Santa Monica, Calif.-based NT Audio Film Labs recently installed Lake Technology's DSP-based loudspeaker-processing system, Lake Contour. NT Audio has installed multiple Lake Contour units to control the multichannel speaker system in its newly completed screening and quality control room.
Chris Gilbey, CEO of Lake Technology, said, "I am delighted that NT Audio has adopted our Contour technology. It is a tremendous reflection on the great engineering team at Lake that such a pioneering facility as NT Audio has become one of the first companies in the world to adopt our innovative technology. We delight in providing the best technology solutions for cutting-edge companies anywhere in the audio industry."
A total of nine input channels of Lake Contour processors provide crossover, EQ and time-delay functions for the main room's speaker setup. "The main room is essentially an 8.1-channel system," said Shawn Jones, engineer and technologist at NT Audio. "We're configured for left-channel, left-center, center, right-center, right and subwoofer behind the screen. Then there's a left-surround, a right-surround and a rear-surround channel. We have Lake Contours on every channel."
For the NT Audio screening room, Jones said that the units are each programmed differently. "Three of the Contours act as they would in a touring environment, driving the five three-way units." Those Contour units driving the surround speakers pass fullrange signals but apply EQ, limiting and other dynamics functions. "Each of the five front channels is a three-way speaker system, so the Lake Contours are being used to provide three-way crossovers and EQ," continued Jones. "They're also driving the subwoofer crossover and EQ." Five JBL 5671 speakers are positioned behind the screen, with Electro-Voice TL-880D subwoofers supporting the LFE channel.
Uniquely for a screening room environment, Jones said that each of the 10 surround speakers are controlled separately by the Lake Contour units. "Each of the surround speakers has its own fullrange EQ and delay. The left-surround channel is four speakers, with four power amps, coming out of four channels of a single Lake Contour. The right-surround channel is the same. The rear-surround channel is two separate speakers." The JBL SR212 units "are not surround speakers but a sound reinforcement speaker," said Jones, a former live sound mixer and design consultant who was unhappy with the choice of theater-style surround speakers.
Front-panel controls have been kept to a minimum on Lake Contour, with most functions accessed through the Contour Controller software. "Everything is controlled from the projection booth via Ethernet, which is another handy thing," said Jones. "Typically, you have to be right at the unit or use some clunky 9-pin interface. This is much nicer, and they sound great. No one even knows that they are there. They're transparent and they do what they are supposed to."
Three small acoustically isolated quality-control rooms located at the rear of the 40x25-foot screening room directly below the projection booth allow four separate audio environments to be monitored while each engineer views the same projected image. Aparia Design, an Irvine, Calif.-based architecture and interiors firm, led the design and coordination of the screening room project.