null Immersive Talk with Sound x Rucker

Immersive Talk with Sound x Rucker

With the help of his highly valued team, experienced Audio Engineer Daniel Rucker founded and built Sound x Rucker studio, which is situated in Kentucky, USA, and features the state's first and only Dolby-certified Atmos production room. We recently caught up with Daniel to learn more about his studio and hear all about his life with immersive audio.

Can you tell our readers a little about yourself?

They call me Daniel 'Radio Rucker', because after my 2006 graduation from Kentucky's Lexington School of Recording Arts, I spent a decade as an 'On Air Talent' for iHeartMedia. I was Assistant Program Director for their Top 40/CHR station as well as Imaging Director for multiple formats. I loved being on-air, yet as a mixing engineer I was happiest when I was channelling my audio skills through the creation of the station's promos and imaging. When I left radio, the goal was to eventually own my own studio, and after a short stint doing freelance work around Louisville, I took the leap and made it happen.

What kind of space do you have at Sound x Rucker?

Uniquely, we're situated in the media wing of a full-service marketing agency and media company called Hatfield Media - and that's great because we've established a giant creative space together where an artist or brand can get just about anything done under one roof. To give you a picture of the physical space, Sound x Rucker's Atmos room, along with its green room and video studio account for about 7,000 square feet of the entire 20,000 square feet property.

What key equipment do you use at the studio?

I'd like to say the brains of this operation is our Avid MTRX Studio interface, which sits in a Danger Fox Genesis 24U desk. Then for the DAW, I'm running Pro Tools Ultimate with an HDX card. I have a couple of favorite vocal chains: the Avalon 737 is a popular choice and a piece of gear that I grew up working on, and then I'd have to say that my go-to chain is our 500 Series Neve 1073 pre-amp going into the Tube Tech CL1B compressor.

The crown jewel of our studio is absolutely the Genelec 7.1.4 Atmos system, all fed by Mogami cables. I went with 8340As for the LCR channels, and the rest of the monitors are 8330As. For the LFE channel, and to handle some of the crossover, I chose the 7380A.

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Can you outline the work you're doing at Sound x Rucker?

The control room is a hybrid space, so I can record clients there as well as in our vocal booth. Additionally, I can have podcasters record on the couch at the back of the control room. That kind of flexibility was all part of the plan for Sound x Rucker, and it's designed to work as an office space for myself and other audio professionals. This makes the room suitable for a very wide range of projects. I even produce voice overs for radio and TV in that room. Our Atmos work is picking up right now, and we've already worked on multiple major label projects. Next up, I'd like to work on more immersive audio in the film industry!

How did you end up getting interested in Atmos and kitting out the studio for it?

Immersive really grabbed my attention when Apple Music started talking about it. I can almost give the credit to my wife for giving me a pair of AirPods for my birthday in the summer of 2021.

After diving into every article I could find about it, I started to see some of my favorite engineers take the leap. I try to be early with trends, and to me this really felt like an important moment in music, so I wanted to act quickly. I consulted with Danny Fasold from Westlake Pro, and he was incredible to work with, giving me a great idea about the equipment options available. Genelec's Paul Stewart and Will Eggleston shared a wealth of knowledge with me, from fully explaining the Genelec Loudspeaker Manager (GLM) calibration software to answering every question I had about setting up our immersive room. In the end, we constructed the room with an immersive setup in mind, so all the wiring is built into the walls.

How would you describe the experience of starting out with immersive engineering?

Working with immersive audio immediately struck me as a fun challenge! For me, the steepest learning curve has been with advanced signal routing and navigating the new software that's needed outside Pro Tools. Mixing has been the most fun part; I just love having more space and a bigger canvas to work with in immersive!

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Have you used our GLM software to calibrate your system?

Yes, I use GLM to calibrate the room - and that was the main reason I chose the 8340s and 8330s. GLM has a very user-friendly process, and the result makes all the difference in the world. I've had a couple of different acousticians come in to help with additional treatment, mainly for aesthetics, but the room sounds phenomenal thanks to GLM.

Can you tell us about some of your recent immersive projects?

Having immersive capabilities has certainly brought in new clients as well as brand partnerships. One project I'm currently working on is with Ethika Music - I work closely with an artist on their roster called B Simm. Like us, he's from Louisville, and I'm mixing his first release with the label, which is in Dolby Atmos. We have additional strategies with that release that'll make it a cross-promotion for both Sound x Rucker and Ethika. I must admit, I'm a big fan of their clothing line, so it's a project that I'm really excited about.

How do you see the future of immersive audio?

It's here to stay! With so much momentum and massive corporate support driving it, immersive audio cannot be a flash in the pan. Jokingly, yet somewhat seriously, if we're all going to be living in the metaverse one day, we'll need the audio to match the visuals! Ha!

To find out more about Sound x Rucker, click here.

Do you want to be featured in our ‘Immersive Talk’ series? If so, just post some pictures of your setup on Instagram using the #GenelecImmersive hashtag. We’ll be keeping a look out for the most interesting setups, so who knows? We may be in touch with you!

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