Max Manipulation Ideas

Mar 24, 2011 at 1:43pm

Max Manipulation Ideas

Hi Guys!
I just want to pick your brains.
Im designing a sound installation.
The basic premise is “Personal Sound”
Basically, Im setting up a door frame in a corridor, which people will walk through. There will be IR sensors on the top, left and right panels, and a switch on the door saddle.
The top, left and right measure how far people are from the top and sides of the frame, send the values to Max and generate a sound based on it.
The switch counts how many people walk through the door, the number is sent to Max, and as the number increases throughout the day, the pitch of the sound is altered.
Theres also things like, the top sensor will take in environmental sounds through a mic, and the left and right sensors will effect panning depending on how people stand in the door.

My question is, what types of manipulation techniques would you suggest for the left and right sensors? I dont want to do anything to overly complex, but I do wanna generate interesting sounds.

Thanks in advance!

Mar 26, 2011 at 1:51pm


Mar 26, 2011 at 6:07pm

The possibilities are almost endless. You could use it to change a filter, bitcrush, reverb, volume, vibrato… any sort of effect you like. If you’re working on something spatial then panning makes sense for left/right placement. It all depends on how you want the position to relate to the sounds you create. If you set up multiple sound generating modules you could have the position crossfade between them which will make it easy for people to hear and react to the environment you create.

Mar 26, 2011 at 7:52pm

I think it might be difficult for people to respond clearly to this request; you may just get a list of personal preferences. The question you might ask yourself first is “how vital to the participants is the ‘ecological perception’ of the door model?” Would you like the participants to sense/perceive the effect their own height/breadth etc has on the soundworld, or not? Luke Hall mentions stereo placement, which sounds like a direct and transparent ‘one-to-one’ mapping, easily recognized by the users….but the possibilities are indeed endless.

ps your design sounds fascinating

Mar 27, 2011 at 4:31am

I wonder will this work very well. Proximty sensors of people walking through a door might give you a lot of the same information. People tend to walk through doors in similar fashions, are not most people average height and size and so you might end up with a few tall spikes and maybe an occasionally wide one but a lot of average results.

If you had a camera you could track colour as well and then peoples clothing would come into play.

Something simple might be a variable feedback delay with the ambient mic as sound source. Sensors and switches control feedback rates, pan, some automated process like and lfo sweep of the rate or use the switch to record and mix incoming audio with a previously recorded buffer.

Granular synthesis always gives cool sounding results pretty quickly. Munger1~ is an easy to use external. Hook the parameters up and create a few presets. use the sensors to control parameters and the switches to randomly jump between presets.

good luck ;)

Mar 27, 2011 at 8:41pm

I am puzzled by the installation’s purpose when I read your description: “Theres also things like, the top sensor will take in environmental sounds through a mic, and the left and right sensors will effect panning depending on how people stand in the door.”

I think you must anticipate that the stance of people while they go through the door might not vary by much. Maybe tracking their distance from each side of corridor after they have passed the door may yield more variation.

warm regards


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