Issue 91

Italy’s First ATMOS

Pino Pischetola’s Pinaxa Studio Adopts Amphion to Become the First Dolby ATMOS-Certified Room in Italy


13 July 2021

Producer/Engineer Pino Pischetola has built his career by always keeping a close eye on the latest innovations in the industry. From working with genre-pushing artists like Robert Palmer, Depeche Mode, Adriano Celentano, Jovanotti, Tiziano Ferro, and Eros Ramazzotti, to embracing surround sound and immersive audio projects well before they were commonplace, Pischetola is always on the lookout for the next big thing. In keeping with this forward-thinking attitude, he recently upgraded his studio to make it the first Dolby ATMOS-certified mixing room in Italy. To make the most of the rapidly growing format, he has adopted a monitoring setup consisting of Amphion speakers to give him the clarity and imaging precision he requires to not only ensure that he can do his best work, but that his work will translate in the variety of scalable formats where ATMOS can now be heard.

Immersive audio for the masses

A longtime veteran of other surround sound formats such as 5.1 and 7.1, Pischetola sees ATMOS as a way for listeners to engage even more with the music they love the most. “It’s like being inside the music instead of in front of it when it’s done right,” he explained. “It gives you a listening experience that you can really give your all to, which is something I have always been very enthusiastic about. Feeling the music instead of just hearing it.”

Pischetola says he knew that ATMOS would be a game-changer from the get-go when it became obvious that the format was scalable. With major streaming services like Amazon Prime Video and Apple Music announcing support, he says that it won’t be long before it’s the new standard for audio everywhere — from film and TV mixes to the latest pop singles. “Immersive is absolutely the future of the media landscape,” he said. “This is the first time a surround sound format has been accessible to listeners at all levels, from a large theatre to their headphones. I knew immediately that I had to start working in it.”

Well aware of the pitfalls of immersive sound being translated to a variety of end formats however, he knew that his studio needed excellent monitoring to ensure that he could do his best work. “I’d been using the Amphion One18s for stereo mixes and was always impressed by how well they translated,” he said. “When it was time to do the big upgrade for ATMOS, sticking with Amphion meant I could adapt right away and trust what I was hearing.”

Respecting the music

Pischetola works in Pro Tools HDX with an Avid6 Desk, allowing him to utilise all 128 channels of ATMOS when he mixes. In keeping with Dolby’s specifications for an ATMOS room, his 7.1.4 setup utilises a pair of Amphion Two18s as Left, Right and Center, two One 18 for the sides two Amphion One15s as surrounds, and four more mounted in the ceiling using Amphions ceiling adapters for stability and maintaining the proper angles. “It was really a seamless process once I had the entire setup rigged in my room,” he said. “The centre image was immediately impressive, the speakers completely disappeared, and I was inside the music. Exactly where I wanted to be!”

“The translation also continues to work incredibly well. It’s been very rare that I’ve been asked to fix anything since I’ve started using Amphion, and this has been the same with my ATMOS work.”

Although he is enthusiastic about the possibilities of immersive audio — especially as it is starting to be used in popular music — Pischetola is quick to note that it’s easy to go overboard and needs to be done with care. This manifested early when he found himself working on an ATMOS reissue of Franco Battiato’s “La voce del Padrone”, a popular Italian synth pop record with a devoted audience. “It is a beloved album that people know very well,” he explained. “I knew that we had to respect the original stereo mix while still giving the fans something new to enjoy.”

“With the Amphions, I was easily able to honour the original stereo mix when bringing it to ATMOS but made it wider and more immersive to listen to. That way it was still the record they loved, but with even more detail for them to enjoy and experience. When I finally played it for people, they fell in love with it all over again.”

Emboldened by his experience with a classic, Pischetola has been encouraging his other clients to work in ATMOS as well. Although it’s still in the early stages of being business-as-usual, he says that being ‘ahead of the curve’ has its benefits, both from a creative perspective and an equipment one. “It’s already becoming an organic part of the production process as more older albums are being remixed for ATMOS,” he said. “It’s exciting to see it emerge, and the impact that it is starting to have on new music especially after the recent adoption from Apple with Spatial Audio.”

“I’m proud that I can do this work and pleased that my Amphion setup makes it easier than ever for me to lose myself in it.”


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