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Articles May-June 2021

Pursuing the Pro Audio Trail

In conversation with Caroline Moss and Sue Gould

PT got in touch with the Pro AVL Asia magazine core team of Editor - Caroline Moss and Sales Director - Sue Gould, who between them boast of over three decades of experience in the pro audio industry..... read more

NJSM Marks a Milestone in the Business of Sound

From Rental Company to manufacturer and innovator, Nixon Johnny has guided and grown NJSM from a two-person company to a fifty-person company, continuing to expand into virtual events with NJSM Virtual Studio..... read more

Tech Savvy Environment for T-Systems

Eyte Technologies installs high-tech AV Solution at T-System’s Experience Center facilitating brand value and delivering superior customer experience..... read more

Conversations with SudeepAudio

Sudeep Audio, one of India’s first pro audio web store selling studio software and equipment online commenced its YouTube Channel, ConverSAtions, in 2011 to share the journey of Indian Sound Engineers..... read more


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Spaghetti & Curry Westerns in Immersive Audio

Had an amazing week this year at ProLight + Sound 2018. Frankfurt never disappoints and this time around the most interesting developments were the demonstrations and presentations of immersive audio systems from two of the leading manufacturers in turnkey loudspeaker systems. Beyond a doubt ‘Immersive Hyperealism’ is the way of the future, a whole new paradigm, a new eco-system and a new way of thinking about sound and the way we design, mix and provide the hardware to do a show production. What this also means is buying many more speakers/amplifiers/ancillary gear from the perspective of hardware to achieve this and thus bring out the creativity in a boring job of normally mixing in dual-mono to a spatialised audio mixing concept.

Theory

What is immersive audio is beyond the scope of this column but to simplify things I would say that from a simple pan potentiometer on your console you suddenly have migrated to Pan: Distance: Width: Elevation & Auxiliary Send just by opening a full screen and selecting channel by channel of control like you’d do with EQ.

This allows us to create a virtual environment in which we can place close-mic’d sources across a broad space and more than anything it increases our empathy with the music and enables us to deliver it to the audience in a much richer way. The illusion of spatialisation in immersive systems is overwhelming.

For some, it’s getting a little unclear about what 3D live sound is, whether it’s stage localisation, immersive or surround audio, or basically 2D solutions for re-distributing the sweet-spots or some other kind of imaging. However, it is clear: it’s about using the principles of object-based audio to give sound professionals an entirely new tool, to unlock the creative potential of audio.

All the matrixing is happening inside the processor that’s made by the loudspeaker manufacturers and hence this doesn’t put a load on your consoles, which by the way are updating their software’s to accommodate their new plug-ins and it is coined as ‘Source Control’ functionality that is now natively integrated into a leading range of mixing consoles, adding to object-based mixing technology to the console’s control surface.

Source Control functionality expands the range of creative choices the mixing engineer can employ simultaneously, ranging from classic stereo or 5.1 controls, for uses such as downmixes or auxes, to the advanced object-based multichannel environment

And third party control of trackers and replay devices of industry standard software and hardware based companies have shaken hands with their protocols and control. Even spatial based in-ear monitoring systems have joined the bandwagon extending this onto the stage and not just the audiences too.

Understanding the eco-system of object based live-mixing one should understand the architecture of the entire sound design and its control from the workflow below:

Trackers – Live Object Based Mixing

Replay Devices – Playback Automation

Console – Desk Link (software within the third party console)

Processor – Spatial/Immersive Controller

DSP Amplifier – Systems, Preset & Environmental Control

Loudspeaker System – Environment/Prediction Software

Another pioneer in third party based immersive and assisted audio technologies use 3D object based rendering engines that are completely CPU driven, redundant dual SSD, road ready with dual power supplies that can be controlled with a web based browser and possess various modules like a production module an advanced 3D room acoustic module and a tracking module to follow light and audio sources, they can also accept LTC based time code. The biggest advantage of such a system is that you do not have to use a particular sound system and its associated hardware to use this technology and in many ways I like this too, so if you are on tour and getting different PA systems then this is a big solution for you.

Their third party integration is also fantastic and their tie up with vector based stage tracking systems allows them to follow audio & lights in 3D with upto 100 tagged performers with each individual tags transmitting over 100 positions a second. The have even brilliant integration with playback automation software and investing in such technologies in already co-existing installs will breath life into venues sound systems.

Applications

The one project that really caught my eye was the “Ennio Morricone” Italian debut a fantastic application of Live Immersive Audio. Being a huge fan of his music & legacy I dug deeper into the world of spatial audio systems. Haven’t we all since childhood watched, listened and admired the score of Sergio Leone’s directorial epic trilogy of A Fistful Of Dollars: For A Few Dollars More: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly by the master composer & music director par excellence Ennio Morricone. I can’t even fantasize how resplendent the sound must be on this tour. Imagine listening to the music of the scene Live, where Tuco (Eli Wallach) is frantically running around the cemetery in search of the grave that has 200,000 dollars with the haunted score of ‘The Ecstasy Of Gold’ Morricone’s biggest recognizable hit that everyone around the world would recognize from the first note.

The films were called Spaghetti Westerns because the entire unit was Italian, film crew, composer & director. These Euro westerns saw the rise of Clint Eastwood to stardom, although Sergio Leone also owed his success to Japanese director Akira Kurosawa one of the most highly respected directors in the world, which was actually a remake of his film Yojimbo.

Now don’t we all know the most famous dacoit film is actually Sholay, with its dacoit character Gabbar Singh played by Amjad Khan. It was a masala film that combined the dacoit film conventions of Mother India and Ganga Jamuna with that of Spaghetti Westerns, spawning the Dacoit Western genre, often known as the “Curry Western”. Sholay became a classic in this genre, and its success led to a surge of films in this category like Ganga Ki Saugandh.

The character Gabbar Singh was modelled on a real-life ruthless dacoit of the same name who had menaced the villages around Gwalior in the 1950s. Any policeman captured by the real Gabbar Singh had his ears and nose cut off, and was released as a warning to other policemen. The character was also influenced by the villain “El Indio” (played by Gian Maria Volontè) of Sergio Leone’s For a Few Dollars More

The sound & score of Sholay known to every Indian offers a model lesson on how sound can be used to signify the terror a character evokes. Sholay is also exemplary in its use of soundmatching to jump cut to a different scene and time, without breaking the continuity of the narrative, yet, intensifying the drama and the music by R.D Burman goes down in history as one of the best film soundtracks too.

I honestly believe in the power of music and what works in films, broadway and live music is the way the music has been presented to the audiences and especially if it has already been created. How do you make the experience even better!

Now here is what I was coming too, if the Italians along with the French could work together to make music of Ennio Morricone’s legacy in music come to life in Immersive Audio then why not the Indians probably with the Germans or the French bring the music & score of RD Burman to a billions of people around the world to rediscover or listen to his discography/collected works in Immersive Audio and this is just one such example. Surely I would want to work on such a project with a smoking gun with my hat n holsters on. Quoting Tuco “Hey Blundie! When you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk.

Now I just have to cough up the money to buy the hardware and applications software and use my greymatter on the creative applications engineering space whilst I find a promoter to believe in this concept/workflow (that’s here to stay) and pay for the production!

“Tera Kya Hoga”

Warren D’souza - Founder, Managing Director, & Working Member of Sound.Com

#SoundGuyForlife
#AudioEvangelist

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