Schallwerk deploys CODA Audio Space Hub to add extra dimension to electronic album launch gigs.
"From a technical point of view, we were definitely able to create the space we had aimed for - using the Space Hub control software and the plugin was straightforward and the network setup easily done - pretty much plug and play."
‘Life is Sick’ is the latest work from Switzerland-based French composer, Marie Delprat. Marie’s music encompasses a fusion of diverse musical genres including early, contemporary and experimental music. Fascinated by the interplay between sound, movement and visual arts, Marie constantly explores the boundaries of musical composition and seeks to transcend traditional artistic mediums. With this very much in mind she wanted to pay particular attention to the audio system deployed at two album launch events in Basel and Bern.
Her sound engineer, Maxime Le Saux spoke to Matthias Dietrich of audio specialists Schallwerk, who suggested that a CODA Audio system which incorporated the company’s immersive processor, Space Hub, would offer an enhanced audience experience for this cutting-edge electronic performance. Maxime, who works part-time for Schallwerk and has wide experience of live mixing in the field of contemporary and experimental music, was excited by the prospect.
The performances were staged at Gare du Nord in Basel and Dampfzentrale’s ‘Boiler House’ in Bern. Both are venues which place emphasis on staging original, contemporary style concerts. Rehearsals were conducted prior the gigs at Schallwerk’s warehouse, enabling the engineers and artist to experiment with their proposed system. Once they had fulfilled their aims in this setting, the team were confident that the use of CODA’s System Optimiser simulation software and the scaling parameter within the Space Hub Control, would take care of the move to the live venues.
Maxime settled on a dual layer quadrophonic system. At the Gare du Nord venue, the ear height layer comprised 4 x CODA Audio G715 3-way point source and 2 x SCV-F sensor-controlled subwoofers, while the elevated layer comprised 4 x G308-Pro compact two-way. A single SCP 2 x 18” sub was used as low frequency extender. At Dampfzentrale the ear level layer consisted of 4 x HOPS12T with 2 x SCV-F subs, with 4 x HOPS8T taking care of the elevated layer. Again, a single SCP sub acted as a low frequency extender. 3 x CODA Audio LINUS14D DSP amplifiers powered the systems at both gigs, with a CODA Audio Space Hub immersive processor, Yamaha QL1 console, and several Apple laptops completing the system.
System Engineer and Sales Representative at Schallwerk, Matthias Dietrich takes up the story:
“Both the artist and Maxime used Ableton Live to either play and/or process sounds. Although primarily using synths, Marie also played the flute – she is classically trained – and a straightforward SM58 mic for creating more sounds. Maxime used the CODA Audio Space Hub plugin within Ableton to create movements and transitions via LFOs, controlling Azimuth and Distance parameters in Space Hub.
“All audio signal path was done via Dante. The complex signal setup comprised some inputs going directly into Space Hub, whilst some signals went first to the console for processing. Dedicated outputs from the processor were then sent via Dante to CODA Audio LINUS14 amplifiers. Space Hub also allowed us to record the binaural mix down.”
Dietrich explains the thinking further:
“In this scenario, with a single artist on the floor (no stage was used) we aimed for a fully surrounding approach in the acoustic domain. Our purpose wasn’t to create a visual reference to any particular position (ie the artist) in the room with the Space Hub’s object-based mixing, but rather that the loudspeaker system should mimic a hemisphere on all three axes (XYZ) as much as possible, with many sounds constantly turning to create a non-directional but fully immersive feeling. Specific sounds like the vocal and flute were then focused more to the position of the artist, and treated with the reverb engine within Space Hub.”
Maxime and Matthias took care of the system setup, engineering and tuning, using CODA’s LINUS control software for the amplifiers. As well as the time alignments to the tops, delay and/or level adjustments were applied to both layers to further enhance the hemisphere approach of the system.
The gigs proved to be a great success, according to Matthias:
“From a technical point of view, we were definitely able to create the space we had aimed for – using the Space Hub control software and the plugin was straightforward and the network setup easily done – pretty much plug and play. Coming from the rehearsals to the venues meant making some adjustments in scaling, which worked well in conjunction with System Optimiser and the scaling parameter within Space Hub control. Positioning the objects in the space also worked very well, both static and dynamic, via the LFO-controlled plugins.
“It’s worth mentioning that using CODA Audio loudspeakers with all the proprietary technologies that make them so coherent with regard to spectral and phase consistency over their complete nominal coverage, is key for object-based mixing. Along with Space Hub and all associated software, this represented a complete and unparalleled system in which positioning static and moving objects was in no way exposed to tonal inconsistencies of other detrimental artefacts.
Both the artist and audience were very pleased and clearly fascinated by the immersive/object based mixing. The vast possibilities offered by Space Hub and the Space Hub plugin really supported the artists vision for the performance.”