Galaxy Studios in Mol, Belgium, has recently built a new facility to showcase its proprietary Auro-3D® immersive surround sound technology. Dubbed the "AuroTorium," this new dub stage features a 59-loudspeaker Meyer Sound cinema system that fully supports standard 5.1, Auro 11.1, Auro 13.1, and other object-based formats that use Auro-3D's Creative Tool Suite plug-ins.
"The goal of Auro-3D is to create the most natural sound experience possible," says Wilfried Van Baelen, co-owner of Galaxy Studios and principal developer of Auro-3D. "Of all the cinema loudspeakers I have heard, Meyer Sound systems bring the listener closest to realizing the ultimate in fully immersive sound. The fine detail doesn't get lost."
The AuroTorium's monitoring system is anchored by six Meyer Sound Acheron® 80 screen channel loudspeakers, and 44 HMS-10 cinema surround loudspeakers. Six X-800C cinema subwoofers cover the LFE channel, while three additional X-800C subwoofers in the rear of the room provide low-frequency extension for the surround channels. The system's mixing format can be instantly re-configured with the click of a mouse.
"The fact that all Meyer Sound loudspeakers are self-powered is particularly advantageous on a dub stage," says Van Baelen. "Although Auro-3D is primarily channel-based, we do have tools for object-based surround effects. It's easier to do object-based sound design with self-powered systems, because all surrounds are individually addressable."
The facility is equipped with two mixing consoles: an Auro-3D version of an AMS Neve DFC Gemini with up to 2,000 channels, or an Avid ICON D-Control, both featuring 48 faders. A full Pro Tools recording system is complemented by TC Electronic System 6000, Lexicon 960L, and Cedar DNS1000 outboard gear.
The AuroTorium can also be converted into a large, 150-seat screening room in minutes via hydraulic lifts. The production platform can be lowered into storage and replaced by VIP luxury seats.
When used as a reference screening room, the AuroTorium offers two Barco DP4K-32B projectors, a Doremi DCP server, and a large Harkness Matt Preview screen. These features combine to deliver a visual experience of up to 60 frames per second in 4K 3D. Interior and acoustic design was handled by concept-A Design.
"We designed this facility to take the next step forward in audio post for cinema," states Van Baelen. "We wanted to define a new future for cinema sound, and the Meyer Sound loudspeakers will play a significant role in achieving that goal."
Auro-3D is an adaptive, three-dimensional audio technology that is applicable in gaming, automotive, and home theatre. For the cinema exhibition market, Galaxy Studios's spin-off company Auro Technologies has partnered with Barco to offer the Auro 11.1 immersive sound format.