— The X Factor’s Audio Production Mixer Michael Abbott, remote broadcast music production specialists M3 and Music Mixer Eric Schilling incorporate Genelec Active Monitors into their workflow for unparalleled reference monitoring —
Music mixer Eric Schilling is using a Genelec 8200 Series Active DSP Monitoring System on the U.S. television premier season of The X Factor to create the 5.1-channel mix of the live music segments for broadcast on the FOX network. The system, comprising Genelec 8250A and 8240A Bi-Amplified DSP Monitors, together with a 7260A subwoofer, was supplied by remote broadcast music production specialists M3 (Music Mix Mobile) and was specified by the show’s production audio mixer, Michael Abbott, a veteran broadcast mixer and sound designer, and the owner of All Ears, Inc.
Joel Singer, co-founder and chief engineer of M3, relates that Abbott was determined to bring the same high level of music mixing and audio quality to The X Factor that he had experienced working with him on other high-profile broadcast events. “Mike, as the A1 on the show, had a vision for what he wanted to do with regard to the music system on The X Factor. He came to us and said that he would like to incorporate the workflow we use on some of these big music award shows, like the GRAMMY® Awards and the Country Music Awards, and what M3 does by building and designing reference-quality 5.1 mixing systems, and develop it for this show. As the system architect, I designed the music system based on the needs of the show as a reliable, fully functioning 5.1 mixing system. It was a good meeting of the minds because we’ve worked with Mike on many, many different projects.”
“My agenda for the sound design of this show was to use components that have previously produced favorable results on other broadcasts, and Genelec has been part of that formula,” confirms Abbott. “I prefer the music mixers to use whatever they are comfortable with, and Eric is very familiar with the tonal response of the Genelec monitors from working with M3 on many other broadcast productions. The result of this team effort has yielded a streamlined workflow with audio quality second-to-none. And from everything I’ve heard, this has made a tremendous difference to our viewers at home.”
Schilling comments, “I have been using the 8200 Series monitors in my studio and for broadcast music mixing since they where released. I always find that the mixes I do with these monitors translate very well to other listening environments outside of my work, which, to me, is of paramount importance.”
Schilling’s temporary studio is set up at CBS Television City in Hollywood, California, where the show is produced. According to Singer, this was the first semi-permanent mixing system installation project for M3, which operates remote music production trucks out of New Jersey and California. “A Gelco trailer is a less-than-ideal space for anything, so we had to overcome some different issues in there,” he acknowledges. “Through the use of some acoustic materials and help from an acoustics company that came in and worked out some of the reflections and other issues, we were able to solve some of the reverberant issues in the room. This provided a comfortable environment for Eric to mix the music on the show.”
The onboard DSP features of the Genelec system, including AutoCal™ automated calibration, which can be centrally controlled by computer using the GLM™ (Genelec Loudspeaker Management™) control network, proved invaluable in the challenging space. “Having the Genelecs, and being able to tune them and look at the rest of the room as a tuned space, helped us out,” reports Singer. “We were really able to use those monitors and adjust them to make the system suitable for what Eric was used to hearing and gave him a reference point so that he could start mixing a show that would translate onto television.”
It’s not surprising that M3 was standardized on Genelec monitor systems for its projects, which can involve similarly challenging remote locations. “We bring fly pack systems into television studios in New York for projects like The Colbert Report, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and a number of other shows where we have to sit in dressing rooms and make the system work,” says Singer. “Genelec is a big, big part of that, because we’re able to take a small set of 8240s to The Colbert Report, where I was able to shoot the room and calibrate the speakers at an earlier point in time, and I can just recall the setup and the Genelecs basically adjust themselves.”
The X Factor, which is franchised globally, made its U.S. television debut on September 21, 2011, and extends through December 22. The show originated in the U.K., where it has frequently been #1 in the ratings over its eight seasons.
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