Brian Riordan

Located in the heart of Hollywood, Levels Audio ia a postproduction/mixing studio founded and run by multiple-Emmy award-winning engineer Brian Riordan.

Recently the facility added Mix 9, a bespoke Dolby Atmos mix stage, where an Alcons Audio CRMS MkII Cinema Reference Monitor System is making a big impression on the Hollywood professional audio elite.

Levels AudioRiordan established Levels Audio in 1999, with the studio complex now including nine mix stages, an ADR/Foley stage, five audio editing suites, two visual effects suites, conference room, two kitchens/lounges and a guest apartment. ‘As part of our latest expansion we built two new mix stages and an additional edit bay,’ he sats. ‘The idea of building a Dolby Atmos stage was a matter of future-proofing so, when designing the room, I did the design and build for it now,’ Riordan says.

‘Levels Audio is unique in that we can be mixing a full multitrack concert one day and, on the next, a scripted series. But the speakers found in most dub stages do not lend themselves well to music production. Similarly, the systems in most music studios do not typically translate well theatrically or for broadcast. So it became my passion to find a music mastering-quality speaker that could handle theatrical and broadcast equally well.’

Having checked out a demo by David Rahn of Alcons Audio US (which so impressed Riordan that he worked with Rahn to organise another one specifically for Levels Audio) Alcons became the choice for the new studio. ‘I did not intend to purchase and install all of the speakers for the Atmos system right away. However, after choosing the Alcons CRMS MkII Cinema Reference Monitor System for the screen channels in Mix 9, I went for it and put in the whole system,’ he says.

The system comprises three CRMS MkII three-way, pro-ribbon units with two CB362 high-output full-size subwoofer systems, six CRMS SR reference pro-ribbon surround loudspeakers and six CCS6 small-format surround loudspeakers. The system is powered and controlled by six Sentinel3 amplified loudspeaker controllers.

‘There were no real challenges with installing the system,’ Riordan reports. ‘Tuning it was a breeze. Dolby came down and set up their microphones to tune all 17 speakers and, after the first pass said, “these things are incredibly flat and true”.’

Since the new room opened for business, word about it quickly got out in Hollywood. ‘We are getting an incredible amount of interest from the mix engineers, directors, producers and TV networks in town. It’s a bit ahead of the curve, but the demand is there and it’s only going to build,’ Riordan says.

‘I knew after hearing the Alcons CRMS system for the first time that the speakers were exactly what I was looking for. At last there is a speaker/amplifier set-up, which is just as musical as it is theatrical! The pro-ribbon drivers provide such a pleasing, brilliant top end and the subs are the tightest I have ever heard. This system is unbeatable.’

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