The Belgian Detour

Scoring session for Madurodam theme park!
Scoring session for Madurodam theme park. Recording in 9.1

Sometimes, it’s tremendously funny to look back and see where we’ve ended up.

Back in October 2015, I walked into the 139th AES Convention in New York City and heard the term “immersive audio” for the first time. Now, a year and a half later, I found myself interning at one of it’s key players: Galaxy Studios, the home of the Auro 3D format.

I had been feeling unhappy in the program I was enrolled in in Norway, and on the advice of my friend at Sonovo mastering, I send an email to Galaxy Studios seeing if they needed an intern. And low and behold, the timing was right! So at the end of March, I packed up my bags and moved from Norway to Belgium where I’ll be living in (yes *in*) Galaxy for the better part of the next three months.

I’ve never been in a studio like this in my life. All of the control rooms are suspended on springs, and there is 9cm thick glass in the main hall and between the control rooms making everything totally isolated and soundproof. There is a video documenting the construction of the studio and in it, Wilfried van Baelen, who co-founded the studio with his brother, Guy, fires a blank in the hall while others stand in one of the control rooms. They can’t here the gun go off.

The hall itself is near silent and has a very nice sound that can be modified with curtains. The Steinway piano it houses is one of the most beautiful sounding pianos I’ve ever heard. I try playing it when no one’s around, but I’m definitely not doing it justice.

There are two main control rooms, a digital and an analog room. The digital room, used for most of the recordings in the hall, hosts a Neve 88D. It’s definitely easy to see why a digital console is so convenient for these large scoring projects– you can store and recall all your settings easily! The analog room contains an API Vision console which I’m already in love with. It has a great sound and despite the convenience of the digital board, I’m a sucker for patch bays and knobs. This board in particular was a prototype and apparently one of the first boards capable of mixing in 5.1! I’ve been using it to remix some of my 9.1 recordings from Norway earlier this year. There is also a really beautiful mastering room where Darcy Proper used to work, but I’m told it’s seldom used anymore which is really a pity.

A photo of the API Vision console at Galaxy Studios
The API Vision — This is my new favourite place.

Outside of the music department there is one more really amazing room– the Aurotorium. This room is a full sized dubbing stage equipt with the ability to playback up to 22.1! The first time I heard the Auro demo in this room I was blown away. It’s a rare thing to be able to hear content played back this way!

So far things have started out a bit slow here, but it’s still great to be in this facility for the next 3 months. I’ve been adopted by the post production department mostly to help with editing so far, which I’m happy to do. There are some larger scale film projects happening here and it’s interesting to sit in on projects of this scale. On the music side we just finished recording music for a new attraction at Madurodam, a theme park in the Netherlands. We have a couple of musicals coming up and at least one film scoring session. Should be fun!