Royal College of Music Creates Immersive Audio Facility

The Royal College of Music has installed a new Dolby Atmos immersive audio suite, built around an Avid S6 modular control surface, making it one of the first universities of this tier to offer immersive audio production course content for its students. The control room features a 7.1.4 Genelec monitoring system and was designed and installed by HHB’s Technical Support team. The college uses Dante audio-over-IP technology to link the many live performance spaces to the studio, providing a quick, flexible way of live recording and multitracking performances.

The studio is centred around Avid’s S6 control surface, which provides deep integration and control of Pro Tools – along with Logic Pro, Cubase, Ableton Live 11 Suite, REAPER, Sibelius and Dorico software – plus offers Dolby Atmos panner control and workflows for immersive mixing. “Wherever you are in the College, you can always hear live music; and now with the new studio and signal routing, you can be recorded everywhere too,” explains Andy Denyer, technical lead on RCM’s studio project. “We’ve seen increasing demand from students for high-quality monitoring and mixing facilities, and our new facility offers them not only this, but also a room in which they can experiment with Dolby Atmos immersive audio. The grant-funded Digital Innovation Lab, also known as Control Room 3, is open for students from any background, ranging from post-graduate Composition for Screen students who may already be familiar with audio, to undergraduate students with no background in recording or mixing. The Avid S6 console is a control surface, not a traditional mixing desk, and as such it provides an intuitive, hands-on interface that allows students to get to work quickly without requiring a degree in Audio Engineering, but also advanced features for the more experienced users to get stuck in to.”

Dolby Atmos is the immersive audio standard for film, television, and streaming it is quickly becoming a prominent format in music production. It expands on traditional surround sound by adding height channels, enabling sound to be experienced in three dimensions. The audio infrastructure is centred around an Avid MTRX, housed in a separate machine room. This combines audio from many sources and allows it to be routed to multiple destinations. The Control Room contains a DAD AX32, which handles all the local inputs and outputs.

The choice of speakers was made after HHB worked through several options with the customer, using the Dolby Audio Room Design Tool. The Royal College of Music chose Genelec’s ‘The Ones’ range, with the system consisting of 7x 8341As (surrounds), 4x 8331A (ceiling) and a 7380A sub-woofer. The Ones are a popular premium choice for immersive solutions owing to their sonic quality, short listening distances and highly accurate imaging. HHB also installed a Dolby Home Entertainment Rendering and Mastering Unit, configuring the audio routing over Dante for the Dolby Atmos workflow, and provided set-up and on-site training on the whole system. In addition, HHB provided a package of peripheral equipment including Neumann monitors, an Eventide H9000 multi-FX processor, plus microphones from Schoeps, DPA and AKG.

Andy Denyer continues, “Not only are our talented musicians now able to record their performances, they are doing so using the latest production technology – such as Dante and immersive audio, Blackmagic video switching, distribution and capture hardware – giving them a great understanding of this world-class technology, perfect for their future careers.”

Product categories

Find a brand