Sydney, Australia (December 6, 2022)—Forbes Street Studios in Sydney’s Woolloomooloo has created an immersive mixing environment in its main studio complete with a 9.1.4 Genelec Smart Active Monitoring system in response to the increasing commercial demand for Dolby Atmos mixes.
“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.”
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.
“We had many pairs of Genelecs in the studio already,” says Garvin. “They’re one of the few brands that all our producers and engineers generally agree on, and of those, certainly the best for multichannel configurations.”
The Atmos specifications led to the selection of the 13 8351 three-way coaxial monitors and 7382 subwoofer that combine to form the 9.1.4 system. “I knew the ‘sound’ of the 8351 monitors, and they were the smallest for our room that would meet Dolby’s SPL requirements,” notes Garvin. “Similarly, the 7382 was literally the smallest sub to meet Dolby’s SPL requirements for the room. And if you’ve seen the 7382, that’s an extremely crazy thought—it’s huge! No regrets, it happily got us to where we wanted to go.”
The system was initially calibrated using Genelec’s GLM 4 software. “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 decision to use the same model of studio monitors for all of the channels, aside from the sub, was one based on trying to make the sound of the space as ‘true’ as possible. “Philosophically, our acoustics consultant Mike Fronzek and I believed that for musical elements to be mixed in a truly immersive manner, then all the monitors should match, to paint the best picture of what the balance actually sounds like,” reasons Garvin. “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.”