Gold Diggers, a unique music production complex in East Hollywood, Los Angeles, has transformed two of its seven studios into immersive audio music mixing rooms.
Both rooms are now equipped with PMC monitoring systems, which were chosen by Gold Diggers’ managing partner and studio manager, Simon Horrocks, because they are widely regarded as the industry standard for Dolby Atmos Music facilities. There is also a third PMC equipped studio which is used for stereo mixing.
“A lot of the major players have outfitted their Atmos studios with PMC, so for us it just made sense,” Horrocks says. “We’d always loved PMCs but when we built this facility in 2016, we were installing seven studios, all of which needed to be completely outfitted from the ground up. Quite frankly, budget was a factor at that point. However, the new line of products from PMC have made it possible for us to invest in their monitoring systems and between Studio 6 and Studio 9 we now have a total of 39 PMCs.”
Located on Santa Monica Blvd., Gold Diggers was an historic venue even before Horrocks and his business partners took it on as a project. In previous lives it was a strip club, hotel, and home to film director Ed Wood’s company Quality Pictures. It was also a rehearsal facility that hosted The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Slayer and Hollywood Rose (the predecessor to Guns n Roses).
Horrocks, who was moving from Atlanta to LA and needed a new project, heard about the property and quickly realised its potential. In conjunction with media and hospitality entrepreneur Dave Neupert and Dave Trumfio, producer, and the owner of Kingsize Soundlabs, he set about transforming the derelict building into a bar, a venue, a boutique hotel and seven studios.
“Mainly we’re a music studio that works with artists signed to majors, as well as independent artists,” Horrocks says. “We’re an audio production facility in Hollywood so we attract a number of different types of clients. With the collaborative nature of the music business these days, we do a lot of song writing and single song production. We recently hosted a writing camp in multiple studios, recording orchestral cues and mixing a series for Netflix, and recording a scripted podcast for a major agency. We also built the complex to house a number of different size studios so we can accommodate any artist or any sized budget.”
The decision to reconfigure Studios 6 and 9 was prompted by Apple Music’s 2021 announcement that it was embracing spatial audio, and in particular Dolby Atmos. Studio 6 was already supporting Sony Electronics’ 360RA audio format and was designed to showcase this to artists and producers.
“That was our introduction to the world of immersive audio, and it progressed into us mixing projects in 360RA for labels and DSP’s supporting the format,” Horrocks says. “Studio 6 now supports 9.1.4 Dolby Atmos and 5.5.4 360RA, while Studio 9 is just for 9.1.4 Atmos projects.”
In terms of monitors, Studio 6 has three PMC 6-2 as its main LCR and 19 PMC ci45 for the surround channels, powered by Crown DCi 8|600DA amplifiers. There are also two PMC twotwoSub 2 active subwoofers. Studio 9 has PMC 6 for LCR, 10 PMC ci30 monitors for surrounds and two PMC twotwoSub 2 active subwoofers. Both systems were supplied by PMC’s specialised dealer RSPE (www.rspeaudio.com) that also provided additional equipment, system design, integration, and installation.
“Russ (Belttary) and the RSPE team were fantastic,” Simon Horrocks says “Dave (Trumfio) had a long relationship with PMC’s US President Maurice Patist, and he recommended RSPE to us. We had some unique challenges with Studio 6 specifically, because we had to come up with a hardware and software design to support both the Atmos and 360RA formats. We added an additional nine speakers to the setup in Studio 6, including four mounted on the floor, so that we can switch between the formats. The systems and rooms sound amazing, offering an accurate working and aesthetically pleasing listening environment.”
Housing a bar, venue, hotel, and studios under one roof might seem like a crazy idea but it works. The hotel rooms are available to the public and tend to attract music lovers and creatives alike. Artists and producers also stay while they are working, so you never know who you’ll meet in the bar.
“Producer Ricky Reed chose to record the latest Leon Bridges album here for that very reason,” Simon Horrocks says. “He wanted a facility that was a living, working and performing environment to capture who Leon is as a person in the recording. This project was proof of concept of our Drink Sleep Record ethos. The campus was such an integral part of the project that he named the album Gold Diggers Sound; we were obviously thrilled.”
Gold Digger’s New Atmos studios were completed in July and was officially opened on December 3rd 2022. Clients who have already used them include John Legend, Starcrawler, Jack Johnson and Netflix.
“Immersive audio is the future and we felt there was a need for a commercial facility to offer mixing rooms as well as services,” Horrocks adds. “With more and more hardware manufactures supporting the format, the demand is only growing. Just last month Mercedes announced that Atmos will be built into their cars. Many Atmos mixers have private studios and we wanted to offer rooms to anyone and everyone. We can lead, follow or get out of the way and let our clients work.”
For more information about Gold Diggers, please visit: www.gold-diggers.com
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.