I recently had a call from Simon Coté at AudioPlus Services who asked if I knew of a system that could bass manage an 11.1 speaker array. Good question, as there isn’t a lot of turnkey surround gear out there beyond 7.1.
Although it wasn’t necessary for the search, I was curious about the setup of the speakers. The system would be fed 11 channels of discrete audio and consist of Focal Twin Solo speakers setup in a standard 7.1 array; LCR (22°-30°), LS/RS (90°-110°) and LB/RB (135°-150°). The other four channels would be Focal Twin Solo 6 monitors setup as two high front speakers and two high back speakers.
I started my search for a bass manager by calling my friend and engineer David Rideau who as my luck would have it, was at GenAudio’s excellent 5.1 room in Los Angeles for a session. Genaudio is all about surround, both discrete and simulated and if anyone would know about multichannel bass management, they would. Dave fired the question to GenAudio‘s Senior Mix Engineer Greg Morgenstein who came up with Meyer Sound’s Galileo Speaker Management System as an option. I let the guys get back to work and searched on Meyer Sound’s Website for the specs.
Unfortunately, Galileo has only 8 inputs per unit which is perfect for 7.1 but not 11.1. Although you can gang Galileo systems together, you can’t manage inputs from both units to a single output. My search continued on Meyer Sound’s Website where I found D-Mitri, a versatile, high-resolution audio system that does speaker management plus much more. D-Mitri is a scalable system where you can design your own analog and/or digital IO, include a recorder, do advanced speaker management, matrix mixing and routing and choose enough DSP for your setup which can include up to 144 outputs.
Communication between D-Mitri’s many boxes is via Ethernet, so a very large system can be setup with a small cabling footprint. I confirmed that D-Mitri was the system for the job through a quick call to Brian Bolly from Meyer Sound’s Cinema division. Brian walked me through D-Mitri’s options which were all very cool and although the system had more horsepower than I needed, was perfect for the job.
I called Simon back with my findings and found that in his own search, had found another option; the Trinnov Magnitude32 Room/Speaker Optimizer. The Magnitude32 is another scalable system but takes the single box approach where you can add expansion boards for more IO and get up to 16 inputs and 32 outputs. Magnitude32 has enough DSP power for Mixing Matrixes, Manual FIR filters, Parametric EQs, Graphic EQs, gains, trims, RMS meters, manual delays, Bass Managment, 4-way active crossovers and more.
The process of finding the right manager for the job was educational for me. I started the day not knowing much about advanced systems like these and by the end of the day had two new systems in my lexicon for advanced bass management and much more. I love audio!
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