Sirius is a new immersive audio facility, an unique studio resource in Norway enabling composers, artists, students and graduates to work with 3D sound. The studio is planned and implemented in strict concern to frequency responses and reverberation, carefully tuned with sound absorbing (interchangeable) walls. As of today 24 speakers constitutes a hemisphere around and above the listener in 3 heights at a distance of about 2 meters from the middle position. The room is ready for experimentation with interfaces, software, audio engineering, acoustics and artistic research of all genres. Sirius can be used for composition, development of audio material, intimate concerts, demonstrations, scholarly work, development work etc.
Sirius supports most formats although many composers finds the opportunity to work with ambisonics techniques the most attractive part. The channels includes then a speaker-independent representation of a sound field (B format) that decodes the listener’s setup. This step allows the user to work with directions of sound sources instead of speaker positions and provides a considerable degree of flexibility in terms of location and number of speakers used in a playback situation.
The attention to sound in room is an old interest in acoustics. Working with this is the same as making fronts of sound waves which gives an experience of the sound coming from various locations around the listener. A studio for immersive audio makes working consciously and with great precision in such matters, possible. When Notam has finally accomplished this, it is the result of many years of work with finance and planning, and the aim of this room is the same as with all our other equipment and resources: To be a resource for our users. The completion was made possible through grants from the Arts Council Norway’s plan “Rom for kunst” Notam received for the development of a new production facility in 2011, as well as a grant from Musikkutstyrsordningen for acoustical measures. Acoustic properties are planned by Bjørn A. Strand, while the room’s technical development and implementation is done by Thom Johansen in cooperation with the rest of the staff and other resource persons associated with Notam.
An innovative and simultaneously complicated technical setup as Sirius requires a lot of Notam in terms of flexibility and ability to devise solutions for different needs and user groups. A number of specialists in surround sound will visit Sandakerveien to work here in the years to come. Developing our international network contributes to the exposure of Norwegian artists and composers abroad and our development both technically and creatively. Sirius let knowledge and experience from sound environments around the world meet interesting aspects of our work, and will be a cornerstone of our research and development work for years to come. For further accomplishment Notam is seeking international cooperation via seminars like “Speculations in Sound,” which is a meetup series for organizations conducting research on sound. Amongst other institutions that engages in the field of immersive sound are the University of Huddersfield, IRCAM in Paris, ZKM in Karlsruhe, Harvard University, Stanford (CCRMA), Virginia Tech, SARC Belfast, IEM (Graz), Kungliga Music School of Economics and Audiorama in Stockholm, Birmingham Electro Acoustic Theatre, Canada / Montreal and MIST (Musical Immersive Sound Theater) in Brazil.