Sound Design Experimentation/World 1 setup



Yesterday I set the sound array in the formation of one world (coloured in blue or purple in the diagram below). I wanted to start working on the sound design of the installation as I new that last time this was something that was really rushed and with a little less thought into it – as most of my thinking was in the design of the installation structure + tech issues.


There a few things that have allowed me to become a bit more focused on what the installation is going to sound like. These things are: more artist research, I understanding Ableton a bit better, I am also understanding how the array is working and with all this put together I am able to be more focused on knowing what it is I want the plants to sound like.plant array plan 3


Even though there is going to be one machine per world it doesn’t mean that each world needs to be calibrated differently. We will be testing this next week to see if it will work as right now it is just a working theory, but we should be able to send the all the speakers through the GLM box that will in turn control the volume level of the whole installation. I will then be able to adjust individual channels for each speaker on whichever of the three machines that will be used in the installation – one machine per ambisonic world.


Screenshot 2019-04-02 at 18.03.29


For my sound design testing the array needed to be re-calibrated for this particular set up away. How this was done was in the GLM software where you place the respective speakers where they are in the room into the grid. You then just need to click calibrate and the speakers will in turn generate a tone and microphone will measure the reverb of the room. After they have all done that, using the spectographs that each speaker has generated and the microphone has measured, the software then will balance out the levels of the speakers. This is a really important step to get to the full affect of the ambisonic recordings.


Although the quad/ambisonic setup sounds really good, there is still a gap between each speaker that is quite noticeable when in the space. I noticed this last time but am a bit wary about taking extra speakers to Cardiff at the moment. I would be great for each would to have a more intensive ambisonic experience but I am not sure if that is necessary or not. I think at the moment it is important to get the sounds that I want and in the next array set up experiment it will be easier to tell whether it will work or not. This is because we are going to try and over lay the worlds (look back to diagram where the central world is slightly overlaying world 1 and world 2).

Then again it would be really nice for it to be a bit fuller. It is also really noticeable that it is in a quad setup when I start to move things around the space. I do understand though that SHIFT is a more ambient space that the Sound Lab so it may be ok in the end!

It was really difficult to find a balance for the plant speakers and the outer array and I think this is going to be something I am going to have a bit of trouble with and will be a working problem. Everything has started to become a bit more experimental in the sounds and although I really do like it as an experience in itself, in the wider scheme of things it might make the installation become a bit too clustered with noise.


I accidentally unwarped some of the field recordings in the Ableton as I changed the tempo of the project to see how that would effect the MIDI data stuff as I found that everything felt really fast. The field recordings stretched and it all became really glitchy. Suddenly I realised that that is what i needed. Having been listening to a lot of Holly Herndon and have been inspired by Katharina Hauke‘s Eden Project sounds + been reading quite a lot on deep ecology and deep time things, it all seemed quite relevant to slow the recordings down and suddenly be immersed in Plant Time.

End of the day seemed like a really successful experiment for me.

Things I still need:

  1. long cat 5 cables


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