120dB Sound Engineering in Bieruń, Poland recently rolled out a new music recording and broadcast production truck equipped with a Solid State Logic System T S500 console surface configured with 64 faders driven by a T80 Tempest Engine offering 800 channels of DSP and outfitted with a 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos monitoring system.
The inaugural project for the new truck, which is named ATMOS, was a multitrack recording of The Polish National Wind Orchestra (Narodowa Orkiestra Dęta w Lubinie) performing at a musical celebration of Ukraine in Warsaw in late April. The company, which is headquartered in southern Poland, near Katowice, has long worked on eSports broadcast events, including for Turtle Entertainment and ESL TV, which rely heavily on Dante networking.
When 120dB launched its first OB van, ST1, in 2018, it was designed around a System T S300 to take advantage of the SSL platform’s native support of the Dante protocol. “Then, when we wanted to grow and build a bigger truck, we decided that a big SSL System T would be the best choice for us,” says Michał Mika, owner and founder of 120dB.
Both the System T S500 in the new ATMOS truck and the System T S300 in ST1 were supplied by Krzysztof Kowalewski at Audiotech Commercial, Solid State Logic’s distributor in Poland. It carries SSL SB32.24 stage boxes supporting up to 256 mic inputs, plus an SSL SB8.8 stage box that transports eight mic/line inputs and eight line outs. A Focusrite RedNet interface delivers 256 channels of MADI to and from the Dante network. Recordings are made to a redundant 256-track Reaper DAW system running on twin Macintosh computers. Cubase and Pro Tools are alternatively available.
The truck additionally houses a selection of outboard processing tailored for music production and broadcast needs, including an SSL Fusion analog multiprocessor and devices from Bettermaker, Bricasti, Lexicon and TC Electronic. Maintaining consistency with the ST1 van and a small production and demonstration room at the company’s headquarters, the new ATMOS truck is outfitted with a Genelec Smart Active Monitoring speaker system.
The focus on music and the truck’s significant channel capacity enables ATMOS to take advantage of a niche in the Polish broadcast and mobile production market. “It’s normal for us to work with almost 200 channels,” Mika explains. “National TV in Poland still doesn’t have enough trucks that can handle that number of tracks, so they order trucks from us.”
In Mika’s view, the musicality of mixes made through the System T is what many operators who work in the 120dB trucks comment about: “When you’re mixing, everything is musically glued together. If you’ve got good sources, even if you don’t do anything with EQ or dynamics, it will be OK. Just push the faders up and it will be great sounding. After that, you can make something better, but you don’t have to do anything — on an SSL, you can do nothing, and it will be OK.”
The dimensions and the acoustics have been optimized to create an experience that is much more like a brick-and-mortar mixing facility. “Our room is 2.5 meters (8 feet) by 4.5 meters (18 feet), and we have a 2.2 meters (7.2 feet) ceiling height, so it’s like a regular audio room in a production studio,” he says. “We want to give audio operators a better place to work.”