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Ambient Digital Media Builds New Audio Facility Around Argosy Mirage

Mirage for D-Command is Centerpiece of Creative Media and Design Firm’s New Audio Suite

By PSW Staff April 30, 2013

Reid Caulfield at the Argosy Mirage D-Command Desk at Ambient Digital Media in Marina del Rey, CA.

When creative media and design firm Ambient Digital Media, a Post Modern Group company, built out a new audio post production facility recently, there was only one choice for the studio furniture: an
Argosy Console Inc.  Mirage D-Command desk.

The new room—the first in-house audio post suite to be built by Ambient—is being used for mixing, editing and QC of a range of projects, from broadcast television work through voice recording to value-added materials for Blu-ray Disc and DVD releases.

“We were building from the ground up and Ambient didn’t have a single stick of audio gear,” says Reid Caulfield, to whom the company outsourced audio projects for many years.

Ambient, based in Marina del Rey, CA, hired Caulfield in the summer of 2012 to oversee the technical implementation of its new audio facilities and to work full-time as a sound mixer and editor. “I just went to the source for technical furniture that I’ve always gone to—Argosy. The desk was one of the few pieces that were never under debate.”

In fact, the only question was whether to order the Mirage desk for Avid’s D-Command or D-Control system.

“We went with the D-Command and ordered the corresponding Argosy console,” says Caulfield, who built his own L.A. area facility back in 1999 which featured Argosy desks for the Mackie D8B mixing console as well as various other items of Argosy studio furniture.

The Mirage desk at Ambient includes two six-space rack bays. “There’s a central machine room, where the Pro Tools rig is, but there are other pieces that needed to be in the desk,” he says.

In addition to the D-Command, a selection of rack-mounting microphone preamplifiers and compressors, plus a Dolby Digital Cinema Processor CP750, which manages the room’s 5.1/7.1 monitor system, are also mounted in the desk.

Three JBL LSR6328 active monitors carry the front LCR channels with passive JBL Cinema Surround speakers handling the side and rear channels; the Crown amplifier powering the surround monitors is also in the desk.

“It’s a completely digital facility but right now there’s a debate about whether we’re going to start wiring analog patchbays, because we have some nice analog gear. If we do, we’ve got space for it—out of the 12 spaces in the Argosy desk I have three left,” he reports.

Ambient, which the Post Modern Group acquired in 2011, was established about ten years ago, according to Caulfield, initially as a DVD and BD authoring house. “Then they morphed into the production of VAM—value added materials, such as behind-the-scenes features. That was a big part of their business, and we still do a lot of that.

“There’s a 4 person voiceover booth that we built beside the mix room, to handle commentaries and other voice work, and we have ISDN lines for remote voice recording. It’s a really versatile room—and the centerpiece is the Argosy console.”

The room was initially built in order to repurpose a popular multi-season television series for iTunes distribution.

“A lot of the original music had to be stripped out because of licensing issues and has been replaced by newly-composed cues. While I’m replacing the music we’re also up-converting the show from stereo to 5.1 and remixing the whole thing to conform to new loudness specs” he says.

Caulfield notes that Post Modern’s priority is to make its clients comfortable: “If that means Neumann microphones in the booth and a Pro Tools rig and a 60-inch screen and JBL monitors, it also means an Argosy console. Everywhere I go that has a D-Command has an Argosy holding it up, and we weren’t out to tread new ground there. I love their furniture anyway, so it was a no-brainer.”

Argosy Console Inc.


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