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creating a multi-channel audio installation

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alexa wright
creating a multi-channel audio installation
on Oct 10, 2010 at 8:53:03 pm

HI,

I'm not sure if this is the correct place to post this - apologies if not, but can anyone advise me? I am trying to make an audio installation from Final Cut Pro. I have eight different audio tracks, each with one spoken voice on it. Each track contains about 10-14 fragments of audio that overlap in different ways. I want to play each track out of a different speaker so that it sounds as though the different voices are coming from different places in the room. Can anyone suggest an inexpensive, reliable way to do this?!! I have tried to test it on a surround sound system, but can only get all the tracks to come out of each speaker - I can't seem to separate them. I am using a Mac, and have tried an external sound card (M-Audio Tracker), but Final Cut won't play out through this (even though it will recognise it), I have tried making an AC3 file and playing that using VLC, but that won't work either.

If anyone can help I would be very grateful,

thanks,
Alexa


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Peter Groom
Re: creating a multi-channel audio installation
on Oct 11, 2010 at 1:28:09 pm

Interesting.
I (although am not an FCP expert) dont think this platform will do it for you at all. You need something with a lot more in out flexibility that FCP was ever intended to supply.
Doing your initial assembly / edit is ok in FCP, but using it as the pb device is i think a non starter.

I think you will need to export your FCP timeline. Id suggest creating a series of wav or aiff files that each have the same in and out points. Enable only single channels and then export the files, so you end up with as many files as you have required speakers.

Then the trick bit. Theyll need importing into something that can playback multi track audio (say like pro tools) but that can ALSO provide the connectivity to allow bussing of eack track suitably to different hardware outputs. Dont even think pro tools can do that.
You might need to look at some sort of dedicated multitrack tape machine or multiples of. Maybe ADATS or an old tascam deck or something. others might have suggestions.
Ultimately I think you need sep track outputs and multiple amps too.

You might be better taking the lo tech route. Burn the 14 track files in pairs to 7 cds. Buy 7 inexpensive cd machines with a repeat / loop function. Synchronise the 7 decks with 4 people hitting play together. Theyll stay synchronised pretty well as theyre all mains fed and quartz locked.

Good luck
Peter

Peter


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Sam Mallery
Re: creating a multi-channel audio installation
on Oct 11, 2010 at 3:40:39 pm

I don't know how to set this up in Final Cut Pro.

If I was doing an installation like this, I would use Ableton Live and an audio interface with 8 individual analog outputs (like the M-Audio ProFire 610).

The reason I would use Ableton Live is that it was designed to be used in a live setting (like an art installation), and it makes it relatively easy to route the audio of each individual track to a separate audio output on a audio interface (which is what you are going to need to do). With Ableton Live, you can set this all up and loop it, so it will just keep playing over and over again until you make it stop.

http://www.sam-mallery.com


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Ty Ford
Re: creating a multi-channel audio installation
on Oct 11, 2010 at 4:02:26 pm

Hello Alexa and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

You present a good head scratcher. It's a brave new world. Plain old Quicktime allows the routing of audio to 17 different outputs.

If you could export a multitrack polywave file from FCP and open it in Quicktime, go to the Quicktime Properties menu, you could assign each track to one of the 17 outputs.

I have no clue how that would work with any existing hardware.

Please let us know how or if that helps you and what success you may have.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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