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Intuitive Spatial Panning Interface

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This workshop offers a hands-on opportunity to experiment with special “panning” techniques, developed by the Speaker Park team. These include the ISPI interface, and the “one mic per speaker” method. The ISPI interface brings an entirely new and playful approach to spatial panning, which is inspired by Speaker Park. It functions like a kind-of 24-channel spatial theremin.

Speaker Park aims to challenge the criteria by which traditional sound systems and listening experiences are evaluated, and to create an environment for composing and listening to sound that can travel or even be duplicated in new places.

Compositions for the installation are produced as 24-channel audio, mixed and “spatialised” specifically within the installation, using the standardised/approved hardware and settings. Speaker Park provides an asymmetrical and unconventional platform for mixing multichannel audio, that encourages composers to think about acoustic spatialisation in abstract and new ways, and invites the development of new techniques for positioning and moving sound sources within the spatial composition.

ISPI (Intuitive Spatial Panning Interface) is a hardware interface for moving sounds within the installation using ones hands, or a set of special wands. Using miniature models of all the speakers, each with a photo-resistors that senses shadow, the ISPI sends MIDI data to the sends in a compatible DAW or digital matrix mixer. This provides a solution for spatial effects and panning with a low-tech, instrument-like feel, that is easy for musicians and composers to deal with. All other 3D panners (software) seem to make assumptions about speaker and listener placements, based on established theory.

Other explorations in spatial composition for Speaker Park include the “one mic per speaker” method, which was adopted by Owen Weaver and Leo Preston in their new piece, Møllendalselven.

This is a system of speakers, amplifiers and other hardware that is specified and standardised within a framework that allows for a reasonable amount of flexibility. Compositions made for Speaker Park become part of a growing fixed-media repertoire that can be presented on the system by demand. The system must always be capable of reproducing this repertoire as close as possible to the composer(s) original intention, but to do this in different venues and spaces there must also be a certain flexibility.

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