Blackbird Studio Celebrates Official Launch Of Dolby Atmos Music Mixing Room

Pictured (L-R): Chuck Ainlay (multi-GRAMMY®, Academy of Country Music Award and Country Music Association award-winning engineer/producer/mixer), John McBride (Blackbird founder/owner) and Julian Raymond (Senior Vice President of A&R and Staff Producer at Big Machine/John Varvatos Records). Photo: Courtesy of Blackbird Studio/Marian Mathis

Blackbird Studio held a gala event on July 17 to mark the official launch of the facility’s new Dolby Atmos 9.1.6 reference room (Studio C).

Blackbird founder John McBride stated, “Blackbird has always had an extremely high bar that doesn’t allow us to cut any corners in anything we do. So when it came time to create this unique mixing/listening space, we reached out to the companies I know and have worked with, whom I trust based on their knowledge, their products and their track record for getting the job done. The team that helped create this reference room represents the cream of the crop, and we could not have made this a reality without their unwavering support.”

Attendees included Chuck Ainlay, Ben Fowler, Steve Marcantonio, Julian Raymond, Bob Bullock, Michael Cronin and more. They were treated to a listening session with a wide variety of tracks in Dolby Atmos including Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” Beck’s “Seventh Heaven,” and, for the first time ever, Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” newly mixed by engineer David Leonard, who was on hand to discuss this latest mix of the classic track.

Photo: CJ Hicks Photo

Blackbird’s 9.1.6 Dolby Atmos reference room is a state-of-the-art facility with equipment that includes ATC SCM300ASL Pro speakers (L-C-R), ATC SCM100ASL Pro speakers (six top and six side) and ATC SCM1-15ASL Sub subs (four front, two rear/side); AVID Pro Tools | MTRX audio interfaces (two); Antelope Audio 10MX rubidium atomic master clock; and AVID Pro Tools | SYNC HD.

The open floor plan concept room for Studio C was originally designed by multiple GRAMMY and TEC Award-winner, producer, engineer and inventor George Massenburg and Dr. Peter D’Antonio, founder of RPG Diffusor Systems, Inc.

“Very soon after I started to mix in 5.1 new challenges were quickly revealed,” stated Massenburg. “’Hearing’ a complex multichannel mix required fresh skills; yes, localization is important, but maintaining the perception of the overall context and integrating sources also in the sound field was challenging—I felt a new kind of mix environment was (and still is) essential—I never stopped thinking about it. I was given the opportunity to build a massively diffuse, uniform-response room in the early 2000’s to address these issues, and Blackbird Studio C was born. More than just a multichannel mix room, it offered an ideal context and environment to record live acoustic ensembles, providing artists an unparalleled ability to hear each other really well. Recently outfitted with Dolby Atmos Music monitoring technology, Blackbird Studio C now provides mixers with the tools to inspire them to create extraordinary and breathtaking immersive music mixes.”

Pictured (Front Row, L-R): John McBride (Blackbird Studio), Christine Thomas (Dolby), Bryan Pennington (Dolby); (Back Row, L-R): Dave Mattingly (Sound Construction), Richard Ealey (Blackbird Studio), Paul Simmons (Blackbird Studio), Ceri Thomas (Dolby), David Seal (TransAudio Group), Aleks Bars (TransAudio Group), and Brad Lunde (TransAudio Group). Photo: Courtesy of Blackbird Studio/Marian Mathis


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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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