Ableton Live Integration & Audio Effects for a 32 Speaker Ambisonic Sound System

August 15th, 2018 - Ongoing

Categories: Applications, Devices, Software, Sound Art, Audio Research

EVL Sound Dome developed by Anil Camci
EVL Sound Dome developed by Anil Camci


Ableton Live is music software designed for computer-based composition and performance. Ambisonics is a full-sphere surround sound technique used for playing audio on sound systems with more than two speakers, providing the illusion that sound is coming from all directions. Combining these has allowed music producers to compose music inside of Ableton, in 3D. Programmed in the visual programming language Max, is an ambisonic decoder for the Sound Dome built by former EVL post-doc Anil Camci.

The decoder outputs sound sources through specific speakers in the sound system based on their specified Azimuth, Elevation, and Distance parameters. To integrate Ableton Live with the decoder, all of the audio channels in Ableton were streamed into the decoder via an application called Jack which allows users to route audio from one application to another. A Max utility was also built to run inside of Ableton Live and allow the user to conveniently adjust the azimuth, elevation, and distance parameters of a particular channel.

The azimuth elevation and distance values are sent over a network back to the Max decoder allowing producers to change the location of playback for every channel in Ableton without leaving the application. Custom audio effects are also being programmed to exploit all of the surrounding speakers and take full effect of system.