With Oscar-winning film credits such as Gravity and Slumdog Millionaire in its portfolio, Pinewood-based Sound 24 is one of the leading post production sound facilities specialising in film and TV.
While Glenn Freemantle picked up a 2014 Oscar for best sound editing on Gravity, his Sound 24 partner Niv Adiri shared the award for best achievement in sound mixing on the same movie, while both have many BAFTA award credits to their name.
Both are highly discerning when it comes to sound production, and in upgrading their studio at Pinewood to an immersive Dolby Atmos mix room they have chosen HARMAN’s JBL 7 Series reference monitors for all monitoring; front, surround and overhead. The system incorporates JBL’s new Intonato 24 monitor controller for Atmos. All were supplied by reseller Jigsaw 24.
Adiri explained: “We have used the room for many years with a different sound system and while it translated well, it was always lacking clarity in the dialogue and spot effects — you didn’t quite know what you were going to get.”
Aware that many stages and theatres are equipped with JBL Cinema systems, they were recommended to speak to UK and Ireland distributors Sound Technology Ltd by Jigsaw 24. “They have been brilliant,” says Adiri, “really helpful and really knowledgeable about what system the room was going to need.”
Ben Todd, application engineering manager at Sound Technology Ltd, provided a system design and demonstrated the recently introduced JBL 7 Series. Having tried the JBL solution out, the studio chose the 708i for LCR and 705i for Surround and Overheads.
The JBL 705i and 708i feature a patent-pending Image Control Waveguide and custom driver technologies for both the HF and LF. The resulting high output is unrivalled in their sector, which combined with their linearity under pressure make them particularly suited to post-production applications.
“Traditional near-field monitors require support from a sub or ‘bass management’ for post pro applications, which hampers the accuracy and translation of a mix to larger rooms where such practices are not accepted.” explains Todd. “In typical small to mid-size mix rooms, the 7 series do not require this LF support and can consequently deliver a comparable performance to the screen-array channels in large studios and multiplexes. Thanks also to a unique HF driver and image control baffle, 7 Series offers the incredibly high output and impressive transient response qualities found in large-format systems. You simply cannot achieve this with conventional dome or ribbon designs.”
Freemantle states Studio 24 now has a benchmark they can trust. “The dialogue now sounds great and it’s very filmic — the sound is big and not harsh and when you sit down it’s comfortable and exciting.”
In terms of system design, Avid’s S6 console provides the control interface with ProTools, the output of which is sent via the Avid Omni to the JBL Intonato 24 monitor controller. Within its comprehensive on-board DSP, the Intonato takes care of routing, level and session EQ’s. Signal leaves the controller using Harman’s proprietary digital audio bus ‘Blu-Link’ and is passed to the Crown DCi amplifier. Within the DSP on the amplifiers, all the of the Dolby calibration for SPL levels, EQ and delay is inserted along with the presets for the passive 7 Series monitors, keeping the room line-up consistent at all times. This allows the Intonato to do fine adjustments for each session as required.
“All these tools make it very flexible and avoid the need to monitor a project somewhere else.” says Adiri.
Freemantle concluded: “It’s job done, as far as I’m concerned — I’m more than happy [with the 7 Series]. We wanted it right, and although we don’t have the biggest room it now plays like a big room.”