Yverdon-les-Bains, 15th September 2022 – Swiss precision for students: the Zurich University of the Arts ZHdK equips its new 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos control room with eleven A17-M monitors and an A225-M subwoofer by PSI Audio – creating the perfect environment for immersive sound design.
ZHdK: up-to-date education
Being the largest art academy in Switzerland, the Zurich University of the Arts has always built bridges between disciplines. Apart from traditional arts such as dance, theatre, and film, ZHdK also focusses on digital art forms and media production. The university has its own conservatory with a record label, offering courses for sound engineers. With the introduction of a new master’s degree course on sound design, ZHdK decided to put particular emphasis on three-dimensional audio format Dolby Atmos. The obligatory big mixing stage is enhanced by a smaller mixing room with a 7.1.4 speaker setup that reveals every minute detail of an immersive mix – with reliable PSI Audio monitors.
PSI Audio and ZHdK – a successful cooperation
A multitude of editing suites at ZHdK had already been equipped with PSI Audio A17-M, enabling particularly exact judgements on cuts and fades with their accurate audio reproduction. Students of the sound engineering course also rely on Swiss precision in one of their reference rooms – with its three ways, main monitor A25-M shows every detail of the entire audio spectrum. There were also already two 5.1 surround rooms with A25-M for the front and A17-M as surrounds. Markus Stürm, AV services support at ZHdK, advocates continuity: “We already knew PSI Audio monitors from the sound engineers’ control room. I figured they would be suited for this project, too, and since the speakers fulfil the Dolby specifications, our choice was clear.”
Comprehensively equipped: Atmos cinema and 7.1.4 control room
To offer a realistic experience to students of the master’s degree course sound design when mixing immersive movie soundtracks, ZHdK has opted for a two-studio concept. One studio is a full-size mixing stage with 46 speakers, one of very few European studios certified as Motion Picture Mixing Studio by Dolby. The second studio complements this large-format multimedia palace with a smaller control room featuring a speaker setup of seven surround channels, a subwoofer and four overhead channels. This 7.1.4 setup employs eleven A17-M nearfield monitors and an A225-M subwoofer by PSI Audio, allowing for meticulously assessing audio. The smaller studio also enables working on Dolby Atmos mixes when the large room is occupied.
Mixing stage and nearfield: a perfect complement
Combining a full-size mixing stage with a smaller 7.1.4 mixing room with a nearfield setup affords the audio experts at ZHdK a great amount of flexibility while also offering serious practical advantages. The two systems complement each other perfectly, as sound design student Daniel Eaton explains: “The big Atmos studio has a PA feel to it, you hear exactly how it would sound in a cinema. The smaller room is more into the details. When you make a decent pre-mix on the PSI Audio speakers, you can be sure that you will not hear any mistakes in the big studio either. The other way around, however … I have started mixing on the large setup and then realized in the small room that some details had been lost.”
PSI Audio: first choice for immersive audio
With their fully analogue circuit design, outstanding manufacturing and proprietary technologies like Compensated Phase Response (CPR) and Adaptive Output Impedance (AOI), PSI Audio monitors guarantee absolute clarity down to the details. In setting up immersive studios, however, another additional factor comes into play: all PSI Audio monitors, from the smallest A14-M to three-way flagship A25-M, only differ in their maximum level and low range – the sonic signatures are consistent. For this reason, all speakers can be combined freely and still provide one coherent, unified sound image. A25-M as main speakers with A17-M as surrounds and A14-M as ceiling speakers – or something completely different: every combination is possible, making it easy to scale a 3D audio system depending on requirements and room size. In the bass, too, flexibility reigns supreme: both subwoofer models A125M and A225-M can be used individually or in combination to provide appropriate low-frequency playback in any installation.
The Zurich University of the Arts uses A17-M nearfield monitors by PSI Audio for some of the editing suites. One of the stereo control rooms for the sound engineer course is equipped with A25-M monitors. The new 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos mixing room has eleven A17-M and one A225-M subwoofer. All models are available from specialist retailers.