Ambisonics MIDI (2023)

Tangible Interface for Spatial Audio Performance

For: RISD Studio for Research in Sound and Technology
Project by: Kevin Tang

In the world of electronic music making, there is a plethora of MIDI controllers that allows for the manipulation of sounds. However, this project recognizes a lack of intuitive interface for perforing music, espcially the manipulation multiple tracks in an ambisonic (loud-speaker array) environment.

This project is built for a sound system featuring an array of 25 independently-addressable, full-range speakers in a hemisphere configuration, accompanied by 4 subwoofers.  A variety of spatial audio techniques are supported, including high order ambisonics, vector-based amplitude panning, multichannel surround, and 3D audio for immersive media.

Existing MIDI Controllers,
Lack of Tangible Interface

Traditional MIDI controllers in the market are Not Gestural and Not Intuitive. Usually the buttons, sliders and knobs are mapped to adjusting values. Their shape, direction of movement, gesture of control doesn’t suggest what it does.


1) Rotation:

Exploration in the best rotation configurations. It concept being rotation of the knob is directly mapped to the location of sound in within the Speaker Array.

2) Fine Tune:

The knob itself is also a secondary control that allows the user to control granular details of that specific track  such as volumn or height of the sound.This interaction provides a frictionless control of two variabls with one gesture.