Think 7.1 Surround Is Banging? How About 64-Channel Surround??

Lead Sound, a Japanese concern, has premier their new Sympho Canvas virtual orchestra. Sixty-Four speakers are positioned in a concert hall in place of real orchestral musicians. Each speaker then plays the corresponding part of a symphony in perfect sync. Why go to all this trouble? Well the idea is that the audience can walk among the speakers for an immersive musical experience.

The Sympho Canvas will perform “Autumn Fantasy 2008” from Oct 11 to 21, 2008, at the Kanagawa Science Park in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. In addition to the instruments, four speakers fill in human voices and several add ambience.

For a press conference announcing the event, Lead Sound arranged seats throughout the speakers for people to experience the Sympho Canvas from different listening points. Besides the 50 speakers assigned to strings, percussions, brass, woodwinds and voice, six subwoofers provide bass, and eight additional speakers, four on the ceiling and four more on side walls, create “reverberant sounds.”

All of the discrete pieces played by the 64 channel sound system were created, not by humans, but by synthesizers, except for the vocals. The company determined it would have been very difficult, not to mention extremely expensive, to record each instrument of an orchestra in perfect sync. In order to make the synth sounds more realistic to the harmonic overtones of the acoustical instruments, they were painstakingly processed in order to retain the overall “essence” of the original instruments. The entire process took eight months.

Author: FutureMusic

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