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electro-music 2009 - the aftermath
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Inventor
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 4:49 am    Post subject: electro-music 2009 - the aftermath Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

"My head hurts, My feet stink, and I don't love Jesus" - that's what Jimmy Buffet said, and it's a littlel bit true for me but not so much.

I am happy to report that the lower leg adema (sp?) or swelling of the legs that I was sporting at the festival is now totally gone due mainly to a strange attack of alcohol moderation. Also the soreness that made me groan loudly when getting in or out of a chair at the festival is gone too.

All that is left is the happiest set of meaningful memories that I could ever hope to enjoy. I have no words to describe all the love.

Love, love me do, you know I love you too - sang the Beatles. It was like that and it still is in my memory. I could go on but it's difficult to see the screen with tears of joy. How good was your festival? Mine was pretty darn good.

Les

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ThinAir



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:36 am    Post subject: Afterglow Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I've been to four E-M's, starting with the first day of the first one in 2005. From all I saw and heard, 2009 was the best yet. The music was consistently good, and possibly even more varied than in the past. To be honest, I remember in year's past being disappointed by half of the music I heard (and excited and energized by the other half). This year, I got something from almost every act. And lots of unforgettable moments I'll be drawing inspiraction from for a long time.

And I think the participants are getting weirder and more intense too--which in my book is a good thing. I'm still trying to index in my mind all the things that happened and all the new directions all those brief encounters have launched for me.

Even the videos were better than in year's past. I used to be annoyed by the distraction from the music. This year I thought the videos were more restrained, yet really interesting. They added to the experience.

I like the new venue (though Cheltenham was funkier). I hope we can return to Star Lake, fix a few things (like the acoustics in the downstairs room), and make it a regular happening out there in the bucolic woods where only the deer can hear our fish-pan noise generators.

I hope people enjoyed our Delicate Monster set on Friday, and I vow next year to come with a less-complex, trouble-prone rig for ThinAir so I can play a full set and rock the house.

I'm missing you guys, and all the great sounds already. See you next year.

Steve Bowman
ThinAir
Delicate Monster

Last edited by ThinAir on Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:46 am; edited 1 time in total
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bbinkovitz



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:24 am    Post subject: Re: Afterglow Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thinair (Steve Bowman) wrote:
I've been to four E-M's, starting with the first day of the first one in 2005. From all I saw and heard, 2009 was the best yet. The music was consistently good, and possibly even more varied than in the past. To be honest, I remember in year's past being disappointed by half of the music I heard (and excited and energized by the other half). This year, I got something from almost every act. And lots of unforgettable moments I'll be drawing inspiraction from for a long time.


This was my fourth E-M in a row, and I was thinking the exact same things about increase in variety and improvement in quality. In the past I had a lot of fun, but since I'm not really into the Berlin School stuff or space music as much as a lot of the other participants/organizers, I was kind of artistically underwhelmed at times in previous years. Not so this year!

Quote:

And I think the participants are getting weirder and more intense too--which in my book is a good thing. I'm still trying to index in my mind all the things that happened and all the new directions all those brief encounters have launched for me.


I definitely noticed this too. Especially for myself --- I had the distinct feeling that reality was receding by the minute during the event, and that I was leaving my superficial worries floating on the surface of my being, while I sank to a deeper, less self-conscious level as I came to realize that I was really among kindred spirits. In other words, I really felt like it was a vacation and it was way relaxing, so my weird, intense, confident side came out more than in previous years.

Quote:

Even the videos were better than in year's past. I used to be annoyed by the distraction from the music. This year I thought the videos were more restrained, yet really interesting. They added to the experience.


I agree. At first I was kind of dismayed by the lack of emphasis on visuals this year, and I do think that fast-paced, crazy visuals can be good with some music. In the past, Vostek and others like him made good use of this, I think. However, for the vast majority of stuff at electro, it just didn't fit.

I spoke with smokris (my husband, who was running visuals in the dining room area all weekend) at the beginning of the event, and we both decided it would be good to sort of channel Tim Thompson (think of the visuals he did for Margaret Noble in Cheltenham) in terms of graduality and minimalism.

I also really enjoyed Waked Lunch's visuals, which they brought with them and had specially commissioned to sync up with each piece. It really blew me away, and I felt deeply moved in a way I haven't really experienced much from watching performers at previous electro-music events.

Quote:

I like the new venue (though Cheltenham was funkier). I hope we can return to Star Lake, fix a few things (like the acoustics in the downstairs room), and make it a regular happening out their in the bucolic woods where only the deer can hear our fish pan noise generators.


I was really sad when I first heard that we were not going to be having e-m 08 in Cheltenham, but I feel like we have really found a new home at Star Lake. In the future, we need some pre-structured protocols for smoking and drinking, to make elimination of related litter more expedient, and we need rugs for the main room (which I've been vowing and then forgetting to bring every year, since every venue seems to have at least one room that needs them).

I especially liked being able to jam all night and sleep in the same building as the event stuff. It made it possible to have all my gear accessible, so when we wanted to do an unscheduled jam I could just be like, "Lemme grab my mixer and speakers from my room, BRB"

Quote:

I hope people enjoyed our Delicate Monster set on Friday, and I vow next year to come with a less-complex, trouble-prone rig for ThinAir so I can play a full set and rock the house.


Unfortunately I missed your set. I look forward to experiencing your sound next year though!

I find that I always leave e-m events artistically energized (although physically drained) and eager to come back with new sounds and visual ideas. This year was the best ever for me in that regard, since I got inspiration in every area from getting better at soldering to thinking of new possibilities for visual combinations to improved knowledge of Ableton Live. It's going to be a big effort for me to remember to go to work and class rather than let my brain pretend it's still at Star Lake with nothing more pressing than circuit bending toys and hacking a VGA out on my Lemur.

In a word, WOW.

-Beth

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Last edited by bbinkovitz on Wed Nov 04, 2009 4:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I am so going to sample that firebell. Laughing I just got to it in Day 3's stream, including the cheers when it stopped.

If I had any regrets about spending most of the weekend glued to the streaming booth, it would be that I missed the stuff going on in the Lounge, especially. A lot of good seminars and demonstrations, some jams, and late night discussions. It would have been nicer with some comfortable, dare I say lounge-like, furniture, but it was still okay. I did get there once in a while, next year I would like to try to attend more of them. I also missed all of the jams, but considering how little I had brought along with me, it was no big deal.

I really like the Star Lake facility. I hope we get to come back to it next year. There are some things I think could be improved (the downstairs comes to mind) and maybe we're packing too many performers in when we could be moving some of those talks and jams to the big rooms (the drum circle was in Downstairs and it was a lot of fun to listen to). I guess there is always something that could be improved. It was really excellent to have the rooms in the same building, although those in rooms ending in 01, 06, 07, and 12 might think differently (the place has the most amazing door slamming, and squeaky doors). Maybe we can have a contest next year for sampling the most outrageous sound made by the building infrastructure. Smile

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ThinAir



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

EdisonRex wrote:
Maybe we can have a contest next year for sampling the most outrageous sound made by the building infrastructure. Smile


Hey, great idea. Now that we've all experienced the Star Lake facilities, we can come up with creative ways to integrate the buildings with sound. Maybe some sound installations, other than the fish pan. Pipe music to different parts of the building. Sound sculptures on the grounds.

If we can hold it a little earlier in the season, we could do outdoor concerts.
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bbinkovitz



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

EdisonRex wrote:
It was really excellent to have the rooms in the same building, although those in rooms ending in 01, 06, 07, and 12 might think differently (the place has the most amazing door slamming, and squeaky doors). Maybe we can have a contest next year for sampling the most outrageous sound made by the building infrastructure. Smile


I was in the room directly adjacent to the lounge, and although I think we annoyed my roommate a little (poor girl was trying to get over the flu) I thought it was really awesome and convenient. I was fine with (e.g. ecstatic about) staying up and jamming until my eyes just wouldn't stay open any longer.

On Sunday morning as I was packing up, I kept thinking I was hearing a sampler or a synth or something coming from upstairs, only to realize it was a highly melodic squeaky door. Awesome.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bbinkovitz wrote:

I was in the room directly adjacent to the lounge, and although I think we annoyed my roommate a little (poor girl was trying to get over the flu) I thought it was really awesome and convenient. I was fine with (e.g. ecstatic about) staying up and jamming until my eyes just wouldn't stay open any longer.


I stayed up talking to people in the Downstairs until all hours, and would stumble up and sleep for a few hours and come down and there would be other people there. It really made the event extra special to have the freedom to schmooze and jam until all hours.


Quote:

On Sunday morning as I was packing up, I kept thinking I was hearing a sampler or a synth or something coming from upstairs, only to realize it was a highly melodic squeaky door. Awesome.


That was, I think, the men's room door on the second floor at the top of the stairs. That deserves a sample too, it came over loudly, clearly, and frequently on the streaming. Cool

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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

EdisonRex wrote:
it came over loudly, clearly, and frequently on the streaming. 8)


Yeah great doors there, but no clean sample here ... people stairbanged & talked through it all the time ;-)

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Acoustic Interloper



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:05 pm    Post subject: How about an art gallery? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

There were some serious visual artists at work this weekend, some of them non-musicians capturing images for work back home. Not all of them are forum members.

I'd like to throw out the idea of using one of the rooms as a gallery for stills, paintings, etc. that relate to electro-music themes, in addition to the room's other uses. Cheltenham used to have the art center photos and paintings. I think that covering the walls of one of the rooms also used for concerts or workshops with the visual still works of submitters would be a nice addition. They could submit proposals and/or links to samples to the event reviewers, just like performers, and upon acceptance get their work out there alongside the music and videos.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:10 pm    Post subject: Re: How about an art gallery? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Acoustic Interloper wrote:
There were some serious visual artists at work this weekend, some of them non-musicians capturing images for work back home. Not all of them are forum members.

I'd like to throw out the idea of using one of the rooms as a gallery for stills, paintings, etc. that relate to electro-music themes, in addition to the room's other uses. Cheltenham used to have the art center photos and paintings. I think that covering the walls of one of the rooms also used for concerts or workshops with the visual still works of submitters would be a nice addition. They could submit proposals and/or links to samples to the event reviewers, just like performers, and upon acceptance get their work out there alongside the music and videos.


Ooh, that would be cool! I've submitted artwork to the sampler before (the 2007 cover was made of a combination of my photographs and Michael Victor's) and would love to submit 2-d, static, visual art to a gallery or contest or whatever else might be in existence. I think smokris and bernat would love to do the same as well.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Visual arts. Sculptures. Sound installations. Participation and experimentation.

Screw the "Woodstock of electronic music." Let's be the "Burning Man of electronic music."

Woodstock was a big audience listening passively to big-name musicians. Burning Man is all about creative and experimental participation by anybody and everybody. I think that's a more productive model.

I think the "Big Bang" group singing exercise led by Jack T., and to a lesser extent the drumming on Saturday, is a taste of what we could do with just a little push and organization in the direction of sound experiments. In fact, I'm already hatching ideas for giving music jams structure in unconventional ways--applying just the right rules, like with the singing, to get self-organizing results.

Steve Bowman
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bbinkovitz



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

ThinAir wrote:
Visual arts. Sculptures. Sound installations. Participation and experimentation.


We had a sound/sculpture/installation thingie this year... the howling dead fish were pretty disconcerting in a very damien hirst kind of way.

In 2007, project ruori brought our "lightflowers" kinetic interactive sound installation sculpture thing to Cheltenham. We may be either retrofitting those to be more generically useful and selling them at the swap meet, or revamping the audio setup and adding more sensors to make them more versatile to actually play and displaying them again next year.

Also, the giant modular synths that always seem to somehow make it to the event are kind of like sculptures in themselves. A lot of the other instruments are too. I'm personally very attracted to sculptural instruments and interfaces; some kind of discussion or showcase with that theme could be cool.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Sensors!

What if every time somebody walked up the stairs sensors on each step would sing out a scale. Modulated variations if two people are walking in different directions.

Also, a creative doorbell so that when somebody is outside with an armload of gear, they can press a foot pedal and a speaker inside sounds. I noticed this year it got down to a ritual yelling of "door!"

I did see the howling dead fish. The fish-pan installation. Did you know that those fish were caught that morning. And that the installation also acts as a fish drier. Yum! (Seriously! I asked the inventor. What was his name?)

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Regarding the subject of music art, I'm making good progress on the eChucK sculptures. This month I will build "Chiphenge", an eChucK Lunetta that will be made of little postage-stamp sized circuit boards arranged in a circle and connected by solid wire. Hopefully I will have a few of these ready for next year.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

ThinAir wrote:
Sensors!

What if every time somebody walked up the stairs sensors on each step would sing out a scale. Modulated variations if two people are walking in different directions.

Also, a creative doorbell so that when somebody is outside with an armload of gear, they can press a foot pedal and a speaker inside sounds. I noticed this year it got down to a ritual yelling of "door!"

I did see the howling dead fish. The fish-pan installation. Did you know that those fish were caught that morning. And that the installation also acts as a fish drier. Yum! (Seriously! I asked the inventor. What was his name?)


Those were the work of Peter Blaser, I believe.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I recorded a little piece using my VSS30 and door slam samples Smile

It might make it into my next radio show

I found the drum jam incrediblke fun, but can't really play drum so just ran round sampling stuff to make weird e-percussion

It would be cool to give over some more time to open jamming on a main stage

I thought Peter's sound sculpture was fantastic and was quite disappointed to find it had gone when I went back to make a recording

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

How about a "found objects" jam. No electronic sound sources and no drums, but have a few mikes that go through delays and flangers and people make sounds with whatever they find.

Smashed laptops, for example.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

A couple of quick notes:

On the way out I backed into a rock, ended up with nifty sounding muffler adaptation kinda like a Borla Cat-Back...Nice....100 bu8cks to fix that.

On the way home I put in a CD I had been given for free...It was so good I took a wrong turn off of highway 287 onto 80 instead of 78...found 611---Delaware Water Gap scenic route...Oh my Gawd!!! the scenery there in the fall is majestic. The music was incredible!!

Getting lost has never been sooo good.

Thanks again to all the musicians who instructed me. You nurtured my soul. I find it hard to single out any one or group of you to thank individually. You ALL were so fantastic.

Thank you.

This was my Vacation for this year. Could not have gone to a better place.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Inventor wrote:
Regarding the subject of music art, I'm making good progress on the eChucK sculptures. This month I will build "Chiphenge", an eChucK Lunetta that will be made of little postage-stamp sized circuit boards arranged in a circle and connected by solid wire. Hopefully I will have a few of these ready for next year.


Cool! Looking forward to seeing Chiphenge.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

EdisonRex wrote:
...I stayed up talking to people in the Downstairs until all hours, and would stumble up and sleep for a few hours and come down and there would be other people there.


I'm really sorry I slept through my chances to schmooze with you. On the other hand I'm very glad to learn that they really hadn't glued your butt to that chair at the streaming station. Shocked

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Just trying to collect my thoughts after a fantastic festival.

The entire event had a surreal quality for me. I guess I never would have imagined that I would be at such a gathering -- for most of my life electronic music has been a labor of love done in solitude at home. So there I was at a camping facility with a community of amazing, creative, and loving people who share a passion for electronics and music.

The performances were wonderful. I found a kind of amazement at it all. There were times when I heard rich, complex textures coming from the stage and to see this accomplished in real time -- knowing that in the not-so-distant past such sounds could only happen with painstaking multi-tracking -- well, it was all amazing. It was as if I walked into some kind of alien world. As if the distinction between the present and the future was blurred. Had I been transported to the future or was I in the present? There was a definite sense of unreality.

(The toughest moment for me was after the festival -- I stopped at a truck stop for gasoline and some commercial/pop music was booming throughout the place. The music was vulgar and uninteresting -- as processed and unhealthy as most of the junk food on the shelves.)

My equipment and approach to music has always been highly controlled and it has taken me awhile to grasp the world of aleatoric music. I've always appreciated it however something kind of clicked with me this year. To see "sculptures" with banks of unlabeled knobs and controllers is so "opposite" my stuff which is carefully labeled, calibrated, and predictable. I found myself drawn in to the hanging sculpture and many of the sound-mangling devices at the exhibition table. Peter's seminar and sound sculpture was great and I enjoyed watching him make sound with his creations. I also enjoyed the opportunity to process my Aries oscillators through some of the CasperElectronics equipment on Wednesday.

I liked the videos this year, too. They enhanced the stage without upstaging the music or the performers.

I enjoyed hanging around the streaming table and getting to know Paul. Paul brought real passion to the streaming effort. I'd walk by and ask, "How many people are listening?" and the answer was consistently over 12 and sometimes up to 30. The chat room never had less than a dozen people in it. On Saturday, eight people showed up at the door because they heard the stream and decided to see the festival in person.

The drum circle was excellent and kind of therapeutic. Though I'm not a percussionist, I want to acquire a few percussion instruments that I can bring to future drum circles.

Thank-you everyone for all the friendship, wonderful music, and fun. I left this year with many new ideas. You have inspired me and I can hardly wait for future electro-music events.

I will post more later... the late hours and long drive home finally caught up with me. Smile

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:36 am    Post subject: Re: Afterglow Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
I spoke with smokris (my husband, who was running visuals in the dining room area all weekend) at the beginning of the event, and we both decided it would be good to sort of channel Tim Thompson (think of the visuals he did for Margaret Noble in Cheltenham) in terms of graduality and minimalism.

Wanted to thank Steve Mokris & everyone else who worked visuals for all you did...my wife, who is a complete neophyte when it comes to electronic music, said it really added to her enjoyment of the festival.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I agree, the graduality and minimalism of the videos made a big difference. They were a partner to the music, rather than a competitor.

So we're all learning and changing. What more could you ask from a three-day festival?

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

kkissinger wrote:
The entire event had a surreal quality for me. I guess I never would have imagined that I would be at such a gathering -- I found a kind of amazement at it all. There were times when I heard rich, complex textures coming from the stage and to see this accomplished in real time --


J.R. Tolkien wrote:

The chanting ceased. Frodo opened his eyes and saw that Bilbo was seated on his stool in a circle of listeners, who were smiling and applauding.

. . .

'It is difficult to keep awake here, until you get used to it,' said Bilbo. 'Not that hobbits would ever acquire quite the elvish appetite for music and poetry and tales. They seem to like them as much as food, or more. They will be going on for quite a long time yet. What do you say to slipping off for some more quiet talk?'

'Can we? asked Frodo.

'Of course. This is merrymaking not business. Come and go as you like, as long as you don't make a noise.'


Frodo's night in the music hall of Rivendell came to mind several times during the weekend.

Hey, Kevin, I had one more technical question stemming from our discussion Saturday night about Surround Sound and delays to the rear speakers. What do you feed to the stream? I assume that the delay-to-rear signals do not go out to the stream, because there is no spatialization on the stream. I wanted to ask while the conversation is still fresh.

Ciao!

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When the stream is deep
my wild little dog frolics,
when shallow, she drinks.
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kkissinger



Joined: Mar 28, 2006
Posts: 1214
Location: Kansas City, Mo USA
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Acoustic Interloper wrote:
Hey, Kevin, I had one more technical question stemming from our discussion Saturday night about Surround Sound and delays to the rear speakers. What do you feed to the stream? I assume that the delay-to-rear signals do not go out to the stream, because there is no spatialization on the stream. I wanted to ask while the conversation is still fresh.

Ciao!


The delay I mentioned to you was a work-around. The software surround reverb plugin only accepts stereo input.

In a natural setting (say a cathedral) a sound from the back would travel to the front and then bounce to the back again. The reverb takes a little time to build up in the space.

To work around the software limitation, I delayed the rear speaker signal before sending it to the (front channels of) the reverb to simulate the sound travel from back to front. In other words, the rear sound wouldn't "hit" the reverb until it "traveled" to the front.

My goal was to play the music into a virtual "space" of correlated reverb while preserving the localization of the primary sounds. Also, I wanted the listeners to hear the surround effect regardless of where they were positioned between the speakers. I spent a lot of time at home experimenting with delay times in order to create this effect.

Not enough delay and the imagery is lost due to the Haas effect. Too much delay and the listener hears both the primary sound and a discreet delayed sound.

Who knows... this may become a seminar topic in the future. Smile

I didn't do anything fancy for the stream other than to move the rear channels to the front and mix them with the front channels. I set this up some time ago and don't remember how it is panned -- though I think that both the front and back are panned hard left and right.

I sent the stereo mix to the FOH mixer which, in turn, supplied the stream.

Since all the speakers were being driven from the RME800 (my on-stage mixer), I had to run the mic through the RME800 in order to announce to the speakers and the stream.

The middle speaker contained only the dry theremin signal (all the reverb occurred in the other speakers). Thus, regardless of the listeners' positions in the hall, one would perceive the theremin sound originating from my position on the stage.

The mix for my headphone monitors was a mono mix. Thus, when I perform, I can't hear any of the surround effects. However, the mono mix assures that I will hear every cue regardless of where it is panned.

The RME 800 receives the 5.1 mix from the computer (via Firewire) and concurrently feeds the mix to the speakers, mixes down to stereo for the stream, and mixes down to mono for the headphones: Channels 1-6 for the house speakers, 7-8 for the stream, and 9-10 for the headphones.

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