When Australia’s longest running professional recording studio, Studios 301 decided to upgrade their Pro Tools systems as part of planning it’s new multi-million dollar facility they brought Videocraft in to advise them on the best way forward, what equipment to use and critically what budget they would need to work within.
Videocraft post production and pro audio sales manager Ian Parish explained, “Studios 301 brought us in at the early stages of this project because of Videocraft’s history in delivering Pro Tools HD systems and our extensive experience working with AVID solutions. There aren’t a lot of studios of this size that are being built from the ground up these days, and to be a part of that is unique in itself.”
From that initial consultation the discussion expanded to include an AVID Pro Tools S6 modular control surface in a multi-purpose surround mix room and as Videocraft had already installed multiple S6 consoles around Australia, the team at Studios 301 sought their advice on how best to make this a reality.
Parish continued, “This was a very large project as they were building an entirely new facility from the ground up with five control rooms, three mastering rooms, digitising facilities and vinyl pressing capabilities. It was clear, due to our experience in this field, that Videocraft’s role would be to supply and support all of the AVID hardware and software and the associated peripherals to make those systems work.”
As the project plan developed the brief included 64 channels of analogue IO for the client’s Neve console in Studio One, 48 channels of IO for their SSL console in Studio Two and 32 Channels of IO plus an AVID S6-M40 for Studio Three. In keeping with the tech riders of their top tier international music clientele master clocking was to be provided by an Antelope unit and Apogee Symphony’s would provide AD/DA conversion.
Parish continued, “This particular job didn’t require too much translation from brief to system design and quote as the stakeholders involved are all heavily experienced in the industry in particular on the technical side so we all worked incredibly well and efficiently together. Drawing on my experience upgrading Pro Tools HD systems to 64-Bit for SAE Australia, Box Hill Institute and also delivering new systems at Abbey Road Institute, I designed the most logical system that would meet Studios 301’s requirements. Another bonus for them was the fact that we could offer local support so that any issues could be dealt with promptly.”
As a result of Videocraft’s system consultancy and design, Studios 301 took receipt of and had installed a new, state of the art AVID S6 M40 32 Channel console. The console was in a fully populated 5ft frame and has the addition of the master joystick module for surround panning.
Parish explained, “This means that there is one more module than the console can accommodate, however the logic here was that, due to the multi-purpose nature of the room, the console could now either be configured as a classic 32-channel mix console or for post or surround music work with a spill zone and locked master faders and stem metering. The changeover time from one layout to the other is only 15 minutes, so it can easily be done in between sessions.”
Whilst the AVID S6 M40 console might be viewed as the headline act just as exciting are the Pro Tools rigs.
Parish added, “The backbone of each studio is HDX2 cards in a Sonnet Echo Express chassis, with Apogee Symphony Mk II interfaces handling the AD/DA conversion. AVID SYNC HDs act as loop sync masters and communicate with the automation computers of the analogue consoles whilst being fed word clock from Antelope Pure 2 Master Clocks. The exciting part about all this is the scale of these systems, the track counts and processing resources available. There’s also the fact that we have been able to selectively choose products from different manufacturers that are the best at their chosen role, as opposed to being locked to a single hardware set, so we have the very best results that fit the 301’s very specific needs.”
Ian Parish had the privilege of being in Studio One for the first playing of audio, an experience he found quite special. He concluded, “The room was amazingly flat even before acoustician’s Tom Misner and Jochen Veith had applied any tweaks to the monitoring, which really is a phenomenal feet and the Studios 301 team has done a great job to plan and build such amazing rooms. As any musician, producer or engineer knows what is just as important as the technology in a studio is the rooms themselves. If they sound good and are comfortable to work in then you will want to go back and work there.”