New Colorado studio Blue Marble Sound recently equipped itself for immersive projects with a Dolby Atmos setup and L-ISA Studio technology. Headliner hears from studio owner Amol Kitwadkar about his ambitions for the facility and the opportunities its high-tech spec is opening up for the future…
The inspiration for Blue Marble can be traced back to a webinar Kitwadkar watched during lockdown featuring double Oscar-winning composer (Best Score and Best Song for Slumdog Millionaire) A.R. Rahman, in which he discussed the benefits of using spatial sound within music. With a lifelong passion for music, including a five-year course in Hindustani Classical Music in his native Sangli, Western India, he decided to embrace immersive technology to the fullest in his next creative endeavor.
The studio found a home in a former boxing gym in nearby Loveland, CO. Kitwadkar researched and implemented his new studio setup meticulously and thoroughly. These efforts involved taking his team, including Anthony J. Catalano, CEO of Denver-based pro audio vendor MediaVine Pro Audio Video LLC, and acoustician Tim Gulsrud of Soundpost Acoustics LLC, out to Los Angeles in June 2021. Here they met with Dolby and other potential equipment vendors and found a wealth of inspiration and resources.
While in L.A., he visited the L-Acoustics facility in Westlake Village, where he first experienced the company’s L-ISA immersive technology, and subsequently asked MediaVine to design his L-Acoustics system.
The design features seven compact X8 loudspeakers: three for the LCR array and four for the surround array. Four smaller 5XTs comprise the signature Atmos overhead height array, while a pair of KS21 subwoofers provide the anchor for the 7.1.4 system, all powered by four LA2Xi amplified controllers.
“The biggest thing I have noticed is that the L-ISA studio used with Dolby renderer definitely adds a punch to a song which sometimes lacks in a Dolby Atmos mix,” Kitwadkar tells Headliner when discussing the setup.“Both Dolby Atmos renderer and L-ISA Studio have their advantages and disadvantages but together they create magic. One of the notable features of L-ISA Studio is that you can group objects and move them together which is not possible through the Dolby Renderer. Another great perk is the ability to add a controlled reverb as you are moving objects away from the room easily without making the mix sound muddy.
“The speakers are extremely crisp and are two-way coaxial, which makes them phase consistent. This is great for rooms like ours that are on the larger side.
“It was a lengthy process to design and build the studio, especially because of the supply-chain issues during Covid. But when I realized the potential for immersive music and the fact that there were so few facilities that were capable of it at the time, I knew it was what I wanted to do. And one thing that became clear after we heard the L-ISA demo was that the monitoring system had to be L-Acoustics. The quality of the speakers and sound is incomparable and unmatched.”
He also insists that he believes the L-Acoustics monitors and L-ISA software setup could mark a new push for the company in offering a complete studio monitoring solution.