Day 1 • 8am Session
Though I was shown the room when I initially arrived, I got my first listen to the 4DSOUND system today, which is really actually incredibly groundbreaking. It is really the step that I needed and the direction that my body of work is heading. Pretty much being able to achieve the spatial world I’ve been trying to emulate in my theatrical designs. The most important concept I learnt was the first thing I was told - ‘Forget about channels and speakers, and start thinking in sound objects.’ This was easy to with 4D Monitor which creates a visual representation of your sound object. From there, you create the dimensions and position of this object in the space. This allows you to focus on what your creating and how you want to perceive the sound in the space, rather than worry about balancing the sound between speaker to create the desired effect. This is imaging, a concept I use in every sound design I produce. However, in a theatrical setting, the audience and stage (in most cases) will be static throughout the performance. So for instance, if a telephone is ringing centre stage, you can use the stage monitors and balance the amount of sound sent to them so that the audience perceives the sound is coming from the source.
The way the system was described on the institute’s website and other literature lead me to believe the system acted differently than it does in reality. I thought that because of the grid of speakers (32 satellites 6 subs) that the sound object would become it’s own entity within the space and that the listener would loose awareness of the speakers. This is not exactly the case. With the above example, the audience perceives the sound as coming from the telephone centre stage because of their perspective. An actor on stage standing near the stage monitor would perceive the sound as coming from the speaker they are near. Similarly in this room, if you are moving a sound object across the room from you, there is a lot more magic to it’s existence. But if you move an object to be beside you, you are more aware of the speaker as a source. The difference here being that there are so many speakers in play, you may be aware of the speaker but at least it’s in the right place in the room.
The system almost does itself a disservice because of how user-friendly it is, when using it you almost loose sight of the amazing complexity that is going into creating these spatial sound spaces. Though it is not completely what I expected, the actual functionality of the room gives me more hope for an ability to recreate what I will build here. It will be limited by speaker numbers, but the core concept of sound objects can be recreated on a smaller scale-which is very exciting, as I thought this project may live and die here.