Different formats of surround sound

2018 saw the construction of Metrica Sound, in Ibiza. The primary use of the studio is for music recording, but the main performing room also doubles as a laboratory for 3D sound. The walls and ceiling are fitted with steel rails on which up to 40 loudspeakers can be mounted and moved into different configurations for perceptual experiments and ‘immersive’ system testing. The studio was designed by Philip Newell, with Joules (Julius) Newell having responsibility for all the construction. The specialist labour and the materials were supplied by Reflexion Arts. The control-room monitor loudspeakers are by Electromotive Laboratories and Neumann, with 25 PMC loudspeakers being initially fitted in the 3D room.


Also using the Neumann monitors is the studio built for Portuguese singing star Tony Carreira, just south of Lisbon. The studio is primarily for the recording of vocals. Some of the internal acoustics of the vocal room can be seen in photograph number 5.

The Studio of Tanuj Tiku was completed in 2017, in Mumbai, India. It is a studio specially designed for the composition, recording and mixing of music for cinema soundtracks. Consequently, it is fitted with left, centre and right loudspeakers, plus surround channels on the side and rear walls – in the cinema format. Mounted above the front loudspeakers is an acoustically-transparent screen, made by Screen Excellence (with only 1 dB of insertion loss), which can be raised and lowered when necessary. All the loudspeakers are by Reflexion Arts.

By contrast, Tomato Sound Factory, In Montpellier, France, has used a fixed screen, with all three front loudspeakers (by Lipinski) permanently behind it. Single rear-loudspeakers are used for the ‘surround’ channels. All channels are bass-managed using a Dolby DP570 processor, feeding the low-frequencies to a sub-woofer when mixing for cinema. The room is used for a variety of work including music, and post-production for video, television and short films. It is also used frequently for recording voices.

Another variation on the ‘surround’ theme can be seen in Photograph number 10. This shows Studio C, at Studio de la Grande Armée, in Paris, during recent refurbishment. The flat-screen monitor can be raised above the centre loudspeaker if required, exposing the centre loudspeaker. The surround channels use multiple loudspeakers, but all five channels are full range. The LFE loudspeaker, mounted in the front wall at floor height, is a totally separate channel for Low-Frequency Effect. The room is also used for music mixing in two-channel stereo. The front loudspeakers are by TAD, and the mixing console is a Sony Oxford R3.

back to top