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Re: surround looping

On May 14, 2005, at 23:36, Rainer Thelonius Balthasar Straschill wrote:

> I'm currently reflecting the possibility of doing looping-related
> performance in a speaker configuration with more than two channels.
8< 8< 8< 8< 8< .........

Thank you for bringing up this highly interesting topic! Jeff's notes  
were also interesting reading. This week it was made clear that I  
will be making two surround recordings this year and this trigged my  
twenty year old dream of "a multi channel live performance system"  
into spin-around mode. In the eighties we only had digital delays to  
create delay bounces between PA speakers to make sound "frog jump"  
around the room. Today there are so many more interesting tools  

As Jeff said, you can either simply place sound in the surround field  
or you can set up a system that moves sound. The first approached I  
tried once in the nineties when scoring a four screen art movie with  
four channel music. I was using Logic and created Vector Objects to  
place audio channels between the four speakers. Logic's Vector  
Objects is just like a X-Y axis graf and the perfect object to  
manipulate with a joystick (4 parameteres instantly available).

But the things I'm about to start investigating now is not 5.1 mixing  
or similar but a way to construct dynamic effect processing in a  
surround context. Here looping is essential. I will start by using  
Live 4, that I have already tested for ordinary stereo looping. What  
I'm doing right now, in stereo, is to record/overdub into two looper  
plug-ins at the same time. I guess the same technique can be used to  
record into four instances of a looper plug-in. The challenge,  
however, is to make something musical with it, i.e. keeping the set- 
up so simple that you can still play it fluently without having to  
plan or compose too much. Here are some ideas:

1. Delay looping. Typically layering sound into loops while  
controlling feedback (and sometimes as well pitch transpose the  
loop). To keep it simple I like to record into all loopers  
simultaneously while keeping them synced but of different lengths.  
This sounds very big in stereo and must be massive as a quadrophonic  

2. Doing the above but with the added option to also record into only  
one loop at the time.

3. Dynamically Moving Surround Sound.
I see this as a different concept than 1  and 2, but also  
complementary. Instead of creating many sound sources in the surround  
field you use only one or two sound sources but work more with  
techniques to move the sound between positions. The easiest example  
is setting up a slap echo and have each echo bounce go to a different  
speaker. You may think about many other applications, like for  
example using a midi expression pedal to rotate the sound source. Or  
you can use a sequencer to send placement data to a channel.

4. Creating BIG Spaces. Wouldn't it be possible with let's say four  
surround speakers to create an appeared room that is much bigger than  
the actual area within the speaker field? When creating a four  
channel mix I experimented with reverb returns going out into all  
four speakers and was thrilled by the experience.

I think my choice for surround looping is to use mainly software. I  
have a decent eight output sound card that may also work as patch-bay  
to bring my Echoplex into the software. EDP sound will arrive some 12  
milliseconds late, due to AD latency, but I've never had a problem  
with that. But I'm not planning to use my laptop because it's too  
weak (a 1,25 GB Apple Powerbook). If you are going to buy a Windows  
PC for this you are much better off (in CPU horse power) but I think  
I would go for a Shuttle instead of a laptop. A shuttle gives you  
more power and is cheaper to repair.

Greetings from Sweden

Per Boysen
www.looproom.com (international)
www.boysen.se (Swedish)
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