Gary’s Angel

Surround sound was almost an afterthought at the newly opened Angel Mountain Productions postproduction studios near Bethlehem, PA, according to owner Gary S. Sloyer. The third and largest expansion in the company’s 20-year history, the designs for the ground-up facility initially focused on space and efficient workflow, but as plans progressed it became obvious that including surround capability, versus a later costly retrofit, made perfect economic sense.

“When I came up with the notion of this new facility I was more enamored of the space and the multiple discrete work areas that it would give me,” admits Sloyer. “The last thing I was thinking about was surround sound.”

But as the designs began to take shape, Sloyer noticed that rough drawings put forward by designer Martin Pilchner, a principal of Toronto-based design-build firm Pilchner-Schoustal International, Inc., incorporated surround sound features. “I challenged Martin on that, and he explained where he was coming from. It became obvious to me, the more I looked into it, that to do this and not make it surround capable would be a crime.”

If world-class facilities are insufficient to attract clients, the inclusion of surround capability serves as an additional incentive. “I’m asking people to embrace a facility that stands on its own and competes against many of the better facilities, but I’m asking them to embrace this place roughly an hour outside of New York and an hour outside of Philly,” explains Sloyer. “I had to give them some reason, other than trying to be cheaper, to come here. It seemed like one more color we could put on our palette, one more tool we could put in the tool chest, to give us an extra shot at getting business.”

The 18,000 sq. ft. facility houses three 5.1 surround control rooms plus a THX mix theater. Smaller composition and sound design suites are employed in the creation of original music and sound effects for film, television, commercials, and corporate presentations. The facility, which also included design input from chief engineer Carl Cadden-James, is tied together through Studio Network Solutions’ A/V SAN PRO fibre-channel technology. The storage area network offers concurrent access to centralized storage to multiple users.

Sloyer had long maintained a parallel pro audio sales division at Angel Mountain, led by sales and marketing director Mike Horvath, who also serves as studio manager. Not surprisingly, a number of the product lines that the company carries are present in the studios.

The three main control rooms all feature soffit-mounted Quested monitors: five model 412’s plus 18-inch subwoofers in Studio A, Quested 212’s in B, and a combination of Quested 212’s at left and right and custom single 12-inches for center and surrounds in C. Sloyer’s personal composition suite includes five wall-mounted Quested 2108’s.

“All of the audio rooms at Angel Mountain conform to the ITU recommendations,” reports Pilchner. “Rear channels are positioned at 110 degrees back. One of the unique features of the room design is that every speaker channel is coupled and loaded the same. Each speaker has an equivalent baffle area and sees the same acoustic treatment. As a result, each channel matches each other exceptionally well.” He adds, “The ‘A’ room differs from the others as it has two separate 18-inch subwoofers.”

Studio A, the main mixing and tracking room, features a Solid State Logic XL 9000 K Series console linked to an adjacent scoring stage capable of accommodating a 50-piece orchestra. The B room, an audio post suite for film and TV work, is attached to a Foley studio and also serves as a smaller tracking studio. The third 5.1 control room acts as a second mixdown room as well as supporting audio editing and voiceover recording. All three rooms feature automatic drop-down screens with built-in rear projectors to accommodate lock-to-picture requirements.

With Angel Mountain having become one of the largest Digidesign dealers on the East Coast, Pro Tools|HD systems are not surprisingly featured throughout the facility. Additionally, the B room houses an almost fully expanded ProControl work surface and Studio C incorporates a Control 24.

An added incentive for TV and film clients is the inclusion of a dedicated mix theater. The 30-foot by 40-foot THX-certified mix stage can handle multichannel surround formats up to Dolby Digital EX 6.1 and features a 13-foot x 24-foot projection screen. The theater, which can seat over 30 people, houses a 48-fader, 96-input Harrison Series 12 mixing console. An EAW system provides multichannel monitoring.
For more information, contact Angel Mountain Productions & Sound at 610-691-5056, or visit <a href=”http://www.angelmtn.com.

Surround Professional Magazine