Montreal, Canada (April 25, 2016)—At one of Bellmedia’s studios in Toronto, a new installation of Neumann KH series loudspeakers in a flexible 13.1 configuration is helping the broadcaster prepare for the future of audio.
Michael Nunan, Bellmedia’s senior manager, broadcast operations, audio, has assembled an immersive production environment for 13.1 and other next-generation formats. The first of its kind at any Bellmedia studio, it features an array of Neumann KH 120 monitors and KH 870 subwoofers.
“It’s fairly clear to everyone that we’re going to have a new Canada audio standard later this year for ATSC 3.0,” Nunan explains. “Whatever that ends up being is going to be extensible well beyond 5.1 surround and will certainly include surround plus height formats.”
Nunan continues, “We needed to create an environment where we could start figuring out the aesthetic of surround plus height long before we were going to have a requirement to actually deliver it.” Adapting the largest of Bellmedia Toronto’s existing 5.1 sound rooms, which was already outfitted with five Neumann KH 120 loudspeakers and a KH 870 subwoofer, Nunan added two speakers to the ear-height array, turning 5.1 into 7.1, adding Lss and Rss speakers. Next, a five-channel height layer was added, along with a single overhead speaker and an additional KH 870 subwoofer.
“Our system is designed to accommodate the Auro-3D 13.1 format, but the same physical structure is capable of working with smaller versions of Dolby Atmos, 5.1.4, 7.1.2, and 7.1.4. So our mix room is well equipped to handle most of the commonly understood contenders for the new official surround plus height format,” says Nunan.
The compact size of the Neumann speakers was key to accommodating the large number of speakers required. “This isn’t a gigantic film mix stage,” Nunan points out. “It’s not trivial that I was able to fit 14 Neumann speakers in a modestly sized television mix room and still have room for people.”