Multichannel audio for interdisciplinary site-specific installations

Research output: Working paper

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Multi-disciplinary arts projects featuring sound often neglect the importance of sound projection and the technical concerns that arise when working with loudspeakers. Relating directly to site-specific works, the problem is compounded by the common observation - ‘Help! It sounded good in my studio. Why doesn’t it sound the same on site…?’ What is the artist trying to technically achieve spatially and is it achievable in a public-art space? Is immersive sound perceivable by multi-audience members?

The research seeks to find a solution to common technical problems encountered by curators and artists who work with sound in an interdisciplinary way, by demonstrating the Godman's collaborative interdisciplinary work and teaching of ‘sound’ to Fine Art and Digital Media at the University of Hertfordshire and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

The standard system for the majority of commercial listening remains Blumlein Stereo, still exceeding commercial ‘surround sound’ systems such as 5.1. It is accepted that the optimum configuration for positioning of listener to loudspeakers in Blumlein stereo is an equilateral triangle, with the listener observing equidistant from both loudspeakers (the sweet-spot). The listener can hear the sound of all loudspeakers, no matter their location, if they are treated as point sources. If the rate of change from one loudspeaker to another is fast enough, then a granulated space is produced forming a convincing immersive sound. This method of Point Source Localisation (Roads 1998) has been developed by Godman for Cosmoscope and Anarchy in the Organism (using multispeaker configurations) in an attempt to solve this common problem in public-art audio.

Material initially delivered for Cafe Scientifique, Hatfield UK November 2019, with a conference paper proposed to the International Computer Music Conference, Santiago, Chile 2020, the paper summarises Godman’s aesthetic and technical solutions relating to multispeaker sound projection in public-art spaces. A toolkit of computer code is also available enabling artists to use the technique in their sound works.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusSubmitted - 1 Nov 2019


  • sound, site-specific, point-source, spatialisation


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