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Sound Rebels Builds Its Own Fort

Re-recording mixer D.J. Lynch and supervising sound editor Rob McIntyre have 19 Emmys between them; now they’ve opened their own Sound Rebels facility in Burbank, CA’s media district.

Sound Rebels’ Victory stage sports a 19-foot ceiling to meet Dolby’s Atmos specifications, an Avid S6 mix system and a 9.1.6 speaker configuration with JBL components.
Sound Rebels’ Victory stage sports a 19-foot ceiling to meet Dolby’s Atmos specifications, an Avid S6 mix system and a 9.1.6 speaker configuration with JBL components.

Burbank, CA (February 1, 2021)—After spending years working at major post houses in the area, award-winning re-recording mixer D.J. Lynch and supervising sound editor Rob McIntyre have opened their own Sound Rebels facility in Burbank’s media district.

“We’re all freelance journeyman editors and mixers,” says Lynch, a nine-time Emmy and six-time Golden Reel Award winner who mixes shows such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. “We got to a point where we needed to get everyone under one roof and do this for ourselves.” Everyone on the team has been working in animation for about 15 years, he says.

The Sound Rebels facility houses two Dolby Atmos mix stages and two sound design suites, one of which is occupied by co-founder McIntyre, himself a 10-time Emmy and three-time Golden Reel Award winner. McIntyre is currently working on Teen Titans Go! for Warner Bros. while managing projects like Camp Cretaceous and Fast & Furious Spy Racers for DreamWorks.

“We do a ton of business with Nickelodeon,” whose headquarters is only steps away from Sound Rebels’ new facility, says Lynch. Indeed, the building was once used by Nickelodeon as office space.

Sound Rebels called in acoustician and speaker designer Ken Goerres of Exakte Recording Studio Design to design and build the rooms after Lynch worked in one of his rooms at a nearby facility. “So I asked the owner for the name of the guy who designed it.”

The layout maximizes the floor area of the two stages, dubbed Victory and Triumph, within the available space. The square-footage of the rooms dictated a 19-foot ceiling to meet Dolby’s Atmos specifications. “So we cut out the attic floor to raise the ceiling,” says Lynch.

Jim Pace and his Audio Intervisual Design (AID) team provided technical design and integration, and supplied the equipment, which includes an Avid S6 mix systems on both stages. “The two sound design rooms have Pro Tools systems with a little mixer and near field speakers,” Lynch reports. “We’ve got two Foley teams that we work with. We don’t have facilities here; we rent facilities right around the corner from us.”

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Victory, the larger mix stage, features a 9.1.6 speaker configuration, with two subs, that includes various JBL components, including 3-way ScreenArrays at the front. The smaller stage, Triumph, features a slightly smaller JBL setup in a 7.1.4 configuration.

To optimize and control the speaker systems in both rooms, says Lynch, “AID recommended the DAD-MOM [Digital Audio Denmark monitor operating module], which I had never used before. And we have BSS London BLU-806DA signal processers.”

Sound Rebels put a lot of time and effort into making the rooms comfortable, says Lynch, but clients haven’t visited for months because of the pandemic, of course. Only one member of the Sound Rebels team continues to work in each room. “Most of our staff are sound effects or dialog editors who work from home, because they’ve got their own systems.”

Luckily, the pandemic has barely affected the flow of projects, he says. “Ninety percent of the business we’ve been doing is animation for television or streaming, with a little bit of reality and some independent movies. Most of our clients—Nickelodeon, Dreamworks, Warner Bros.—needed just a little bit of time to adapt to the work-at-home scenario, but they have so many shows in the pipeline that we have been able to keep working.”

During the pandemic, Sound Rebels has been sending Quicktime videos to one client for reviews and notes, he says. Others prefer Source Elements’ Source-Live platform, which streams real-time audio from the DAW to a web browser and supports HD video and multi-client chat.

“It’s a back and forth, real-time interactive process, so we needed a solution,” says Lynch. “With SpongeBob SquarePants, everyone signs into Source-Live and we watch the show. We’re done in an hour or two at most. We operated that way all year and probably will for a good chunk of this coming year.”

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