Premier game audio production house, Sweet Justice Sound, has upgraded its studios with the UK’s first Avid S4 console. Housed in custom walnut furniture from AKA Design and installed and configured by post audio specialists, HHB, the Avid S4 provides a compact semi-modular control surface with intelligent DAW control, ideal for music, creative sound design and surround mix work.
“Our two main services encompass audio post for cinematics/marketing and full-service game audio asset creation and implementation,” comments Samuel Justice, Sound Supervisor and Co-Founder of Sweet Justice Sound. “Each of these fields has specific workflows and methods that are driven by us in close collaboration with each studio we work with. The Avid S4 was chosen for use as part of our cinematics and marketing service; it’s perfectly built for Pro Tools, providing the speed and flexibility we need to mix pieces in a short turnaround.
“The console’s compact size was a huge factor in us purchasing the S4 from HHB, along with the flexibility it offers around mixing. We work primarily in home theatre settings, since that’s where our work is mostly presented and heard, and as such, we need to work in smaller spaces rather than full stages, which better mirror what the end user will hear. The S4 is the perfect size to fit into those spaces, providing the same functionality as, say, the S6, but at a smaller form factor. HHB helped us select the right S4 configuration for our requirements for the projects that come through our door.”
“The Avid S4 is a fantastic option for certain scenarios where the S6 is overkill,” explains John Johnson, CTO at HHB. “By being semi-modular, it enables similar configurations of 8/16/24 fader consoles at a lower cost, whilst still retaining much of the same workflow as its bigger sibling. By still having access to expansion options such as the Display Modules for enhanced metering and visual feedback, the Post Module for Film style PEC/Direct paddles, or the Joystick Module for tactile pan control when mixing in surround and immersive audio formats, you have a very compelling offering.”
With this being the first Avid S4 install in the UK, there were a number of design challenges when it came to the furniture. “We needed studio furniture that would enable the S4 to become part of the work environment, rather than just sit on top of it,” adds Samuel. “Thanks to the desk that Guy from AKA Design and his team developed, the S4 fits perfectly and ergonomically in our studio.”
“This is the first desk in our new range of Avid S4 furniture and also the first in the UK,” explained Guy Wilson, AKA Design’s Managing Director. “It was designed from solid and veneered walnut, with sprayed vanity boards and cable run. An aluminium subframe allows the furniture to be three metres in width with no internal legs, fully supporting the console whilst allowing great freedom of movement for both the operator and a producer. The desk also features custom stands for Auratone nearfield speakers.”
The S4 console frame is significantly different from that of the S6, so there was plenty of work to be done in order for the console to fit seamlessly. The furniture has a routed cut-out for the console with support rails underneath; the S4 frame was lowered into the furniture, populated with its modules and fully configured and tested on site by HHB.
“We pre-test every S-Series console which comes through HHB in order to ensure that we minimise the risk of a module failing on-site, plus we pre-install software updates and licenses to help speed up the installation,” says John Johnson. “Sweet Justice Sound primarily use Pro Tools and Reaper but the benefit of S-Series consoles utilising EuCon means the S4 console is compatible with many other DAWs if required in the future. The S4 also has excellent ergonomics due to the rake of the channel strip modules; this is helped further by the sleek open design of the furniture.”
Samuel concludes, “We’re so pleased with our new Avid S4 console. The installation by HHB was a very smooth process, with full support from them the whole time; they were fast and professional and always knew how to get the best out of our setup. The AKA desks are crafted in such a unique manner too – they look fantastic, they’re extremely ergonomic and they’re very satisfying to use. It’s a beautiful studio and we absolutely love it!”