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Neumann monitors for immersive audio at Metropolis Studios

From the moment it opened 35 years ago, Metropolis has been a unique studio. Its home is The Power House in Chiswick, West London, a showpiece of Victorian architecture built to house the London Tram System. The building was, in fact, never used for that purpose and sat derelict for 80 years, before being lovinglyrestored to keep its industrial heritage to the fore but allowing its five floors to hold Metropolis’s four state‐of‐the‐ art recording studios, five iconic Mastering Rooms, over a dozen writing, production and mixing rooms and a full‐service bar. It has now added a fifth studio to this impressive list, which features a fully certified Dolby Atmos system, based entirely around Neumann monitors.

The journey to ensure Metropolis stays relevant and technically up to date has led to the creation of its new immersive studio. Developed in conjunction with immersive audio and live streaming specialist Sonosphere, versatility was the key for the Munro Acoustics‐designed room. Its centrally located mix position and immersive monitoring environment ensures it can cater for all current surround formats.

The room fully meets Dolby Atmos specifications, is capable of delivering 11.8.1 Atmos and includes a Dolby Atmos Mastering Suite server.

Metropolis Brand Director Gavin Newman
Metropolis Brand Director Gavin Newman

Sonosphere Mix Engineer Phil Wright
Sonosphere Mix Engineer Phil Wright

Whilst Metropolis has not traditionally been a Neumann house, the Sonosphere team has a long history with the brand and were keen to demonstrate its benefits. A key mission was to ensure clean and extended low frequency, with the required isolation to accurately judge tone‐shaping a full octave below the effective range of many monitoring systems. As a result, three Neumann KH 420 tri‐amplified monitors are soffit‐mounted to the front wall, with one KH 420 positioned horizontally beneath its video screen and twin Neumann KH 870 400 W subwoofers flanking the three‐way monitors, with deep bass response up to 18 Hz.

Surround monitoring is handled by 17 Neumann KH 120 compact bi‐ amplified studio monitors, renowned for uniformity between units, and with a ± 1.0 dB linearity deviation between 100Hz–10kHz.

“We decided on three loudspeakers across the back wall, with all the loudspeakers around the room arrayed at 30° of separation to each other, so the setup was completely symmetrical for doing third‐order [high‐order Ambisonic] work,” explains Sonosphere mix engineer, Phil Wright, who was a key member of the design team. “Atmos is more ‘front‐centric’, so for that format one of the rear loudspeakers will not be in use, and two of the others will be electronically adjusted for Dolby using a DAD AX32 monitor controller.” The new studio adds an immersive dimension to Metropolis’ comprehensive array of recording studios and mastering rooms.

Whilst the facility is already well known for music, there are a host of opportunities in the pipeline for the new studio, with streaming and delivery options provided by the Sonosphere team.

Photos © James Cumpsty

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