As Dolby Atmos continues to become a dominant force in the audio industry, studios like Melbourne-based Red Road Immersive are pushing the boundaries with sound design, bringing unparalleled audio experiences to listeners.
Red Road Owner Angus Davidson has been in the music business for four decades.
After designing and building Australia’s biggest studio, Sing Sing; working in LA studios; and touring with Crowded House and Supertramp in the 1980s, Davidson was inclined to build his own mixing and mastering studio.
When he decided to concentrate on an immersive audio room at his production and mastering studio, he transformed it into Australia’s first officially certified Dolby Atmos Music studio and equipped it with a full suite of NUGEN Audio software for use on film and music projects.
Most recently, Davidson deployed NUGEN Post, which includes Paragon, VisLM, LM-Correct, Halo Upmix, Stereoizer and ISL, among others, for his work on Little Tornadoes, a feature film that premiered at the 2021 Melbourne International Film Festival.
The film was one of the first Dolby Atmos projects on which Davidson used Paragon reverb, NUGEN’s newest software plug-in.
“Paragon is a great reverb for everything, but I found it particularly helpful for small spaces,” he says. “It has the most amazing algorithms for things, like compact rooms and inside of cars.
“It also has very well-defined and dense algorithms that allow you to create sympathetic environments really easily, say, if you’re looking at something where you want to match a room tone or a particular space.
“It is, far and away, the best in terms of recreating and matching spaces.”
Davidson was also pleased with how NUGEN’s Halo Upmix software performed when it came time for working on the film’s music. “One of the biggest challenges is creating surround from mono, stereo or 5.1 sources,” he explains.
“We actually went out and re-recorded a lot of ambisonics room tones and Atmos on-location where the film had been shot several years ago.
“But there was also a lot of old music that we could only get as stereo, and I wanted to really try and make that sound bigger, fuller and more immersive. That’s where Halo Upmix came in.”
Davidson recalls that the opening scene starts with the protagonist of the film driving in a car and you can hear an old Olivia Newton John song playing, so they “cured it” to sound like it was playing through a little car radio.
As the scene develops, that sound morphs into a surround sound that Davidson says they were only able to achieve thanks to Halo Upmix. “I just love Halo Upmix, I think it’s a super clever tool; it’s my go-to,” he adds.
“I’ve got lots of toys, and most stay in the box, but this one is always out being played with; it’s a really lovely piece of my kit.”