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Soundfield's Magic Teams With Studio Voodoo

Win "Best Audio Disc" Award At 4th Annual DVD Discus Awards (September 26, 2001)
At the leading edge of creative expression and technological innovation, Studio Voodoo's self-titled debut DVD bagged "Best Audio Disc" at the 4th Annual DVD Discus Awards for Creative Excellence. Besides the obvious outpouring of talent from Studio Voodoo band members Gary "Koz" Mraz and Ted Price, the award-winning DVD-Audio derives elements of its spatial and sonic magic from SoundField's ST250. SoundField mics are renowned for their precise imaging, resulting from the combination of a tetrahedral four-capsule mic and a dedicated SoundField Mic Preamp/Processor that delivers the only three-dimensional sound field from a single source microphone in the world.

Using an effective montage of found objects and unique instruments set against a backdrop of techno-tribal beats, Studio Voodoo wins the prize for pushing envelopes.
* It's the world's first DTS-ES release, adding a center-rear channel for 6.1 surround sound.
* It's the world's first release to contain a 5.1, a 6.1, a stereo, and a binaural mix.
* It's the world's first winner of the newly created "Best Audio Disc" award.
* Finally, it's the world's first commercially available surround sound recording that was written specifically for the surround sound format (virtually all previous releases have been remixes of recordings originally mixed for stereo).

Studio Voodoo used the SoundField ST250 whenever they needed to record an instrument or environment in surround sound (as opposed to those situations where they recorded fewer channels for artificial surround sound manipulation). Horn and vocal recording figured prominently in SoundField use, as did "reverb chamber" use. However, Mraz contends that the most striking use of the SoundField ST250 involved "environmental transitions", which - in contrast to other tracks - lie exposed in the final mix.

"For the transitions, I walked in a variety of locations with the mic in real-time," Mraz recalled. "The DVD-Audio opens with me carrying the SoundField portable ST250 through a hallway, down a flight of stairs, and outside before entering my car and turning on the radio. It's a very simple, everyday occurrence, but hearing it played back through surround speakers is simply amazing. Everyone who hears it is stunned! The power of that sequence sets the tone for the whole DVD."

The dramatic SoundField recording involved just two steps. For the first step, Mraz walked the environmental transitions while holding the SoundField mic and recorded the unique B Format four-channel output to four tracks of the DA78 located in the house in real time. For the second step, Mraz took the B Format DA78 recordings into the studio, played them back on the DA78 through SoundField's brand new SPS451 B Format to 5.1 Decoder, instantly converting it into phase accurate 5.1 surround audio. Angles of front and rear mic pairs could be adjusted on the SPS451 at this step, as well as levels of the center and sub output. once decoded to 5.1, no other processing was required. Mraz mixed the SoundField 5.1 on a Euphonix CS2000 and re-recorded the 5.1 mix to six channels of a DA-78.

"The SoundField sounds excellent, both spatially and sonically," Mraz opined. "Moreover, it's ridiculously simple to use. I'd never used one before, but I found it 'point and shoot', taking care of everything I needed to do for imaging that sounds like you are literally standing in my shoes!"

On the final DTS Entertainment DVD, Gary included a hidden "Easter egg" track for those not yet blessed with more than two speakers. The "Easter egg" is a binaural recording made at the 6.1 mastering studio with a Neumann KU-100 dummy head.

Mraz pulls no punches when he describes the future of stereo: "If it's not already dead, it's certainly dying! Go to any electronics store and try to buy a 'stereo' amplifier or receiver. You can't do it! Everyone is selling surround equipment. Anyone in the audio industry who is forward thinking should embrace the creative possibilities that surround sound offers. There's been a lot of talk, but little of potential that exists has actually been tapped. With awesome products like the SoundField mic and SoundField 5.1 Decoder, making the leap has never been easier!"

Gary Mraz will be hosting a seminar at the Surround 2001 Conference (December 7-8, 2001) in Beverly Hills, California discussing how the award-winning album was conceived and recorded.

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Related Keywords:Studio Voodoo, Best Audio Disc, 4th Annual DVD Discus Awards , Soundfield, ST250, Magic Teams, Gary "Koz" Mraz, Ted Price

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