If you’ve seen cutting-edge animated series, films and other media in recent years, there was a good chance they had their audio postproduction done at Bang Zoom! Entertainment. The Burbank, CA, post facility, which has earned two Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Sound Mixing and Outstanding Sound Editing and provides audio post services for the Adult Swim series Rick and Morty, operates from 15,000 square feet of space housing seven ADR recording stages, two Foley stages, six edit bays, and four Dolby-certified mix stages with 5.1, 6.1 & 7.1 surround-sound capabilities. Additionally, the facility has recently added a mix stage for Dolby’s Atmos immersive audio format.
Critical to moving all of that sound around the facility is a Dante network, served by six Focusrite RedNet HD32R (opens in new tab) 32-channel HD Dante network bridges. These system components act as the backbone of the facility’s content/signal transport infrastructure, enabling them to handle the high channel count of a Dolby Atmos mixing session. In addition, Bang Zoom! also utilizes a RedNet X2P (opens in new tab) 2x2 Dante audio interface as a headphone monitoring and talk-back solution, as well as a RedNet PCIeR Card (opens in new tab) for the rendering engine, and a pair of RedNet 4 (opens in new tab) eight-channel mic preamps in their other studios.
When it came time to update their mix stage for Dolby Atmos, Bang Zoom! reached out to Westlake Pro (opens in new tab), who specialize in design and integration for immersive studios and post-production facilities. Westlake Pro supplied all the RedNet products and worked closely with the team at Bang Zoom! to ensure the install met Dolby’s specifications.
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The new Atmos mix stage is designed as a one-person mix position: four HD32R units take up to 128 channels from the Avid Pro Tools HDX system to the Dolby RMU Atmos rendering and mastering processor; two more HD32Rs serve as the interfaces for the studio’s Pro Tools recording system.
August Belfiglio, lead audio technical engineer at Bang Zoom!, said two of the HD32R units were already in place at the facility before the addition of the Atmos mix studio. “Instead of having to get a new interface for that increased channel account, we just added two more HD32Rs to the mix rig and then added two more to the dub rig,” he explained. “So it was easy to keep expanding with that instead of having to get something new. With RedNet, we could simply expand on the existing system. It gave us a clear and easy pathway forward.”
The RedNet infrastructure also allows the studio to move fluidly between its traditional stereo and 5.1 workflows and Atmos. A RedNet X2P 2x2 Dante audio interface, featuring two Red Evolution mic pre's, stereo line out and a stereo headphone amplifier, also adds flexibility to the Atmos room. “It’s there if the mixer wants to mix in headphones, but it also serves a talkback for when we're on remote-mixed view-downs with clients, and if we ever need a microphone for someone to lay down some quick scratch or [vocal] sound effects. It comes in handy for a lot of things and it’s fully integrated into the entire RedNet system, so it’s always there whenever we need it.”
Danny Fasold, Sales Consultant at Westlake Pro and who consulted with Belfiglio on the Dolby mix room’s design, says the Focusrite HD32R was the perfect match for the studio’s Dante network and a key piece to implementing Atmos. “They always knew that they were going to go with Atmos, and they always knew that they needed to build Dante into their infrastructure, tie into their main mix stage, and be able to pull audio to and from any room, so the HD32R was the solution,” he says. “It was the perfect tool to bridge their Dante network to their Avid Pro Tools system. It doesn't take a lot of convincing — Oh, this is what you want to do? Then this is what you will need: the Focusrite RedNet HD32R.”
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In fact, RedNet products add any number of workflow advantages at Bang Zoom!, but for Belfiglio, the real benefit is RedNet’s simplicity. “I love the fact that it just shows up in Pro Tools as an HD I/O, which most people are familiar with, and the fact that it can go right into your Dante system for routing. You can see all your different devices, monitor them, change settings on them, and display them in your own custom user interface. With one click of a button to open the program, you can look at all of them. You can see if they’re passing audio, and you can see if the settings are correct. You can see if they’re being recognized, which is also nice for troubleshooting if that need arises. The HD32R now makes up the backbone of our system I/O. It’s small and compact — just one rack space — and it just works. We love RedNet!”