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Once the studio was complete, Andrew Poulain of THX performed real-world testing of the studio, using both proprietary and commonly found acoustic testing software and hardware. Monitors and furniture were maneuvered into their ideal performance locations. After two complete days of testing and extensive listening, the Conrad Control Room received the honor of becoming the first THX-Certified PM3 (professional music) control room to exist in a music conservatory in the world. Like other esteemed studios in the world that have received this coveted certification, the THX certification ensures that the room acoustics, speaker positions, equipment performance and systems are calibrated to provide an ideal production environment for aspiring musicians and engineers.
The THX Certification and interconnectivity allow for a variety of unique abilities both to the Conrad Control Room and beyond. Various locations throughout the building are able to control functions such as the stage director's control station located just off of Mixon Hall's stage. The connectivity continues to allow CIM's Recording Services the ability to further advance productions including more than a dozen live broadcasts each year, as well as other broadcast events. Complete with audio, video and appropriate sound treatment, one of Mixon Hall's dressing rooms easily converts into an announce booth. Live broadcasts can be transmitted via audio over IP, Internet and legacy ISDN codecs. To ensure a variety of productions are possible, many features of Mixon Hall can be controlled directly from the Conrad Control Room including two Millennia Media HV-3R eight-channel remote control microphone pre-amplifiers, an array of remote control status/security cameras, a Panasonic professional video camera, as well as the hall's acoustic draperies, video projection system and more.
The THX certification successfully enables the Conrad Control room to record and produce surround content accurately, including that from Mixon Hall via some Schoeps microphones. This unique ability presented one last challenge: How would surround content be delivered to students, the majority of who receive their recordings on CD (or stereo-only DVD) and radio listeners. To resolve this issue, the proven system of Neural-THX Surround was implemented.
The Neural-THX Surround professional digital audio production products allow real-time encoding of surround content while preserving the rich envelopment and image detail of surround sound into a format 100 percent compatible with stereo. This allows for the surround content to be used in CDs, radios, portable digital music players and digital music downloads — all formats CIM Recording Services produces.
CIM's investment to achieve THX certification, utilize Neural-THX Surround and build a studio with a high caliber of audio, video and production equipment allows the Conrad Control Room to offer students, faculty and staff the ability to produce recordings with the greatest attention to quality and detail while using cutting edge technologies, all while keeping ease of operation while maintaining production excellence a reality.
Kosiorek is director of recording services at the Cleveland Institute of Music.
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