The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) has expanded the capabilities of its RSNO Centre, which opened in 2015 next to Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, with the launch of a new recording control room fitted with a mixing console 72-Channel Duality Delta SuperAnalog Solid state logic. The recording facility located in the RSNO Centre, known as Scotland’s Studio, includes the RSNO’s new 6,000 square foot auditorium: a flexible and acoustically adjustable space intended primarily for the production of film soundtracks, television and video games.
As Hedd Morfett-Jones, RSNO’s digital manager, explained, the new control room’s mixing console had to handle both classical music recording and soundtrack production for visual entertainment, two streams of very different jobs. He first evaluated several digital audio options, he said: “I thought a full-size analog desk was out of our price range. Then someone asked me if I had looked at the price of a Duality.
Full Dante integration
The control room is linked to the New Auditorium, one floor below, via a Dante network as well as copper patch lines and to the main auditorium of the nearby Glasgow Royal Concert Hall via an OM4 fiber link. The control room is also connected to several breakout check-in areas. A system of 80 AD and DA converters provides the interface between the studio, the SSL console and the Avid Pro Tools, Merging Technologies Pyramix and Magix Sequoia DAWs. The room includes a 5.1 ATC monitor speaker system and features acoustic design by Nick Whitaker, whose clients include Abbey Road Studios, Angel Studios and CTS Watford Colosseum in England.
[New Solid State Logic Desktop Mixer Built for Hybrid Production]
While Scotland has long been a destination for film and TV shoots, soundtrack production has traditionally been handled by several facilities in England. “You could do almost an entire movie in Scotland, except for the score,” Morfett-Jones said. “So we looked at what we would need to record film scores here.” The RSNO is the only UK orchestra with in-house facilities for recording sound to picture, positioning the Scottish studio as a premier destination for recording film and game industry soundtracks in outside of London.
The familiar SSL workflow
Score recording and mixing engineers have traditionally worked on large-format analog mixing consoles. “We needed something where the film engineers would immediately know what they were dealing with,” Morfett-Jones said. “We wanted something that looks impressive, but also meets our technical requirements. There are so many things you need to do during a movie session that you could achieve with a relatively inexpensive digital desktop, but that’s not the case. It’s not how film engineers are used to working. You need a lot of headphone sends – cue sends – and you need to be able to grab any channel immediately.
[SSL Consoles Improve Crossroads Worship Services Both Online and In Person]
Since the new production facilities were unveiled in November 2021, Scotland’s Studio has handled one or two music projects a month, reports Morfett-Jones. The inaugural project was the score for a remake of the TV movie ‘The Amazing Mr. Blunden’, which aired on the Sky channel just before Christmas, by Edinburgh-born composer Blair Mowat. Between score sessions, the control room is used to record classical music and broadcast concerts from the concert hall.
While a classic recording is done in the box, Morfett-Jones can’t risk the DAW breaking down during a live broadcast. “I effectively use the console in ‘broadcast mode’, so the stagebox mics go into the DAW and into the console. I mix on the desktop and also record a capture from the desktop in the recorder,” Morfett-Jones said.
Moving forward with duality
For the upcoming concert season, Morfett-Jones plans to implement Duality’s DAW control capabilities. “I plan to set up the Duality layer so I can capture my rough mix on DAW faders using physical faders as well,” he said. “That way, if I need to change anything after the fact, I don’t have to re-create the mix live while watching the session’s Total Recall—I can monitor the computer’s mix against the desk mix while I broadcast. ”
In addition to classical music and sheet music recording, he said, “There is also an active learning and engagement department here, so we have a lot of young composers and workshops. We capture those to listen to again or to announce the program. It also allows composers to have recorded examples of their work.