On Friday, July 7, the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will host a Media Day in advance of the first-ever Spatial Audio Workshop, a weeklong symposium for electronic composers and programmers interested in working on new 3D immersive sound systems.  

A partnership between EMPAC, Harvard University’s studio for electroacoustic composition, and IRCAM Paris, the world’s leading audio research institute, the Spatial Audio Workshop (July 10-14) will train up and coming electronic composers on immersive audio systems such as Wave Field Synthesis and High-Order Ambisonics, technologies that allow the artist to place and move virtual sounds through physical space. The audio equivalent of 3D cinema, these systems are considered to be the future of immersive surround-sound and could become prevalent within theaters, cinemas, home entertainment systems, and virtual reality platforms. 

By attending the Media Day event, you will have a chance to experience 3D “holophonic” sound first-hand. The EMPAC audio team will take participants into the virtual “wave field” created by the system’s 500 tiny speakers, demonstrating how the system can precisely localize a sound within the physical space. “Spatializing” a recording of a string quartet so that each instrument is projected into the space, the presenters will encourage participants to move around the room, walking around and through the virtual quartet. It’s common to have a “eureka” moment when you first encounter the ghostly presence of a sound moving through the room.

EMPAC’s Wave Field Synthesis system was built in 2016 and is one of the most precise systems of its kind in the world. For the Spatial Audio Workshop, this system will be linked to a 60-speaker Ambisonic dome to create a 360-degree listening environment for the participating composers to work within. On July 10 and 13, workshop presenters Markus Noisternig (IRCAM) and Hans Tutschku (Harvard) will perform using the system. These performances are open to the public and will be the first time that many in the region will have an opportunity to experience this “holophonic” effect.

CONTACT:  Josh Potter |Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute |

Phone: (518) 276-8350 | Email: [email protected]

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