean, Lady Gaga, Jason Mraz, Rascal Flatts and Cardi B. He is also the co-founder of Metal Mastermind, a course-based educational resource for metal musicians, as well as an adjunct professor of audio engineering and music production at LaGuardia Community College, The City College of New York and SAE Institute.

A jack of all trades, Candelas can clearly say he’s done it all, but recently, his schedule has largely been occupied with what he flags as his ‘pride and joy’ — a cinematic metal project, Homerik. Candelas’ many roles on the project consist of composer, drummer, vocalist, orchestrator, arranger and recording and mixing engineer. His latest undertaking with Homerik has been to create Dolby Atmos mixes for the project’s new cinematic metal opera adaptation of “Dante’s Inferno.” This includes the release of a new album coming in September 2024 and an audio novel due for release October 2024, along with visual aspects, such as a narrative film-style music video. Candelas says NUGEN Audio Halo Upmix, VisLM and ISL plug-ins played an essential role to his success on this project.

“Halo Upmix is especially helpful when taking stereo analog recordings and putting them into Atmos-capable, immersive sound,” he says. “I especially like the plug-in for ambient sounding reverbs and delays. Halo Upmix provides me with complete control and the ability to dictate how much reverb I want in the heights. Also, the differential in-phase that I can appropriate between heights, forwards, backwards and sides is so valuable. I feel that Upmix particularly enhances my workflow. I love my analog gear, so it’s nice to be able to not have to forego that when working in Atmos. I can use my stems and work with those.”

Meanwhile, Candelas says that “VisLM has been integral to keeping myself on track, and ISL helps me maximize and get as close to a target level as possible. What I really love about the plug-in is that it continuously records loudness measurements over time and you can go back without having to start all the way from the beginning. That has made VisLM a crucial solution for me and is one of the main reasons I use the plug-in.”

In addition to his go-to Halo Upmix and VisLM solutions, Candelas also looks forward to incorporating NUGEN’s Paragon plug-in for the forthcoming Dolby Atmos album and audio novel portion of the project. “The NUGEN Audio plug-ins will be essential, for sure,” he adds. “Whether that’s using Upmix to take certain multi-channel sounds and make them Atmos-capable, to create reverbs, or using VisLM to monitor my levels, NUGEN will be there. I also think it would be great to create a faux world for the audio novel by using Paragon, since the sound design will incorporate darker sonic elements such as the essences of demons and/or echoes of damned souls. Paragon can simulate tremendous reverbs for Dolby Atmos, which makes it truly a match made in heaven within my NUGEN ecosystem.”

Aside from Homerik, many of Candelas’ favorite NUGEN Audio solutions can also be found woven into his teachings in the classroom as an adjunct professor and instructor. “VisLM has become really helpful in teaching how to read loudness measurements, as well as histograms of loudness over time,” he continues. “The plug-in can display things like True Peak metering, which is a huge aspect of loudness. VisLM is also beneficial for multi-channel mixing, as it enables my students to see how their stereo mixes compare to their 5.1 mixes and what the differences are in that experience and loudness. I’ve also shown them Halo Upmix and Halo Downmix, which they love because it teaches them how it’s possible to easily fold down from a 5.1 mix to a stereo for non-Atmos deliveries. Using NUGEN in these aspects has been very effective.”

In terms of the brand, Candelas says, “I’ve always found NUGEN Audio representatives to be real class acts. They have a clear passion for the technology and their engineers seem to truly pay attention to the technological details, which is really astounding—their coding is amazing. So, I give all credit to them.”

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