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soundRECORDING Henszey Sound Gets Immersed in Immersive BY STEVE HARVEY los angeles, ca—Dave Henszey has done a lot during his 40-plus years in the pro audio industry, from running his own music studio to mixing for nearly every application from live sound to broadcast. Now, as momentum builds behind immersive music releases, he’s opened Henszey Sound, a recording and mixing facility overlooking Universal City in Los Angeles that is fully outfitted for Dolby Atmos as well as stereo work. Earlier this year, in a major boost for immersive music, Universal Music Group announced that it would be releasing “thousands of songs” in Dolby Atmos that had been remixed at Capitol Records and Abbey Road Studios. The general catalog of Dolby Atmos music is growing steadily, with releases, principally on Blu-ray, from artists including Kraftwerk, R.E.M. and Mumford & Sons. While a hit album can now be fully produced in a bedroom, it’s trickier to work at home in Dolby Atmos. Happily, says Henszey, who had been working out of a private studio, Dolby has made it possible for engineers to set up an affordable Atmos room in a commercial building and still turn a profit. “It’s really hard to set
Henszey Sound was the first small room certified under Dolby’s Atmos for Home program.
this up in your living room and make it work. You could use small speakers, but it’s not a laptop kind of thing.” Henszey found a move in-ready room with suitable dimensions for Atmos work in a building that has long housed production facilities. He had L.A. sales, design and integration company Westlake Pro put his new facility together, with support from Dolby. The space is roughly threefifths control room and two-fifths live room, and is set up for vocal, guitar and keyboard tracking. “As a qualityof-life thing, I decided not to set this
up for doing drums,” he laughs. Then there’s the issue of certification. Dolby has been enthusiastic about certifying small rooms under its Atmos for Home program, but the spec wasn’t quite nailed down when Westlake began his build-out. “We knew that certification was on its way, but it didn’t come until more recently—and we got the first one,” reports Henszey. He also sought certification from the Trusted Partner Network, a joint venture of the MPAA and CDSA (Content Delivery & Security Association) that ensures content security.
Reb Bradford, pro audio sales manager at Westlake Pro, and Dolby recommended that Henszey consider larger-model ADAM Audio speakers for LCR to better match the surround and upper speakers, and he’s glad he listened. “The EQ characteristics are more similar to the rest of the speakers,” says Henszey, who has A77Xs for LCR, four A7X surrounds and four A5X overheads, with twin Sub12s. Even though the project was already underway, Bradford also advised waiting for Dolby to release a Mac version of its Rendering and Mastering Unit (RMU). Henszey pays attention to details: The front edge of the raised client seating area is drilled to act as a bass trap. There is a 7-inch block of foam beneath the couch. He had TubeTrap build custom bass trap monitor stands the exact width of the rear speakers. Even the Argosy LCR speaker stands have custom-cut basstrapping foam inserts. He opted for a Slate Raven MTI workstation running Avid Pro Tools Ultimate 18 loaded with plug-ins and supplemented by outboard gear from Universal Audio, Rupert Neve Designs and others, including the new SSL SiX. Focusrite RedNet boxes (continued on page 22)
Preserving the Past in Philadelphia BY STEVE HARVEY philadelphia , pa —Recent
revelations about the multitude of recordings lost in the 2008 Universal Music Group vault fire in Los Angeles highlighted issues related to the storing and protection of archival assets from a perspective greater than simply commerce, touching on complex issues such as cultural heritage. Meanwhile, another tape archive story played out on the other side of the county at Philadelphia’s Drexel University; while this account raised similar issues regarding archiving,
preservation and prioritization of resources, the events resulted in a very different outcome. Back in 2005, Drexel’s Music Industry program received a donation of some 7,000 unclaimed tapes produced at Philly’s famed but now defunct Sigma Sound Studios. The studio’s founder, Joe Tarsia, had tried his best to reunite the tapes— which included many outtakes but also entire small-label catalogs— with their rights holders. Happily, the new property owners at Drexel understood that, while they had possession of the physical assets, they
“It’s a model that record companies should look at. Every university has an archive library system and an IT department, and a lot of them have music technology programs where all the expertise that would be needed for a tape archive exists.” Toby Seay
had no claim to the underlying intellectual property rights. “Long story short, what happened was the right thing. This material was placed in the hands of an institution,” says Toby Seay, professor of recording arts and music production at Drexel and a After Ph iladelphi recording engineer who 7,000 vintage a’s Sigma Sound Studios donated unclaim has worked with Dolly school’s recording pr ed tapes to Drexel Univers ity, the og ra m di lo sc st album by Parton, Randy Travis, Nat Turner Re overed and preserved a bellion. Delbert McClinton, Kirk the project with Whalum and others. Seay, department head at the student volunteers—and it took university’s Westphal College of years just to catalog everything, Media Arts & Design, comments, even though the tapes are well doc“It’s a model that record companies umented. “I know what’s there and should look at. Every university has can find stuff; now we’re starting to an archive library system and an IT enhance that metadata so we can department, and a lot of them have dig a little deeper,” says Seay, who music technology programs where thus far has heard less than 10 perall the expertise that would be need- cent of the archive. Initially, the university didn’t ed for a tape archive exists.” Drexel has a new storage facility have the machines necessary to play for the tapes, but human resourc- back many of the tapes. Seay’s first es are limited—Seay is overseeing (continued on page 22)
Pro Sound News - September 2019