Award-winning film sound engineer Dennis S. Sands has upgraded his Sound Waves SB studio with a Meyer Sound cinema loudspeaker system for mixing in Dolby Atmos. Located in Santa Barbara, Calif., Sands's private studio is the first Dolby Atmos dubbing stage dedicated exclusively to native mixing of film music.
"I'd heard Meyer Sound systems at several well-known post-production studios," says Sands. "I was immediately impressed with the quality of the sound, the accuracy, and the depth and richness of the entire soundtrack. It was obvious Meyer Sound was the direction to go for the studio."
Sands's monitoring system is anchored by three Acheron® 80 screen channel loudspeakers and two X-800C high-power and X-400C cinema subwoofers each. Perimeter and overhead reinforcement comprises 14 HMS-10 and 10 HMS-12 surround loudspeakers with IntelligentDC technology, while a Galileo® loudspeaker management system with one Galileo 408 processor supplies drive and equalization. The system was designed and installed by Ron Lagerlof of Los Angeles-based Visioneering Design Company in consultation with Andy Potvin of Dolby Laboratories.
"It's easy to see why Dennis was pre-sold on Meyer Sound," says Lagerlof. "The loudspeakers have extremely low distortion and accurate phase response. You hear exactly what's there, and nothing else."
Since installation, Sands has finished native Atmos film score mixes for "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" and the 2014 "Godzilla" reboot. He has also completed a 7.1 mix of "Maze Runner" and television mixes for the "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" series.
Originally built as a private dubbing stage for director Andrew Davis, Sands's studio was designed by film sound legend Tomlinson Holman. The room features a 12-by-20-foot screen, a Euphonix System 5-MC DAW controller, a Euphonix CS3000 digitally controlled analog console, and four linked Pro Tools systems. A Focusrite RedNet 6 MADI bridge connects the Dolby Atmos RMU (Rendering and Mastering Unit) to a BSS SoundWeb London DSP system, which is used primarily for signal routing when switching from Atmos to 5.1 or 7.1 monitoring.
"People who have worked with me in the room before are very impressed with the improvement," reports Sands. "Reactions have been uniformly positive. For me, the monitoring decision was a no-brainer. Everything I do here translates beautifully onto the dubbing stage."
Dennis Sands has credits on nearly 300 feature films as a score mixer or re-recording mixer, earning four Academy Award nominations and winning two Cinema Audio Society Awards, including one for Lifetime Achievement.
Ron Lagerlof shares his insights into immersive cinema systems in Q&A "What to Know about the Loudspeakers in Immersive Atmos or Auro 11.1 System."