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ambisonics vst surround sound max for live

July 23, 2013 | 5:59 am

Hi there,

I have experience with max, but mostly with jitter and opencv. I have been looking into ambisonics, particularly the ICST externals and vst’s because I was told that using the vst’s in ableton/max for live would be easier. The project, in brief is to create an immersive sound environment using four speakers which are hooked up to an ambisonic field so i can create the impression of sound waves surging across the speakers creating the illusion that sounds rush past and around the listener who will be at the centre of the field. would anyone be able to run me through the basic hardware set-up and point to where i could get started?

any help much appreciated.


July 23, 2013 | 7:38 am

oops! double entry after edit…


July 23, 2013 | 7:46 am

Unfortunately the only practical way to do multichannel stuff in Live is via sends, which will most likely not work for a multichannel ambisonic setup. I’ve yet to upgrade to Live 9 and the latest M4L but in this regard I don’t believe things have changed. In earlier versions of the Max for Live examples there are a couple of devices called Max API SendsPan & Max API SendsXNodes which can enable the sending of a signal to mulitple destinations using sends – which is limiting and would still mnot support ambisonic diffusion.

If you want to do multichannel stuff and the playback resources Live offers aren’t a big deal to your project, then I’d suggest staying in Max or possibly going with a DAW like Reaper which supports multi channel plugins and routing of multichannel audio


July 23, 2013 | 3:21 pm

I would do it in live and then export the wavs like said above to daws like reaper or nuendo.
By the way theres not a massive amount of point using ambisonics with just 4 speakers – you can do good quadrophonic, fantastic quadrophonic stuff – but it doesnt have to be ambisonics – I do a lot of quad stuff and often get the best results from VBAP- though I would recomend ICSTs stuff, or wigware vsts – make sure you play around with the directivity of ICSTs stuff – you can kind of morph between Vbap and ambisonics anyway with that – the directivity is gets so fine.
You could also email this guy I think he might have set up ICSTs stuff in Live. :

soundcloud.com/stoopchow

or this guy :

soundcloud.com/mouldymould

Just remmeber though – live doesnt need anty special "ambisonic" capabaility – ICST does all that – all live needs is to be able to output 4 or more seperate audio outs (the equivelant of dac~ 1 2 3 4 etc) in your case all live needs is 4 seperate outputs – if it can do that it can do "ambisonics".


July 28, 2013 | 7:43 am

Thanks so much guys, I’m just going to look into some of the terms mentioned here and get back to you. Very helpful thanks a lot.


July 28, 2013 | 8:40 am

Would either of you be willing to share the basics of a quadrophonic set-up in layman’s terms? i’m struggling to get past the lack of documentation and technical terms that surround all of this stuff.

Put simply, I need four speakers to be hooked up to one computer and be able to create the illusion that sound is moving around the viewer in the centre of the room. the panning can be pre-recorded, but ideally i’d like to incorporate random elements and phase shifts to avoid any obvious repetition. a good example is this.

except without the user input but that sort of effect basically. sorry if im being slow to catch on but as i said im new to audio production in general thanks.


July 28, 2013 | 8:12 pm

Not ambisonics, or VBAP but examples 44 & 45 listed here http://music.arts.uci.edu/dobrian/IAP2009/examples.htm#Ex44 – generously provided by Christopher Dobrian – should get you started with what (it appears) you are trying to accomplish.


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