This is the second part of an interview with Milan Gustar. Read part 1 here.
What is going on in the current development of surround sound?
There are many new things going on right now that represent the cutting edge in surround audio nowadays. For example, the development of the wavefield synthesis, DOLBY Atmos sound system or a sophisticated multi-pattern microphone called Eigenmike which is discussed quite a lot now actually.
What is special about the DOLBY Atmos system?
Compared to former surround systems, the particular sounds are rendered to their locations. This means that this technique is independent of the speaker configuration, like for example the well-known Ambisonics system. You are not carrying sounds on separate channels, you are basically dealing with the sounds as they are and their spatial information. You can say that individual sound objects-are projected or rendered in the space defined by the speakers. It is quite similar to my 92 channel audio system from 90’s, but of course much more sophisticated.
When such an experiments in spatially distributed sound originated anyway?
This is nothing new under the sun. There were many experiments with the positioning of musicians in concert halls to get space effects in music. In electronics first two channel stereo systems were created in the end of 19. century, multichannel sound systems were extensively developed from the 30’s. Most of them were interconnected with film technologies. Many spatial sound experiments appeared in the musique concrète, tape music and electroacoustic music. For example, the composer Pierre Schaeffer was dealing with such sound arrangements a lot in Studio d’Essai in Paris back in 40’s.
The technical background must have been quite limited back then I suppose!
It depends. It was mostly about the creation of multichannel tape recordings which were then distributed to speakers and reproduced in the concert halls. Some systems were quite large, the well known example was the Philips Pavilion at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair with hundreds speakers for the reproduction of Poème électronique by Edgard Varèse. Sometimes the real-time systems were developed, like the Schaeffer’s potentiomètre d’espace from the early 50’s. Then the modular synthesizers in the 60’s brought many new possibilities. Some systems were very experimental from the beginning, like the Buchla modular for example.
Thank you for your time Milan – my last question is, what is your favourite music inspiration?
I definitely like to dive into baroque polyphony – J. S. Bach would be my most favourite. But I was strongly influenced by the minimalism in the 80’s, too. And I like contemporary music, ethnic music, rock and pop from 50’s, 60’s and 70’s and many many more.