The University of Hull recently completed work on a new state-of-the-art 5.1 recording studio, part of a larger multi-million-pound expansion of music facilities in the School of Music, Drama and Screen, designed to ready the university for Hull's year as the UK City of Culture in 2017. PMC supplied all the reference monitoring in the new studio, including a pair of IB2S XBD-As and AML2s to handle the 5.1 audio.
The University began a programme to unite its traditional on-site music facilities with its Creative Music Technology studios two years ago - the aim being to provide facilities for musicians of all kinds on the main Hull campus, whether in the tradition of classical or contemporary music, or performing arts. Prior to this, all music technology courses were taught on the University's Scarborough campus, over 40 miles from Hull.
As part of the move, the existing Salmon Grove music studio in Hull was refurbished last year in collaboration with audio consultants The Studio People, and two new studios were planned and built from scratch: an Ambisonics studio and the 5.1 facility now containing the PMCs and an SSL Duality mixing console. Working with direction from Dr Andrew King, the University's senior lecturer in Music & Technology, the Studio People were also responsible for executing the design and construction in the two newly built studios.
This is the first time PMC monitoring has been installed at Hull. "We have many kinds of speakers here," explains Andrew King. "We try to give our students access to as many different types as possible, and we wanted something new. Also, we had made the decision to put our funding into a small number of very high-specification facilities rather than spreading it thinly over a larger number of studios. We already had one studio with an SSL console in, for example, and we decided we'd have another, the Duality. And then Mike Banks of SSL recommended we try some PMCs to go with it."
Dr King contacted PMC and asked to audition some speakers, which resulted in Ian Downs bringing up a pair of AML2s. "I tried them in one of our existing studios, replacing a pair of monitors that I had never been happy with," continues King. "They sounded superb, so we then went down to Metropolis Studios to hear some of the larger monitors. The level of detail is the first thing you notice, both with their smaller and larger speakers. They just seemed to have such life and clarity to them."
Following the Metropolis session, the University elected to install the full-range IB2S XBD-As as main monitoring in the surround studio, with the AML2s providing the 5.1 monitoring in conjunction with an SB100-A subwoofer. Everything was installed by The Studio People and tuned by PMC once in situ. "We are very happy with our choice," concludes Andrew King.
Meanwhile, Peter Keeling, managing director of The Studio People, was so impressed by the sound of the new studio at Hull that he recommended that PMC speakers accompany another SSL console at another installation his company were just starting work on, which became the recent installation of PMC's innovative new QB1 large-scale reference monitoring at Westminster University, London.
Following completion of the Ambisonic and Surround studios at Hull, the next phase of upgrades in the School of Music, Drama and Screen is getting underway, involving a comprehensive refurbishment of the Middleton Hall auditorium, including further mixing and live rooms, state-of-the-art cinema, film and TV production facilities, and learning and teaching space. Once complete, students will have access to the music studios 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The work is scheduled to be completed in Summer 2016.
Visit the PMC website for more information.
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