Cinema sound and television audio (broadcast and streamed) are racing from 5.1 surround to 7.1 to formats that range from 11.2 in broadcast for residential applications to as many as 64 individual speaker locations for object-based audio platforms like Dolby’s Atmos and Auro Technologies’ Auro-3D platforms.
Sound specialists are coming to terms with this tectonic shift in technology, looking for the best tools to face the new frontiers with. Jeffrey Pitts is one of them; the winner of two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series on the hit Starz series, Black Sails, with an additional win and four more nominations, the sound designer is preparing his personal editing facility for the multi-channel future with loudspeakers from Genelec, the leader in active monitoring technology for nearly 40 years.
Recently, Pitts changed out his L-C-R array with three Genelec 8351A compact three-way Smart Active Monitors, which replaced the speakers he’d been working with since establishing his freelance sound design business in the Los Angeles area in 2007.
Since then, he’s become an in-demand sound-design specialist, working for studios including Technicolor, Universal and Netflix, on upcoming features like Deathnote and Blair Witch and USA Network’s, Mr. Robot.
“Atmos is next,” he said, noting what may be sound-for-picture’s coming inflection point. “5.1 is great, but the ability to have eight channels and to be able to place audio objects across as many as 64 speaker channels in theaters. But you need the right tools.”
Those include a suite of plug-ins from Dolby that allow Pitts to emulate a 64-channel array in his own studio before it goes to the mix stage. But even more fundamental to his transition to future formats will be his monitoring solutions, and he’s already decided: they’ll be all Genelec.
With his foundational 8351 L-C-R array already in place, he plans to have a 7.2 system ready by mid year, using Genelec 8330 five-inch Smart Active Monitors for stereo rear surround speakers and stereo side surround speakers. By year’s end, Pitts plans to have added a total of eight more 8330 speakers by then, adding four more to create an immersive overhead speaker array, along with Genelec subs.
“The great thing about the 8351 is that you’re not experiencing ear fatigue, even during long sessions,” Pitts said. Using a Dorrough loudness meter as a reference, he’s found that he’s working at lower indicated levels on the Genelec speakers than with the previous array but still getting the full-range sound and all the impact and energy he used to find only at louder volumes.
“I was often peaking the meters before; I switched to the Genelecs in the middle of a project, and that’s when I really noticed the difference. I’m working now with less volume, and EQing is easier without sacrificing any of the energy I need to feel.”
You might also like...
In this “how small can we make it” world, it was inevitable that podcasting would merge with iPhones, iPads and other iOS devices. Now, it is possible to carry an international radio station in your pocket or shoulder bag. That was…
Recording the human speaking voice can be one of the trickiest tasks a professional sound recordist encounters. Even when working with seasoned professional voice artists, problems can creep in. Here are a few of them and how to solve the…
When I look back on 2017, one word jumps out when I think of audio, video and associated gear: Miniaturization. Yes, everything — and I mean virtually all of it — is getting smaller, lighter and more compact while the quality gets better.
One of the stark differences between pro audio and video is the pursuit of vintage technology. As video technology continually improves, most working professionals go after the latest gear as soon as it hits the market. For audio, on the…
Acoustic impedance is analogous to electrical impedance, and we all know that impedance matching is important in electronic systems. Here John Watkinson looks at the importance of acoustic impedance to loudspeaker design.