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Exclusive: Amsterdam’s Sonic City Studios upgrades rooms with Auro 3D immersive mixing tech

Abbey Road Institute Amsterdam‘s Sonic City Studio recently partnered with Auro Technologies to provide its trainee producers with immersive sound mixing capabilities. Daniel Gumble finds out what the upgraded facility has to offer…

Situated right at the very heart of the Netherlands’ capital city, Abbey Road Institute Amsterdam’s Sonic City Studios has only been in business since last September, yet it is already proving itself an invaluable asset to the area’s burgeoning audio community.

Offering purpose-built facilities, from bespoke studio spaces to classrooms and work stations, it has sought to provide budding engineers and pro sound professionals a top-of-the-range hub from which to hone their craft and develop their skills. Now, as it approaches its first birthday, Sonic City Studios has treated itself to an audio makeover to become a certified Auro-3D audio post production studio.

With a 10.1 speaker layout, the school has teamed up with Auro Technologies to provide the company’s Auro-3D concept, designed to create “the most natural immersive sound experience on today’s market”, according to the firm.

The decision to partner with Auro was an easy one, explains Robin Reumers, co-owner and chief engineer of Sonic City Studios. Having previously served as CTO of Galaxy Studios at the time that the Auro-3D format was being developed, he says he benefited from gaining knowledge of not only 3D audio using channel-based technology, but also object and scene-based formats.

“Working so closely with and on the format made me aware of all the possibilities Auro-3D has to offer,” Reumers tells PSNEurope. “I also believe it’s a valuable addition to the training of our students at Abbey Road Institute Amsterdam, who use the Sonic City Studios facilities. It will enable them to obtain great insight in 3D spatial audio; they can learn the recording and reproduction techniques of a 3D space as it pushes them forward in developing projects in immersive audio. In the end, I believe the Auro-3D 10.1 speaker set-up has the best translation and compatibility with all immersive sound formats.”

Meanwhile, Wilfried Van Baelen, CEO of Auro Technologies and inventor of the Auro-3D format, told us why he believes that the technology will benefit students and engineers using the facility.

“[Abbey Road Institute students] can learn the recording and reproduction techniques of a 3D space as it pushes them forward in developing projects in immersive audio”

Robin Reumers

“Having the Auro-3D format expands its offerings in many ways and will lead students and professionals worldwide to use this great facility to create their content in the Auro-3D format,” he says.

“Auro-3D is in fact the only choice for ‘music in 3D’, which is an important focus of the total package at Sonic City Studios.”

Van Baelen continues: “I don’t believe I can say that demand [for Auro-3D] in the Netherlands is growing at a faster rate than other parts of the world, but since I first came up with a total market solution in 2010 to bring 3D Sound to all audio markets, many started to realise the final dimension in sound was missing.

“The immediate emotional impact was apparent the moment people first experienced an Auro-3D demo, and consumers and content creators immediately wondered how they could add this in their homes and on their mobile headphones. We now finally have true 3D sound after 140 years of evolving sound recording and reproduction, and I believe it is important this becomes part of an audio engineer’s education.

“In the meantime, more than 10 universities worldwide have already installed the Auro-3D system and made it part of their educational packages. What I like about Sonic City especially is how it integrated this in the analogue workflow, which is a great educational offering to students.”

According to Van Baelen, feedback from Sonic City regarding the upgrade has been extremely positive, with many engineers now enquiring as to the benefits of the Auro-3D technology and how they can use it.

He concludes: “I know that Robin had a few immediate Auro-3D projects when he announced the ability of a full Auro-3D production studio. Many artists are interested in using this new format because of the new creative possibilities. Music or movies are all about storytelling, and I believe that out of the many technical innovations of the last decennia, the Auro-3D format is probably the strongest tool that improves the emotional impact of the storytelling.

“The feedback we got in the entertainment industry is translating that same idea, so I can’t wait to see the many productions coming out of Sonic City where they have the knowledge and experience to produce Auro-3D content the way it was envisioned.”

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