Extreme Music’s Senior Vice President, Dan Pounder (left), and chief mastering engineer Nick Cooke
Studio and design consultancy White Mark Ltd., based in Suffolk, UK, has completed a major project for Extreme Music, the production music arm of Sony ATV. White Mark designed and installed an entire audio complex at the Extreme Music’s new headquarters in London.
The new complex includes a large mastering studio, a mixing studio that can also be used for recording, and three self-contained audio editing suites.
“We have been growing at a rapid rate and needed more space to accommodate staff and to provide more audio facilities,” says Extreme Music’s Senior Vice President, Dan Pounder. “Fortunately we were able to take over offices vacated by another Sony company and the move gave us the opportunity to redesign the space so that it exactly suited our workflow. The open plan design is now split between workstations for marketing and administrative staff, and the audio suites. Thanks to the exceptionally high standards employed by both White Mark and BNP Paribas, which handled the design of the non-technical space, we now have a working environment that exceeds our expectations and has the wow factor we were looking for.”
The audio complex flows along one side of the building and comprises a large mastering room with natural daylight that is equipped with a Pro Tools system, PMC monitors and a range of audiophile processing equipment from Analogue Tube, Avalon, Manley, Weiss and TC Electronic. There is also a secondary multipurpose room equipped with Universal Audio, Sonnox and TC Electronic processing with PMC monitors capable of tracking, mixing and mastering duties. The two rooms can work in tandem for larger tracking projects, with the mastering room doubling up as a live space.
Extreme Music’s edit suite
The complex also houses three self-contained edit suites of varying sizes, all of which are linked to a common DDP audio server in a separate machine room so that project files can easily be transferred between any of the five audio rooms.
Extreme Music’s chief mastering engineer Nick Cooke says, “We chose White Mark for this project because we had worked with them in the past and knew they could deliver the results we wanted. As our new premises are located in a mixed tenancy building, we had to ensure that all of the studios and edit suites were really well isolated to avoid causing noise nuisance to our neighbors. White Mark was able to completely isolate all of the rooms and ensure that the completed facilities sounded great and were acoustically accurate.”
White Mark’s managing director David Bell says: “Although Extreme Music’s new facility required a more traditional approach to studio building to achieve adequate isolation, we were able to incorporate the company’s existing Fast Studio [pre-assembled] panels into our design for the acoustic treatment of the edit rooms.”
Extreme Music mastering room
“All of our mastering is handled in-house and because we are committed to excellence, we need audio facilities that reflect this philosophy,” Cooke adds. “White Mark has achieved remarkable results with our studios and we are delighted with them. Being able to feed work between all five rooms has significantly improved our workflow and increased flexibility. The additional space has also made it possible for composers to come in and be truly involved in the mixing and mastering process.”
Pounder adds that the move has not only given Extreme Music the extra space it needed, but also helped integrate the audio side of the business. “The layout works really well,” he says. “Everyone enjoys working here and the look and feel of the new premises also creates a very good impression for visitors because they can literally see our workflow in action.”