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Genelec powers Smart Studio’s Dolby Atmos demo space: “it’s the future”

Smart Studio in Dublin has recently installed a cutting-edge control room and voiceover booth equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and software, including a Genelec Smart Active Monitoring System.

Smart Studio aims to be the fastest, most consistent and cost-effective recording studio builder. It does this by calling on the acoustic skills of its sister company, iAcoustics, an in-house building team and an off-site modular production method.

Jim Dunne, Smart Studio’s managing director and senior designer, emphasised the company’s unique approach, deviating from the traditionally complex and time-consuming build process of high-quality sound studios: "The Smart Studio approach is different," he states. "As industry insiders, we know what our clients require, and we deliver it in a simplified and efficient process."

The company sought the expertise of Michael Browne from local Genelec distributor Big Bear Sound when the crucial decision about the monitoring format arose. Dolby Atmos quickly emerged as the natural choice.

"Choosing a 7.1.4 immersive format for our demo room was a no-brainer," says Dunne. "In this industry, everyone’s eyeing Dolby Atmos for their studios. Whether it’s upgrading or setting up new rooms, people want to comply with the Atmos format. It’s the future, and studios are prepping themselves for it. We hardly see anyone going for 5.1, and stereo is even rarer. The drive in the industry is to be Dolby compatible, and that’s why we went with the 7.1.4 format – it’s about staying ahead and being ready for the future of audio."

The design of Smart Studio’s modular spaces is remarkably robust, incorporating acoustics within the modules that have been accurately crafted to tackle any challenges that individuals may encounter. "The idea was to make this the Swiss Army Knife of studios – so that whatever you need, it’s easily accessible for you," Dunne explains.

In the monitor selection process, Dunne turned to Dolby’s DARDT interactive room design tool, which helps studio designers match the models to the room in order to meet Dolby’s strict specifications.

"Genelec always has a very comprehensive range of monitors available – they really do cover all the options. We wanted an LCR setup of a very high calibre. We also took inspiration from studios like King Lear in London – we saw exactly what they were putting in, and from that we had a good guide on where we should be going."

people want to comply with the Atmos format. It’s the future.

The complete configuration of the demo studio includes three 1237 three-way main monitors as the LCR solution, four 8331 coaxial three-ways for surrounds, four 8330 two-ways for the height channels – all complemented by a 7380 subwoofer.

Reflecting on the impact of Genelec on the room, Dunne comments: "Genelec is a very trusted brand. Everyone knows them – and everybody we know is using them – so we knew if we had Genelec in here, we would have a yardstick that people would be very comfortable with."

Smart Studio used GLM (Genelec Loudspeaker Manager) software to add the finishing touch. "The Genelec system uses the ability to calibrate the speakers to the room and marry them together which was perfect for finessing the room, providing a solid backdrop. The super-smooth low-end response and spatial accuracy of the system has really elevated this space," Dunne adds. As a result, Smart Studio and Big Bear Sound are jointly offering customers a complete turnkey studio solution.

Now it’s complete, the next stage for Smart Studio includes using the demo studio for a masterclass series and educational sessions. Dunne explains: "The whole point of Smart Studio is to leave our customers with a room that’s very ‘plug and play.’ Being an installation engineer, I know what it means to put the equipment cables in. We know that the room is a host space to accommodate the equipment and people perfectly – making sure all those dots are joined up.

"The response has been incredibly rewarding so far – anybody that’s been in here has immediately understood the seriousness of what we do and how we do it," he concludes. "We are simply creating an environment where creativity can flourish. The partnership with Genelec has not only elevated our studio but has set the stage for future endeavours, where we aim to push the boundaries of creativity and innovation together."

we knew if we had Genelec in here, we would have a yardstick that people would be very comfortable with.