Abbey Road Rooms: Dolby Atmos Music Mastering Suite 35 with Oli Morgan

Abbey Road Rooms: Dolby Atmos Music Mastering Suite 35 with Oli Morgan

Our latest behind-the-scenes room tour sees us step inside Room 35, our new Dolby Atmos Music Mastering Suite.

Read on as engineer Oli Morgan (FKJ, Sam Smith, The Chemical Brothers, Howard Shore) walks us through the latest and greatest gear in Room 35.

Oli is one of the engineers on our Online Mastering portal available to master your music to get it sounding as good as it possibly can.

1. ATC 7.1.4 Loudspeakers

"We have three SCM100ASL Pro speakers for our LCR monitoring, which are great for Atmos, but also for stereo stem mastering. Then we have four SCM50ASL Pro speakers for our surrounds, four SCM12i Pros for the heights and two SCM0.1/15SL Pro subs.

Atmos isn’t speaker-based, it’s more object/location-based, so you can set up an Atmos room in a variety of different layouts. We’ve gone for this 12-speaker setup (subs considered as one, as only one channel) because it’s one of the most popular ways of listening. The Atmos bed follows this configuration, and it also mirrors the setup we have in The Penthouse.

They give me everything I need in great detail. They’re pretty flat, so you’re not biased when making decisions, but they also strike a balance for being nice to work on and fun to listen to music on. When I’m having fun listening to something that’s generally when I know I’ve finished!

Shoutout to our brilliant technical engineer Dan Cole for setting this room up. He’s forgotten things about Atmos that I’m still working out how to do."

2. Thermionic Culture Ltd. The Kite Stereo Equaliser with Attitude

"This is a Pultec-style EQ with Attitude, which is a sort of valvey saturation. It’s got a similar circuit to what’s in their Vulture and Phoenix units.

I hate this phrase, but it IS very musical. It’s also quite malleable, and has very broad strokes, so not too detailed. It’s got an Air control which I think is fixed-gain, and you just wind it into the audible frequencies. It’s got a very natural sounding, airy top-end. Much less spiky than most EQs.

The three pieces of outboard gear we have in here run on a stereo loop back to ProTools. We generally use them for stereo mastering or stereo stem mastering.

I can also use them in mono or stereo on elements of an Atmos master. If there was a particular object, in stem mastering for example, I could run it through one of these bits of gear should it be required.

It’s nice to be able to do the stereo and the Atmos masters in the same space (mostly at the same time) so that both versions share the same integrity."

3. Whitestone Audio P331 EVL Tube Loading Amplifier

"Loading amplifiers are where compression, soft-clip and saturation all meet each other. For me, it’s the best bits of all those processes. We’ve got the Evil version of the P331, which means that you have a much broader range.

There’s a couple of options for different transformers and it has the option to lift which kind of tilts the audio going in so you can get a bit more saturation on the top-end or the bottom-end or both.

I use this in the same sort of way as I’d use the old TG consoles that live in the other mastering rooms. I’ll use this on most stereo and stem mastering jobs in here, running the signal through just to give it a bit more analogue feel."

4. Elysia Alpha Compressor

"This is a really good utility compressor. It can do everything you want a compressor to do. It’s got soft-clip, sidechain, EQ, a transformer you can switch in or out, mix control so you can use it parallel, all sorts. The mix control is particularly useful so you can get the benefit of compression without the need to over-compress.

It’s quite a soft compressor, the ratios go from 1:1 to 2:4 which is very gentle. You can also use it in mid-side mode, allowing separate control of the mid information and the side information."

5. DAD MOM Monitor Operating Module

"This monitor control from Digital Audio Denmark allows us to route signals anywhere at any time. I use it to A/B Atmos re-renders and stereo versions, quickly switch between a signal before it hits the analogue and after it hits the analogue, listen to different binaural renders, etc.

The front panel is completely customisable so you can set up whatever workflow you like. Currently my first layer has different outputs from ProTools or the Dolby renderer, layer two is the same but for my headphones, my third layer is for speaker mutes so I can listen to just the LFE (low frequency effect) or just the centre or just the surrounds to get a better picture of what’s happening. My fourth layer is just for stereo mastering, just an easy A/B between different scenarios like before and after analogue or between any previous masters."

Enquire about our Dolby Atmos Music Mastering service here.

Pass your songs through the experienced ears and incredible gear in our mastering rooms using the Online Mastering service.


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