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PMC And Steven Wilson Bring Atmos Music to Munich High End

by May 07, 2024
PMC & Steven Wilson Showcase Atmos

PMC & Steven Wilson Showcase Atmos

PMC & Steven Wilson Showcase Atmos

The English musician Steven Wilson is perhaps best known as the founder, guitarist, lead vocalist, and songwriter of the rock band Porcupine Tree. He has also had a celebrated solo career, and has been a strong advocate of immersive audio for years. In 2022, his album The Future Bites was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Immersive Album. He has another four nominations for Best Surround Sound Album to his credit. This year, Wilson will be sharing his experience and creative use of immersive audio in a series of presentations being held at the High End audio show in Munich, which takes place from May 9th through the 12th at the MOC Event Center. Wilson has teamed up with the British loudspeaker manufacturer PMC to assemble the reference-level audio system used for the presentations.

Steven Wilson

PMC describes the Munich system as “the ultimate large-scale Dolby Atmos audio system,” and says that its technical prowess will allow Wilson to share his extensive knowledge and experience of using immersive audio as a creative tool. The series of seminars will cover both his work using immersive audio in the creation of his own music and his experience working as a spatial audio remixer, giving the immersive treatment to classic works by other artists. Wilson is reportedly one of the most in-demand spatial audio mix engineers in the business. Naturally, the presentations will include demos of Wilson’s immersive mixes, with the main focus being on his latest solo album, The Harmony Codex. Other works scheduled for demonstration include classic songs by Tears for Fears, Ultravox, and Roxy Music, all of whom turned to Wilson to produce the immersive mixes for their best-known albums. Wilson says that he looks forward to the opportunity to win over the hearts and minds of the passionate music-lovers who attend High End Munich, many of whom may be on the fence about immersive/spatial audio.

There are some people who are very skeptical about spatial audio, and yet they love stereo, to which my reply is, ‘You like stereo, you like spatial.’ When sound comes from more than one direction, it is, by definition, spatial. And, if you play them the right track, in the right context, you can convert them, which is why this event we’re doing at the High End is so exciting. We’re going to have an incredible system and interesting music. What’s not to love when you hear your favorite music, and you are literally inside the music with the artist?

— Steven Wilson

Editorial Note by Gene DellaSala

I was proud to first educate Steven Wilson about Dolby Atmos during my interview about his album Hand Cannot Erase. At the time of this interview, Mr. Wilson seemed skeptical that consumers would be able to go beyond the 5.1 speaker barrier in most homes. I'm glad to see he has seen the light and is now producing some of the best sounding Spatial Audio mixes for his music, as well as other leading bands.

Steven Wilson with Blu-ray

The incredible system that Wilson is referring to comprises a mix of PMC’s famous professional main-mix studio monitors with the company’s Custom Install (ci) series speakers. PMC main-mix monitors have been installed in many of the world’s top studios since the company was founded in 1991 — that’s what you’ll find at the iconic Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, for example. Meanwhile, PMC’s ci series has become an industry reference for Atmos Music mixing (alongside competitors from another British company, ATC). It’s interesting that a company known for making the professional monitors used in some of the world’s foremost recording facilities will be arriving in Munich with a mix-and-match system — one that combines PMC Professional products with PMC Home Audio speakers. But the company says this is a deliberate move, intended to reinforce the brand’s approach to speaker design. According to PMC, all of its products are voiced identically, from the tiny Prodigy1 hi-fi speaker ($1,700/pair) to the massive QB1 XBD-A studio monitors ($210,000/pair). PMC says that this “Studio to Home” approach ensures that “audiophiles hear the sound at home as it was when created in the studio.”

 The Munich System

PMC BB6 XBD Active MonitorsThe system that Steven Wilson will use in Munich employs a trio of PMC’s class-leading BB6 XBD Active monitors ($62,500 each) for the front left, center, and front right channels. These are the same monitors that you would find at studios like the BBC, Metropolis Studios in London, and LP.ME Studios in Dubai.

The surround channels and height channels will be reproduced by 14 speakers from PMC’s ci series. These are passive speakers designed for in-ceiling, in-wall, or on-wall mounting. The system’s low frequencies will be delivered by four of PMC’s BST “awesomely powerful, professional-grade” subwoofers.

This is a system unlike any other we have installed for a hi-fi event. It will provide the audiophile visitors to the High End an opportunity to experience immersive audio on a system unlike any they have heard before, just like the ones used in major commercial studios for Atmos mixing, giving them a taste of what is actually heard by the artists and producers. To be partnering with a musician of Steven’s caliber is a real honor, and we know the presentations will be an eye-opener for many of the visitors, for whom immersive audio hasn’t yet been featured in their listening experiences. There really is nothing like it and with Steven at the helm, the demonstrations will show just how creatively and carefully this technology can be used to enhance the enjoyment of music.

— Oliver Thomas, PMC’s Commercial Director  

Steven Wilson’s presentations will take place in room K1, foyer 1, at the following times:

May 9th:

11:00am - Intro to spatial audio + tracks from The Harmony Codex and others + Q&A

2:30pm - Intro to spatial audio + tracks from The Harmony Codex and others + Q&A

May 10th and 11th:

11:00 am - Intro to spatial audio + tracks from The Harmony Codex and others + Q&A

2:30 pm - Intro to spatial audio + tracks from The Harmony Codex and others + Q&A

4:30 pm - The Harmony Codex full album spatial audio playback + Q&A

May 12th:

11:00 am - Intro to spatial audio + tracks from The Harmony Codex and others + Q&A

2:30 pm - The Harmony Codex full album spatial audio playback + Q&A

PMC will also be exhibiting in room D106, atrium 3. Here, show-goers will have the opportunity to check out the company’s flagship Fenestria speakers and the new Active twenty5i series, both of which will be on demonstration throughout the show.

Tickets: Get Immersed With Steven Wilson

More Information: High End Munich 2024


About the author:
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Jacob is a music-lover and audiophile who enjoys convincing his friends to buy audio gear that they can't afford. He's also a freelance writer and editor based in Los Angeles.

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