Collaboration with Aarhus University on the development of new acoustic spaces

RAMA is engaged in a new collaboration with the Audio Design programme at the Master’s program Digital Design at Arts, Aarhus University. The project shall explore and develop new technical and artistic possibilities for spatial sound processing in connection with a brand new 48 channel speaker system at RAMA.

The new speaker system will be inaugurated at a concert on the Club Scene at RAMA, Aarhus,  on Thursday, November 14 at 7.30 pm. All interested are welcome, there is free admission. The music and sound collages at the concert are created partly by students at the composer programs at RAMA (classical, jazz/pop and electronic composition) and partly by students at Audio Design at AU. The concert primarily will challenge and test the system to gain the first experience of how it performs.

The 48 speakers are located above, in front, behind and below as well as around the listener in various levels. This creates a spatial and quite undefined sound field. The many speakers cheat the brain and make us forget that it is just speakers we listen to, and you get the experience of standing in a hemisphere of sound.

It is new that, unlike traditional stereo and surround sound, the sound has no specific direction. It is thus more than a concert for a larger number of speakers. New software is used, known from so-called game engines, ie. The “engine” in computer games, to control and distribute the sound to the many speakers in a very special way that counteracts the experience of directional sound from the individual speaker.

There are great perspectives in the new speaker system, both artistically and technically. Technically, this involves how far you can go to create brand new acoustic spaces, independent of physical space; eg to recreate the acoustics of churches and concert halls. Artistically it gives composers, sound artists and sound designers new tools for spatial processing of sound; but also it gives classical and jazz/pop composers and musicians the opportunity to create new spatial concert experiences, for example by changing the acoustic space of the performance or by letting sounds wander away from the stage and around the audience.

Teachers and students from both RAMA and AU participate in the project. The Audio Design programme at AU works with production, programming and implementation of sound in primarily interactive contexts. At RAMA in particular the electronic composers (DIEM programme) have been working on the development of spatial electronic and electro-acoustic sound for more than 10 years; but increasingly classical and jazz/pop composers and musicians are also involved in the work.

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