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Mixing for Dolby Atmos Using Neumann Studio Monitors

Mastering engineer, Lachlan Carrick, has designed and put together a new Dolby Atmos studio using Neumann Monitors.

By

24 October 2023

Australian music and film industry veteran, Lachlan Carrick has been recording, mixing and mastering records for the past two decades, from working with Australian music legends like Paul Kelly and Missy Higgins, to most recently mastering the GRAMMY-nominated soundtrack for Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis. Throughout his journey, Lachlan has consistently relied on the dependable and poised audio quality delivered by Neumann studio equipment.

Lachlan’s introduction to the world of music production occurred during his early teens, thanks to his jazz pianist father, John. Lachlan was immediately fascinated by the technical side of music production. “I’d bug my parents to let me go and see my father’s gigs, and the only place I was allowed to sit while he performed was in the sound booth. As young as 14, I remember nights spent looking over the shoulder of the engineer mixing in this small club and found myself excited by the impact that well-crafted mixes could have on the audience, and the band,” Lachlan reveals.

From there his interest in music production became a driving force, and Lachlan seized every opportunity to learn the intricacies of audio engineering. Not long after completing high school, Lachlan was working professionally having scored a job at the Canberra Theatre in his hometown. This is where Lachlan’s introduction to Neumann gear transpired. “The Canberra Theatre had this crazy mic cabinet including five or six U 89s, which was really fun. I may have even borrowed a pair from time to time to sneak into the studio. Using classic Neumann microphones in multiple contexts gave me a great appreciation for their exceptional performance.”

Over the years, Lachlan honed his skills and established himself as a respected engineer, working in recording studios across the country. During this journey, he developed a deep admiration for Neumann’s renowned production quality. Lachlan first purchased his own Neumann microphone fifteen years ago, the TLM 67, and hasn’t looked back since. Recently, he added to his collection “a bucket list mic, the U 67 reissue, which has been one of my go-to choices for recording vocals over the years.”

Following an esteemed collection of studio mixing credits, by 2023 Lachlan has established a niche specialising in mastering immersive formats, the latest disruptor to the recording industry. Nestled in Melbourne’s north, Lachlan has recently built his own state-of-the-art studio that is fitted for Dolby Atmos featuring a carefully selected array of Neumann studio monitors.

“When planning my Atmos setup, the Dolby Audio Room Design Tool (DARDT) was very handy. It allowed me to input my studio’s parameters, including ceiling height and monitor angles, to align with Dolby’s recommendations.” Selecting Neumann gear for its reliability and guaranteed audio quality, Lachlan’s studio is home to three KH 150 and eight KH 80 DSP Neumann studio monitors, working in perfect harmony with the Neumann KH 870 G subwoofer. “Neumann ticked all the boxes with their wide range of options that are all very well voice-matched,” Lachlan explains. “What I appreciate most about Neumann is their commitment to maintaining high specification standards with their speakers, akin to their microphone production philosophy. They’re also great value.” These factors amde Neumann the ideal choice for his Atmos facility.

Speaking to sonic performance, Lachlan explains that “the imaging of the KH series is such an asset for an Atmos setup. With object-based production you really need to hear solid phantom imaging. I want to hear an object sitting between a pair of speakers, so it creates a believable position and fluidity of movement. The strength of imaging on Neumann speakers was a big selling point for me.”

On the film side of things, he works regularly with composers David Hirschfelder (The Dressmaker, Ride Like a Girl, Escape from Pretoria) and Nigel Westlake (Blueback, Ali’s Wedding, Paper Planes). Recent Atmos music projects include mixing Melbourne-based composer/pianist Luke Howard’s new work for Birmingham Royal Ballet, remixing Emma Donovan & The Putbacks’ “Under These Streets” album for NAIDOC week and mastering the “Lost at Sea” album from Rob Grant, featuring his daughter Lana Del Rey. Lachlan has found his Neumann Immersive 7.1.4 Atmos System invaluable on many of these projects, and notes that his productions are translating well into mix theatres and Airpods alike.

Lachlan’s talents extended to mastering the soundtrack album of the highly anticipated Elvis feature film, directed by fellow Australian and film director, Baz Luhrmann. “Compilation albums can be the trickiest records to master because they’re often a huge mashup of genres, and files are being shared by numerous teams. It’s a big challenge with mastering to make sure that this very diverse collection of songs still feels cohesive as a record.”

Reflecting on this remarkable project, Lachlan expressed his gratitude for the opportunities it brought. “I never thought I’d have the chance to work on an Eminem or Doja Cat track. The Elvis project was certainly both rewarding and challenging. Some tracks came from the best mix engineers in the world, and others were from relatively up and coming artists. Then of course there was the iconic original Elvis material. It was an intense and fun experience to bring it all together, along with my friend and colleague Francois Tetaz,” shares Lachlan.

The ELVIS (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) featured 37 songs and 200+ of Lachlan’s mastering hours, followed by a DELUXE EDITION being released just eight months later with a massive fifty-two songs. Lachlan is one of the many artists who breathed new life to the music of Elvis Presley, with the soundtrack being nominated for two GRAMMY Awards, including Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media and Best Rap Performance (“Vegas”).

Extending beyond just microphones and studio monitors, Lachlan has been using Neumann’s recently launched NDH 30 open-backed headphones in the studio. Designed for the most demanding mixing and mastering applications in both stereo and immersive formats, the NDH 30 have quickly captured Lachlan’s attention for what they bring to the table. “It was a surprise at first just how un-hyped these headphones are and that’s a major plus for me. They’re great for another perspective on mixes and are comfortable to wear. The build quality also seems very serious.”

As the audio industry continues to push boundaries and innovate technology to enhance the immersive listening experience, engineers like Lachlan are at the forefront of this movement mastering major music and film productions in Dolby Atmos. Neumann’s distinguished quality across its lineup of monitors, microphones and headphones extends to the emerging multi-dimensional format and is designed to allow every sound to be accurately captured, heard and placed.

 About Neumann

Georg Neumann GmbH, known as “Neumann.Berlin”, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of studio-grade audio equipment and the creator of recording microphone legends such as the U 47, M 49, U 67 and U 87. Founded in 1928, the company has been recognized with numerous international awards for its technological innovations. Since 2010, Neumann.Berlin has expanded its expertise in electro-acoustic transducer design to also include the studio monitor market, mainly targeting TV and radio broadcasting, recording, and audio production. The first Neumann studio headphones were introduced in 2019, and since 2022, the company has put an increased focus on reference solutions for live audio. Georg Neumann GmbH has been part of the Sennheiser Group since 1991 and is represented worldwide by the Sennheiser network of subsidiaries and long-standing trading partners. www.neumann.com.

If you’d like to know more about Lachlan’s work and projects, his website is at www.lachlan-carrick.com

CONTACT

Sennheiser Australia (02) 9910 6700

Website: en-au.sennheiser.com

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Issue 93

REVIEWED

Ableton Live 12
What’s in. What’s out. What to expect.