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Home | Library | Articles | Reach For Your Surround Potential

Reach For Your Surround Potential

by Steve Harvey - Director of Public Relations
Steve often gets typing help fr$(om hi*##s catttts.

Article summary: Martinsound’s retrofit surround monitoring products offer a smooth and cost-effective upgrade path to powerful film style systems.

Featured in Audio Horizons Spring 2000 PDF 825k | Newsletter List
MultiMAX product information

Martinsound's surround monitoring solution has been expanded with formatting, metering and balancing products. ForMAX and VuMAX extend the functionality of MultiMAX to provide integrated monitoring, metering and film-style mixing features in all current production formats.

Martinsound’s family of surround products now gives facilities the ability to begin with MultiMAX, which delivers the extensive monitoring features needed to do surround projects. As your surround business grows, ForMAX and VuMAX can be added as needed, providing more features and flexibility. All of these products are seamlessly integrated with no overlapping functions, providing a smooth and efficient upgrade path from MultiMAX to a full featured film-style monitoring system.

MultiMAX is the cornerstone component which adds extensive multichannel functionality to any stereo mixing console, supplementing the console’s stereo monitor section to provide sophisticated control of surround formats of up to 8 channels. The unit controls multiple speaker systems, facilitates downmix compatibility and quality checks through single pushbutton operations, and includes bass redirection and monitor system calibration tools.

In response to the development of new audio production formats incorporating additional rear surround channels, such as Dolby Digital-Surround EX, Martinsound is introducing MultiMAX EX. The new EX version will control up to 8 speaker feeds configured as 3 or 5 front channels with 2, 3 or 4 surround channels. The downmixing features have been extended to correctly fold-down the new formats. If you already own a standard MultiMAX your unit may easily be upgraded to the EX version.

MultiMAX and MultiMAX EX will augment any stereo console, from the smallest Mackie to the largest SSL or AMS Neve, adding multiformat monitoring functionality. Interfacing to MultiMAX is simple, requiring little more than standard Tascam-type cables. The monitors can be quickly calibrated using MultiMAX’s internal pink noise generator and user-friendly setup software, minimizing expensive downtime. Setup is so effortless that many multi-room recording facilities simply move MultiMAX from studio to studio as needed.

For facilities that are looking for an inexpensive way to upgrade to more comprehensive film-style mixing, and who require more sophisticated monitoring control of their surround sound productions, Martinsound is introducing ForMAX, a surround monitor formatter, and VuMAX, a precision VU meter display package.

ForMAX is a programmable 48-input 24x8 surround monitor formatter. Intended primarily for busy, high throughput studios, ForMAX stores and recalls many different routing and surround format setups, allowing the instant reset of recorder, console and monitor assignments. It offers an accurate, repeatable way to reformat a surround sound project to the house standard, or to monitor multiple premixes or stems simultaneously, and permits rapid changeovers between sessions.

There are 24 recorder returns and 24 mix bus inputs, each with individual recorder/mix (PEC/Direct) monitor selection. A single ForMAX may be connected to each of MultiMAX’s 5 Wide Inputs for a total of 120 playback and 120 direct input sources. User-definable mute groups may be memorized, and a mute mask may be created within each group to include any combination of inputs and outputs. An auto-clear function removes the selected group setup from memory. The solo system works similarly.

The VuMAX meter display houses 8 precision VU meters, lights and buffering circuitry, and provides an off-the-shelf solution that can be easily integrated with MultiMAX and ForMAX to provide visual indication of monitor source levels.

MultiMAX and MultiMAX EX’s 8 meter outputs automatically follow the Monitor Source selection, allowing the engineer to check the mix of the selected Wide Inputs and the results of downmixing, the recorder returns, surround encoder outputs (including Lt Rt) and the mixing console outputs.

ForMAX provides 24 meter outputs that follow the PEC/Direct switch selections to the reassign matrix.

An electronic balancing kit for MultiMAX and MultiMAX EX’s 16 monitor outputs has also been introduced. The SB-16 converts the unit’s single-ended balanced impedance monitor outputs to fully differential balanced outputs, and brings the levels to a true +4 dB. The electronics are housed in a small box that plugs directly into the Main and Other Monitor Outputs connectors on the rear of MultiMAX.

Finally, new software enhancements for the standard MultiMAX were recently released which provide an SPL Display Range mode, an extension of the level range by 30 dB and the addition of a Wide Inputs Interlock mode, all accessed through a new SPL Level/Range menu page in the Setup Directory.

Whether you are looking for a compact and easy-to-use surround sound monitor controller to augment your stereo mixing console, or require a more extensive film-style package that includes metering and formatting, the MultiMAX multiformat monitor controller, working with our new surround sound products, accessories and option, offers the most comprehensive and cost-effective solution available.


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