Studio and design consultancy White Mark Ltd has completed a major project for Extreme Music to design and install an entire audio complex at the company’s new headquarters in London. The complex includes a large mastering studio, a mixing studio that can also be used for tracklaying and three self-contained audio editing suites.
Extreme Music, the production music arm of Sony ATV, was obliged to move premises to accommodate its rapid business growth.
The company’s Senior Vice President, Dan Pounder, says: “We have been growing at a rapid rate and needed more space to accommodate staff and to provide more audio facilities. Fortunately we were able to take over offices vacated by another Sony company and the move gave us the opportunity to re-design the space so that it exactly suited our workflow. The open plan design is now split between work stations for marketing and administrative staff and the audio suites. Thanks to the exceptionally high standards employed by both White Mark and BNP Paribas, which handled the design of the non-technical space, we now have a working environment that exceeds our expectations and has the wow factor we were looking for.”
The audio complex flows along one side of the building and consists of a large mastering room with natural daylight that is equipped with a Pro Tools system, PMC monitors and a range of audiophile processing equipment from Analaogue Tube, Avalon, Manley, Weiss and T.C. Electronics. There is also a secondary multipurpose room equipped with Universal Audio, Sonnox and T.C. Electronics processing with PMC monitors capable of mixing, tracklaying and mastering duties. The two rooms can work in tandem for larger tracklaying projects, with the mastering room doubling up as a live space. The complex also houses three self-contained edit suites of varying sizes, all of which are linked to a common DDP audio server in a separate machine room so that work can easily be transferred between any of the five audio rooms.
Extreme Music’s Chief Mastering Engineer Nick Cooke says: “We chose White Mark for this project because we had worked with them in the past and knew they could deliver the results we wanted. As our new premises are located in a mixed tenancy building, we had to ensure that all of the studios and edit suites were really well isolated to avoid causing noise nuisance to our neighbours. White Mark was able to completely isolate all of the rooms and ensure that the completed facilities sounded great and were acoustically accurate.”
White Mark’s previous involvement with Extreme Music involved upgrading the mastering studio in its old premises to improve the sound of the room and create more space. That project, which was completed in just four weeks in order to minimise downtime, involved the use of White Mark’s Fast Studio construction method that allows producers, composers and studio owners to build high performance facilities in far less time and at far less cost than would normally be anticipated. This unique system uses properly constructed and individually specified acoustic modules that are assembled off-site, making them very quick and easy to install. Fast Studio panels are ideal for rooms using free-standing monitors and in which there is no need for full isolation.
White Mark’s managing director David Bell says: “Although Extreme Music’s new facility required a more traditional approach to studio building to achieve adequate isolation, we were able to incorporate the company’s existing Fast Studio panels into our design for the acoustic treatment of the edit rooms.”
Established in 1997, Extreme Music is renowned for the quality of its production music and is committed to delivering an unrivalled roster of talent. Among its stable of Award-winning producers and composers are Timbaland, Hans Zimmer, Quincy Jones, Snoop Lion, Vince Clarke, Xzibit and Steve Jablonsky.
“All of our mastering is handled in-house and because we are committed to excellence, we need audio facilities that reflect this philosophy,” Nick Cooke adds. “White Mark has achieved remarkable results with our studios and we are delighted with them. Being able to feed work between all five rooms has significantly improved our workflow and increased flexibility. The additional space has also made it possible for composers to come in and be truly involved in the mixing and mastering process.”
Dan Pounder adds that the move has not only given Extreme Music the extra space it needed, but also helped integrate the audio side of the business. “The layout works really well,” he says. “Everyone enjoys working here and the look and feel of the new premises also creates a very good impression for visitors because they can literally see our workflow in action.”
About White Mark:
Established in 1997 by David Bell, John Dunnill, Derek Buckingham and Alan Cundell, White Mark Ltd specialises in production facilities for music recording and the film and television industries. Over the last fifteen years it has designed and supervised the construction of over 500 production suites worldwide. The company’s impressive client list encompasses some of the world’s most famous music recording facilities including Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in the UK, Germano Studios in New York, Hit Factory/Criteria Recording Studios in Miami, Strongroom in London and private studios for producers and musicians such as William Orbit and Damon Albarn. In the area of audio post production, White Mark has completed over 140 audio studios and many broadcast and video editing facilities for more than 60 companies in Soho alone. The list of clients includes Grand Central, Hackenbacker, Envy, De Lane Lea, Scramble, Lipsync, Molinare, DeLuxe, 750mph, NBC/Universal, Wave, Unit and Boom. Advertising agency clients include worldwide facilities for Hogarth International and AMV/BBDO on four continents.www.whitemark.com