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Trinnov Audio Speaker manufacturer partner : Sonance

4 July 2023

In this interview, Mark Schnoll - Studio Sherpa at Sonance gives us his feedback using Altitude32. The performance, the flexibility, and level of detail you can reach in terms of sound makes their Sonance and James Loudspeaker system sound even more incredible.

Can you please introduce yourself ?

My official role within the company is Studio Sherpa. As a Studio Sherpa, I get the great pleasure of hosting people within the Sonance studio. Sonance is kind of the umbrella and under the Sonance umbrella, we have James Loudspeaker, which we acquired in January 2020.

We love it because of the capabilities. We've got a catalog of roughly 200 pieces, but the idea is we can change the size, shape, and dimensions and finishes to match anything anybody needs.

What's your experience like working with Trinnov Altitude ?


A lot of the questions I get within the space are not only what are the speakers that are used in there (we have two systems a Sonance system and a James system) but what are the electronics that are driving behind it. The primary basis for that is the Altitude32 by Trinnov.

The first and primary reason we use it is because it sounds incredible. It is by far the best processor on the market, we love it for the performance. We're using the 32-channel because within that space, it actually allows us to use one source component and one pre-pro for both systems. What we've done here is we've actually made a dedicated profile for the James system and then a dedicated profile for the Sonance system. And then what we do via Savant is we trigger these different seams and issue commands to essentially trigger one profile to come on and another one to turn off. It made it very easy to compare the two using the same basic electronics between them.

How would you describe the calibration process ?

We've had Todd Ryan who's our Chief Engineer for 29 years here at Sonance. Todd dove into it with a couple other team members and it really gave them the ability to fine-tune the system, so not only can you do the basics of setting levels and distances, but really diving in to the parametric EQ, measuring the room. And then by channel really calibrating the performance of each speaker to match the acoustics of the room.

Designing systems with Altitude as preferred processor 


I think one of the great things we get to do in the space here and with the brands that we represent is we get involved in systems at the entry level, which could be a basic audio video receiver, to a cost is no object trying to achieve somebody's dream theater package.

So if somebody is trying to take that leap of getting the best of the best out there, then Altitude falls right into place. It gives the client the ability to really fine-tune that system depending on the size of the room, it really allows us to scale up or down depending on how many channel requirements are within the space itself. Ultimately, what we want is to make sure we're having the right conversations with an end user, and then design that system around those expectations. I think the Altitude lets you do that because it'll let you grow either up or down with the system to match the acoustics and the experience that somebody's looking for.

Using Altitude in Sonance demo room


When we bring people into our theater here and we play the Sonance system for them first and then we play the James system, I get a lot of people pull me to the side and say: “I gotta be honest with you, I didn't know those brands could do that”.

I think the combination of that processor along with the speaker packages that are in there are one of the most surprising experience that people get within the space themselves. What we have within the James system there is actually a 9.3.6 system highlighting the James B E theater. These beryllium tweeters in a quad array are simply remarkable!

I have been in a lot of theaters that can play loud and that certainly will play very very loud in there but I can't wait to get out of most rooms, because I'm hearing a lot of distortion at the top end and I end up with what's called listener fatigue. The level of detail that we're getting from the Altitude makes it so that we can play that James system incredibly loud.

What feedback do your visitors give ?

We do get plenty of people in the film industry through here. Usually, what they'll do is request that we download a movie for them, prior they get into the space. It could be a Director or somebody who worked on the sound and they'll come into the space, listen to either the Sonance or the James system on the Altitude. At the end of it, they'll say to me almost word for word: “That's exactly what I was looking for”. And I'll say what does that means and they'll say:

“You know when we mix these things we spend a lot of time with the soundtracks, countless hours in the studio and unfortunately, it's lost in most of the systems that people listen to at home. When I came into this space and I listened to it here, I heard exactly the detail that we intended for people to hear when we were doing that film scoring to begin with“

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