32bit VST2 plugin for Windows
(3.5mb .zip : unzip to your plugins folder)
SoundSquares is a multichannel mixing plugin designed by Daz Disley to simplify the process of making surround-sound installations and performances involving large (and non-standard) numbers of loudspeakers.
A powerful 64-input 64-output matrix mixer capable of delivering upto 4096 simultaneous audio mixes.
Imagine a scenario involving multiple loudspeakers deployed in a space. It might be a museum or art gallery, performance space, or other public environment, but unlike a generic public-address system where one sound source is heard through all speakers simultaneously, different sounds come from different speakers, and that their distribution be fluidly and reliably orchestrated.
This is well understood in the context of cinema where a number of speakers are used to create the experience, usually organised into a 5.1 or 7.1, as used in computer gaming setups, and higher-end cinema systems using arrangements of up to 22.2.
Broadlyspeaking, these dot format speaker arrangements are usually arranged in an approximation of a circle, with the audience expected to be located in static positions within the circle. In the case of larger cinematic systems, the circle of speakers may break out into 3 dimensions, but still generally follows the same notion of an audience seated inside of a uniform array.
What if instead of addressing an already codified arrangement of speakers,
the environment features an arbitrary set of locations,
with no fixed position for the audience?
This presents several challenges when creating an audio installation or performance work.
Cheap and powerful software mixing tools, widely available for almost 30 years now, and a set of well codified conventions as to their use – main narrative (or singing) voice placed in the centre of the stereo image, atmos and other spatial elements distributed between the two speakers to create a virtual sound-stage or stereo image, whether recorded or constructed.
Also powerful, generally not so cheap. Have a set of conventions as to what belong where in the mix (voices front-and-centre, environment sounds placed accordingly).
Whilst the tools are certainly powerful, and the expectations of the ‘virtual reality’ these systems enable results in quite strict conventions, this is a somewhat more costly niche, which whilst some tools are freely available, their use is rather rarified, and somewhat less accessible than mixing to a more widely available commercial format.
Is intended to facilitate the use of a large number of loudspeakers where a lack of audience centrality challenges notions of the ideal listening spot.
Exists in a niche where the deployment of large speaker arrays crosses-over with the needs of artists, in both installation and performance.
Uses an intuitive visual approach to position sound source analogs in proximity to loudspeaker analogs as found in many 5.1 software mixer setups where a visual node, or perhaps a trackball, enables swift and accurate changes to be made.
.Daz Disley .artist.audio engineer.developer
Amongst other things, my creative practice investigates time, often using musical-perspectives to make images and video, and at-heart I’m an experimenter.
Having spent time in various studio-settings has lead me to not being afraid of pushing buttons for the sake of simply learning what happens … I’m proficient in a wide array of technology-related delivery and a confident user of Photoshop / InDesign / Premiere / AfterEffects / SynthEdit / vvvv / (a variety of boring officey-products for making documents and spreadsheets), and I write in c++ / .net / php / web-related / HLSL … etc … but beyond a list of other peoples’ products, I’m not just a user of systems : I’m a creator of systems.
I take a keen interest in the why of how things work, and outside of the purely digital realm, I also make various things as part of arts-delivery.
I’ve survived the last 20 years as an independent self-employed practitioner, so I can find myself one week : shooting and editing video, the next : on-location tech’ing a festival, the following : in the dark-room, and the one after that : coding and patching in-advance of a live performance as a ‘VJ’.