The Ligeti Hall has a total of 101 loudspeakers:
- the so-called "sky": an array of 64 speakers spanning the hall's entire ceiling and upper walls
- 8 subwoofers, installed on the ceiling and arranged in 2 groups of 4
- 29 movable speakers.
The 29 moveable speakers are mounted on independent, custom made motorised suspensions. Thus, for these speakers, it is possible to adjust the height level (the z coordinate), azimuth angle and tilt individually and compose different speaker arrangements.
With this infrastructure, the Ligeti Hall allows for the most diverse approaches to the composition of space and/in/with sound. However, it can be clearly very difficult for composers and sound artists to make full use of this flexibility if they have no direct access and experience of the acoustics of the hall.
Therefore, using binaural auralisation techniques, we try to provide the means for applicants to this category to gain a perceptual experience of the Ligeti Hall's acoustics and to test how their works would sound in the Hall (with approximation).
A good way to get familiar with binaural auralisation in the Ligeti Hall is to visit the page Intro to Auralisation which was used in the Mind the Gap Symposium to document the space and its technical setup.
The tools we are using in the auralisation involve the digital audio workstation Reaper (available for download for all major operating systems for free here) in combination with the plugin suite mcfx multichannel audio plug-in suite by Matthias Kronlachner (available for download for macOS and Windows here *). Both of these tools have to be installed on your machine.
* we apologise, the plug-in suite is currently not available on Linux. If this is a problem, you may get in touch to see if we can set you up with Reaper and JConvolver.
We provide different Reaper projects which binaurally simulate three different speaker configurations:
- hemiaux: simulates the 29 loudspeakers in a hemispherical configuration ("classical" dome arrangement used e.g. for ambisonics spatialisation), all facing the centre of the hall, plus the 8 subwoofers.
- rand-b1b: 29 loudspeakers, each one with random height, azimuth and tilt, plus the 8 subwoofers.
- sky: simulates the 64 channels sky.
For each loudspeaker configuration, two listening positions are available (see images on the right): one in the middle of the hall (center), and a second one a bit more off-centred towards loudspeaker number 4 (vierdirekt). The next steps describe how to setup the mcfx convolver plugins with Reaper, and how to configure it to work with the Ligeti Hall impulse responses in Windows and macOS.
STEP 0 - Download everything you need:
STEP 1 - Install Reaper
STEP 2 - Install plugins:
- (macOS) extract the folder named "mcfx_v0.5.7_osx_vst.zip" in folder "~/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/VST". If folder doesn't exists, create it.
- (Windows) run "mcfx_v0.5.7_win64.exe" and follow instructions.
STEP 3 - Setup convolver:
- (macOS) Put the content of folder "conv_presets" in folder "~/Library/mcfx/convolver_presets". If folder doesn't exists, create it.
- (Windows) Put the content of folder "conv_presets" in folder "C:\users\USER\AppData\Roaming\mcfx\convolver_presets", replace USER with your username. If folder doesn't exists, create it.
At this point, you should be set. Go to folder "channel_test_templates" and open any .RPP file to launch a Reaper project where you can test your configuration. The folder contains six .RPP files, where you can test any speaker setup (hemi, random or sky) from the two different listening points (center or vierdirekt) we provide. To start an empty project with your desired configuration go to folder "templates" and open the corresponding Reaper project.
In each of the Reaper projects, the tracks labelled with "channel N" corresponds to one loudspeaker channel in that configuration. For instance, open the project named, "template_rand_vierdirekt"; place a sound file of on track "channel 13"; then start playback and listen through headphones. What you would hear is a binaural rendering of the sound track "as if" it would be played through loudpspeaker number 13, with you sitting in the Ligeti Hall in the position "vierdirekt", the loudspeakers in the rand-b1b positions.