Seoul Arts Center adds immersive audio capabilities with Genelec

The Seoul Arts Center has incorporated immersive audio capabilities into its production environment with the assistance of a new Genelec Smart Active Monitoring solution.

The aim was to be able to record the classical performances that take place at the venue, and create audio content that would meet the demands of modern broadcast standards – as well as preparing the venue for expected future requirements.

"We have created an immersive audio production environment for the concert hall that allows us to record classical performances and create immersive audio content – and to be ready for UHD broadcast standards," explained Wave Kim, Seoul Arts Center’s sound engineer. "Due to their seamless integration with our sound production and monitoring system, and a redundant arrangement for swift analogue-to-digital switching, Genelec monitors proved to be the perfect fit."

The Seoul Arts Center decided on a 5.1.4 immersive system. This choice was driven by the need to consider the control booth’s workflow and space utilisation, as it accommodates multiple production teams.

"The 5.1.4 system was ideal because the extra surround speakers of a 7.1.4 system would have interfered with the movement of people entering and leaving the booth, as well as with the video production infrastructure," said Kim.

Seoul Arts Center worked with local Genelec partner Sama Sound to select the right Smart Active Monitors for the project. The L-C-R and surround channels are catered for by 8341 three-way coaxial monitors, while 8330 two-way models are used for the height channels as they met the weight restrictions for installation above the concert hall control booth. Low frequency extension is handled by a 7370 subwoofer.

Genelec’s Smart Active Monitoring technology was able to be easily integrated with the concert hall’s existing audio infrastructure via a combination of the digital I/O and the daisy chain connectivity that facilitated direct network connections.

One of the biggest challenges for the project came from the physical size of the control booth.

"In the design stage we discovered that the roof of the booth is lower than the proper height suggested for overhead speakers to be installed," Kim elaborated. "Thus, it was challenging to choose suitable brackets and change the height and angle of the overhead speakers. However, thanks to various K&M stands and their compatibility with Genelec speakers we overcame the challenge quickly. In addition, it was not easy to fix and wire the overhead speakers due to the facility piping installed in the ceiling, but the high level of on-site technology and experience of Sama Sound enabled stable and clean construction."

The concert hall’s control booth also required the flexibility to rearrange monitors and calibrate the system when changes were made to the sound or video system infrastructures. Using GLM software, the team could achieve consistent audio quality even after rearrangement of the monitors.

"The instant multi-speaker layout tuning capabilities of GLM proved invaluable during the installation of the immersive audio system and interior construction of the control booth," said Kim.

"We are truly delighted with our achievements, all thanks to Genelec,” Kim concluded. “The seamless operation, well-balanced composition, and high-resolution mode have surpassed our expectations. We now have a monitoring solution that allows us to share the incredible performances from our world-class venue in a modern format that brings the full texture of the sound to a new audience."