Day 3 of RadioWeek explored one of the biggest technological shifts in broadcast radio
With an increasing commercial demand for Dolby Atmos mixes, Forbes Street Studios in Sydney’s trendy Woolloomooloo wanted to up its game — and its monitoring — with a Dolby Atmos-capable mixing environment.
The studio has upgraded monitoring in its main studio with a 9.1.4 Genelec Smart Active Monitoring system consisting of 13 Genelec 8351 monitors and a 7382 subwoofer, calibrated by Genelec’s GLM 4 software.
“The studio is owned by Universal Music, which worked with Dolby from the outset to create the Dolby Atmos Music format and was the earliest company to begin mixing music across all genres and catalogues in the format,” explains Studio Manager Anthony Garvin. “So it made sense for us to be kitted out as a go-to destination for Atmos music mixing in Australia.
“We had many pairs of Genelecs in the studio already. They are one of the few brands that all our producers and engineers generally agree on, and certainly the best for multichannel configurations.”
The decision to use the same model of studio monitors for all the channels, aside from the sub, was based on trying to make the sound of the space as “true” as possible.
“Our acoustics consultant and I believed that for musical elements to be mixed in a truly immersive manner, then all the monitors should match. If a thick pad, for example, is pushed towards the back, then on smaller loudspeakers that will thin out — when in reality, it doesn’t in the mix. And if you look at a Sonos Atmos playback system, the loudspeakers in the rear are as tonally capable as the Arc in the front; so why would you want your mix system to play tricks on your ears?”
Genelec is one of the few brands that all our producers and engineers generally agree on.Anthony Garvin, Studio Manager
The system was calibrated using Genelec’s GLM 4 software, a trusted tool which is used daily at Forbes Street. “We are using GLM in quite a simple but extremely helpful way,” says Garvin. “It boots the monitors up for us when we turn our computer on and turns them off when we shut down. Plus, it’s extremely helpful for troubleshooting and avoids having to get around the back of the monitors to change a setting!”
The new space has proved to be a hit with Forbes Street’s engineers. “It’s been really impressive,” says Callum Howell, one of Forbes Street’s busiest spatial mixers. “I can’t believe how well things translate from our system onto other playback mediums, it’s quite remarkable. It’s a big weight off your shoulders to know that the monitoring has your back when you’re working on a new system in a new format.”
To create the Dolby Atmos space, the Forbes Street team called in Sound Spaces as the acoustic consultant and Sounds Easy to supply the equipment, working closely with local Genelec distributor Studio Connections.