Wave Field Synthesis

17 - 20 October 2016

  • Argeo Ascani
  • Todd Vos
  • Jeff Svatek

The music curator of the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY), Argeo Ascani, lead audio engineer at EMPAC Todd Vos and audio engineer Jeff Svatek are coming to Eastern Bloc October 17 to 20. They are bringing with them the Wave Field Synthesis system which is currently being developed at EMPAC.


“I’ve been involved with the synthetic localization of sound sources since 1972,” says Johannes Goebel, EMPAC director, who tasked Vos and his team with the construction of the array. Throughout his career, Goebel said, “I’ve always been highly interested in how the localization of sound can be used as an artistic means.” Space is not often considered as an element of musical composition, on a level with melody, rhythm, and timbre (the “color” of sound). But to a composer with access to a wave field array, the spatial depth, proximity, and movement of sounds can be just as powerful.

To distinguish wave field synthesis from other more-common types of surround sound, Goebel uses a photographic analogy. Most audio systems create something like a snapshot of sound, mixing discrete elements together to imitate what is heard in real life. Wave field synthesis actually models the sound environment in its full complexity—more like a hologram. Within the wave field, there is no “sweet spot” where the mix is just right; one may actually move around in the sound space and find equal resolution in all places, the same as if one were to walk around a concert hall during a live performance. (source: Inside Rensselaer, April 20, 2016)


• On October 17, during the "Concretely, Music" concert, Mr. Vos will demonstrate the possibilities of the WFS system in a live situation. 

• Exploration workshops will take place on October 18 (Concordia University) and 19 (Université de Montréal, Music Conservatory), from 10am to 1 pm. 

• In the afternoons, between 1pm and 5 pm on October 18 and 19, the Wave Field Synthesis system will be working in installation mode, and everybody will be able to experience it (free admission).

• On October 20, at 3pm, the composer and director of Harvard University's electroacoustic studios Hans Tutschku will talk about his experience with the Wave Field Synthesis technology (free admission).

17 - 20 October 2016