If you want to recreate the sound of a particular hall or studio live room, why not capture its essence and then use this to treat your music? Sonic Foundry's new software makes it all possible. Martin Walker samples the results.
If you want to recreate the sound of a particular hall or studio live room, why not capture its essence and then use this to treat your music? Sonic Foundry's new software makes it all possible. MARTIN WALKER samples the results.
Acoustics Modeler is a new PC plug‑in from those clever people who designed Sound Forge (and for those who don't know, the name is not a misprint, but the American spelling of 'Modeller'). Rather than launching yet another reverb plug‑in, Sonic Foundry have provided a way to capture the sound of real acoustic spaces, such as actual halls, rooms and churches, reduce each of these to an 'acoustic signature', and then allow you to use these to add the effect of the chosen environment to any audio recording. Since the signature is of a real environment, the result can be uncannily real. However, Acoustics Modeler doesn't stop there — the same system can capture the signature of a music signal emerging from another piece of equipment, such as an existing reverb unit, or an expensive condenser mic, to simulate passing your music through the same device. It can even be used in a totally off‑the‑wall fashion, by creating signatures from synth patches, or indeed any recorded sound, and using these to process other sounds, for some totally unique results. Appetite whetted? Let's take a closer look.
Since Acoustics Modeler is compatible with Microsoft's DirectX plug‑in standard, it can be accessed from any application that supports DirectX, such as the 'big three' PC MIDI + Audio sequencers (Cakewalk Pro Audio v6, Cubase VST PC v3.5, and Logic Audio v3.0), as well as audio editors such as Sound Forge v4.0 itself, and WaveLab v1.6. The installation routine checks that you have DMSS (DirectX Media Streaming Services) on your PC, and if not, offers to install it for you. Copy protection is taken care of via a unique serial number found inside the front cover of the manual, which must be entered just once, but the CD‑ROM will be required again if you download any free software update from the Sonic Foundry web site, just to check your honesty. As with all audio software, your PC must be fairly powerful, but Acoustics Modeler needs more power than most for real‑time operation. You will need a Pentium, but a Pentium Pro is recommended, along with Windows 95 or NT 4.0 (or later). Due to the large amount of data processing, 24Mb of RAM is required, along with several hundred megabytes of temporary storage space on your hard disk.
Once installed, the program can be accessed from any DMSS‑compatible host, and basic operation is simplicity itself. You just choose an Impulse file (which contains the acoustic 'distillation'), either by typing in its name, or using the Browse button to call up a list of such files provided with the package — there are a wide variety on the CD‑ROM. These normally have a Sonic Foundry Impulse file extender (.SFI), although...