Synchron Stage Vienna is a recording facility specializing in recording large orchestras and film music. The landmark protected building, formerly "Synchronhalle" ("Hall 6") of the historic film lot "Film City Vienna" in the Austrian capital's 23rd district is operated by Vienna Symphonic Library.
From its construction in the early 1940s until the 1950s, the facility shared its history with the Rosenhuegel-Filmstudios. At that time the "Synchronhalle" hosted as many as ten large orchestra film score projects per year. A remnant of the building's designated use is the preserved "Lenkwil" cinema organ with three manuals that features not only various instrumental timbres but also sound effects such as rolling thunder, car horns, clopping horses, twittering birds and ocean waves. It is the only cinema organ in the world that is still housed in its original scoring stage. Because of this combination the Federal Monuments Office classified this building as a historical monument. In the mid 1960s, the complex was acquired by the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF), initializing an era of revival. Eminent classical artists such as Karl Böhm, Herbert von Karajan, Yehudi Menuhin, Sviatoslav Richter and Mstislav Rostropovich discovered the exceptional acoustic properties and used the "Synchronhalle" for many legendary recordings. By the beginning of the 21st century, the hall had fallen into a state of disrepair but was still used as a rehearsal stage. In summer 2013, the Viennese sample library and music software developer Vienna Symphonic Library acquired and began refurbishing the facility. Synchron Stage Vienna with its acoustic design was nominated for 32nd TEC Award at NAMM Show in Anaheim.
The first project was recorded in October 2015 with Grammy Award winning recording and mixing engineer Dennis Sands and composer/orchestrator/conductor, Conrad Pope. Shortly after the official opening, Hans Zimmer's Remote Control Productions chose Synchron Stage Vienna to record a whole slate of productions, including music for Inferno, starring Tom Hanks (directed by Ron Howard, music by Hans Zimmer), and the Netflix series The Crown by Peter Morgan (music by Hans Zimmer and Rupert Gregson-Williams).
In March 2016, the Vienna Symphonic Library business offices moved into the new facility.
Synchron Stage Vienna is a recording facility that merges traditional and novel recording technologies and workflows with Vienna Symphonic Library's software innovations. It combines a scoring stage with several studios, isolation booths and office space used by clients and Vienna Symphonic Library's software and sample development business. Stage A, the large main hall, accommodates orchestras of up to 130 musicians and is built as a room-in-room construction, with an up to 10-foot gap between walls, ensuring entire sonic isolation from outside noise. Additional studios and offices surround the central stage, including Stage B, another recording room, Control Rooms A and B, several lounges, isolation booths, instrument storage rooms and a score archive. The facility offers the ability to route any signal source to any room of the building, including offices, without any latency or loss of audio quality. The stages and control rooms can be configured modularly depending on the recording requirements. Film composers can record their scores or augment their virtual symphonic cues with a real orchestra.
The basement comprises storage rooms for pianos and 300 percussion instruments. All rooms are connected to the same ventilation system used by the recording stages, so the stored instruments are always pre-acclimated for recording. An elevator connects the storage rooms directly with Stage A.
Synchron Stage Vienna currently offers three concert grand pianos, a Steinway D-274 and two remotely accessible pianos, a Bösendorfer 290 Imperial with CEUS performance reproducing system and a Yamaha Disklavier CFX EN PRO. The Bösendorfer CEUS technology and the Yamaha Disklavier reproducing system incorporate computer controlled mechanisms to record performances and accurately play them back on the acoustic instrument. With the CEUS system, solenoids activate each key and pedal to mirror the original, recorded performance. The ability to accurately capture a performance in terms of timing and loudness is an important step in retaining the player's unique expression. The performance reproducing pianos have several applications, e.g., a recorded piano performance can be edited in order to correct notes or to adjust dynamics and timing. Furthermore, a single pianist has the opportunity to perform a piece for four hands, accompanying an initial performance with a second take. A piano performance, played anywhere in the world, can be reproduced and recorded in one of Synchron Stage's rooms.
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