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In this episode of Sound Design Live my guests are the Director of System Optimization and Senior Technical Support Specialist at Meyer Sound, Bob McCarthy and Josh Dorn-Fehrmann. We discuss the perception of immersive sound systems from marketing nonsense to power system design tool.
- When is this fad going to go away?
- How is it possible for each audience member to receive uncorrelated signals? If every array is source is covering the entire audience, won’t every audience member experience a 5x comb filter?
- From FB:
- Robert Scovill: Is Galaxy, when it is used in immersive systems considered a “spatializer” by a given definition? I know Meyer are incorporating delay matrixing with in the unit to achieve the spatial aspects of their SpaceMapGo application, but I’m curious if units like Astro Spatial and L-isa, Timax etc., are functionally – or mathematically – different than what Galaxy has to offer. How does Meyer define an “object” – is it a speaker output? Or an input source to the spatializing device?
- Aleš Štefančič: I was wondering how far into the audience the immersive experience can be achieved before all those separated signals become combined and does that then cause cancellations in the back if the room?
- Lou Kohley: When will this fad pass? 😉 Seriously though, Does Meyer see Immersive being commonplace or as a special thing for specific spaces.
- Gabriel Figueroa: What do you see as the pros and cons of immersive in theaters that cater to both music and spoken word? Especially rooms with difficult dimensions, where traditionally you would add a speaker zone/delay, but now you could theoretically add not just coverage but imaging as well!
- Robert McGarrity: Total novice for immersive programming, but where do you delay to? Is there a 0 point?
- Angelo Williams: Where Do we place audience mic’s in the room for capture as objects?
- Lloyd Gibson: I thought 6o6 was against stereo imaging in live sound because of the psychoacoustics and delay/magnitude discrepancies seat to seat. Does this not apply here or is there a size threshold where it can be successful?
- Sumeet Bhagat: How can we create a good immersive audio experience in venues with low Ceiling heights ?
It’s a totally different experience mixing in a wire versus mixing in the air. That’s the beauty of immersion, but you have to be able to pull it off.Bob McCarthy
- All music in this episode by LXIV 64.
- Spacemap Go
- Noise is the number one complaint at restaurants.
- There’s no upside to unintelligibility, but…intelligibility isn’t the only thing. We’re willing to give up some of that approach [of mono center clusters] in order to get some horizontal spread. People are willing to give up perfection and intelligibility in order to get that horizontal experience.
- Spacemap is a custom panner, basically.
- Can I use smaller arrays if I use more of them? The answer is yes. Consider the Fender Twin Reverb. It does only one thing: reproduce the guitar, and it can ruin the experience for everybody because it’s so freakin’ loud. So how do those two twelve-inch speakers out-do our whole $100,000 PA? It’s an object device that only streams a single channel, while [the sound system] is reproducing 32 channels or something like that.
- Time doesn’t scale.
- It’s a totally different experience mixing in a wire vs mixing in the air. That’s the beauty of immersion, but you have to be able to pull it off.
- One place I throw up a big red flag is people wanting to play matrix games with their under balconies and front-fills. It’s like, stop it stop it stop it.
This transcript was automatically generated. Please let me know if you discover any errors.
Welcome to Sound Design Live, the home of the world’s best online training and sound system tuning that you can do at your own pace from anywhere in the world. I’m Nathan Lively. And today I’m joined by the director of system optimization and senior technical support specialist Bob McCarthy and Josh Dorn-Fehrmann. Bob and Josh, welcome to Sunday Design Live.
Hi, Nathan. Welcome. Thanks for welcoming us, I guess.
Yeah, good to be here.
Okay. So I definitely want to talk to both of you about Immersive system design. That’s what we’re here to talk about. A lot of people sent in questions. It is an exciting or polarizing topic, depending on how you look at it right now. But I hope by the end of today’s conversation, you may have some more information about it, and you may feel differently about it. We’ll see I may feel differently about it, but before we do that, I would like to know from each of you what was the very first concert you ever attended.
Can you remember whoever can remember first for me?
That’s easy. If you consider a concert at my elementary school gymnasium, that was Charlie Fer and his band, and they played and I don’t give up blank about a green back dollar. And they literally did that because it was in the Catholic school auditorium, so they couldn’t say damn. And I thought, wow, this is really cool. We’re all at this concert together and everybody’s cheering and they’re playing Peter Paul and Mary songs just like my records. And I didn’t even know such a thing was possible. This is really cool.
Oh, man, that’s way better than mine. Mine was a Christian artist of some sort. I was really involved in the Church when I was a kid, and I think it was Rebecca St. James. Maybe it was like a first Christian concert was like, what I did first.
And then you were both steeped in religion from a young age.
Yes. I grew up in Louisiana, and I moved to Texas.
The thing about my first concert was it was people that I knew that I went to school with their younger brother. So it was like, real people. So that set the seat in me that real people can play music for an audience. And that was like, okay, this is awesome. I want to be part of this. And there you go. Right there.
Then, of course, my first thing go ahead.
My first big rock show was Grand Funk Railroad.
Iem your captain.
I’m glad you pointed it out because I think it seems like a magic trick for a long time. Right there’s, like, these magic things that are happening on stage that are making us feel feelings. And it kind of seems distant. We put the artist up higher, like we’re down lower. We’re disconnected from them in a way. So when you start to meet those people and see that they were once like you and also maybe knew nothing about music or how to play music or audio or physics or anything.
And then they learn that stuff, then your brains, you start to see, like, oh, maybe I can get involved.
Totally. I also got into theater really young. I remember watching shows and just at high school productions and being in elementary school and going to go see Anne Frank or whatever. And it was funny. We saw Anne Frank in Lafayette, Louisiana, at the Big Performing Arts Center. And at the end of the show, we got on the school buses. And the person playing Anne Frank was smoking a cigarette outside, and it totally ruined the magic and the spectacle. And that was probably the first memory I have of, oh, this is something that people actually do that are human beings.
It’s very interesting.
There’s a person inside that mouse costume.
Well, another seminal event like that for me was when John Huntington wrote his book on control networks and control system. Exactly. And it’s like, I had known John for ten years, and it’s like, Well, Gee, whiz, if John Huntington can write a book, I can write a book. Seriously. It was that much of a join on the head. And that was a big piece of pushing me forward to right above that’s fun. Yeah.
It’s really helpful when we see our colleagues doing something like, oh, this person can do it. I can do it.
You don’t have to be a College Professor or have mixed the Beatles albums to write a book about audio or to be Harry Olsen. You can write if it’s got something to say.
And I remember when he then went on to self publish a future edition. So he’s been a good role model for a lot of us who want to, like, publish and stuff.
So, Josh, when you’re coming out with your book.
Oh, man. I wrote a thesis for graduate school while I was on tour, and that was hard enough. And that was about 50, 75 pages. And it’s on restaurant sound design. So it was a great excuse to tour around the country and eat at great restaurants and talk about noise and how to elevate the dining experience.
Would you mind sharing a couple of pieces from that? Like, what was one of your biggest takeaways from looking into a lot of restaurant sound design?
Well, yeah. So noise is the number one complaint in restaurants. Right.
And they tend to just make that worse by putting sound into the space.
Oh, yeah. And it comes down and we deal with this all of the time and installs churches, theaters wherever. But the same thing happens with restaurants. And one of the cool things about noise is it sort of activates a certain SPL. It starts activating your fight or flight sort of mentality. And they see that as things get louder, the rate of consumption and food and drinking actually goes up. And I think it’s somewhere near, like 20% in some of the studies I was looking at.
That’s actually good for the bottom line.
So imagine something like a Chipotle.
People are stressed out.
Yeah. That’s why you go into a Chipotle, and it’s just concrete walls and glass everywhere.
Really. They did that on purpose.
Partially. I don’t know. You can walk into these fast casual restaurants and that’s the architecture. And then that architecture trend is carried over. And so there’s all sort of anesthetic synesthesia type research going on on how frequencies affect, taste and all sorts of different things. It was very interesting thesis. I went to grad school at UC Irvine in California and for sound design for theater. But, yeah, I was very interested in that. And then it sort of all came together list right before the pandemic. At a restaurant called Verse Restaurant in Los Angeles.
Manny Mariquin, who owns Laraby Studios. Very famous mix engineer, took over a restaurant space right next to his recording studio, and we put a Constellation system in there for full acoustics. You can use space Mapp, go, and you can also have PA. There’s an X 40 system of PA on sticks. It’s basically my thesis in a restaurant, and it actually exists now, and they actually have a fiber line connecting to the recording studio. And the RT time of the room is like 0.5. So it’s like a studio inside the restaurant.
And we adjust the acoustics for whatever bands are playing. And then we also use a Constellation technology that allows us to we call it voice masking, so we can sort of isolate the tables and make them that way. You’re having a nice conversation with someone and you don’t have to yell across the room or hear other people’s conversations.
I feel like we should do a whole other podcast on this, because now I’m wondering I was thinking that I can sort of pitch customers and clients on my work and on sound systems in general by saying, hey, the better the sound, the more money you’ll make. But it sounds like that’s not always true. So really, we should make the sound worse to help them make more money. But then their customers are also going to be stressed out. Like, Where’s the connection there?
Yeah. I think it depends on the goal of the restaurant. It’s like a good system design. What are your goals and what are you trying to accomplish? And then physics gets involved as well. Everyone will love a better acoustic up into a certain point of a room. If your room sounds too dead and you don’t energize it with Reverb and it sounds like an almost anacoic or like you walk into a cinema and you’re eating. That’s not a good dining experience. But if it’s got a little bit of an uplift to where it elevates and it has a little bit longer Reverb time and more early reflections, then you have an energetic room.
The problem with restaurants is you have too much reflections, you have so much hard surfaces, so many things. And then you have people that start trying to talk over each other.
And it just creates white noise. So, yeah, there is a balance and you have to find it architects. That’s the job of the architect and acoustician. The cool thing about constellation is you can build a dead room, and then we can make the room whatever you want it to be and change it at the push of a button. So you can do the tables when people are dining and at the push of a button when the band gets on stage, it now can be a concert hall or a theater or whatever you want it to be.
And Bob, would you agree that there is this balance where it’s like the sound needs to be good enough in a commercial or restaurant space so that you feel safe and you want to stay there. But then not so dead. I guess that you’re not interested in being there and you don’t want to like, I guess, drink and eat. Have you seen that in the wild?
Well, I think that if a restaurant has overly absorbed of acoustics, which is so rare, where do you find that? Maybe in the old school? Well, this is an old school Steakhouse with the furry booths kind of thing. So if it’s really dead, you’ve created an environment that’s very you better have people far apart, because if it’s crucifixely dead and people are close, then you’re literally hearing everything exactly clearly that everybody else is saying. So the dead restaurant in the booth, those sort of go together because you got separation then.
But what I find is that you have this situation where as the background noise that tries to fill up that void to making people feel like they are not alone, that the place is alive. But some of these places will have these sensor mechanisms that raise the background music to make sure that it’s over the talking and that’s, of course, in my mind, a reverse. It should go down. If the place is already so full of people talking and have a good time, don’t send the music up because they’re already having a good time, just bring that thing down and de escalate so that then people don’t have to have the shouting experience and the what and the what?
And that feeling where you’re with a party of eight and you really are only able to talk to the person on your left or on your right. And that’s really all why.
We’Re talking about immersive experiences. And a restaurant experience is an immersive experience. You’re surrounded by people. You’re dealing with the various acoustics in the room versus restaurant in La, and a couple of other restaurants have a ton of speakers, and they do a lot of other crazy things with it. But the experience of being surrounded and experiencing what’s happening in the restaurant is key. And so we do things like we’ll raise the acoustic and make it a little more vibrant and energetic in the bar area. So it’ll be more vibrant by the bar.
And then the rest of the restaurant will be a little more quiet, less Reverb, so that people can have a better conversation. And you can sculpt all of this with the technology constellation. But that’s one of the many tools of Immersive audio. And I think Reverb and reverberation and room acoustics is a side of immersive audio that people are starting to get into more and more. But then you have the other side, which is more helical of speakers across the stage, speakers all around you moving sounds around and doing things like that.
And so what is Immersive audio? That’s a big question to me. It’s a marketing term, and whatever term you use, it, whether it’s hyper, real immersive or whatever, it all goes into the same bucket of it’s an experience for people live and in the real world.
So for me, the ultimate restaurant, plus, Immersive auto experience has got to be Chuck E. Cheese man.
To those animatronic cheese balls on the stage.
There you are, so in it, there’s no windows. It’s just a warehouse, everything’s blacked out. So it’s just this experience they’ve created.
That’s probably my first concert experience, actually robots at Chuck E. Cheese.
Okay, Josh, thank you very much. You’re a great co host. We needed a transition into Immersive from restaurants into Immersive. And the first thing we need to talk about is sort of the tough stuff because there are a lot of people listening right now like me who are thinking, when is this fad going away? Why do I need to care about this? And those people who are like me typically try to ignore things until it’s something they have to know tomorrow. So I’m not going to look up the directions to the airport until I have a ticket to leave tomorrow.
And so I’ve been ignoring all this stuff about Immersive for years. So a couple of years ago, I was in Orlando for the name of a conference I can’t remember, and everyone was showing off their Immersive systems, and I thought, this is really fun, but I don’t need to worry about it, because this will never be a part of my life because it’s so escalated in terms of complexity and expense that I’m never going to work on something like that. Fast forward to this year’s Lifetime summit.
And we’ve got Robert Scoville presenting about why he thinks immersive systems are so cool, why he’s trying to pitch them to producers, event producers for tours that he has coming up. And it turned into kind of this polarizing thing where we had it felt like we had people who had drunken the koolaid or were on this side of the fence. And we’re like, this is so cool. And then people who like me, who are still kind of on the other side of the fence or on the fence and are like, but wait, is this just marketers trying to sell me more speakers?
So we’re all friends here. So I know you guys don’t take any offense to me saying things like that, but I feel like we kind of need to go through this conversation before we get into some more of, like, the fun system design stuff. So I wanted to give each of you a chance to say, I guess I want to give each of you a chance to say what excites you about this idea of immersive sound, what we can do to sort of allay people’s fears, what we can do to take the fear away, that this is something that is going to be forced on people.
Is that a weird thing to say?
No, I’m there with you, man. And I was there with you up until about two years ago. And, yeah, what’s interesting is from our company’s perspective, we’ve been doing Immersive audio for 30 years. One of the first products John Meyer made was a subwoofer for the touring production of Apocalypse Now in Quadraphonic. That was the first cinema world has been doing it for a long time. Theatrical sound designers have been doing it for years and years and years. And so this live audio world where we have a stereo environment, and now we’re moving into something different or even a mixed mono environment.
It’s scary. And I think people have every right to be scared. But before I talk, let’s bring it to Bob because he’s been working in stereo and mono systems for all of his career. So Bob, go for it.
I am not an immersive evangelist. It’s not my role. What I do is try to give you guidelines to if you’re going to make an immersive system to make one that’s going to work and achieve your goals and not ruin your other goals. So for me, the laws of physics still apply. The laws of human perception still apply the acoustic realities, interactions with speakers. All those things still apply. So now you’ve decided you’re going to be immersive. So here’s the rules that you have to go by or the guidelines.
I more likely look at them as guidelines and rules because nobody wants rules, whole trade of Cowboys. And so what you want to do now is if you’re going to do this, these are some guidelines to help you succeed. So to me, I go back to the easiest thing to think of. Okay, if we’re going to make a successful system, the first thing it has to be is intelligible enough for people to understand the material in the world of theater, they have to understand the words in the world of House of worship.
They have to understand the words in the words of rock and roll. It’s pretty helpful to understand the words, although a lot of times it’s not sung with the kind of clarity and that you can bend on that. But it is really helpful to have that there’s no upside to unintelligibility. But if you look at why we go and we don’t have mono center clusters all around the world doing all of our shows, it’s because intelligibility isn’t the only thing. We’re willing to give up some of that perfection.
And the absolute bestness of that approach in order to get some horizontal spread. And I think a big piece of it is that most people are born with two ears, two functioning ears, and you want to hear a horizontal panoramic spread because that tickles your brain in a really positive and engaging way to have things spread over a horizon. So left and right is here to stay. It’s not going away. And people are willing to give up perfection and intelligibility to get that horizontal experience. And then that brings you to the next big chunk going to three channels.
Lcnr, the world of cinema crossed that road a long time ago, and they were very troubled by if you just go left and right, as soon as you’re one seat off the center that you image to that side, anything that’s panned to the center. And it’s an insolvable equation, no matter how much somebody tells you, they’ve just invented a new magic filter that time. Smears and blah, blah, blah. I don’t want to hear about it. You sit one seat off the center in an arena and everything mixed mono is on the left side.
Okay, everybody knows this. We don’t want to admit it, but everybody knows. So the deal is if you want the vocal or some center image to stay in the center, you need a center channel. That’s why you have a dialogue channel. But you have to now not go and put everything in all three channels where you can sort of put a lot of things in left and right. But when you start putting in left center and right now you’ve got a problem because they are going to have all sorts of fights.
The correlated comb filter fights that we all know about my life’s work is screaming and putting up flags about this subject. Once you go to this, you’ve crossed the line, and now you need to take a decoration approach. That is, I got to put different things in the center, then I put in left and right. And if I’m going to take that approach, that center channel has to reach all the seats. If it’s going to carry the big voice, the big star, the lead of the show, if it’s going to be theatrical, it’s going to carry the vocal content of the show.
It can’t just be a 90 degree speaker that covers one half of the room, which you can get away with on your left and on your right. So now you have pretty hard and fast rule that if you’re going to make a channel as a standalone to cover the whole room, it has to a cover the whole room. And that is the key thing. Once you’ve crossed the three and you’ve got left, center and right. Well, now the crossing over to adding surroundings on your sides and on your rears and on your overhead.
Those are just more versions that follow a similar set of guidelines.
Yeah. Bob and I joke a lot about, okay, you’ve spent all of your career separating coverage and making sure that everything is separate but equal. And now we’re doing the exact opposite and just overlapping everything. And people are like, well, what about the comb filter? And then that’s where the processors are doing all of the magic. And yeah. So on your question, is this a fad? I think it’s a tool. It’s not the right tool for everything. It’s not the right tool for every situation. And for the exact reasons that you laid out cost sometimes is prohibitive.
There are arguments from different manufacturers of why one is better than the other and how you can save money. Some people say you can have a smaller line array. Some people say, since your headroom is spread out amongst your five across the front or whatever, you can use smaller speakers because you’re distributing that through multiple loud speakers. And there is snake oil in the industry. As a mentor once told me, Audio is a series of compromises and snake oil salesmen, and you have to figure out what is true and what isn’t.
And there’s a lot of snake oil in our industry, from the gold platinum cables of power to all sorts of other things. And marketing is a thing. People are trying to sell speakers with this, and I don’t think they’re honest if they aren’t trying to do that. But with Immersive Audio Systems, what we did with Space Map Go is this is a technology that’s been around for almost 2025 years, and what we said with Space Map Go was okay, let’s just make it free. So it’s a free update to your Galaxy and where we get in system design, where we get really what’s really happened from a marketing perspective is these new up and coming Immersive systems require you to have a lot of fixed loudspeaker locations, and they say you must have five across the front.
You can have seven across the front. You can have this many on the sides. You can have this many above. You Dolby has a spec on how to design sound systems for cinema. And so people are used to these rules and that they’re like the static. I have to do this, and I have to have this many speakers in order for this to work.
All right, let me pause you, Josh, because we’re about to bust a myth. So let me introduce the miss, which is something that I believed until a couple of months ago, which is that Immersive meant five times the expense and five times the complexity, because you take your normal mono system, and then we’re going to upgrade to Immersive. Then everything gets multiplied by five. And that makes it really easy for me to ignore and say, oh, this is a fad, because no one can actually support this kind of expense and complexity.
We can barely get mono and stereo systems, right? How can we do this? And so you have been a big proponent of pointing out to people how flexible this is. And it’s a container for new system locations and system designs and not rules. Okay, so continue.
Yeah, not rules. The only rules that we like are physics. And those physics rules still apply. Pick the right speaker, put it in the right place and point it in the right direction. Now, that’s different for mixed mono and stereo systems than what it is for immersive systems. Those are the only three rules. Pick the right speaker, put it in the right place, point in the right direction. Now we at Myersound and Space Mapp. Go has a lot more flexibility in terms of what you can make an immersive system because our algorithm and we can get into the weeds about this.
But the space map algorithm and what a space map is is a custom panner, basically. So you can make a space map system out of one speaker, and that’s a Panor that you make. And the difference between space map and what everyone else is doing is that we allow you to make the panner. So let’s say you have a theater and you spend a ton of money on a five across the front system on the sides and around you like, you have a full 360 degree shell of loudspeakers where most of these immersive systems are failing is they only let you drive that system one way.
So if I use their GUI in my object panner and I move that object of my guitar to the top left corner of that panner, it’s only going to come out of the top left side of the sound system. The difference between that and space map is that we can say, draw the space Mapp to control the loud speakers however you want. So it’s like having a Ferrari and driving it like a Prius because you’ve spent all this money on loudspeakers, but then you’re only allowed to move sound around in very certain ways.
Whereas if I can draw a space Mapp for that room and have a sound zigzag and zip around every other loud speaker, send to all loudspeakers, send to just the vertical and then cross fade down to the sides. You can do some incredible things with the space Mapp technology, because space maps are abstractions of loudspeaker layouts that you draw. So instead of having one fixed location, you can draw the space map to be whatever you want it to be, which is very different than what this is.
But ultimately, the technology that all of these companies are using, including us, they’re big cross point matrix, and they’re using either level delay and delay or just level. And they’re also using level and delay together or just delay. And then there’s all sorts of other algorithms that people do and do not tell you about. Most companies don’t show you what’s going on behind the hood, whereas you can see the matrix values in Galaxy. While this is happening to see what math is actually going on. So, yeah, this is something we can get into, but we can make a space Mapp system, an immersive system out of three speakers, put them in a triangle.
And if you’re in the middle of that and those speakers can be on sticks, you can pan sound around those three speakers. It’s like a sandbox of system design compared to and the reason for that is very particular, because when space map first got started, it was designed in a geodesic Dome. Back in 1979, Steve Ellison was in Australia, and he had to work on an Apple two computer. There were speakers all along this geodesic dumb, and he had to figure out a way to mathematically move a sound around to each one of these speakers.
And it was inspired by the geodesic Dome. And then a couple of years later, he and Jonathan Dean started a company called Level Control Systems. And the first show that the technology got deployed on was for an arena touring show called the George Lucas Summer Spectacular Adventure. Yeah. And so there was over 150 people in the audience for the first show that they deployed this technology on. That was like in the 80s, like, early 80s. And so since then, what we’ve done is worked with sound designers, really in theater and big spectacles and started adding to these tool set that’s needed again, audio is a series of compromises and live sound.
What we do as live sound practitioners is incredibly difficult. And so we need to have a system that is flexible enough to overcome the challenges that we face on a day to day basis. Oh, I can’t put my speaker there because there’s a wall. Okay, well, just draw a virtual note and space map and make a virtual speaker there. So all of these tools that have been added to the space map over the years have really evolved with the mindset of it’s a live sound tool.
It needs to be flexible and scalable and easy to deploy. What we didn’t do for years and years and years was make it easy and accessible to use. It was very expensive. And some of the new Immersive processors out there from other competition and companies are incredibly expensive, and they require you to have two, and they almost handcuff you. So you buy this Ferrari’s worth of loudspeakers for your room, and you buy this processor, and then you can only drive it like a Prius because they make you only be able to move sound in the way that the room will look.
You’re getting all worked up.
I know it’s just frustrating because the rules, it’s a marketing thing that the companies are saying. These companies, these companies. What’s cool about the Galaxy is we can it’s just marketing.
You want to make something that people can reliably make work. So you put some guard rails on it and what their approaches is to make a thing that shoots down the shuttle down the middle of the road, and it would work in the middle of the road applications, and it would be repeatable, and it stays in this safe kind of repeatable thing. What we have done, because it goes back to the start of this creative place is to make a non guardrail version, but it comes in a kit form that you have to assemble yourself.
So you have to say, okay, here it is. There’s a pile of stuff on the floor. It’s like a bunch of Legos. You can build it into anything, but you have to build it. You have to conceive of the sound design. So it’s not something. It just pops up into your brain. And as far as that one size fits all sort of mentality. Now that runs into realities, such as the shape of the physical room of where you can put speakers. So if you make it so that it’s always just that it’s just for a standard arena shape.
Okay, there you go. But we have taken a thing that is ready to go in whatever shape that you do. Whatever you’re in. My first one was in the literal Planetarium. It was under the sea, the little Mermaid. And we had speakers around the circle, 360 degrees of laterals. And we had speakers in the center and speakers up in the Dome. And the Mermaid flew up and down, swam up and down. And the sound image came up with it as you turn on the lower speakers or the upper speakers.
And the characters all ran and swam around the Dome. You could image to these things. And this was in 2001 at Tokyo Disney Sea, and we literally built that thing for that place. And those trajectories are only for that application. So it’s not universal. It’s a custom fit. I don’t want to take the approach of really of talking about or disparaging other platforms. My thing is that we have a platform that can make a five channel with laterals and things that can also make six channels or four channels or two mains and 19 surrounds or whatever it is.
We’re ready to go give me an application. I’ll bet we can do what you’re looking for. That’s what I have to say. I bet we can do it. It just might take a little time, but we can build something to that shape.
Yeah, and we can shape the Playdoh, however we need to. If we need to make it look like the room, the Panor to behave the way all of these other Panters behave, then we can do that. But that’s just a fraction of what a space map can do. And it’s really a creative imagination. The other day we had someone come up to us and talk about a need for an escape room and a maze to sort of guide people along. It’s a very intricate move zippering around type of room with loudspeakers everywhere.
But the way you would do that with most Panters is very difficult. Well, with space Mapp, since they’re abstractions, we drew the layout as it would look with loudspeaker notes. But then we use what are called virtual nodes, and we just made a linear Fader. So as you drag your finger across the bottom of the space Mapp, it activated the speakers in a linear order that you want the user as they’re walking around that room to experience. So this abstraction is really cool because you can move beyond just the plan view 2D representation of the loudspeakers that these other products have.
You could do that. It’s still fine, and it’s totally useful, especially when you’re first grasping how to deal with immersive systems. But then you can do things like I want this sound to play out of the speaker in front and then the speaker completely behind me and then above me and then Zigzag. And you can make these really fun space Mapp. And I have one that’s called a randomizer that I show in some of our work. And the randomizer was designed to emulate crowd noise in the Stadium during the pandemic.
And what it does is it just randomly sends level to about six loudspeaker locations, and it adds random level changes to an existing room. In this case, we used it to represent Stadium audience sound with a mono signal with a mono signal.
We made it sound like it was all surrounding you, coming from everywhere, 100,000 people.
I want to address for one moment. Can I use smaller arrays if I use more of them? And the answer is yes. Think about that. If you want to know an object lesson of that, consider the Fender Twin Reverb twin Reverb has only one thing. It reproduces the guitar and it can ruin the experience for everybody because it’s so freaking loud. Okay, so how does that one just 212 inch speakers can outdo our whole giant $100,000 PA because it’s object device that’s only streaming one single channel, and we are reproducing 32 channels or something.
Okay, so if you go to five mains and you partition your band into fifths, well, okay, now each of those has headroom available because of the decrease complexity and density of the waveforms that they’re reproducing. And I can tell you from the experience going back to 1019 and 74 listening to the Grateful Dead Wall of Sound, which is truly an object based sound system. Each instrument was separately had separate columns of speakers, and if you put them all together, it would have been a big giant blur.
But as separate events blended and mixed now in the air instead of mixed in the wire, there you go. Now you have the ability to spatialize and you can still fill the same amount of acoustic energy into the space. But of course, when you scale the thing and get too big and get too far apart. Now you’ve started to offset time and you have a band when you put the guitar that’s 100 milliseconds away from the piano. Now you’re starting to get the experience of listening to the marching band at half time at the football game, which let’s face it, it’s not tight.
And Marcy Bannon is not tight. So the thing about scale is that time doesn’t scale. So you get this thing overly large. You get it into stadiums and things. Time doesn’t go proportional. It goes in milliseconds and Hello. Hello. It’s a real issue issue.
I was watching something with Robert Scott, actually talking about when he first did Rush and Quadrifonic, and he tried moving Neil Pert’s drum kit around the room in the arena. And he said Neil stopped. Neil Fert stopped. And Robert will have to tell you the story. But he said he stopped and was like, what is that? And it was the propagation of time of the symbols or whatever going back to the arena. And of course, he said that Neil partt was good enough to where he had figured out the time off at set and adjusted drumming to match what was happening back coming back from the other side of the arena, which is amazing.
Thanks for bringing that up, Bob. I think that speaks to my question of isn’t this just a five X in expense, or is it more just like redistributing complexity and expense? Maybe there are some examples that each of you could share because I think the application for sound design when it comes to theater and circus events is really clear. The sound designer says, I want this, this and this to happen or it’s in the script. It says this happens and the sound moves around. But have you seen successful applications?
Are there interesting applications for concert corporate, some of these other places that a lot of us work in and might be wondering, is there an application that I should know about as an option for me, a sound designer, system designer. And have you guys seen that? Could it be a tool in those environments?
Oh, yeah, absolutely. We just did the AES Nashville event, and there was a spring training event. And one of the experiments that I personally wanted to perform was take someone who’s worked in stereo most of their life and just give them as minimal training as possible and put them in front of a fully immersive system and see how easy it is for them to work. And so we hired Pooch, and we invited Pooch to come in and work on it. And we did five across the front.
There’s also existing line arrays. So we tied into those as well. We did a full surround system only running on two galaxies, so really processing wise, it was two galaxies worth of outputs, 32 outputs, I think, and speakers. And that experiment seemed to work pretty well. What Pooch found was he had to reduce his dynamics, the amount of dynamics and compression he was putting on things he had to use less EQ, and he could space things out the way he wanted. One thing that also came from that was instead of using five across the front, we found ourselves wanting a little more width on the outside of the stage, and so we could easily have done a left center right and then had two sort of mid hangs to really bring out the width of the image.
To understand how all of these systems work. Let’s talk about what we’ve done in stereo, which is we’ve had inputs. Those inputs have gone into something like a console. And then out of the console. We’ve always had either one or two channels, stereo or mono or mixed mono. And those have been then distributed to loudspeakers amplifiers, whatever across the stage. Now, with Immersive systems, what’s happening is you have your inputs, they go into a console still, but then out of the console, instead of having one channel or two channels, you now have 32 channels, sometimes 96 channels worth of outputs, whether it’s buses, you decide, Auxes buses, whatever.
And so all of those new channels can be sent different things. So you now have 32 pipes that are going into the loudspeakers. And so there’s 32 separate pathways in the instance of Space Map go. So my drum kit could be on three channels. Maybe my kick snare is one, maybe my overheads are a stereo channel. And now I can move my drum kit around in a group of things while that sound is moving around those pipes. What’s happening is these Immersive processors are adjusting a level of a matrix row, and sometimes they’re adjusting delay of a matrix row as well.
That’s what’s called cross fading delay. So that’s sort of the basics of how Immersive audio works. And then everyone’s got their marketing term and secret sauce of what math they’re using for how to do it. You’ll hear terms like Mapp, Mapp, wavefield synthesis. We’re using space map, which is manifold based amplitude panning and barrier centric panning manifold base. Yeah. A manifold is a map, and you can actually look this up. There’s a white paper AES white paper on it called Me app manifold based amplitude panic.
So if you think about what a space map is, Bob, it’s a map of the room. A manifold is technically a map, and the Mapp that goes behind that is all there. So that’s all of that is to say that I think the expense of this is really in the processor. And the expense of this then carries over to other things. You’re now dealing with element for output. So in a system that has amplifiers, not in their speakers, you then have to have a lot more speaker cable, which is way more expensive than XLR, up into each line array.
Well, you have to have separate channels if you’re doing side surrounds. There are six surrounds going along the wall. If it’s cinema style, the old school that can be run off of three speakers per output, you can run on two channels, one, two channel amplifier. But if you’re going to do a full Immersive, you’ve got six channels. It’s going to take you three times as many amplifiers, and there’s no jumbo ring of speakers and cables to the next thing. So it’s all home runs. It’s all individual channels.
If it’s a two way now, there’s a crossover involved, all of those things, it all adds up. So you want to go and you want to make things move all around. It’s going to cost you channels to do it. You have to have a discreet audio location.
Yeah. And there’s this other concept in Immersive audio that Bob and I talk about a lot is granular movement versus sort of more wider movement. And the way to think about this, let’s say you have four speakers and you put those four speakers in each corner of the room you’re at. If I want to sound, to move around, it will move around. But depending on how far my speakers are spread apart, how close they are together, my ear brain mechanism and my internal FFT transfer functions that are happening will determine where that sound is.
And we have some fudge factor. They call it the audiologists. Call it the cone of confusion, which is like right after your, like, 180 degrees, your peripheral vision, it’s about 15 degrees. You can locate one degree in front of you, but then it starts going like, 15 degrees, and then behind you, it’s a little bit. We, as mammals basically visually, can really locate on the horizontal. But anyway, that’s the Sidebar. But you move it around. You have four speakers, you move it around. Now, let’s add three speakers on each side.
That is more granular. And if I move the sound around, I can locate a lot easier to where that sound is coming from.
It seems like you’re going from course to fine.
Yeah, coarse to fine gain.
I kind of look at it. As do you have hours on the clock? Do you have minutes on the clock or do you just have the Cardinal directions? Is it just East, north, southwest? That sort of thing? You look at your basic old school cinema surrounds your 5.1. That’s just the Cardinal directions. There are left surround, right, surround, rear surround. So it’s North, South, West. And then there’s the front, which is three channels. So the front is more granular, but the sides are not. Whereas as you break into more discrete channels, you increase the granularity and your ability to move and locate things individually and to have a separation.
I think it’s a really important thing to consider just from a creative point of view. What are we trying to do? Because that was what originally was Nathan’s question here is in order for this not to just be a fad. What’s the creative drive behind this? And so one thing is the ability to place audio content in locations. And those can be static, so you can separate out and you can go five mains across the front and you can separate out the band. You can hear a bluegrass band, and you can hear them all separated and then mixed and blended in the room very much like a magnified version of what you would experience if you were standing there with those musicians in your living room, like enhanced realism.
But I don’t need that mandolin player to be running around into the ceiling. That’s not really part of the creative event. Okay, so there’s moving things, and then there’s static separation in the left and right is not enough because we end up with that perpetual problem of as soon as you’re off the center, everybody pans things in their brain differently. So the panning things are just for somebody that’s exactly on the center, and everybody else is governed by the physics of your binaural listening system, and it’s never going to be solved no matter how much somebody tells you, they’ve solved it.
So then when it comes to motion, there’s a whole lot of stuff, but you’re getting into creative content and special effects. Now there can be things that are like in theme parks, like stunt shows or animation like Pirates of the Caribbean and animation where it’s basically this gigantic projection screen in front of you that’s 360 degrees. There’s a full Planetarium Dome that you’re in in your little boat that you’re in. Well, you can place the sound image all along that Dome and there’s video that is flying across.
You can make that movement of the Cannonball coming. All that fantastic usage of this median to make motion link up to video. Now we’re asking, like, is this all just a fad? I’ve concluded in terms of the five times expense, it’s video that’s the fad. And once video is done, people are tired of it. They’re going to give all that money that video people normally had to us. And then we can do our five times. So all right, the dream. But seriously, you have this capability to move things.
Now, what are you going to do with that? You have to have something that makes sense if you’re doing a classical music concert, moving things is stupid. But spreading them out is fantastic, because when you listen to a real Symphony, it doesn’t have it to be where all of the violins all come together with the Obama. It’s not that way. They are coming from separate locations. So it’s a beautiful thing to hear that I can tell you one of my most really, truly exciting immersive experiences.
I’m talking full goosebump experience was at Natasha and Pierre and the Comet of 1812, which is a theater production running on Broadway that had ten sound systems distributed through the room, each of them capable of covering the whole room. And the actors would come out not only from the state. They would actually have parts where they were on the balcony and singing to you from the balcony. Well, there’s this great wedding scene, and everybody is the whole cast of 36 or whatever is spread out over the room.
And then they sing this song together. And it’s this very gospel kind of chant thing, and it’s coming out of all ten sound systems, but it’s a coral blend that’s not all down into left and right or down into one tube. It’s literally blended in the room, which is what you get when you stand in a Church with a choir. And it was just like head blown. It’s like that’s through a sound system. That’s the thing there’s using the ability to mix in the space because it’s a totally different experience, mixing in a wire than mixing in the air.
That’s the beauty of immersion. But you have to be able to pull it off and have the things scale, right? Yeah. As a coral blend with a long sustains, it’s a beautiful thing. The same thing they tried to do was do a super tight Intelligible hiphop Hamilton wrap coming from ten sound systems spread all over the room. What do you say.
About the corporate and then the Church? You mentioned those two examples for why this tool could be important. I think corporate is very useful. We have a couple. The Audi Experience Center, I think, is one that just opened up sound art museums. But let’s think about these corporate car shows. That’s a great place for this. When you have your CEO, that’s about to walk out and they need a spectacle of sound and movement and stuff, that’s great. But when they start speaking, we need them all to focus on our presenter.
Let’s say you’re doing a big presentation of a product and your CEO is on a microphone and is walking around a system. Well, you could put them on a tracker and have them walk around. How distracting that is depends on how you feel about it. I find it extremely distracting sometimes when the sound is moving as the person is walking around, but it’s totally possible. But if there’s a band on stage, we can spread the band out and make them sound like where they’re coming from and be very realistic and add just depth to the feeling corporate that’s one way and the same sort of rules apply for churches.
It helps out with houses of worship to really bring in the focus to the pastor wherever the pastor is. And then during worship during service, spreading out that music and spreading out where the choir is and where the drummer is and where the bass player is, it really just helps immerse. And then on the other side of that with things like space map. If you have a couple lateral speakers that are out into the room, you can then goose in some Reverb from your console there.
And now you’re enveloping and using the Reverb on the outer and the dry on the inner. And you can really start mixing the room as a room. And that’s the thing we’ve been putting things down. This one or two very large pipes for so long, and those pipes are great. Stereo systems are great. Mono systems are even better in most live sound applications. But those pipes can only be so big. And what we’ve done is what our whole careers as mix engineers has been is carving out space and the only minimal frequency spectrum that we have for every single instrument.
And so what’s cool about this is you don’t have to do that as much, because now you have 32 pipes instead of two pipes. And now you can sculpt just by separating the pathway into the loud speakers. And that’s the most important thing is you’re no longer frequency masking. What you’re doing is overlapping your speakers and separating your signals.
Mixing in the air. But when you look at one thing, I just want to mention about the houses of worship and things is we need to talk to architects, because when you make that they love that fan shape, that super wide fan shape room. And then they close the volume down with a fairly low ceiling and those two things, then you want an immersive experience. Well, how are you going to do that? It’s a shape that really defies immersion because your audience spread across the super wide thing.
You’ve got 160 degrees of audience and to get from the far left all the way and reach the far right, you’ve got to go across the whole middle. And it’s a really difficult thing. So you have to be realistic and calibrate your expectations, balconies those create a real thing. And then there’s the other really important thing is let’s say, okay. They say you’ve got the budget for five mains, except that here’s this one little proviso. They have to have clear sight lines. You used to be able to have your left and right down nice and sweet in the right place in the room.
Now you’re going to have five mains, all just at the same height as you would a center cluster, which has to be so that the people on the third balcony don’t have their block sight lines. Right. And so now everybody is 100ft tall. And to me, that’s a trade off. That is really you have a hard time telling me that that is a good trade off because you’re so disconnected from the show, you can’t beat the physics that you’re late. You are to the floor where all your prime seats are.
The sound system is arriving tomorrow with today’s newspaper.
Well, that’s a great transition. And maybe we can look at Gabriel Fiero question, and his question is a little bit long there. But basically he’s working in a Church and he’s wondering, is this an opportunity for Immersive? He says right now there’s only two arrays and a couple of side fills, and some balcony fills. No delays or proper center coverage. So I’m looking at the differences between a new, correctly deployed system versus Immersive for our next PA. Now, I should point out that Immersive also has to be correctly deployed, but I actually have some pictures of his space, and I can send them to you if you want, if that would be helpful for you to talk about this.
But the important thing that you just mentioned is that the ceilings get lower and lower as you get to the back. And so to me, that seems like that’s probably not going to work for them, or at least not for these people in the back if they don’t have a good space to consider immersive right.
When you have a low ceiling in the back, you have to take an inverted delay approach. So you basically have a little speaker on the back that does a non granular approach. The more traditional surround approach in the back, and then maybe six rows forward, you Mount a larger speaker that’s high enough to make a granular surround to cover the main part of the room. I’d have to look at the exact physics of the room, but essentially those get linked together by space map as derived nodes as linked signals so that you could pan the signal around and it would light up in a granular approach, the big surrounds and then the ones that are on the outside perimeter.
Those light up as groups, so they perform a non just sort of an overall rear, whereas people in the center. I did a Church design recently. It’s a fan shaped Church that has a very popular shape. It’s a fan shape, and then it’s a fairly flat floor. But it has these ramps on the side that go up. So the ramps go up, and then it’s a balcony over the 160 degrees. Okay, so there you go. What you’re left with is the ability there’s the dog. So you’re left with the ability to do a full granular surround on the floor center and then a non granular Cardinal directions on the upper balcony and on the ramps, one on the side.
You’re forced by the physics. You’d have to kill people in the rear to get that to fire all the way to the front. And it’s not complaints always are that’s gain to stop your surround fantasies.
So, Gabriel, I think you should definitely take a look at there are three recent videos on the Myerson YouTube channel about system design with Josh and Bob going through some of the stuff, and that should answer some of your questions, because as Bob’s talking about here, you’ll see that all of the sources need to cover all of the audience, and if they can’t and they have blocked sight lines, as is the case with your people going deep under that balcony and the ceiling getting lower, then there’s going to need to be some reinforcement somehow.
And so as you’ll see in these videos with Josh and Bob, they explain how you solve all these problems. But it does start to generate some complexity as you have blocked sight lines and portions of the audience that are not visible to all sources.
Yeah, one thing that the Church market under balconies are another big thing, but there are tools to deal with with these systems built in the most immersive sound systems. I agree that I feel like the five across the front and a fan shaped room almost as a marketing dream, especially on those extreme sides. But there’s a way to do it in space map to have a left center right across each section of seating and then control each section as a left center right together from our front of house perspective, or even just stereo systems, but not stereo in the traditional way.
Stereo is where the left and the right of both that’s covering one section of that fan is overlapped. The one cool thing about this is like, let’s say you do have a smaller budget, something like a Galaxy. You have 16 available outputs. So if you did a traditional PA up front like you normally would, and then you did for your Christmas Spectacular production, you brought in a couple extra loudspeakers. Well, if you have extra outputs on your Galaxy, then just plug those XLR into those speakers, and now you can use those and send some sound for your special Christmas Spectacular sound effects around, as well as still maintain the mix that you’re using.
So yeah, there’s tons of options really depends on back to this course versus granular what do you want to do? What is the goal and the intent of the sound system?
Okay, so let’s get into some of these and let’s just see how far we can get. And then maybe we’ll even come back to some of my questions. But people are so nice to sending questions that I want to make sure we get to those. So Robert Scoville, I asked him, what do you want me to ask them about their system? And he said in Galaxy when it is used in Immersive systems, considered a spatializer by a given definition, and he doesn’t give the definition. So I’m hoping someone can say something about what a spatializer is.
He says. I know Mayer incorporating delay matrixing within the unit to achieve the spatial aspects of their Space Max application, but I’m curious if units like Astro Spatial and Lisa Tmax et cetera are functionally or mathematically different than what Galaxy has to offer.
Hey, Robert, the first question. I hope you’re doing well. First question, spatializer Space Map Go, and the Galaxy itself is a loud speaker processor. So the cool thing is, the Galaxy will still tune your PA and do all of the things that Galaxy has done for years now, with the free updates to Space Map Go, you can now use level changes. I don’t know what the definition of specializer would be, but it is an Immersive audio platform like all of these others. In addition to be a loudspeaker processor, and we’re not using delay, Galaxy does have a delay matrix, and you can set static delay times on a queue basis or snapshot basis.
But we’re using level based planning very similar to what all these other companies are doing. And the difference between the three companies that you mentioned is, yes, their math is different. They’re not talking about what math they’re using, and timeax is delay based. Lisa, I believe, is only level based with a little bit of delay. And then Astral spatial, I don’t know enough about to really, I think it does both. I think it does delay and level based, but there’s ways around it. I’m working on a project right now that is going to be using a sort of static cross fade delay matrix to move someone from an A stage to a B stage, so as they move, the delay time changes and steps for the outputs.
But Space Mapp Go is level based. It’s not controlling the delay matrix of a Galaxy. You can still control it with Compass.
I hope that answered that I can’t comment on the Astral spatial because I got Pfizer.
Okay, Robert says. Secondly, ask him how Myer defines an object. Is it a speaker output or an input source to the spatializing device?
Yes. So an object in general terms represents a channel. So if I have an output or a bus from my console that feeds that’s plugged into a Galaxy, so I have an XLR from my console and that XLR cable plugs into the input of a Galaxy, whether it’s an input. So an object is that input. So then that object moves around the space Mapp, and the space Mapp is the custom Panor that you design. So if I have 30 loud speakers, I can have a space map that has all 30 in it.
Or I can have a space map that just has four of those 30 loudspeakers in it, and you draw the space Mapp. Then on top of that, we have what are called trajectories and trajectories are pathways that you draw, and they control the objects automatically. So you can have tap tempo. So if I want to move a trajectory around at a certain BPM, let’s say I want a sound of my drum kit to go side to side. My symbols need to move in time with the music.
I just tap in that tempo, and then there we go. It’s moving left and right, and you can draw them to be as complex or as fun as you want. For example, I show an example all of the time called sound to source. Rex and my wife basically just drew a tree that is a trajectory, and I can load that on a channel and it controls the object and move that sound around whatever it is in the shape of the Trex. And since it’s on an ipad, you can expand it, contract it.
And this all happens in real time. That’s one thing that no one else can do in the industry right now that makes space map really fun. So that’s an object object is an input.
So Alice Defancies has this question that I think we’ll need a little bit of unraveling because I think it expresses some assumptions, but I think it’s good to get into because probably some assumptions that a lot of people have. So most people are familiar with this phenomenon that as you move farther away from a speaker, that his coverage seems to get wider unless you have an asymmetrical Horn. So I think this is his sort of thinking where he asked this question. He says, IEM wondering how far into the audience the immersive experience can be achieved before all those separated signals become combined.
And does that then cause cancellations in the back of the room? Now, right away, we’ve already talked in this conversation about how a little bit about the system design that we actually want all of our sources to be covering the entire audience. So I think he’s thinking that we actually want them to be all separate signals. So, Josh or Bob, do you want to try to speak to this question a little bit?
Well, of course, a speaker from an angular point of view stays constant over distance, but as a width in terms of meters or feet or whatever, it’s getting wider. That’s the simple physics of it. So when you’re too close in you’re going to find yourself that you simply are prohibitively close to something because the inverse square law is going to prevent you from you’re just too close. If you get up on a ladder and stand next to the sides around. Yeah, you’re not going to have an immersive experience.
What we do is we define the room sort from a design point of view. We have this thing called the go zone, and that gives you a fairly good guideline up to where you’re going to have a 100% immersive experiences inside of that go zone. And then from there, it’s a Gray progression out of full immersion. There isn’t a place where it suddenly just locks in and you have it. As you get closer to the perimeters, you’re necessarily getting closer to those laterals and farther away from the others.
And simply the physics are going to catch up with you eventually. So the signals themselves, the more that a signal is individuated, the more you will have everybody be able to if they were all blindfolded, would point to the sound source, where is the frog coming from? And everybody would point in the same direction to the frog direction where you placed it in a space map. And that’s the key thing are people consistently showing you experiencing the same localization content. And if you then Mapp the things out so that you have immersed them into a swamp full of frogs and cicadas and all these things around them, then everybody could point to this and that the locations that’s really the goal and the more that you are towards the center, the more sure that experience is going to be.
And I would also say one thing that people get wrapped up on is like, okay, well, what do I do about fills? What do I do about all my subsystems and five across the front in a lot of rooms won’t cover the whole entire room, regardless of how pretty it looks in the prediction software and the subsystems are still real. So if I am sitting underneath a linear and for whatever reason, my five across the front are very high up, I could maybe have two front fills in front of me and do using what are called derive nodes.
Do a stereo mixture of what’s happening up above me. One thing that I use derive notes for a lot is, let’s say, for whatever reason, you can’t have your console in the room. So what you do is set up a stick of a five one surround system in the booth where your mix console is. And then that uses derive nodes. And so whatever happens out in the room translates and mixes down to a five one mix for your room. We do that with under balconies as well.
And so you’ll have this sort of main system that is covering as much of the room as possible. But then you’ll have these subsystems that are doing immersive mix downs, whether it’s down to Monos, stereo or whatever. And a lot of time. That’s very helpful for especially when these speakers have to get hung so high across the proscenium. Front fills become really important for imaging. Just imaging that voice down.
I’m just gain to mention, though, is this that you can’t get stupid about these things? Okay, front fills are only going to cover two rows and about five people wide. Right. So they are not part of your spatialization system. You’re not going to be zinging things around the front fields and have everybody go, wow, look at it across the front. That’s not going to happen. That’s not going to happen in your under balcony speakers, because if the under balcony speakers are designed correctly at all, they are designed for correlated signal for minimal overlap, because their job is to bring up Intelligibility.
They have a very clear mission. Do not go and start screwing with playing one of the places I really throw up a big red flag is people wanting to play matrix games with the matrix delays and silliness under balconies. And in front of us, it’s like, Stop it, stop it, stop it. Those things are combat audio. You must make them simple. And Intelligible let them do their job and don’t screw them up. Yeah.
And now with the 32 pathways. What’s cool is that speaker now becomes a multi use tool. It could be that delay doing correlated signal for the mains, but it can also be used in a separate pathway. For some version of a mixed down.
It can become an overhead and shoving. People are looking up, because now it’s not merging with what’s coming from the front. It’s suddenly all by itself is a Peter Pan over your head saying, look at me. Yeah.
And so under Balconies, of course, and above upper Balconies, you’re going to have less of a granular immersive experience, but you can still design a system to have an immersive experience.
Okay, cool. Let’s get to Robert McGarry’s question. He says total novice for immersive programming. Where do you delay to? Is there a zero point? And just for some context, IEM going to make an assumption here about what Robert’s talking about. I think he’s thinking of a practice in theater where we might have a center point on stage, in theater, where we want our voices to Sonic image source back to or we may have a concert sound stage where we want where we kind of time back to the drums.
I think that’s kind of what he’s thinking of. As I’m learning more from you both about immersive systems. I’m thinking that this question is actually not applicable to this, but yeah, what do you have to say about where is the zero point?
The same would be if that was a left right system or if it was five systems across. If you want to make it timed to events on stage and you don’t already have enough delay because you’ve got a digital console and a digital this and a digital that have already stacked up your latency. So if you’re going to actually add a little bit more, then sure drum kit is a usable place. Or if it’s theatrical, you can go to a point on these, but those become essentially in our world that’s a static event, or it can be set up through that delay matrix as a set of presets.
If you wanted to make it so that you had a moment where an actor was downstage left for some dramatic moment, you could have a separate delay matrix timing for that, but that’s a static part of the tuning process, and then the emergency facilities movement would come on top of that would be changed by that.
Yeah, I think of it as an immersive systems. I think of two different delay types. There’s system delay, which is what we’re going to need to do for time alignment of systems, whether that’s main subs relationship frontfill relationship that all gets handled, you can use the delay matrix on the Galaxy or the outputs for each speaker on the Galaxy, and then there’s artistic delay. So if I have an actor moving from proscenium downstage to upstage, I can fire a snapshot that changes that inputs delay time, or I could just do it on the console and have a snapshot on my console and adjust their input when they’re not singing that instantly swaps their delay to a new zone.
This is very typical of what we would do in musical theater, having three zones or four zones across the stage. There are fancy devices that are very expensive that do that automatically for you. But with a Galaxy, it’s a free update, and you can just do a snapshot change.
Cool. Let’s try to squeeze in two more questions here and then we’ll start to wrap up. I don’t know if you have anything to say about this, but Angela Williams says, Where do you place audience mics in the room for capture as objects?
I kind of don’t understand the question, but let’s talk about how do we capture surround information that’s happening in a room? There are two different scenarios. One scenario is I have an artist on making a recording or I just want to have some microphones laid out to capture the audience noise and send it back in. That could be wherever you want. And if you wanted to, you could put them on face map and then send them to all loud speakers or just some loud speakers. The laterals you can make them an object and move that audience sound around.
I think the question is for the analysis of the object placement. That’s the impression I got of that question.
Yeah, it could be. I also don’t totally understand it. And IEM realizing now I should have asked them to clarify a little bit, but it did make me think about mixing those in, but I don’t know how you would mix those in. So yeah. Do you want to say something about that, Bob?
If it’s mixing things in, my answer is no, I don’t do that. That’s Constellation’s job. And that’s what you’re getting into. If you want to start recirculating audience mics ambient mics in, that’s a whole nother thing. But if it was to in order to analyze, you place a virtual mic into a real mic to analyze the localization, my answer would be anywhere you want, anywhere you want to know the answer.
Yeah. And there are tons of different mic styles to do that. You could do that with a binaural microphone headset. You can do that with an Ambisonics microphone. You can do that. Whatever. If that’s just for capturing the recording of what’s happening in the room and in Map 3D.
We do it through virtual SIM mics. And I do that as part of the analysis. I’ll go and place a mic when I’m designing a mic in Map 3D, and then I’ll run the different speakers and I’ll be able to see as I lay one trace over the others. Like, okay, IEM consistently seeing within three DB. All of my laterals are all reaching within three DB in this location. Okay. That’s cool. I know that this has a really consistent specialization there. Okay.
I wanted to get to Lloyd Gibson’s question because even though we’ve already talked about this, some at the first part of the interview, I wanted to do it again because I would just want to make sure this is clear for there’s probably other people out there who have this question. And I want to give Bob a chance to maybe correct some misunderstandings about his own teaching. So Lloyd Gibson says I thought Bob was against stereo imaging and live sound because of the psycho acoustics and delay magnitude discrepancies seat to seat.
Does this not apply here, or is there a size threshold where it can be successful?
Okay, so stereo in live applications, let’s get into the semantics. There’s a left main and a right main. You can call that stereo. I call that left right, because stereo is something that happens when you put on headphones. Happens when you sit there in your living room because you’re inside of the five milliseconds that you have to play with in the world of physics, of your brain and its ability to make a panoramic stereo image. There’s very little of the room that is inside that five millisecond window.
In our world of PA, it doesn’t have to be a big PA doesn’t have to be an arena or Stadium. It’s like even in a small theater, there’s very little that fits inside that window so everybody else can call it stereo all they want. But I design systems left and right systems, and I design them to have no more overlap between left and right than they have overlapping into the walls. So that’s my thing. Basically, I don’t want to invite the wall into the thing any more than the virtual wall, which is the correlation point of where the two speakers meet in the middle and all physical acoustics modeling as a wall.
So that’s where I aim systems. I don’t aim your left and right deeply inward. Unless you can promise me that you’re going to put left completely separate material than in the right. Like if you’ve got left, center and right and they are now discrete and separate channels. Now I’m going to turn that thing inward. Now I’m going to cover the whole room with left and the whole room with right and the whole room with center and the whole room with left, center and right center and 17 whatever they are.
I’m back to the I’m the whole show. So if I’m the whole show fine. But if we are left and right and 99% of the material outside of the littlest bits are going to be pushed this way when all the really stuff that matters, the Fader with the big star on it is going to be mixed center. I’m going to make your left and right system so that it does the best performance that it can as correlated signal. Okay, so that’s my simple answer to that.
I haven’t changed on that. But if you go to a full multi channel as soon as you introduce two multi channel and that’s what happens when you add that third one, that center register functioning center channel. Now when you’ve gone to full multi channel, if that’s the way you want to address it. Now we can go and play decorating, but a lot of times what you really see in an LCR is you’re going to do LR are still going to be a very LR system. Very little gets panned out, but the center is its own thing.
So now you have a decorated center, but a semicolated left and right. So I hope that was the answer. That wasn’t too unclear.
I thought that that was clear. Yeah, that’s great.
I don’t tell people how to mix. Right.
And Immersive is a new way to mix. Instead of sending things down two pipes, you now have 32 or however many channels you have. You no longer view it as LCR, and you view it as my canvas that I can put objects on. And that’s really the way I have to start viewing it is IEM looking at a stage. Okay, now I’m painting where I want to put my artist or where I want to put my objects.
Okay, Josh and Bob, thank you so much for all of your time today. And I should end by asking, where is the best place for people to go who want to learn more about space, map, go and Immersive systems on.
Yeah. So Myersound. Com. Well, Myersound dot com is a great location for all information concerning Myersound. We also have the thinkingsound YouTube channel that’s our YouTube page. We’ve done about 6 hours worth of Space Map Go content as well as Map 3D content. There’s tons of information there, like every other company we participated in Webinar Wars.
And I never heard him call that. That sounds so violent.
Nick from DMV called it the other day while we were hanging out, and I thought it was hilarious. So shout out to Nick. But anyway, Webinar Wars was what happened. But anyway, there’s tons of content, not only just about Immersive audio and everything. And then last resource for Space Map Go is the Space Mapp Go Help website. That’s basically the operating instructions for Space Map Go. And the cool thing is, this is all free, so you can download Compass and download Space Mapp, Go onto your ipad and mess around with it.
Play with it. You don’t need hardware to start looking at what this can do.
I want to just throw in one more thing. Hope I don’t get in trouble, but there’s also some physical places where you can go to experience Space snap. There are some locations where there are, at least at the moment that we’re making this recording operating systems. There’s one here in New York. I believe there’s one in one still in Nashville.
At our office at Soundtrack in Nashville and then center staging in Burbank.
Yeah. So we have an LCR system left center and right there for the United States, and I think there might be one in Europe. I think there’s one in Europe.
Yeah. All across the world. Really? We have a touring Roadshow Space Mapp Go road show, which is happening across the US road Show.
When is that coming to mind?
I don’t know, man.
I think it should be called Space Mapp of Gogo.
Yeah, it should be called Space Mapp of Gogo, but yeah, if you look at the website on our website, there’s an article about it, and you can reach out to sales at Meyerson dot com to find out when it’s coming to a city near you. They’re thinking about doing one in Europe very soon. Australia has been touring around and New Zealand have been touring around Space Map Go systems for a while now.
So you can’t go to Australia.
They won’t let you leave that exactly.
And then our dealers and distributor network across the world, some have set up Space Map Go system, so reach out to sales at Meyerstown dot com. If you want to hear this, you want to hang out and then we’re open to give you a demo. And the New York room is really cool. And Bob might meet you there.
Oh, wow. Just throwing Bob’s hat in there. Great. Thank you.
The other thing is we will be at Infocom this year, and so there will be a Space Mapp system there. That will be we can’t talk about it. Really too much yet, but it’s going to be cool. I’m excited about it.
Well, Josh and Bob, thank you so much for joining me on Sound Design Live. Sound Design.