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AID Inc. President Jim Pace looks at the challenges building a state of the art studio
Audio Intervisual Design has integrated hundreds of studio facilities over the past 30 years and AID Inc. Founder and President, Jim Pace, has steered the company through the many complex and exciting challenges that have faced the industry, “We partner with our clients as they face the challenges in today’s business, technical and social environments. Between traditional technology and new audio opportunities such as ATMOS, Dante and related IP, and video streaming service needs, advanced monitoring, storage and facility design, the choices are wide. With versatility comes complexity.”
“Systems need to be designed for optimum flexibility or efficiency. Quality and reliability are the focus. We have decades of experience bringing new technologies into the Hollywood media workplace and are constantly expanding our capabilities and resources. We are called upon to handle full design/build down to simple gear sales.”
Choosing the Right Equipment and Software to Satisfy the Creative Requirements
The majority of our audio integration projects feature Avid solutions. From the early days of Pro Tools’ rise in professional music and audio post-production to today’s state of the art solutions including the leading integral control surface offerings and Dolby ATMOS support, AID has been there, done that.
AID Inc. is an Avid Elite Dealer and Jim has a long standing relationship with Avid, “Pro Tools and Avid solutions are the common currency and language in the audio post industry and central to the system workflow, but choosing the equipment and software, both from Avid and other manufacturers that contribute to an efficient creative environment can pose a lot of challenges. “
”We sell a range of products from over 200 manufacturers but we pride ourselves on our ability to work with our clients to help the choose the most suitable hardware and software for each individual application. Just looking at Avid products we have the question of Pro Tools running natively or with HDX. Which Avid control surfaces are most suited to each room? The S6 is necessary for larger format projects but some have found the S3 or multiple S1 solutions provide a cost effective alternative for many smaller rooms or simpler projects.”
“We then have to determine which are the most suitable interfaces, and in almost all cases, we now have to deal with AoP networking such as Dante using the Avid MTRX. Add network needs for engineering, storage (using solutions such as the Avid Nexus), control, public internet access – all while keeping systems secure – and it’s now an IT environment. Versatile monitoring is a must. SAN/NAS and KVM components leverage resources to the max. Sync can’t be ignored.”
“Video format choices are even wider and when you mix in the consumer products that fill out the systems that can be an integration challenge. Solving these problems with our clients is critical to a successful project.”
The Challenge of Audio-Over-IP and Dolby Atmos
Two of the most recent challenges in studio system integration are audio networking and the move to providing facilities that can handle immersive sound, whch in most cases means proving solutions for Dolby Atmos, both in terms of the equipment and software as well as monitoring.
AID Integration Specialist Shawn Jones works on all AID projects, “Audio-Over-IP has revolutionised the way audio is routed and managed in each studio, Audio networking solutions such as Dante, AES67, and soon ST2110 have made a massive difference to the install design. MADI is till a viable option for point to point. While we have fewer physical cables, the number of audio channels have grown exponentially and the simplicity of networked connections and control isn’t always simple nor easily controlled so the right solution should be discerned. We need our clients to be comfortable that they can handle much larger multi-room projects with ease.”
“This is especially the case for audio post where Pro Tools is dealing with hundreds of tracks and sources. The Avid MTRX networked monitoring solution is now fairly standard for high end post and music work allowing connectivity between Pro Tools, networked audio and immersive monitoring systems. Each client has preferences for monitoring systems and we spend a lot of time working out the best interface/network for their particular facility. Also, don’t forget that clocking, though often described as “built-in”, cannot be ignored. This all has to work, period.”
Jim has been working with Atmos facility design since the early days, “The introduction of Dolby Atmos in 2012 had a huge impact on studio system design and in the formative years of Atmos we had to work extra hard to help clients cope with the challenges of producing compatible content. We partnered closely with Avid and Dolby and over the years we have been involved in dozens of projects that have involved upgrading existing rooms and building new studios to handle immersive sound, including additional monitoring from manufacturers such as Meyer Sound and JBL.”
” I think we are now at a stage where the technology has matured enough for more “mass usage,” especially for the music side – my background, like many many others – and Avid integration of Atmos within Pro Tools and the introduction of MTRX have made life a lot simpler for all concerned. The room is still the single most important factor when expanding from stereo to immersive.”
Executing the Design, Equipment Choice and Installation Phase of Projects
Jim’s team always start by looking at the existing room, or the new room plan, in consultation with the client, “The room dictates what’s possible and once we define an Atmos monitoring system using many years and many many rooms to learn from, we make speaker and other recommendations for equipment and software based on what the client’s history and preferences suggest. From that we generate a gear list for quotation. For full design projects we work with architects, acousticians, contractors, electricians, mechanical (HVAC) and other professionals, including drawings. We include BOM, heat loads, rack elevations, line drawings, and when we are involved with installation and integration these are expanded into run lists and labor estimates and quotes. Coordination requires experience in all these fields or the surprises aren’t usually good. In all cases we are also working closely with the manufacturers including Avid Professional Services, not only to provide input into equipment choice but also assist with training and after sales support.”
Partnering with Avid
Jim’s team have been working closely with manufacturers like Avid since day one. “It is critical to our success in providing professional solutions for our clients that we get support and collaboration from companies like Avid on all our projects since their products are often integral to the creative needs of our customers. The partnership works both ways; we value their contribution to help solve our client’s challenges, but at the same time we also appreciate their willingness to help support us in meeting our client’s needs. As the technology progresses, it’s even more critical to know all the players and filter the marketing hype from the reality a business owner really requires.”
Pro Tools and Avid solutions are the common currency and language in the post industry and central to the system workflow, but choosing the equipment and software, both from Avid and other manufacturers, that contribute to an efficient creative environment can pose a lot of challenges.
Pro Tools | HD Native
Pro Tools | Ultimate
Pro Tools | HDX
Pro Tools | MTRX
Pro Tools | Video Satellite
It was very important for us to build a theatrical Atmos stage. Audio Intervisual Design stepped up to the plate amazingly and the stage has been working flawlessly since the day that we went online.
Every studio in the group is equipped with Pro Tools, an international standard for audio recording and mixing. In addition, we have standards of quality that go across the board, and we sometimes mix material here that has been recorded abroad or vice versa.