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Meeting needs

With the basic structural design decided, the next phase was to imagine a control room that would serve both the current and future needs of the Recording Services department at CIM. This department produces 500-700 recordings of performances, rehearsals, sessions and broadcasts each year. With three full-time staff and more than 20 college students (2/3 instrumentalists, 1/3 audio majors), ease of operation — without detracting from production excellence — is crucial. In the past, the department dealt primarily with audio and stereo recording. However, driven by the new demands (coming from students, the school, broadcasters, distance learning and all the production values highly esteemed by these end users), surround sound production, advanced connectivity and quality video production were added to the department's repertoire. Careful forethought on how to select and implement these technologies became essential.

Although CIM's Recording Services staff was familiar with the many audio and video components available, they chose to collaborate with THX when making their selection. Adding THX's expertise guaranteed the production abilities of the control room would be exceptional and meet the exacting industry standards satisfied by all the other prestigious recording studios in the world. The THX team immediately went beyond measure with zealous energy, checking acoustic details and ensuring that only high-quality components, that would effectively perform tasks, were chosen.

The Robert and Jean Conrad Control Room

The Robert and Jean Conrad Control Room
Photo by Daniel Milner

One relatively simple decision was the selection of the audio console and core audio equipment. In keeping with CIM's pre-existing control room, which uses a Yamaha DM1000, a Yamaha DM2000VCM digital console was chosen as the new studio's focal point. The THX-approved DM2000 allows primary functions to be programmed reliably and securely for instant recall by student employees as well as provides the power and accuracy needed for complex productions. To capture and play back stereo content, a standard suite of components including a Tascam DVRA1000 high resolution recorder and Tascam CD Recorders was selected, which integrate perfectly with the DM2000's digital I/O options. Magix's Sequoia digital audio workstation, running on a custom Sonica Systems XP Pro computer with Lynx I/O cards, was chosen to handle surround recording/production and multi-track content. Rounding out the audio components are 16 channels of precision Mytek Digital 8X192 high-definition analog-to-digital/digital-to-analog converters.

CIM's choice of video components was a bit more unusual. A mixture of consumer and professional equipment was selected to allow simple operations to be carried out while at the same time ensuring professional-grade (including HD) video production was possible. Sony consumer-grade DVD recorders were chosen to handle production of quick-reference DVDs, primarily because they are one of the few models able to defeat the auto-chapter feature upon recording. For professional video capture and production, the latest Apple Mac Pro (with two Quad Intel Xeon processors), equipped with an Aja Kona Card, was adopted to run the Final Cut Pro workstation along with various supplemental software and hardware. Rounding out the ensemble, to synchronize all the equipment and the various sync standards covered by the multitude of audio and video components, is a Rosendahl Nanosync HD.

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