A Virtual Acousmonium for Transparent Speaker Systems

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Proceedings of the Sound and Music Computing Conference 2016, SMC 2016, Hamburg, Germany (2016) (2016)






An acousmonium, or loudspeaker orchestra, is a system of spatially-separated loudspeakers designed for diffusing electroacoustic music. The speakers in such a system are chosen based on their sonic properties and placed in space with the intention of imparting spatial and timbral effects on the music played through them. Acousmonia are in fact musical instruments that composers and sound artists use in concerts to perform otherwise static tape pieces. Unfortunately, acousmonia are large systems that are challenging to maintain, upgrade, transport, and reconfigure. Additionally, their sole task is limited to the diffusion of acousmatic music. On the other hand, most computer music centers have incorporated multichannel sound systems into their studio and concert setups. In this paper, we propose a virtual acousmonium that decouples an arbitrary arrangement of virtual, colored speakers from a transparent speaker system that the acousmonium is projected through. Using ambisonics and an appropriate decoder, we can realize the virtual acousmonium on almost any speaker system. Our software automatically generates a GUI for metering and OSC/MIDI responders for control, making the system portable, configurable, and simple to use.

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