Legendary Dean St. Studios Installs The UK’s First Dolby Atmos Music System Featuring PMC’s Reference Monitors

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Dean Str Studios

As part of a revamp of its main Studio 1 control room, the legendary Dean St. Studios in London has become the first independent music recording facility in the UK to install a state of the art PMC loudspeaker system for Dolby Atmos®. The facility is now fully equipped to handle Dolby Atmos music mixing projects.

Consisting of PMC’s flagship IB2S XBD-A active monitors covering left and right main channels, an IB2S-A monitor for the centre channel, 10 discrete Wafer2 loudspeakers for surround and height channels and four sub2 subwoofers, Dean St. Studio’s set up exactly replicates the PMC system initially designed for Universal Music and installed two years ago at Capitol Studio’s in Los Angeles. Thanks to its almost limitless headroom, power capabilities, pin-point accuracy and sonic fidelity, the PMC system goes well beyond Dolby’s minimum requirements, making it the template for Universal, and others as a reference for Dolby Atmos music mixing.
Based in London’s Soho, Dean Street Studios has a long and illustrious music industry history encompassing top artists such as David Bowie, T-Rex, Tina Turner, The Smiths, Dusty Springfield, Ed Sheeran and Adele. After starting out as a film audio facility in the 1950s, it became a music facility in 1976 when producer Tony Visconti opened Good Earth Studios. In 1989, Visconti sold the lease to music production company Joe & Co. who developed some of the premises into music recording and production suites but left Visconti’s legendary Studio 1 intact. In 2007, it was taken over by mother and daughter partnership Suzanne Lee-Barnes and Jasmin Lee, who created today’s Dean St. Studios. They have gone on to build a strong reputation for providing a great service to the recording community.

Embracing Dolby Atmos represents a significant leap into the 21st century for Suzanne and Jasmin. The pair have joined forces with the studio’s Technical and Creative Director, Jan Stan Kybert, to form a new company, Auraferix Ltd, that has funded the investment in new equipment and will spearhead the development of this part of Dean Street’s business. They are assisted by Dean Street’s Head Engineer Jonny Solway who oversaw the entire Studio 1 refit, which was undertaken by Veale Associates. Solway is now assisting Stan Kybert with Dolby Atmos projects.

“We are very excited about this new format and have ambitious plans for the future that go well beyond the refit of Studio 1,” Jasmin Lee says. “Dolby Atmos is the future for the music industry and an incredible business opportunity. Dean Street’s independent ethos and long-term commitment to supporting artists and producers makes us ideally placed to promote this new format and give our customers access to brand-new, word-class technologies.”

Suzanne Lee-Barnes adds: “A love of music is at the heart of everything we do at Dean Street and the creative possibilities of Dolby Atmos are incredibly exciting. Immersive audio allows consumers to feel truly part of the music by putting them right in the middle of the sound and right in the middle of a band or an orchestra. Who wouldn’t want to experience their music like that – especially in this post Covid world where live events are basically off the agenda?”

The refit of Studio 1 has been a massive undertaking for the facility – one that involved the total gutting and reconfiguration of the control room so that it can handle both stereo and Dolby Atmos projects.

“The refit was long overdue because the room hadn’t been touched since Tony Visconti originally built it,” Jasmin Lee-Barnes explains. “As well as new acoustic treatment, we have also put in new fabric and raised the bulkhead to accommodate the new PMC IB2S XBD-A monitors. Our old monitors have been moved into Studio 4, giving us a secondary control room and effectively doubling the potential of the business as we can now have two different projects going on at the same time. Aesthetically, Studio 1 looks incredible because you are not met by a wall of speakers when you walk in. A lot of the new PMC wafer monitors are hidden behind the fabric, which means it doesn’t feel overbearing.”

PMC was chosen for this installation because it has such a strong reputation for delivering prestigious Dolby Atmos facilities, particularly in the USA.

Stan Kybert says: “The PMC system is an integral piece of the Dolby Atmos puzzle and has been very user friendly from the moment we switched it on. The Dolby Atmos journey provides a lot of creative and technical opportunities and PMC made some bold promises, which they delivered on. It is early days but I could not be happier with the sound of the system, and the support we have received from the team at PMC.”

Chris Allen, Business Development Manager at PMC, says: “We are delighted to be bringing this statement Dolby Atmos system into the UK for the first time and could not be more pleased to be spear-heading it alongside a facility with so much heritage and positive reputation as Dean Street Studios.  Our flagship PMC system for Dolby Atmos has become a reference for many Dolby Atmos Music studios, and although Dean Street’s room is relatively small, we were able to work with Dolby to design an effective system that meets and exceeds Dolby Atmos specifications. The result is incredibly pleasing and the system respectfully, and easily, reproduces all genres of music consistently at all levels.”
Dean St. Studios officially opened its Dolby Atmos room on September 1st and is now working with various producers, artists and record labels to introduce them to the creative possibilities of the new format.

“Mixing music in Dolby Atmos is not the same as mixing a Dolby Atmos film or TV programme because there is no formula for music – every project has to be approached in a unique way,” Jasmin Lee-Barnes explains. “That’s what makes it so innovative. You have free rein to be as creative as you like and once artists and producer realise what is possible, they will want to be very hands on with the process. As Dean St. Studios is a music production studio run by music people, we are perfectly positioned to help them. Everyone here has a rich heritage in creating music and our ethos is very much artist-lead. We have experienced engineers and producers, but our focus is working together with the artist to realise their creative vision.”

Photo Credit: James Robinson