Natick, MA (March 5, 2021)—Having reached the top of the charts numerous times in 2020 working with various German rap stars, platinum-certified composer and producer Juh-Dee has opened a well-appointed studio in Duisburg, Germany.
Juh-Dee, who started DJing at parties as a youngster, soon started making music himself, which brought him into the orbit of emerging German rap stars, including Farid Bang, Manuellsen, KC Rebell and Summer Cem. “The first time I made it to number one with a single was actually in 2020. That was with the song ‘90-60-111’ from Shirin David, and that was a great feeling,” he says. “Then with Apache, we were three weeks at number one, and that song was replaced at number one by another Apache song that we produced. And the next tune after that also went straight to the top spot.”
His preference for studio monitoring has always been large, wall-mounted main monitors, so his new facility sports Genelec 1234 Smart Active Monitors. “In a great studio, there has to be speakers in the wall,” Juh-Dee insists. “I did my first mixes here and I was really surprised at how ‘real’ the 1234s sound, even at high volume. Having heard my first mixes, I realized what made the difference. You can hear clearly the whole frequency spectrum and the tweeters are really nice! They don’t bite; they are really honest. That was important for me.”
The 1234s are complemented by a 7370 subwoofer. “I usually use the subwoofer when I’m working on deep 808s, for example, so I can really hear the whole spectrum down to 20 Hz and I can absolutely hear if they sound okay, or if there’s any strange frequencies going on,” he says.
But while Juh-Dee loves the high-SPL energy of his main monitoring system, his 8331 coaxial three-way nearfields from Genelec’s The Ones series allow him to dial things down when he needs to. “I use The Ones to double-check things at a lower volume, so when I don’t need the full blast of the big 1234s, they are really good for details.
“Also, when I’m mixing for too long with too much volume, I use the 8331s — and I can also easily control them using Genelec’s GLM software. It’s super-easy to quickly dial-in changes, tweak the frequency response, change the volume, and do adjustments.”
Hollywood, CA (January 20, 2021)—Nick Gross, drummer, producer and entrepreneur, is a busy man, recording and performing with a variety of bands while also overseeing Gross Labs, his growing entertainment, media and investment company. Amidst all that action, Gross found the time over the past year to expand his Noise Nest production complex in Hollywood.
Now spanning an entire block in the heart of Hollywood’s media district, Noise Nest began more modestly under another name about eight years ago. “We leased the smaller space for the first three years for a production team that I had at the time; we used it as a songwriting facility,” says Gross. “We later built it out to be more of a recording studio facility where other managers, publishers and labels could use the space.”
When his neighbor’s larger building became available, Gross snapped it up, gutting the structure and calling in Peter Grueneisen’s nonzero\architecture to design a three-room complex with lounges, kitchen and other amenities. He then had designer and acoustician Chris Owens of F.C. Owens revamp the two production rooms in the original, smaller building.
“It started as this sort of punk-rock, grungy little studio and it’s turned into a multi-purpose, multi-use content factory,” Gross says. His vision for Noise Nest was inspired by pro skateboarder Rob Dyrdek’s now-defunct Fantasy Factory in downtown L.A., which he calls “a cool and creative way to think outside of the box.”
The initial two rooms catered to outside clients while Gross was growing his business, but Noise Nest now focuses on in-house content creation. “I host a lot of our internal publishing and label clients; they each get to use the space for free,” he says. “We’re doing all kinds of things: music production, live streaming, gaming. It’s an epic live event space; we built two basketball courts.”
The Gross Labs umbrella company, launched in 2018, encompasses record label and music publisher Big Noise Music Group, Noise Nest Animation, e-sports organization Team Rogue, and philanthropic education and self-discovery platform Find Your Grind. Gross co-founded Big Noise with Vagrant Records co-founders Jon Cohen and John “Feldy” Feldmann, the man behind SoCal ska-punk band Goldfinger; signings include The Used, Ashley Tisdale and The Wrecks. Gross still sometimes plays with Goldfinger, as well as his own bands, Half the Animal and girlfriends. His many investments range from consumer products to new tech ventures.
A common thread throughout Noise Nest is PMC speakers. “The choice of PMC was a no-brainer,” says Gross, who first heard the monitors at the studios of his friend, producer and songwriter Dr. Luke. “They’re incredible. We’re super stoked to have them.” Studio A features PMC’s flagship QB1-A in-wall main monitors, while various IB1S-A, twotwo.6 and twotwo.8 models provide near field coverage there and in the other rooms.
There is a consistent aesthetic between rooms. The largest space, A, is dominated by a massive console supporting a split analog API 1608, with the main desk to the left and 16 more channels to the right, plus a Slate Raven system. “It’s a one-of-a-kind desk that I wanted to build out with a cool mixture of analog and digital. The outboard gear that sits behind it is pretty special as well,” he says, and includes SSL and Neve mic preamps.
The tracking space is just the right size, he says: “It gets the job done. We wanted to be smart with the space and be as effective as we could, knowing that we wanted to build three studios in a 4,500-square-foot building,” he says.
The B room, equipped with an SSL Matrix2 and soffited Genelec 1238A SAM main monitors, transforms into an indoor/outdoor space. “People can be playing basketball outside and see what’s going on inside the room at the same time,” he says. The console in Studio C, the smallest room, overlooks a small booth and houses an industry-standard vocal chain—Neve 1073 preamp and Tube-Tech CL 1B compressor—with ATC SCM25A Pro monitors and a rack of additional outboard gear.
“All three studios have their own vibe. I wanted to take the feeling of old recording studios, whether that was old brick or old wood or analog gear, and give it that high-end, digital, 2020s modern vibe. So we have white brick everywhere and polished concrete for all the floors,” says Gross. “It’s just a fun hang and a good vibe. You don’t want to leave.”
Natick, MA (December 18, 2020)—Genelec has announced the inaugural Genelec Mike Chafee Audio Pioneering Scholarship, promoting the advancement of women in the audio industry. The scholarship, in the amount of $5000.00,will be offered annually to U.S. female graduate students in the field of audio engineering who are members of the Audio Engineering Society (AES).
The Mike Chafee Audio Pioneering Scholarship is being presented in association with the Audio Engineering Society Educational Foundation to female students who have a passion of advancing audio through innovation and technology development. It also pays tribute to Michael Chafee, the long-time Genelec manufacturer’s representative, audiophile, sound designer, acoustician, audio evangelist and supporter of women in audio. Chafee had been involved with Genelec since 1996 and is credited with being an early pioneer and key influencer in promoting the concept of Active Monitoring technology to the market.
“We wanted to provide a resource with the goal of empowering women to further their audio education while honoring and supporting the legacy of Mike Chafee, a key member of our extended Genelec family,” stated Lisa Kaufmann, Genelec Inc. managing director. “There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about Mike, as he was a close personal friend and a true trailblazer in the industry. We hope this scholarship will serve as a testament to his accomplishments, inspire women to take a more active role in the audio community and to bring more gender diversity to our industry.”
Jim Anderson, AES Educational Foundation president, commented, “Mike was a good friend to me and to many in the audio community, and the AES Educational Foundation is pleased that Genelec has chosen to honor his legacy of quality and forward thinking in audio. We look forward to women around the world benefiting from Mike’s genius and Genelec’s generosity.”
The deadline for applications for the first Genelec Mike Chafee Audio Pioneering Scholarship is May 15, 2021, with the award recipient being announced on August 1, 2021, for the 2021-2022 school year.
West Hollywood, CA (December 2, 2020)—The Grammy nominations came out last week, and with the announcement that Post Malone’s “Circles” was up for Record of the Year, Louis Bell added yet another Grammy nod to his growing collection of industry plaudits.
In 2019, Bell had more number-one singles than any other producer or songwriter, with Post Malone’s “Wow” and “Sunflower,” Halsey’s “Without Me” and the Jonas Brothers’ “Sucker.” He produced eight Top-10 hits, staying atop the Hot 100 Producers chart for weeks. In September, he equaled Taylor Swift’s record for the most production credits—18—in a single week on the Billboard Hot 100 this century. Oh, and Variety also crowned Louis Bell producer of the year.
The basic tools of Bell’s trade could practically fit into a briefcase: a Sony C-800G microphone, a Universal Audio Apollo Twin Duo interface and a laptop PC running FL (formerly Fruity Loops) Studio and Pro Tools. “I’ll create a really nice loop or different loops in Fruity Loops based on the chord progression, then export it into Pro Tools, which is where I do my arranging and mixing,” says Bell.
“Once we have the song laid down, I’ll spend hours dialing in certain sounds, maybe swapping out drum sounds or layering different things, on my own time. I’ll always try to push things further than they need to go and then dial them back.”
Bell adopted Fruity Loops in 2002. “I was in the generation just after SSL and API boards were the standard if you wanted a specific sound to compete on a commercial level,” he says. “It was an economic decision. I wanted something that, if I really learned this one piece of gear, would help me long-term. I wanted to be more flexible and dynamic, and I felt like in-the-box would allow me to have an infinite number of possibilities.”
He hopes he’s setting an example. “It’s good to feel like I could have some positive influence on producers of the next generation and make them realize how much they can do with so little equipment, to help them economically when they’re starting out and not feel that it’s too much of a financial burden.”
While he grew up in Boston, MA, he came to L.A. in 2012 to work with hip-hop artist Mike Stud, who introduced him to his manager, Austin Rosen, founder of Electric Feel Entertainment. Bell signed to the management company and works out of Electric Feel Studios in West Hollywood.
Bell acquired a pair of Genelec 8351B nearfield monitors to supplement the room’s soffited 1035A mains earlier this year. “I’ve been using the 1035As in the A room for the last seven years to mix every record I’ve worked on,” he says. “I honestly don’t feel confident sending off a song until I’ve done this. The mids and vocals are crystal-clear; the high-end is tastefully tamed.” The speakers give the kick drum a chest-thumping punch that cuts through the low-end in every mix, he says.
Since hooking up with Post Malone in 2015, Bell has been his right-hand man ever since. “When I met him, he was 19, I was 33. It’s been an amazing journey, and a pleasure to watch him grow and learn and evolve as a musician and an artist. I feel like he’s taught me more about myself as a producer than I’ve learned from anyone else,” he says.
“I thought I knew who I was and what I was trying to do musically, but it’s never too late to reinvent yourself. It gets harder and harder the older you get, so you have to change your approach every time just to remind yourself that there are no rules and there are no bounds.”
Hollywood’s Bleeding, Post Malone’s third album, was Bell’s highlight of last year, he says. “Any time I get to work on an entire project and oversee it and executive produce it, and make sure that there’s a story being told and it’s being unveiled the right way, and then being able to get the right features on there, that’s a satisfying experience.” Featured artists include DaBaby, Future, Halsey, Lil Baby, Meek Mill, Ozzy Osbourne, Swae Lee, SZA, Travis Scott and Young Thug. Ozzy had never done a feature before, says Bell: “His voice sounds amazing still. He lived up to the hype.”
China (November 3, 2020)—Video game publisher Shenzhen Leiting Digital Entertainment Company in China recently commissioned a 5.1.4 game audio studio. “For a games company like ours, an audio studio is a must,” commented composer and game sound designer Knuckles (Jianyu) Zhang, who led the studio project. “Our requirements are quite special, though. What we want is not just a recording studio, nor a standard mixing studio or a reviewing studio. To be precise, what we want is a ‘game sound lab’ to assist us in the conceptual design of games.”
Originally conceived as a surround sound studio, the space was developed with acoustic design and construction handled by Qiao Zhenyu of Huanyu Acoustics, who persuaded Knuckles to go fully immersive. “I knew that many games had already used the 5.1 format to produce sound. But Qiao suggested that since it was already 5.1, why not make it 5.1.4 by adding the four height channels? I realized then that immersive audio technology is no longer a new thing, and we as creators surely have to learn to master this format.”
Now completed, the facility is based around Genelec Smart Active Monitors, with 8330A nearfield two-way monitors and a 7370A subwoofer, plus 1234As. The studio engaged the system integrator DMT to install a pair of 1234As as its main stereo monitoring system, with a 5.1.4 immersive system comprising 11 8330A nearfield two-way monitors in all positions, complemented by the 7370A subwoofer. All the monitors were supplied in a polar white finish. The entire system was configured and calibrated by DMT using GLM loudspeaker manager software.
Knuckles is convinced that immersive audio is the format of the future for games developers. “In recent years, the domestic games industry has attached greater importance to the sound experience. As we look to the international market, we’re finding that more and more games with big-budget production are using immersive audio to create the sound experience—because sometimes we just want to step into another world and forget about real life—or even ourselves—for a while.”
Natick, MA (October 13, 2020) — Genelec has built a new experience center serving as a mix room, a theater and a research and test center at the company’s U.S. Headquarters in Natick, Massachusetts.
Earlier in 2020, Will Eggleston, U.S. marketing director, brought in the late studio architect and designer Francis Manzella to create a new aesthetic and acoustical treatments for the space, which was previously a surround sound demo room. Paul Stewart, Genelec Inc. senior technical sales manager, who devised the room’s wiring scheme, noted, “Once we received the plans from Fran in April, the next challenge was finding a contractor that we could work with during the coronavirus pandemic that was familiar with working on his projects. Fran had suggested that we reach out to Ken Capton at Solar 2 Studios in Michigan. The results speak for themselves. They did a fantastic job.” In addition to integrating new lighting and overhead trussing, fabric treatment and cable management, a significant part of Solar 2’s work was the construction of an encapsulated and heavily damped ceiling.
The new space is configured to handle formats from stereo through surround to immersive 9.1.6 through a range of Genelec’s Smart Active Monitors (SAM). Three 8351Bs are installed for L-C-R, four 8341As support the left and right side and rear channels and six more 8341As are located overhead for the front, mid and rear height channels. A 7370 subwoofer handles low-end extension for the overhead speakers, while a 7380 sub supports the LFE channel and manages extension of the center, side and rear channels. Two W371A Smart Active Woofer Systems are located left and right and are paired with the main left and right 8351B monitors.
The room is wired with multiple AES/EBU and IP runs to every speaker position. “If we were to use our new PoE speakers at every location, we could run a separate, independent 9.1.6 system in the room over IP. We also have an Avid Pro Tools system, so it’s a pretty flexible room,” he says.
“This will be a venue for also creating in-house content, including webinars, and for software and hardware testing,” says Eggleston. “Once COVID-19 is under control, we look forward to welcoming professionals in all aspects of audio to use the space to experience our products, and even mix here in an exceptional immersive environment.”
Natick, MA (September 22, 2020)—When Grammy-winning producer Mike Elizondo moved to Tennessee from Los Angeles, he installed a pair of Genelec W371A Smart Active Woofer systems and 8361A Smart Active Monitors in the 5,000-sq.-ft. studio on his new property.
“I had made the decision to move to the Nashville area, but the original plan was to move into a small setup where I could do just some pre-production work but do the real work at Nashville’s great studios,” says Elizondo. His production credits range from 50 Cent, Eminem and Mary J. Blige to Carrie Underwood, Twenty One Pilots and Fiona Apple. “But this five-acre property came up in Gallatin, and I couldn’t really turn it down! Its previous owner built it, and he was a studio designer by trade. It’s a gorgeous space.”
Other gear at the new space includes an SSL 4056 E/G console, a Neve BCM10, an Ampex MM1000 tape machine, an eight-track Scully 280B tape machine and an Endless Analog CLASP tape-to-digital converter.
Elizondo recalls, “Initially, I figured the Genelec 8361As and the W371As would be my mains, and I’d rely on a different set as nearfields, but I’ve ended up using the Genelecs for both applications. I remember when we got the monitors set up, and I brought up some of my go-to test mixes and favorite albums to listen to, and I just instantly felt like I was immersed in this music. The low end is important to me, and the low end felt punchy and defined and not at all muddy — I knew that what I was hearing was totally accurate.
“I kept on pulling up more records, trying to find some fault with my new Genelec five-way system, but there wasn’t any fault to be found. After several hours listening to different records, everything just felt great. And I recognized the feeling in terms of continuity from my previous Genelecs — this is definitely part of that heritage, but the next generation of it.”
Elizondo used Genelec’s GLM software and the AutoCal protocol, which automatically calibrates the monitors for a room, to create multiple adjustable sweet spots as presets. “Currently I have three sweet spots set up in the control room that I can toggle between — one for my main position, one at the client sofa behind me and one at a sidecar workstation, where I do some programming work on another rig at the side of the room,” he says. “I can push a button, and it feels like the Genelecs are right in front of me no matter where I’m positioned.”
Ribe, Denmark (September 17, 2020)—The new Hex Museum of Witch Hunt may be dedicated to the history of “abolishing” witches, but one thing it didn’t have to search for was a way to create a soundscape for the various stories being told in each of its nine exhibition rooms. Following a recommendation from Johan Ahrenfeldt, head of the Moesgaard Museum Exhibition Design Studio, the new facility opened with a Smart IP loudspeaker solution from Genelec.
As Denmark’s oldest town and home to Maren Spliid, the country’s most famous witch, the setting is ideal for a museum that aims to tell the stories of witches – who they were, why they were so feared, and the myths and superstitions that surrounded them. In order to create the best possible visitor experience, Hex turned Ahrenfeldt, who in turn had recently used Genelec’s Smart IP technology on one of his own exhibitions, so he suggested it might work for Hex as well.
“The building itself posed a few challenges as it’s an old listed building in the center of Ribe,” said Ahrenfeldt. “While this definitely adds to the atmosphere, it’s not ideal for audio-visual installations. Many of the rooms are quite small with low ceilings, so it was important that the technology remained as unobtrusive as possible, whilst nevertheless delivering a high-quality experience. Genelec’s Smart IP loudspeakers were therefore an obvious choice…. We know that Genelec is a guarantee of superlative audio quality, even at low levels, which was a requirement in this instance due to the intimacy of the environment and the proximity of the loudspeakers to the audience. Our aim was to provide linear and detailed sound reproduction that allows visitors to lose themselves in the experience without feeling overwhelmed.”
The sound design was created by the composer Søren Bendixen of Audiotect, who specializes in creating soundscapes for exhibitions. The design was prepared in the studio but mixed on-site in an iterative process. The onsite use of the Spat Revolution software engine in the mixing process made it possible to map the sound designs, and adapt and benefit from the specific speaker placement in the exhibition rooms – independently of standard audio formats. Ahrenfeldt utilized a total of 36 4420 Smart IP loudspeakers across the exhibition rooms, supplemented by a half-dozen 4020 and four 4010 installation loudspeakers, as well as a compact 7050 active subwoofer.
“Each of the nine rooms is set up as a separate zone,” explains Ahrenfeldt. “The zones are managed and controlled via the Smart IP Manager software, which has proved both easy and efficient. We’re using QLab software and a Dante-compatible RME Digiface interface to control the 47 discrete channels and feed them to the Dante network. The playback by QLab is triggered by the main show control. As the rooms are all adjacent to each other with open doors, the audio separation between the zones is very poor. We needed to turn this obstacle into an opportunity. By considering the overall sound design as a composition of nine separate yet interconnected designs, the result is an auditive experience that both facilitates the mood in each individual room as well as providing a more holistic listening experience throughout the museum as a whole.”
Ahrenfeldt believes that the best audio in this type of visitor attraction is the audio that registers almost subliminally: “The last thing you want is for the soundtrack to start playing and people’s attention being instantly drawn to the source. Ideally, we don’t want people to even notice that there are loudspeakers in the room at all. Genelec’s Smart IP loudspeakers help us achieve that thanks to the minimal cabling infrastructure, which reduces cost and makes for quicker, tidier and more flexible installation. Also, Smart IP’s harmonious design enables them to blend into any environment, with the useful ability to dim the on/off LED indicator on the front of the loudspeaker. Sonically, their superb definition and crystalline intelligibility enable us to create audio designs that offer a truly immersive experience and bring the exhibition to life.”
France (September 8, 2020)—Global sonic branding agency Sixième Son recently upgraded the studio facilities at its headquarters in France to a 5.1 setup based around Genelec Smart Active Monitors.
Ella Duda, international strategy director at Sixième Son, explained, “We had been using older Genelec models, which have served us incredibly well, so it was only natural that we sought out new monitors from the same brand…there wasn’t any doubt which brand we would go with.”
Founded in 1995, Sixième Son’s team of composers and sound designers has tailor-made audio identities for more than 400 clients, including global brands such as Krug, Samsung, Renault and Coca-Cola.
The studio decided to make the move from a 2.1 solution to a 5.1 setup composed of three 8341A coaxial three-way monitors as LCR, a pair of the more compact 8331A coaxial models for the surrounds and a 7370A subwoofer handling the low frequencies.
The company’s need was influenced mainly by the increase in demand for broadcast mixing for films. With people returning to a safe working environment as France has emerged from its lockdown, the team at Sixième Son are quickly getting to grips with their new monitoring setup. “It has been an instant hit,” says Duda. “The precision that the solution gives us, in terms of frequency and depth, is incredible.”
“Now that we have our Genelec setup, we can improve the way we work on complex projects, like a VR apartment tour which we recently completed, and be more creative at the same time,” adds studio manager Romain Morlat. “As a bonus, the experiences that we give our customers at the studio are more immersive than ever. Now, since we can do absolutely everything in house, there’s no need to outsource for surround mixes. It’s a great feeling and a milestone for us.”
United Kingdom (July 8, 2020)—An upgrade to Focusrite’s Red 16Line interface a while ago is enabling UK-based post production audio professional Jez Spencer to smoothly transition his room to handle Dolby Atmos projects.
“I do much of my work at my home facility, and it’s a relatively small setup,” notes Spencer, a scoring composer and post engineer. “When I made the move to working freelance at home, I had a Focusrite Scarlet 18i20 interface, which I loved. It was a gradual process to work up to my current gear complement. After converting to Pro Tools HD Native, I eventually settled on the Red 16Line, which has been phenomenal for me in terms of my workflow and efficiency. The audio quality is faultless. There’s a brightness and a clarity that I wasn’t aware of before.”
He adds, “It works well with my monitor setup, which is composed of Genelec 8330A Smart Active Monitors and a Genelec Smart Active Subwoofer. I feel like the combination of the Focusrite with the Genelecs has put my studio on such a high level now that I’m as comfortable in this room as any facility in town, really.”
Spencer got his start in the industry as a runner at MAG Masters in London. Decades later, he has an impressive resume that includes the recent Academy Award-nominated documentary For Sama. Other credits include the docu-series programs Drug Lords, Dispatches, Panorama and many others.
Spencer uses the Red 16Line working with multiple digital audio workstations, toggling between Pro Tools HD, Cubase and Ableton as the project dictates. “The other thing that’s so appealing about the Red 16Line is that the monitoring control can control as many or as few outputs as you want it to,” says Spencer, who is in the process of converting his room to the Dolby Atmos format with an Avid S3 control surface.
“With this new Atmos room, the Red 16Line can control the whole thing from the front panel, which is great,” he says. “I’ve got a potential series for Netflix coming up, which I’m hoping to prep at home in Atmos and then take it into the studio for final mixing – but with the virus out in the world, I may end up doing more of the work at home than I had planned, and I certainly have the right tools for it now.”