The list of clients that use London’s Factory Studios is a testimony to the quality of
its sound design and mixing work. Last year Factory became the first UK facility to
include a Dolby Atmos-licenced suite for commercials and trailers, which features
35 Alcons CRMS Cinema Reference Monitor System speakers.

Founded in 1997, the award-winning facility has produced the sound for projects by
many high profile clients, including EE, O2, Renault, Nike, Three, eBay, Sainsbury’s,
Tesco, Harvey Nichols, BT, Sony and Samsung.

“We aim to be at the forefront of developments in audio technology,’ says Factory
sound engineer Ben Firth. “We have a close relationship with Dolby and are always
interested in new formats. We were introduced to Atmos at an early stage and, with
an increasing volume of work, have been able to build two new sound studios, one
with dedicated 9.1 surround and Atmos monitoring.’

Laurence Claydon, founder of technology consultancy Cinefilm, was brought in to
work with White Mark acoustic consultants on the project.

“The critical thing for an Atmos array is to get the loudspeaker positioning very
accurate and to ensure each one has enough power and dynamic range for each
position,’ he says. “Traditional cinema drivers are generally built down to a price.
With horn-loaded compression drivers, distortion rises with frequency above the
break-up point at 3kHz. Alcons pro-ribbon loudspeakers do not suffer with break-up
or increased distortion at higher frequencies, so are clean beyond the upper limit of
human hearing at 20kHz.’

To prove the point, Claydon took Firth to Alcons facility in Zwaag, Netherlands, to
do some listening tests.

For the surround system 20 CCS-3s, four VR8s and four CRS8s were chosen. The
low end is handled by four ultra-slim CB181 subs, with ten Sentinel 3 amplifiers
driving the system.

Another advantage of Alcons pro-ribbon technology is that it makes the
loudspeakers considerably lighter than traditional designs. “It was a challenge to
design and install a full Atmos-licenced monitoring system into quite a small room
at the top of a five storey building,’ says Claydon. “Every millimetre counted and
the light weight of the Alcons speakers helped with both the transport and precise

“The build quality is fantastic, with no negative effects on driver performance,’ adds
Firth. “As well as delivering a flat frequency response with crystal clear highs at all
SPL levels, the bass response is very impressive. It is imperative that all our mixes
sound the best they can, not just in the mix room but in the cinema, TV, radio and
online. Extensive feedback from our clients shows that they do.’

More information on: or