NEW YORK—Founded in 1987 by film auteur George Lucas, Skywalker Sound has been providing leading-edge editorial and post-production services for almost 25 years; the facility’s talented team of sound designers, scoring and re-recording mixers have worked on some of the most innovative motion pictures to be realized during the past two decades. Vital tools in that creative process have been an array of TC Electronic System 6000 Processors (AES Booth 541) that provide highly realistic reverbs, delays and boundary effects for any format from mono, stereo, LCR, LtRt to 5.1- and 6.1-channel. All of Skywalker Sound’s 11 System 6000s recently were updated to a MkII configuration, with the addition of a new LM6 Loudness Radar Meter, plus a user-choice of the VP8 pitch transpose processor, UnWrap HD stereo-to-5.1 processor, Multichannel Mastering or a Multichannel Reverb.
The MkII upgrade also adds full networking of multiple System 6000 processors, enabling favorite user presets to be archived on a central PC-based library that can be accessed from any editorial suite or mix stage within Skywalker Sound’s multi-room complex. The upgraded MkII systems are fully-compatible with all of the System 6000’s original algorithms and will read all existing presets; the new configuration serves as a gateway to even more powerful algorithms currently under development. A total of close to 600 factory Scene, Routing and Engine presets are currently available; all user-modified preset banks can be backed up and stored on the hard drive of a network-connected PC.
“We installed our first TC 6k in 1999,” recalls Doug Ford, Skywalker Sound’s engineering supervisor. “The quality of its algorithms, as well as ease-of-use and flexibility, meant that we had to increase our stock over the next year or so to a total of 11 units. Since purchasing the units our mixers and sound designers have collaborated with TC to modify and improve the algorithm library — and some have even bought their own, personal 6ks!
“This latest upgrade greatly improves our ability to move projects from one room to another by exchanging User Presets and Automation data over our corporate network,” continues Ford. “It’s remarkable that the core hardware — which we bought more than 10 years ago - continues to benefit from significant feature releases that made this year’s hardware upgrades a worthwhile investment.”
The TC Icon MkII remote-control head and CPU, which connect easily via an Ethernet link to the TC Mainframe, has also been upgraded with a faster responding touch screen and faders, plus dual Ethernet and dual USB connections; the unit also boasts a new stylish look and feel. The Icon remote is also available as a software editing application for both Mac and PC platforms. Multiple mainframes and TC Icons/Editors can be integrated with an Ethernet-based network, similar to the one implemented at Skywalker Sound.
The System 6000 MkII is backward compatible with existing MkI units and is available through specialty TC Electronic sales channels. To date, more than 350 Mk II upgrades have been upgraded within post facilities, recording studios and broadcast operations around the world.