Jean Goudier is a well-known, award-winning sound designer in France who has worked with directors like Roman Polanski, Oliver Stone, Patrice Leconte, and Jean Paul Rappeneau. In addition, he is an early adopter of Delair Front Wave Audio™ technology, so we asked him about his experience with it.
How did you discover Delair Front Wave Audio technology?
A couple of years ago, I was working on a movie called Dogora with director Patrice Leconte. During that project, I traveled to Cambodia to record some ambient sounds using a double-MS (mid-side) microphone configuration on four tracks. This had to be done with great care, since the whole movie has no dialog, only music and ambient sounds. The challenge was to blend the sounds I recorded with a gripping operatic score, which required extreme precision in recording the sounds as well as the editing and design.
I prepared a rough cut before moving to Le Club de l’Etoile, a screening room in the heart of Paris that is equipped with the Delair Front Wave Audio sound system. I was absolutely amazed at the quality and precision of all the sounds I had added to the music, which was mixed in 5.1. It was extremely rich. The relationship between dynamics of the various elements was entirely correct; I could hear the dynamic ranges of different sounds in mix better than I had on other systems. In fact, the speakers seemed to disappear, and the sound seemed to be coming from the screen itself as part of an organic whole.
It was a true revelation — not mystical, but professional. Shortly after that, I equipped my studio with a Front Wave Audio system, and my work has benefited greatly since then. I can direct sounds to the front left, center, and right very precisely. The system clearly demonstrates the importance of working with equipment that you can trust. All the work I do is faithfully reproduced at the end of a project.
Since then, what benefits have you enjoyed the most with Front Wave Audio technology?
I have worked on many movies over the last couple of years, and I have complete faith in the technology. I know that all my hard work is in the final master. Fine tuning and tweaking that used to be unthinkable is now easy, because I know that the balance is correct, the highs and mids are correct, and the spatialisation is perfect. No more nasty surprises; everything works exactly as I expect. What I do in the editing room matches the director’s vision; he can listen to the rough cuts and hear exactly what will be heard in the final mix.
Do you find that the system is easier on the ears than conventional audio systems?
Absolutely! It is much less fatiguing to listen to the Delair sound system, probably because the balance is more correct and one doesn’t have to compress the low-level sounds, which is usually the case with more traditional systems. In particular, the precision of spatialisation using Front Wave Audio technology is incredible. Also, the reproduction of the bass, midrange, and treble is simply marvellous. This is an irreplaceable tool for me, and I couldn’t work with any other system. Delair Front Wave Audio speakers are the most reliable tool I’ve ever used.
Generally speaking, what can Delair bring to the movie industry?
Aside from the audible benefits, which are significant, Front Wave Audio technology also improves the visual performance of a projection system. It uses a non-perforated screen, increasing the brightness of the image and avoiding all the potential artefacts that can arise from the interaction between perforations in the screen and the pixel structure of digital projectors. Also, there is no acoustic filtering of the sound from the front speakers, which you must compensate for with a perforated screen.