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Articles March-April 2021

Step Inside the All New Mondosonic Studio

The all new Mondosonic Studio, located in Ottapalam, Kerela, is a custom Music Production Facility and Studio. With Recording Equipment, Workflows..... read more

Bishwadeep Conceptualizes Sound Design in the Box

Having spent most of his career in Song and Music Recording, Bishwadeep Dipak Chatterjee was constantly toying with the idea of getting involved in designing sound for films..... read more

Celto Acoustique

Established in 2011, CELTO Acoustique is a premium manufacturer of professional audio products for the events and install industry. Founder, owner and CEO - Arthur Felix first displayed his entrepreneurial skills at the age of 14 when he built..... read more

Acoustically OdBle

With Vijay Benegal and Mujeeb Dadarkar

Vijay Benegal and Mujeeb Dadarkar have between them more than 4 decades of extensive experience in the audio industry in India. They have done it all, from recording and mixing for ad films, to doing live sound for renowned artistes..... read more

All About Music, the Marantz Story

In conversation with Joel Sietsem and Alankara Santhana

Marantz has established a strong foundation in the industry with their High fidelity audio systems since the 1970s. Marantz designs products that have intricate detail..... read more

Acoustic and Audio System Design for Small Rooms - PART 6

By - Rahul Sarma, CEO, Menura Acoustic Labs in collaboration with Sound Wizard

We started this series with the definition of a small room, and went on to discuss wave interactions. We continued onto sound isolation, absorption and diffusion in parts 2 and 3. Parts 4 and 5 covered system design goals and finally how to optimize a system..... read more

Studio Showcase

If you had a sign above every Studio door saying ‘This studio is a Musical Instrument’ it would make such a different approach to recording.” - Brian Eno..... read more


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Studio Install Case Study

New Edge Studios Transforms into an Immersive Mix Room

Shadab Rayeen unveils India’s first Dolby Atmos Music Mixing Room





Founded in 2015 by sought-after sound engineer Shadab Rayeen, New Edge Studios has been a preferred destination for many acclaimed Indian music directors, producers and artistes. In order to remain on the cutting-edge of audio production technology, Shadab recently decided to renovate and upgrade New Edge with an immersive mixing room, for which he partnered with Modi Digital and Rolins Arcoustics on the AV-install, acoustic-design and supply of gear.

PT recently had the pleasure of visiting the studio to find out how Shadabs new Dolby Atmos room is being used to reimagine music mixes in a new, immersive format.



L-R: Rolins T’Roy, Aditya Modi, Alok Punjani, Nitish Kumar, Shadab Rayeen and Remesh Kevalia


Shadab Rayeen’s, New Edge Studio strategically located in the midst of Bollywood’s studio hub in Andheri West, recently organized a walk-through for PT of the facility’s new Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 music mixing room.  On hand were also members of the team that made Rayeen’s vision a reality – Aditya Modi and Rolins T’Roy. The studio conceptualized by Shadab and Aditya Modi has been designed and integrated by Modi Digital and Rolins Arcoustics.

In 2019 when Rayeen was moving to a new apartment in the same complex, he decided that it was time to fast-track the renovation of the room (which had hitherto served as a bedroom for Rayeen) into a working studio.  

“I just wanted Aditya to make a replica of my current mix room, but between Aditya and me, we kept improvising on the idea, moving from stereo to 5.1, until we decided that Dolby Atmos is what we wanted,” says Shadab.

It took close to two years for Shadab and Aditya to complete the studio, with the pandemic and ensuing lockdown orders contributing to the delay. The silver lining was that the slowdown allowed Shadab time to research and educate himself further on the Atmos format and its future in India.


Blueprint Floor Plan of New Edge Studio


Vibrant Decor

When you walk into Rayeen’s newly renovated studio it gives you a feel of home, a stark distinction from most other studios with dark, grim wooden interiors. The PT  team was guided in through an open balcony with beautiful Bougainvillea and other plants and flowers arranged in colourful ceramic pots. 

The balcony’s white full frame glass doors and windows open into a colorful lobby-cum-waiting area. The white walls of the lobby with bright upholstery in contrasting hues of green, blue and yellow arranged in a systematic pattern, complement the adjoining porch area perfectly. On one wall, the room boasts of a 110-inch ALR screen and the new SONOS Arc premium smart soundbar and playback system with Dolby Atmos suited for TV, films, music and gaming needs. 


Dolby ATMOS music room is a fully immersive room with an intelligent rack system and 7.1.4 speakers


Stacked neatly against the wall at the entry of the corridor leading up to the Atmos Studio at the end of the hallway is a Yamaha Digital Piano.          

On the left of the corridor is a neatly done up pre-production room installed with Eve Audio SC205 SilverCone two-way system, a Dangerous dual–channel compressor, a SPL Rackpack 2710 modular Rack System and a Manley Stereo Variable MU Limiter compressor connected to an LG screen.

A neatly done up pantry space with bunk-beds opposite the pre-production room is ideal for crashing out after a late night session. 

“A lot of the design ideas were discussed over food and drinks. Shadab’s wife Rupali was also quite involved in the designing and chose the colors for the studio. I would take all these ideas and go to Rolin’s office, draw up the mock-ups and show them to Shadab,” recalls Aditya. 


Pre-Production Room installed with EVE Audio, SPL Rackpack, Manley Stereo Variable MU and LG Screen


Generally, surround mixing rooms are dark, claustrophobic rooms, but Shadab did not want that for his new workspace. “I told Aditya, when you enter the room it should feel open, with natural sunlight, a place which is bright and vibrant. I cannot live in a place where there is no sunlight or fresh air.” 

The natural sunlight that flows into the Atmos suite through the wide windows keeps Shadab energized and the windows have been acoustically designed to keep the room isolated from the loud external environment.

Setting Up the Dolby Atmos Music Room

Rough sketch of the Speaker Monitoring System of the Dolby ATMOS Music Room


The new Dolby Atmos music room at New Edge isn’t the typical large control room. Though it is a not a directive that a big room is needed to mix in Dolby Atmos (for music), one needs to meet minimum requirements. “There is a standard we have to maintain, otherwise anybody can start putting speakers anywhere and calling it Dolby Atmos and dilute the technology and the end-product which reaches the audience,” says Aditya. “Dolby does not define the room size, what is defined by them are the angles and ratios, however the angles and ratios defined by Dolby are only achievable at a certain minimum room size,” he adds.  

For the measurements, Aditya and his team stringently followed the guidelines provided by Dolby. Reference monitor specifications and speaker placement angles are mandatory to follow when setting up a Dolby Atmos music mix room.

Aditya and his team kept going back to the drawing board to get every angle right and making sure the changes were not affecting the aesthetics of the room. “It’s like a jigsaw puzzle, trying to put everything together and trying to make everything work together and make it comfortable for the engineer. The main challenge was to figure out how to mount everything to achieve the angles that Dolby wanted. There is a lot of engineering that goes on to achieve those angles in a tight space. We have to think of how to place the equipment, at the same time remain ergonomic and comfortable for long hours of work. Those design choices were quite critical. We took quite some time to achieve all this,” added Aditya.


Room modelling software and analytic simulations were used to design and calculate the technical details of the construction


The new Dolby Atmos room undoubtedly opens up for Rayeen, an entirely new palette for creative exploration, as the fully-immersive, next-generation multichannel playback system has the backing of major content providers.

With streaming channels like Netflix and Amazon Prime already giving a choice of stereo, 5.1 and Atmos for movies, in the future the same options will be given for music. “The delivery format in the future is going to be in a way that the distribution labels will ask for a stereo master and Atmos master. They will possibly release multiple formats on music streaming services, and depending on the device capabilities, one can choose stereo, 5.1 or Dolby Atmos” says Shadab.

According to Shadab, “It’s the future. Dolby Atmos Music is going to change the way people are going to make music. From two speakers, we are now moving to 7.1.4, we have more channels, more space and this is how music is going to evolve.”

“Dolby has been very intelligent in their technology. What we mix when using so many speakers can now be delivered on headphones or on dock speakers. The accessibility has become easy and this is why it will become the standard format in the future,” adds Aditya.


The vibrant waiting area boasts a 110 inch ALR Screen and SONOS Arc


Dolby Atmos Music Room – Gear

On the ceiling, the suite has four Eve-Audio SC 207 models. The front LCR’s are Eve-Audio SC 305’s and all the ear level surrounds are again four more Eve-Audio SC 207’s. To reproduce low frequencies faithfully in the room, there is a Genelec 7370A.

The studio also features a curved Samsung screen, the latest version of Pro Tools running on an Apple Mac Pro, plus a good range of outboard equipment, including an a DigiTech S100, Bettermaker EQ 232P, MX30-Pro - Dual Gated Compressor Limiter. The I/O is being handled by a Pro Tools | MTRX Studio audio interface.

The rack itself is a very intelligent design, it is actually suspended on a rail system. One can move the entire fully loaded rack, with a single finger push to reveal a hidden room behind it. The cables have enough slack on pulleys, that move along with the racks movement, so that they don’t snap away from the equipment they are connected to.

Once the equipment was set up, the Dolby team paid a visit to check the room and calibrate it.

The custom-made height-adjustable table allows Shadab to program his sit and stand preferences. “I have been having back problems since a long time, so I asked Aditya to give me a table that rises if I want to stand and work,” says Shadab. “I would always challenge them with vague ideas and they would come up with something fantastic all the time,” he adds in jest. 

Dolby Atmos Music Room – Acoustic Layout

The design intent here was to have a fully equipped studio that could function throughout the 24 hour time span. This meant that high sound pressure levels would be generated within the compact shell, transmitting the impact into the structural framework of the residential tower where the space is located. On the external front, ambient noise levels averaged at 85-87dB(A) considering the busy street junction, a public sports complex, and multiple places of worship. On the other hand, it was essential to get in enough sunlight into the space and reduce work induced fatigue due to the long hours within. The room needed precise analysis to restrict the outdoor ambient noise and to ensure that the neighbors were not bothered by the sound reproduction.


The rack features a range of outboard equipment like DigiTech S100, Bettermaker EQ 232P, MX30-Pro - Dual Gated Compressor Limiter and Pro Tools | MTRX Studio


The Dolby Atmos Music Room has been designed keeping in mind 2 important factors – one being the ideal reverberation time required within the space despite all the reflecting planes & openings, secondly - isolating any kind of noise transmission inward and outward. Isolation was key because the number of speakers have increased, mainly the heavy low frequency content being generated within the floated shell. “Given the scenario where there is a specific music being made which is going to be utilizing all the speakers at the same time, it means much more impact subjectively. So we had to focus upon our isolation details and keep it compact as it would eat up into the volume of the space,” says Aditya.

With the increase in number of speakers from 2 to 5.1 and then 7.1.4, the job of the acoustic consultant was further put to the test considering the reflective planes internally. “Earlier it was conceptualized to be a 2-channel stereo monitoring space, but the internal arrangements were organically building up to accommodate a powerful 7.1.4 immersive layout with multiple reflective tv monitors and equipment located anthropometrically close to the user. As soon as we thought most construction details were okay to be executed, we certainly had to restructure the isolation & internal treatment halfway through. It’s certainly been a milestone for the team to try new methods, learn and overcome the technical challenges.” adds Rolins.

Rolins and the team ensured physical room acoustic assessments periodically during the stages of construction. Room modelling software and analytic simulations were used to design & calculate the technical details for construction. Even before building the studio and placing the gear, simulations were created by placing the sound sources in the virtual room model along with the treatment materials. The team made revisions with each room modification and added sources to simulate and understand the room parameters and isolation requirements.

A few years ago Shadab developed an allergic reaction to several materials. For Aditya, he had to take Shadab’s health into consideration and design the acoustics without using materials that would be cause for concern.

With New Edge studios, like most other spaces in Mumbai, height limitation posed an obstruction to install the central air-conditioning system as there was no space for placing the ducts and connected machine units. “Until it is in a double-height commercial space we are fine, but for spaces with ceiling slabs at 9-10ft height is very difficult to get central air-conditioning done,” informs Aditya.

Conclusion

Shadab is no stranger to the workings of Dolby Atmos having mixed almost 200 to 300 songs and about 30 to 40 movie scores already in Atmos. “It is fantastic to work with Atmos Music. You have more area to play with. You are not limited to a certain area. I now have a wide space. The 7.1.4 is actually a sum of 128 channels. I have got 128 channels with me to throw my sound sources anywhere and wherever I want. So you can create a different aura of a sound,” says Shadab ecstatically. 

“We are completely equipped for everything. If there are composers making music for games, we can completely mix it here,” concludes Aditya.

New Edge Studio is a benchmark of the hard work that has been put in by Shadab Rayeen and Aditya Modi. It is a beacon of friendship, brotherhood and their common love for creating soulful music; an emotional journey that has bonded them. 

Shadab and New Edge Studios are staying ahead of the curve by anticipating new industry trends. 

In the near future Shadab also plans to build a weekend studio. “I have a place which is very scenic and I am planning to build my next studio there. We can go there as a team, the director, the composer, and work together for a week or so and come back when the work is complete,” he enthuses. 


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