Audio Specialist Alex Solano Details His Dolby Room
LOS ANGELES, MARCH 2, 2023 ― Trained by the late Recording Engineer Bruce Swedien and inspired by his early adoption of stereo mixing, immersive specialist Alex Solano, founder of AlexProMix, was determined to be on the forefront of the music industry’s next biggest technology: Dolby Atmos. Seeing a window of opportunity as an independent mixer, Solano relied on his industry experience, network of contacts and intensive research to design a brand-new immersive studio fit for his professional mixing and educational work.
“When I made the decision to go from stereo to Atmos, I realized that none of my stereo equipment was compatible,” Solano explains. “I completely gutted my old studio and started from scratch; even my computer was replaced. When I started with Dolby in late 2021 it was just being adopted by the music industry. With the help of my colleagues from Avid and Dolby, I decided to pick a digital audio workstation, and then selected the additional equipment from there.”
For his DAW, Solano chose Avid Pro Tools, with the Avid MTRX Studio acting as his audio interface. “The thing about the MTRX Studio is that it has built-in EQ and time alignment,” Solano shares, “so when it came time to align and tune my speakers, the feature was already built into my interface.” Solano also had a Dolby engineer visit and tune his studio to ensure and verify that it was accurate before he started working in and completing any Dolby Atmos projects. Also, from Avid, Solano chose the S1 Control Surface and S1 Dock. With three total units, 16 faders and the control, Solano can isolate specific speakers to dissect the spatial audio mixes he previews from Apple Music.
To meet Dolby’s SPL requirements, Solano stocked his studio with Bowers and Wilkins monitor solutions, including the B&W 801 Series 1 Tower speakers for left, center and right channels, as well as six B&W 865 S2 speakers, which are placed in pairs of two on the sides, in the rears and in the overheads. Solano additionally relies on LEA Professional Connect 704D and 168D amplifiers, chosen for their support of Dante. With the ability to support Dante, Solano was able to create three networks for his studio: one for Dante, one for his Avid workstation and another for user interface control of the amps and his Eventide H9000.
Also found in his studio are two Genelec 7070A subwoofers that act as bass management and as an LFE send. “Bass management with Dolby is really important,” he says. “You need to be able to pan an instrument above you and not lose any low end. It’s not practical to have full range speakers over you, so you need that bass management.” Additional gear includes Solano’s choice for software: immersive audio plug-ins from NUGEN Audio and Sound Particles.
Today, Solano’s studio acts as a homebase for both his professional and educational work. Solano is a certified mixer with Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, and AlexProMix has quickly become the go-to Atmos mixing company for various record labels, including Atlantic Records, Photo Finish, CINQ Music and M.A.D Solutions.
When Solano is not mixing, he is filming and educating aspiring audio professionals. From online mixing and mastering webinars to courses and masterclasses, Solano aims to share his passion for audio technology and inspire up-and-coming self-taught producers and mixers.
Photo Credit: Brynne Hosea