Jamie Gosney of Sopnosphere in the Metropolis 3D audio studio

Metropolis Studios opens 3D Audio recording studio: “Even we didn’t realise how cutting-edge this was going to be”

Metropolis, the West London independent recording studio, has opened a Dolby-Certified 3D audio recording facility, and has secured a content deal with Amazon Music. The streaming music service will use the facility as its UK-based HQ for immersive mixing.

Upcoming spatial mixes from the Metropolis/Amazon content partnership include The Amazons, Emma McGrath, Dumbfounded, James Reid, Jules Aurora and Jack Savoretti. 

Audio Media International dropped by to hear the studio in action, and while we were there we got to hear an exclusive preview of an upcoming Savoretti Amazon Original.

Metropolis has partnered with immersive content experts Sonosphere on the design and specification of the new studio, and to support its creative workflow. In addition to being a leading-edge space for musicians to record, the studio is also available for live streaming, mixing 3D audio for theatre shows, TV and film companies. 

Metropolis 3D audio studio

The facility has been a year in the making. “When we started out, we really didn’t realise just how cutting-edge this studio was going to be,” Jamie Gosney (above), Commercial Director at Sonosphere, told Audio Media International.

“There already seems to be quite a lot of interest in using this as a live stream broadcast room.  We can create a virtual front of house position: anybody can put a console in, put a gig up on the big screen, and create the venue virtually. We’re just about to put a leased line into the O2.  So it’s possible to ‘create’ the O2 in this room and broadcast that out.”

Ultimately, Gosney foresees a time when 5G networks will allow collaborative remote working with (next to) zero latency. 

“I think Dolby were excited about working with this room because of the whole vision we’ve got for doing live sound broadcast and streaming live streams,” he says.

“We’d love to do some indie film stuff in here too, for the smaller film companies that don’t get to get to Pinewood and Elstree and places like that.”

Close on two tons of sand have been used to isolate the studio. The control room pioneers a flexible ‘hub studio’ approach, so there’s no dependence on any particular mix hardware, studios can bring their own mixing console. While we were there, a DiGiCo Quantum 225 took pride of place.

The room provides a 22.2 Neumann monitoring system, with loudspeakers in an 11.1.8 configuration. All the loudspeakers are arrayed at 30° of separation to each other. There’s no format it can’t cope with, says Sonosphere mix engineer Phil Wright (picture below) – “Dolby Atmos, Binaural, 360RA…”

The studio design is the work of Munro Acoustics.

Phil Wright on the mixing desk at Metropolis Studio

“It’s been a bit of a labour of love,” Metropolis Studios’ Brand Director, Gavin Newman tells us. “We believe that quite a lot is being released without necessarily getting final approval from artists, so we’re definitely going to try and get the artists in as part of the journey, for reviewing and approving when possible. We also plan to remote people into the room; we’ll set up some 360 video technology so people can actually experience it as effectively as an attended session.”

“It’s also revealing opportunities for sustainability,” adds Wright. “It’s about artists not having to jump in helicopters to go from gig to gig in a hurry, or to go and rehearse together if one of them lives somewhere really remote. Also from the point of view of audiences. If you play the O2,  think about the number of people who get on a coach! In the future, you can have an audience who are much more local, and you can deliver an object based mix to another venue where people. It’s a development from the live cinema thing, because it’s two way.”