While most of the UK has been in lockdown, award-winning game developer Sumo Digital has been expanding its audio facilities by building three 5.1 surround sound edit suites, a Dolby Atmos mix room and a foley/ADR space at its premises in Sheffield.
All of the new audio facilities are equipped with PMC monitoring, which was chosen because it offers the clarity and precision Sumo Digital’s audio designers need to source, edit and create sound effects and conduct interim and final mixes.
The three edit rooms now feature PMC Twotwo.6 monitors for Left Centre and Right channels, Twotwo.5 surround monitors and a Sub2 for the Low Frequency Effects channel. The new mix room, which is built to Dolby’s Atmos® standard, has PMC IB1S monitors for the LCR channels, Wafer2 monitors for the surrounds, Wafer 1 for the height channels and two Sub2s for LFE.
Sumo Digital’s Audio Director Pat Phelan says: “We conducted blind tests with PMC and two other well-established monitor brands and it was very hard to ignore PMC’s value at the price point we were looking for. We like the fact that the PMC’s remove any mystique from the sound that you are hearing, the sound feels surgically exposed. In a dynamic game environment where you have little control over what a player will do, being able to monitor and mix with confidence is a massive boost.”
Part of Sumo Group plc, Sumo Digital is a world-class game developer with eight UK studios in Sheffield, Nottingham, Newcastle, Leamington Spa, Warrington, The Chinese Room in Brighton, Red Kite Games in Leeds, and Lab42 in Leamington Spa. It also has facilities in Pune, India. Sumo develops successful games across all platforms and genres and is recognised for its versatility, proprietary technology, and creativity. Its portfolio of games feature titles for major publishers including Microsoft, Sega and Sony and since its formation 17 years ago it has worked on many major franchises such as Sonic The Hedgehog, LittleBigPlanet, Forza, Hitman and Dr Who.
Sumo Digital has audio facilities at four of its UK sites but with an ever-increasing workload the directors felt it was time to invest in state-of-the-art facilities in Sheffield. Renowned acousticians White Mark Ltd were given the task of designing the new studios, while the build and fit out was handled by principal contractor Confetti Media Group under the direction of Joe Duckhouse and Greg Marshall.
“The main mix room was designed to Dolby Atmos for home theatre specifications with particular attention paid particular to the workflow in audio for games,” Joe Duckhouse explains. “By using a mixture of PMC IB1S and wafer monitors in this room, White Mark was able to come up with a very sleek design that maximised all available space.”
Pat Phelan adds: “As most of our games can be played back on a variety of systems, we usually create switchable (in game) mixes for stereo, headphones, 5.1, 7.1 and Atmos. As audio professionals, the majority of our team’s day to day involves the use of headphones, especially when we need to work in close proximity to the wider development team. Already we are beginning to see the new studios helping make enormous improvements to our workflow. The other very important element is having a calibrated and trusted monitoring systems that we can make our mix decisions on. We are extremely happy with how all our studios sound.”
Completing a design and build project of this magnitude during a global pandemic is a major achievement for everyone involved, especially Joe Duckhouse’s wife who had to live with a spare room full of studio monitors that were rushed over from the PMC factory before it went into lockdown!
Sumo Digital is currently working on multiple projects including own-IP game Hood: Outlaws and Legends (2021, alongside multiple unannounced titles for some of the world’s biggest publishers. Sumo’s most recent releases include Hotshot Racing (Sept 2020), and two original IP titles exclusive to Apple Arcade – the Xbox Game Studios first party title, Crackdown 3 (2019); Team Sonic Racing (2019) for SEGA and two original IP titles on Apple Arcade – Spyder (2020) and Little Orpheus (2020 – The Chinese Room).
PMC is a UK-based, world-leading manufacturer of loudspeaker systems, the tools of choice in all ultra-critical professional monitoring applications, and also for the discerning audiophile at home, where they provide a transparent window into the recording artist’s original intentions. PMC products use the best available materials and design principles, including the company’s proprietary Advanced Transmission Line (ATL™) bass-loading technology, cutting-edge amplification and advanced DSP techniques to create loudspeakers that present sound and music exactly as it was when first created, with the highest possible resolution, and without coloration or distortion. For more information on our clients and products, see www.pmc-speakers.com.