The First Box is opened

I opened the first box for the new sound system yesterday! I am so happy!

Opening the first box of the new sound system

Opening the first box of the new sound system

I’ve been using the same 30 year old speakers and amps ( JBL 4311 and crown DC-75s) for a very long time now, and slowly upgrading all around them.  Finally I can upgrade the core of it: where the electrons turn into vibrating air molecules!

The studio will be our backup and production system as we upgrade the Space Theater’s sound system. The theater system is 35 years old, and really showing its age. Sometimes I marvel that the theater sound has kept working all this time as well as it has. I just hope it makes it another month! It’s a tribute to the men who designed it, and the ones who donated the money for a first class sound system. In 1973, this was top of the line. But then, in 73 we were listening to 8 track tape players and loving it!

Let me give you a little background on the audio systems here in the studio since I started in 1982.

First the old analog console went, a classic MCI JH 600. Nice, but I spent more time fixing it than mixing with it. (picture is not my studio)

I replaced it with a Ramsa DA-7. What a great console, but after 7 years, it fell down and could not get up again.

Ramsa DA-7 - my first Digital Mixer

Ramsa DA-7 - my first Digital Mixer

While I was using the DA7, I replaced the two 16 track JH 16 analog tape decks. 2 inch tape!



While my 2 ADATs had less tracks that the full 32 I could get from the dual 16s, They were digital,
and I was so happy when I went to fiber optic cables instead of copper wires.

I must have pulled 200 lbs of dusty cables out! ( actual photograph)

However, they were digital TAPE systems, and were to inherit all the woes of tape systems, mostly relating to the tape path and cleaning it.

In 2001 I finally got a Protools system so I could work on the upgrading of a show that was originally produced in 1989 – To Worlds Beyond.
That is a whole separate subject!

The New Monitors
6 boxes from ADAM will be the monitors for the sound studio. These are some of the world’s best speakers.
Together they will be a quality audio reference for the sound tracks of the future. I firmly believe that the sound track is half of the film experience.

I have three S2A monitors; two for the rear speakers and one for the center.

S2A studio monitor

S2A studio monitor

and two S3A speakers for the front left and right speakers.

S3A studio Monitor

S3A studio Monitor

The ADAM Sub 12 Subwoofers will provide the low end support.

ADAM subwoofer Sub12

ADAM subwoofer Sub12

Now we have to run power for the monitors, because they are self powered, with their amps built in!
After the power is run I take delivery of the sound sources: one Protools HD system for the theater, and one for the studio.

These are the extremely knowledgeable and helpful folks who are providing all the equipment and installation:
There will be 3 terabytes of data stored on the internal and external drives.
I’ll talk about them, and the theater sound system in my next blog.


6 Responses

  1. John – I’m guessing that big smile means you are enjoying all of this. I can hardly wait to see the end result, but the blog is a good idea to keep us up on what’s going on. So enjoy!
    How exciting!

  2. John,

    Thanks sooooo much for the killer IMAX theater insight. A few questions (I am not curious or anything)….What do you use the 5.1 Adam/Protools studio for? I thought the IMAX films were all mixed up in Canada or LA? Are the film sound tracks delivered on hard drives that you load into the system? Are they 5.1, 96k/24 bit and all that fun stuff? Does the soundtrack actually playback from the Protools system during the showings?

    Sounds like you are in heaven with all the new gear. I tackled many an old mixing stage up at Sony Pictures during my employment in the sound department there and I saw the same dusty gnarly cable messes you show! Prosound is a great local company.. Thanks again and I can’t wait to hear the results.

  3. John,

    I agree wit the other Kathy about the wonderful look of joy on your face as you open up you first box of goodies…. You look like a little kid opening up that longed for “SRX Mighty Toy”.
    Enjoy! You’ve certainly earned the right to smile & feel good!

    (My first blog)

  4. John,

    Wow, what a great story this is! And I echo the others too–the look on your face in the first photo is utterly PRICELESS. However, the photo that made me grin ear to ear was of the 200 lbs. of dusty cables…. ahhhhh, all too familiar! That must have been fun. Well, I’m really excited for you (especially since you are probably way past the point of dusty cables now) and am cheering you on, all the way from the east coast. Looking forward to any updates you might post–I’m sure it will all come together magnificently with your obvious hard work and dedication! Good luck!


  5. John,

    Thanks for sharing this story. I am looking forward to hearing the difference. I has a lot of “listen time” on the old system over the last 25 years.

    Great to see such a great smile… enjoy it but don’t keep it to yourself. 🙂

  6. Hi and thank you for all the great comments –
    I do want to point out that “first box” described above was for the recording studio of our production facility. It’s not in a public part of the building.

    The studio digital SOURCE is identical to the theater system, but the output goes to the small but mighty ADAM speakers I was so overjoyed to open up. We are using Protools HD to playback the digital audio files.
    On Monday I will be posting about the new THEATER system. I can not really even LIFT the speakers for that!
    The theater speakers are QSC 4 way cabinets that are HUGE!
    We are going from 3,500 watts to 16,000 watts. Woo Hoo!

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