Two years after it transformed its main Studio 1 control room into Dolby Atmos recording and mixing room, the legendary Dean St. Studios in London is once again at the forefront of technological change – this time by changing its second studio into the UK’s first dedicated mastering facility incorporating Dolby Atmos mixing.
PMC monitoring features in both rooms, with the new suite equipped with a 9.1.4 surround system comprising PMC’s MB3-XBD-A monitors for left and right main channels, MB3S-A for the centre channel and Ci Series Ci65 monitors for surround and height channels.
Jasmin Lee, who along with her mother Suzanne Lee-Barnes has owned Dean St. Studios since 2007, says: “We were the first independent music recording facility in the UK to install a Dolby Atmos studio for music mixing and we are now also the first to recognise that this format needs a specialist approach to mastering. To that end we have built an acoustically accurate room that can cater specifically for this market, and we have equipped it with monitors that are so detailed and clear that our engineers can hear every nuance of the tracks they are working on, even at very low volumes.”
Based in London’s Soho, Dean Street Studios has a long and illustrious music industry history encompassing top artists such as David Bowie, T-Rex, Tina Turner, The Smiths, Dusty Springfield, Ed Sheeran and Adele. After starting out as a film audio facility in the 1950s, it became a music facility in 1976 when producer Tony Visconti opened Good Earth Studios. In 1989, Visconti sold the lease to music production company Joe & Co. who developed some of the premises into music recording and production suites but left Visconti’s legendary Studio 1 intact. When Suzanne Lee-Barnes and Jasmin Lee took over, they built on the reputation Dean St. Studios and ensured that it continues to offer great service and a great experience to the recording community.
When it comes to mastering Atmos projects, Lee believes two things are vital – having a room with a high end 9.1.4 monitoring system that is built specifically for mastering, and having engineers who understand surround mastering and can apply that expertise to mastering projects in immersive audio.
“It is a new format and there is definitely a learning curve involved when it comes to tackling these projects,” she explains. “Right now, Dean Street is ahead of the trend on both counts because we were one of the first facilities in the UK to tackle Atmos for music projects and therefore our staff have a wealth of experience to call on. The amount of Atmos work we are attracting means we need a second studio that can cope with it, but what really makes our new room unique is that we can master in stereo, 5.1 and Atmos using the same equipment, which ensures accuracy and delivers a much smoother workflow.”
Kurt Martinez, Dean St. Studios’ Atmos engineer, will be overseeing both rooms. In recent months he has been working on numerous Atmos mixes for music releases, live concerts and podcasts. He says: “These are exciting times, and it is very gratifying to see how much demand there is for this format. I believe this will only increase, especially now that car manufacturers are installing Dolby Atmos systems in new vehicles, which will introduce even more consumers to the immersive audio experience.”
PMC is a UK-based, world-leading manufacturer of loudspeaker systems, the tools of choice in all ultra-critical professional monitoring applications, and also for the discerning audiophile at home, where they provide a transparent window into the recording artist’s original intentions. PMC products use the best available materials and design principles, including the company’s proprietary Advanced Transmission Line (ATL™) bass-loading technology, cutting-edge amplification and advanced DSP techniques to create loudspeakers that present sound and music exactly as it was when first created, with the highest possible resolution, and without coloration or distortion. For more information on our clients and products, see www.pmc-speakers.com.