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Herbert Waltl Outfits with Neumann Immersive Speakers

During the pandemic, Herbert Waltl set up an immersive mixing facility based around Neumann KH Line studio monitors.

Herbert Waltl's immersive mix room at mediaHyperium.
Herbert Waltl’s immersive mix room at mediaHyperium.

Rolling Hills Estates, CA (July 27, 2021)—Spatial audio engineer Herbert Waltl relocated his mediaHyperium operation to a disused music school early in the coronavirus pandemic, outfitting a former recital room with Neumann KH Line studio monitors to handle both Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio immersive music formats.

The 7.1 monitor setup comprises seven Neumann KH 420 tri-amplified midfield mains plus a pair of Neumann KH 870 bass-managed subwoofers. Five Neumann KH 310 tri-amped near field monitors on stands — three across the front plus left and right height channels — support the overhead channels of Sony’s object-based 360 Reality Audio. Hanging from the ceiling, and positioned slightly closer to the mix position per the recommendations of Dolby Laboratories, four Neumann KH 120 bi-amped near field speakers deliver the overhead zone for Dolby Atmos mixes.

Waltl, who founded mediaHyperium in 1996, had been planning to build a new studio before the pandemic. For years, he had mostly been working at Skywalker Sound in the Bay Area, for the last five years in partnership with Grammy/Emmy-winner Eric Schilling, a recording engineer and broadcast audio mixer.

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Waltl made something of an informed leap of faith in selecting the Neumann system at mediaHyperium, although he has logged plenty of hours with one particular model working on various projects. Like Waltl, Schilling says, “I only used the 310s before. In this room, I’m probably eight feet away from the speakers. What I like is that the system has a lot of detail and you don’t have to play it loud to hear that. I work at a pretty moderate gain for most of the day, or I’d get too tired. I’m probably running this system at 20% of what it will do, in terms of volume, so it’s got a lot of headroom. And it’s nice having two subs, because the low end is a little more consistent.”

Schilling has been remixing Alicia Keys’ catalog into the Sony 360 Reality Audio format and Dolby Atmos format, in conjunction with producer and engineer George Massenburg with Ann Mincieli, Alicia’s longtime engineer, at the helm. According to Waltl, some of the other Sony 360 Reality Audio highlights to come out of mediaHyperium include Victor Manuelle’s 2018 Grammy Award-winning salsa album 25/7, two albums with organ works by Bach and Hauser Plays Morricone, an album of film composer Ennio Morricone’s work transcribed for cello and orchestra performed by Stjepan Hauser.