Although it takes some time to “ wrap your ears around it ” – meaning the immersive sound , Branco says , once you have , he adds , “ It ’ s simply a game-changer . We couldn ’ t be more thrilled with the results we ’ ve had thus far , and as for the future , well , let ’ s just say Thiago and I are feeling like this is going to be an amazing ride thanks to this monster system .”
In Lima ’ s assessment , mixing in Atmos is now preferable . “ I would choose Atmos every time because I ’ m able to be a lot more creative than in stereo . Instead of the limited space [ of stereo ], in Atmos , you ’ re mixing in a 3D space and can create an incredible real-life sound experience by placing instruments everywhere , just as if you , the listener , were in the room with the band .”
Granted , until the recent applications of immersive sound in consumer audio , especially in Apple Music , Atmos ( and surround systems in general ) were typically used for live events , cinema , and home theatre sound . As our home stereo systems , computers , and mobile devices become more sophisticated , and we ’ re able to experience immersive sound virtually anywhere , so does the viability of mixing for a fully immersive audio experience when it comes to music in general .
“ There ’ s still an evolution going on , but the more we get into it , where it is now and where it ’ s going , it ’ s great technology ,” Branco says , adding that more DSPs are adding immersive listening options to their services . “ In some ways , I wish I ’ d done this
a while ago , but now that it ’ s something that can be used with our smartphones . For me , it ’ s exciting to learn something new . It ’ s ground-breaking ,” he sums up . “ Going with the A Room makes us the biggest Dolby Atmos room in Canada . So , a band , engineer , manager , they can all come in and sit side by side in the sweet spot . It ’ s 20 by 19 feet , so it ’ s large .”
Branco does see using the Atmos system for dedicated film projects , as well , but again cites the benefits that this platform can offer for musicians looking to get their music into the hands of music supervisors and filmmakers in a ready-to-use format .
“ I ’ m working with someone out of Nashville , they work with Steve Earle , and there ’ s apparently a Tom Petty tribute record he ’ s doing a track for , and he said , ‘ You ’ ve got to deliver a mix in Atmos .’ Music is being forced to adapt , and one of the things we ’ re pursuing is working with indie bands and giving them an affordable option to mix in Atmos . It ’ s a no-brainer . For film and television even video games , when a production can ’ t afford to get an A-list or even a B-list artist , they want music prepackaged . That ’ s something we ’ re developing right now with clients that have a shot at breaking out .”
In other words , it ’ s a means of connecting up-and-coming artists with film studios and productions in Toronto and beyond . “ Film is definitely part of our direction ,” Branco says , adding that it ’ s a way for artists to get into the game , specifically this new version of it , in a way that ’ s affordable .
With the downtime due to COVID restrictions , Iguana branched out into many new areas . Branco elaborates : “ With our rich history of recording Canadian artists , partnering with Greg Campbell from Music in Motion Entertainment was an easy fit . Music in Motion is a new music company whose goal is to support Canadian music by revisiting classic Canadian albums and re-mixing , re-mastering , adding rarities , and recording new material with the direct involvement of the artist . With international marketing , distribution , and e-commerce , plus venturing into streaming services , Iguana Studios is enabling Music in Motion to breathe new life into recordings from artists such as Burton Cummings , Rik Emmett , Honeymoon Suite , and Goddo . So , we ’ re very excited about that .”
Again , it ’ s typically been Iguana ’ s role to not only serve clients , but to build a community and create connections between that community ’ s members that are mutually beneficial . This simply enhances their ability to do so . “ Absolutely ,” Branco says . “ I ’ ve been here quite a long time . There are a lot of good bands out there we ’ ve worked with that are up and coming now . And there ’ s a lot of gratification in being part of those stories . And now , adding this technology to projects like that is invaluable to Iguana and the artists that work here .”
Kevin Young is a Toronto-based musician and freelance writer .
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