Italian film composer Federico De Robertis has spent more than three decades working in the world’s leading postproduction studios. Now, Florence-based acoustic design specialist Studio Sound Service has dramatically transformed De Robertis’ personal studio, assisted by a Genelec monitoring system, which the composer describes as ‘simply perfect’.

Federico De Robertis’ AldilàPerhaps best-known for his long-term collaboration with celebrated filmmaker Gabriele Salvatores, De Robertis began working in his current studio space after relocating to the countryside near the Italian town of Lucca. His twin passions of cinema and music come together within the studio, where he works with Fede e gli Infedeli, the eclectic group of musicians with whom he collaborates for film scores, and the Underground Supporters, a collective of young and talented DJs and electronic music producers from Lucca, who also organize the afterparty for the famous Notte Bianca summer festival.

Until recently, however, the studio was extremely humble. In fact, it was so small, cramped and acoustically challenging that the composer nicknamed it Loculo (the crypt). However, Studio Sound Service’s complete reinvention of the interior was so dramatic that De Robertis has renamed the studio Aldilà (Afterlife).

‘The control room was in a very narrow area with skylights and a low ceiling,’ recalls Studio Sound Service’s Donato Masci, who worked to bring De Robertis’ vision to life. ‘These three factors presented critical problems that needed to be solved. The room was also very complicated to treat – we couldn’t add any treatment to the ceiling because Federico needed to retain the natural light. Finally, all of the walls were concrete, which created a significant booming effect.’

Federico De Robertis’ AldilàPreviously described by Masci as possessing a ‘grey and gloomy look’, the space is now unrecognisable with an inviting palette of soft colours chosen by De Robertis.

Most importantly, the room’s acoustics are resolved. ‘We designed a full acoustic treatment, starting with a concrete and masonry front wall where we flush-mounted Genelec 1237 smart active main monitors,’ explains Masci. ‘The front wall and the floor are the only solid surfaces, since the rest of the room is constructed with absorbent materials. We also used some diffuser panels to improve LF absorption and diffusion.’

Complementing the 1237 stereo set-up is a 5.1 smart active monitoring system comprising five 8240 two-way nearfield monitors and a single 7370 subwoofer. Finally, Masci used Genelec’s GLM software to configure and calibrate the system. ‘GLM is critical when monitors are flush-mounted in a solid wall – in this case the low frequencies were raised by as much as 12dB – but GLM controls the effect perfectly,’ he says. ‘In an environment such as Aldilà, with so many compromises, GLM is of great help for fine-tuning.’

‘At the beginning, it did change my work a little bit – my ears had to adapt to having perfect acoustics and perfect sounding speakers – but the transition was easy,’ De Robertis enthuses. ‘The definition and quality of the sound remains unchanged across the entire frequency range. My Genelecs are the jewels of my studio.’

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