GroundControl Sphere is the latest Mac-based software monitoring package from Ginger Audio, and has been designed specifically for those working in surround or immersive audio. It can run alongside any DAW or multi-channel playback software, and offers a range of helpful facilities such as speaker calibration, monitor control functionality, bass management, comprehensive metering and more.
Routing & Monitor Control
The application features eight input channels which can each be configured to operate in any format from stereo up to 9.1.6, and can be freely routed to the outputs of any available Core Audio device, or to other software applications such as the Dolby Atmos Renderer. The software is displayed as an Audio Device within System Preferences, allowing signals from other software applications to be routed into GroundControl Sphere for processing and distribution.
A Control Room section houses Peak and Loudness meter displays, as well as a speaker layout display which can be configured to match the user’s setup. The section acts as a software monitoring controller, providing functions such as mutes and solos for individual speakers (and groups of speakers), volume control and routing to up to seven different outputs, as well as a dedicated cue output.
It is also possible to carry out speaker calibration from within the software, with independent level adjustments for each channel joined by delay lines and EQ facilities that help to tune a system and apply room correction. Bass managements features are also present, with every speaker channel equipped with a crossover that can be used to divert low-frequency content to a dedicated LFE channel, if required. In addition to the built-in processing options, Sphere can also host AU plug-ins on each input channel, although they must be capable of supporting the same channel configuration that the input is set to.
EUCON & Stream Deck Support
For those who want hands-on control over the software’s functionality, the company have implemented EUCON and Stream Deck integration. The former allows users of Avid hardware control surfaces such as the Artist Series, Dock, S4 and S6 — or the free Avid Control mobile/tablet application — to take control of the software’s features directly from their existing setups. The latter then extends similar functionality to users of Elgato’s range of Stream Deck controllers via a free downloadable plug-in.
Since the software’s initial release, Ginger Audio have updated Ground Control Sphere to v1.2.6, delivering a range of additional features and improvements along with a number of bug fixes. A refreshed GUI gives the software a new look, whilst performance upgrades have resulted in lower CPU usage. New preferences have been added to link the Dim and Talkback functions, and new customisation options mean that it is now possible to activate or deactivate any meters to suit a users’ particular needs. Additionally, the Stream Deck plug-in is also now available directly from the Elgato Store.
GroundControl Sphere is supported on Macs running macOS 10.14 and higher, and is natively supported on Apple Silicon processors. There is no Windows version available. It is compatible with all DAWs, although Pro Tools users will need to be running version 2022.9 and later.
Pricing & Availability
GroundControl Sphere is available now, and is currently (30 July 2023) being offered for $319, reduced from its full cost of $399.