Taking a Critical Listen

One of the few audio schools that offers a master's degree in Sound Recording Technology, the Music Department at the University of Massachusetts Lowell
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One of the few audio schools that offers a master's degree in Sound Recording Technology, the Music Department at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (www.uml.edu) recently celebrated the news that its $500,000 critical listening room was rated as one of the top five rooms in the industry by a panel of sound engineers. The room features a 5.1 sound system and serves as both a recording studio and lab. “We ask students to identify and quantify by ear specific aspects of sound, a necessary component of recording any music,” said program associate director Bill Carman.

The critical listening room is also a multitrack recording environment that incorporates four separate spaces, including the main live room with variable acoustics, an iso booth and two amp closets. Creating the foundation for the room's 5.1 surround sound system is a pair of Bag End D18E-I dual 18-inch subwoofer systems controlled by a Bag End INFRA signal processor and powered by Stage Accompany amps. The designer of the room, Bob Alach, chief designer for Alactronics, said he chose Bag End subs because of their clarity and accurate reproduction of the bass range. Other components of the system include SLS 1266 and 1065 monitors, an EMM Labs Switchman III surround controller and an Integra DVD-A/SACD player. Mixing and mastering are accomplished through a mobile production system that includes a Steinberg Nuendo DAW, Yamaha DM2000 console, TC Electronic System 6000, Genex GX9000 HD recorder and a Merging Technologies Pyramix 8-channel DSD/DVD-A workstation. Recording is facilitated via 48 mic lines, a Furman 6-channel cue system and two-way video communications.

All the systems in the room, together with tracking in the Multitrack Recording Studio and editing in Room 223, are integrated via a new Fibre Channel SANmp Pro SAN from Studio Network Solutions.