AUSTIN, Texas—Post-production mixer and sound designer Korey Pereira recently upgraded his studio, Soularity Sound, with a Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 monitoring system featuring JBL Professional and Crown solutions, enabling him to create immersive audio content.
Soularity Sound provides post-production audio services for film, television, streaming, commercials and web content in the Austin market and internationally. Services include sound editing, sound design, Foley, ADR, voiceover, mixing and production sound. Recognizing a growing industry trend of adopting the Dolby Atmos immersive audio format as a standard deliverable, Pereira decided to upgrade his 5.1 surround sound monitoring system to a 7.1.4 setup with ceiling speakers for three-dimensional sound. To achieve high-quality results that translate well to cinemas, home theaters and consumer devices, Pereira equipped his studio with JBL 7 Series monitors, a JBL Intonato 24 monitor management and tuning system, and Crown amplifiers.
“Seeing the traction that Dolby has had on the consumer market was one of the big factors that pushed me into the decision,” said Pereira. “Now that iPhones, Soundbars, Apple TVs and other devices are natively supporting Atmos, it seems like it's definitely going to stick around. Especially with Netflix more or less adopting it as a native format, I expect to see more and more spec sheets asking for Atmos mixes. So for me, it kind of hit a tipping point where the technology seemed like it was going to be the industry leader, and more and more people are gravitating towards it in a way that made it worth jumping on board.”
Soularity Sound’s new 7.1.4 monitoring system includes seven loudspeakers and one subwoofer in a traditional 7.1 surround sound configuration, plus four additional ceiling-mounted speakers which add the height dimension necessary for Dolby Atmos. For the left, center and right channels, Pereira selected JBL 708P eight-inch powered monitors, which employ a patent-pending Image Control Waveguide to deliver detailed uncolored response on- and off-axis. For the surround and overhead channels, Pereira chose JBL 705i five-inch passive monitors powered by a network-connected Crown DCi 8|300N amplifier. Featuring the same driver technologies and Image Control Waveguide as the 708P, the 705i provides full-range surround sound for Dolby Atmos while streamlining installation with a passive design and multiple mounting brackets. Finally, to provide ample low-frequency power for the system, Pereira installed a JBL ASB6115 high-power 15-inch subwoofer powered by a Crown CDi 2000 amplifier.
“A number of larger dub stages, at least in the Austin market, use JBL speakers,” said Pereira. “So I like that what I hear on my speakers translates incredibly well in a larger room on JBL cinema speakers. Part of it comes down to reputation, as well. I'm a longtime JBL user and when I upgraded from stereo to 5.1, I ended up going with JBL. So for me, it was a logical progression. The 7 Series definitely stood out to me as the best product on the market right now for doing immersive media, especially for home theater.”
To control the 7.1.4 system, Soularity Sound relies on the JBL Intonato 24 monitor management and tuning system. Featuring 24 inputs and outputs, the Intonato 24 provides easy setup, automated calibration and comprehensive control of professional multichannel monitoring systems. Pereira programmed the Intonato 24 with two custom profiles: one for monitoring Pro Tools from his computer and one for previewing encoded Atmos content with a receiver hooked up to the analog inputs of the Intonato. Within the Pro Tools profile, Pereira has separate scenes set up for monitoring in 7.1.4, 7.1, 5.1 and stereo. Additionally, he sends a separate stereo fold-down to two auxiliary outputs for headphone monitoring.
The JBL Intonato 24 Desktop Controller allows Pereira to seamlessly control monitor level, switch scenes, edit profiles and more. One feature Pereira uses heavily is the ability to turn bass management on and off at will, sending low-frequency content from all channels to the subwoofer. Although the Dolby Atmos specification takes advantage of full-range surround loudspeakers such as the JBL 7 Series, bass management is still sometimes necessary when mixing in 5.1 and 7.1 formats.
“One of the really nice things about going with the Intonato, as far as tuning and monitor controlling, is that I have the ability within a scene to toggle the bass management on and off,” added Pereira. “With Atmos being specified for full-range surrounds and overheads, I have a mode where I can run a full-range signal to the 705i and still get that approximation of lower frequencies coming from the surrounds. And with the desktop controller for the Intonato, I can toggle that on and off easily.”
With its new HARMAN Professional Solutions immersive audio system up and running, Soularity Sound is equipped for the future of post-production. The ability create Dolby Atmos content enables Pereira to keep up with industry demand, while his JBL 7 Series monitors, Intonato 24 and Crown amplifiers deliver results he and his clients can trust.
“I've always had a really positive experience with JBL and HARMAN products,” Pereira concluded. “I think they have a reputation that precedes them. They make products that other professionals use, that you know are going to be up to a certain standard, and are also going to be compatible with each other. It all comes back to the idea that I can mix here and then go to a bigger dub stage, and if they're both using JBL, I know they're going to sound very similar, and also translate to the rest of the world.”