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Looking For Sound Advice

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Looking For Sound Advice

Postby CDNDaddybear » Thu Jul 30, 2015 4:54 am

I am looking for assistance in creating a special project that I have been wanting to do for years. I've always gotten distracted or, truthfully, disinterested but I am at the point where I would like to dedicate some time to seeing this project through.

I am not needing advice for anything related to the music industry. My musical experience stops at Karaoke singing now and again.

The project includes using specific frequencies or tones. The basis is as follows:

I need something that will be able to control 27 separate speakers. I need something that will allow me to pattern the sound distribution. Control the duration of each sound in the individual speaker as well at the frequency. This can be done with a computer program if anyone knows of one. And I'll probably need some hardware as well. I am sure there are speakers which would be ideal for this application. I've tried looking on the internet but I'm afraid my grasp on that topis is weak at best. This is why I've turned to you for assistance.

The idea is to take 4 speakers (left, right, top, bottom) and "spin" the sound around the speakers by creating a special gapping program which will briefly turn off the speaker for a set period of time. LBTR, LBTR, LBTR over and over again.

By controlling the speed of the pattern, I am hoping to create a "spin" effect of the sound.

I don't want to reveal the entire project here, but if there is some people who could help me with it, I would be ever so grateful. It'd be a dream come true.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post. Blessed Be.

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Just here looking for some sound advice.

Re: Looking For Sound Advice

Postby The Elf » Thu Jul 30, 2015 8:11 am

Hi and welcome!

Fully immersive audio has been a long-time grail for the audio industry.

Budget aside, setting up 27 separately addressable channels/speakers is a relatively trivial task for modern audio technology, but controlling the delivery of audio to that number of channels is clumsy and cumbersome. Traditional panning methods are clearly far too limited and co-ordinating 27 sources to be timed to produce convincing spatial effects would be the stuff of nightmares! You also have the problem that delivering that same audio experience would require the playback environment to have the same 27 speakers in exactly the same configuration as on which it was created.

Dolby's 'Atmos' system moves away from traditional channel panning methods, freeing the creation and delivery points from the requirement for a specific number of channels/speakers. It allows the engineer to tell the system where a sound is to be placed (or what path it should take a journey on) and letting Atmos decide how best to achieve that, regardless of how many channels are available. This allows the delivery system to be scaled to suit the budget and environment.

It's an interesting topic. SOS's industry sister mag has covered its progress many times over the years, so it would be worth digging into their archives.

Here's one for example: The Rise of Immersive Audio
And here is where you can find out more about Dolby Atmos: Dolby Atmos

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Re: Looking For Sound Advice

Postby The Red Bladder » Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:51 am

As the Elf said, the industry is waaaay ahead of you. You can get so-called object-based sound reproduction from three competeling companies, Dolby Atmos, DTS-X and Auro-3D.

Suround web page

If you still want to do the 27 speaker thing, you just need 27 IO converters and a copy of Reaper ( download page ). Reaper is AFAIK, the only audio workstation that will mix down to any number of outputs. All the others do 7.1 at the most. You may want to limit that to 24, as there are 24 IO converter boxes out there for under $1,000. The cheapest is the Cymatic uTrack24, which retails for c.a. $750. Things will get hairy cost-wise with 24 speakers however. Even with the cheapest active speakers, you are looking at $2,400 and they will sound pants!

Yamaha has an Atmos compatible soundbar coming out soon that really works. Yes, I know that all the existing soundbars are rubbish, but the Yamaha one really works well and will cost c.a. $2,250 or £1,500 recommended retail. The advantage of this soundbar is that it works brilliantly in a small space, even a highly reflective one.

Those three object based encoding systems do not require the listener to have the same speakers in the same positions as the encoder. Typically, the post production house will have a 7:4:1 setup (seven surround, four ceiling and one sub) whereas the movie house will have as many as it takes.

If you want to set yourself up for Atmos, you must have ProTools-HD, as the only Atmos encoder at the moment uses the AAX ProTools protocol and I was talking to Dolby engineers and they did not seem to want to create a VST version any time soon.

My guess is that they have done a deal with Avid (owners of ProTools) and probably already have a VST version waiting in the wings when that deal runs out. As the continued existence of Avid is very far from certain (falling market share, combined with losses, losses and more losses) they are unlikely to have thrown all their eggs into one basket with holes in it!
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Re: Looking For Sound Advice

Postby Scramble » Thu Sep 17, 2015 11:06 am

Are you talking about doing some sort of art installation?
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Re: Looking For Sound Advice

Postby Mixedup » Thu Sep 17, 2015 12:12 pm

It all really depends on what you're trying to achieve. You don't need to turn the speakers on/off. You just need some sort of filtering/busing network to route the audio to different speakers in the desired amounts. You should be able to do this side of it in software and, contrary to the advice given above, be able to do it in any DAW software that supports sufficient outputs and free routing.

You either need to look at the cinema-sound side of things described above, or to look at what the sound installation artists are doing. Someone like John Eacott at Westminster University, for example. There's (or was?) quite a lot of this stuff going on via Goldsmiths University too.

But do you need 27 speakers? Surely you can move the sound between fewer of them in the configuration you describe — as you move between stereo speakers, just with more axes.

Or maybe you want to do something more ambitious? Have a look at/listen to Honda's 1989 Senna Ghost Circuit Video if you've not already done so...
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