Acousmodules

The Guide !

Spatial Mass

Effects

Instruments

Utilities

Windows 32 bits

Special Formats

MIDI/Controllers

Resources

R E S O U R C E S  /  S U P P O R T

 

Ces dernières années ont marqué une évolution très rapide du paysage spatial sonore.
Sous l'impulsion vraissemblable de la Réalité Virtuelle, le vieux concept de "son 3D" s'est vu rajeunir et s'épanouir avec le "son immersif", et on est passé d'une situation où le 5.1 et l'octophonie semblaient déjà osés à une explosion du codage ambisonique et des dômes, où même des éditeurs de logiciels plutôt frileux comme Avid et Steinberg se sont senti obligés de sauter quelques étapes ;-)

De mon côté, avec la série de plugins 64 bits pour Windows et MacOS depuis 2018,  il est devenu nécessaire de mettre à jour et de repenser l'ensemble des tutoriels que j'avais déjà consacrés aux Acousmodules et à leur environnement.
Car du côté des utilisateurs, les choses paraissent encore souvent compliquées, et les présentations faites par certains éditeurs de logiciels entretiennent parfois une confusion dans les notions et dans l'utilisation des outils.
Les hôtes qui supportent le multicanal jusqu'à 64 canaux ne sont toujours pas légion, et si Reaper, Bidule et Usine Hollyhock représentent à mon avis les meilleurs choix, il en est qui sont techniquement excellents mais dans lesquels la création multiphonique en haute résolution reste comparativement difficile (Ardour, Pyramix...).

Les ressources présentes sur cette page devraient aider à clarifier certains aspects de l'utilisation des Acousmodules et du travail multiphonique en général ?

Recent years have marked a very rapid evolution of the spatial landscape sound.
Under the realistic impulse of Virtual Reality, the old concept of "3D sound" was rejuvenated and blossomed with the "immersive sound", and we went from situation where 5.1 and octophony seemed already dared to an explosion of ambisonics technology and domes, where even rather cautious software editors like Avid and Steinberg felt obliged to skip a few steps ;-)

On my side, with the 64-bit series of plugins for Windows and MacOS since 2018, it has become necessary to update and rethink the whole tutorials I had already devoted to the Acousmodules and their environment.
Because on the user side, things still seem often complicated, and presentations by some software publishers sometimes maintain a confusion in concepts and in the use of tools.
Hosts that support up to 64 channels are still not legion, and if Reaper, Bidule and Usine Hollyhock represent in my opinion the best choices, there are some who are technically excellent but in which the high-resolution spaces creation remains quite difficult (Ardour, Pyramix...).

Resources on this page should help to clarify certain aspects of the use of Acousmodules and multiphonic work in general ?

 

videos
documents
compatibility chart
other free multichannel tools
comparison charts

 

 

 VIDEO Presentations and Tutorials 

Some series of new and old videos on various subjects...
 

 

 

T U T O R I A L S   A N D   D O C U M E N T S

 

(currently only in French, sorry...) C'est un travail en cours où des chapitres sont encore à compléter, mais j'espère qu'en l'état il pourra déjà aider à aborder l'utilisation de ces plugins (août 2019).

  • Tutos 2 : Comprendre les Acousmodules
    1. Présentation de la série x64
    2. Les plugins basés sur une représentation de l'espace haut-parlant
    3. Les plugins fonctionnant en multicanal direct
    4. Les plugins contrôleurs
  • Tutos 3 : Utiliser les Acousmodules x64 (incomplet)
    1. La série "Spat"
    2. La série "Mass"
    3. La famille "Anima"
    4. La famille "Focus"
    5. La famille "Kaleido"
    6. La mini-famille "Uni"
    7. Les indépendants...
    8. Les Utilitaires
  • Tutos 4 : Autres utilisations
    1. avec l'ambisonique
    2. avec le binaural
  • Tutos 5 : les Acousmodules instruments

 

Tuto-Start : how to start a multichannel project in various hosts (Reaper, Bidule, Audiomulch, VSTHost, Usine...)

Quelques planches illustrées (currently only in French, but the pictures can be understandable...)

 

 

H O S T S    C O M P A T I B I L I T Y

minimum 8 channels / x = OK / (x) = working but limited / (-) = was OK but is only 64 bits now / b = integrated bridge support

 

type

channels

OS

VST2 32

VST2 64

VST3 64

AU 64

Acoustica

editor

8

Mac / Win

(x)

(x)

(x)

(x)

Ardour

multitrack (nearly free)

unlimited

Lin / Mac / Win

x

x

-

x

Audiomulch

modular

32

Mac / Win

x

-

-

-

Audition

editor / multitrack

32 / 6

Mac / Win

-

x

x

x

Bidule

modular / plugin

128 / 64

Mac / Win

(x)

x

x

x

Cakewalk / Sonar

multitrack (free)

8

Win

(x)

(x)

(x)

-

Cantabile (+LE)

host (LE free)

32

Win

x

x

-

-

Carla

host (+ plugin ?) (free)

32

Lin / Mac / Win

b

x

-

-

DaVinci Resolve

video / Fairlight (free)

8  / 24

Lin / Mac / Win

x

x

-

?

DDMF Metaplugin

plugin

8

Mac / Win

(b)

(x)

(x)

(x)

Digital Performer

multitrack

12

Mac / Win

-

?

-

?

Element

host / plugin (free)

unlimited ? / 10

Mac / Win

b

x

x*

x

EnergyXT

multitrack (in modular)

(64)

Lin / Mac / Win

x

-

-

-

GigPerformer

host

unlimited ?

Mac / Win

-

x

x

x

JUCE VST Host

host

unlimited ?

Win

 

 

x

-

LiveProfessor

host

64

Mac / Win

x

x

x

x

Logic Pro

multitrack

8

Mac

-

-

-

(x)

Max/Msp

modular

unlimited ?

Mac / Win

-

x

x

x

MuLab

multitrack (in modular)

(64)

Mac / Win

(x)

(x)

-

-

Nuendo

multitrack

24 ? (+ amb3)

Mac / Win

(x)

x

(-)

-

nTrack Studio

multitrack

8

Mac / Win

?

?

?

?

Pedal Board

host (free)

16

Mac / Win

x

x

-

-

Podium

multitrack

32

Win

x

x

-

-

Premiere Pro

video

32 ?

Mac / Win

?

?

?

?

Pyramix

multitrack

24 / 128 / 384

Win

(-)

x

x

-

QLab Pro 

other

?

Mac

-

-

-

x

QwertyGO 

other

16

Mac / Win

x

-

-

-

Reaper

multitrack

64

Lin / Mac / Win

b

x

x

x

ReSample

editor

8

Mac / Win

(x)

(x)

-

(x)

Sequoia

multitrack

32

Win

x

x

(bug)

-

Soundforge

editor

32

Mac / Win

(-)

x

x

x

Tracktion/Waveform

multitrack (in racks) (v7 free)

(63)

Lin / Mac / Win

(x)

(x)

(x)

(x)

Twisted Waves

editor

unlimited ?

Mac

-

-

-

?

Usine Hollyhock

modular

64

Mac / Win

v3

x

v4

v4

VSTBoard

host (free)

?

Win

x

-

-

-

VSTHost & SAVIHost

host (free)

32

Win

x

x

x*

-

Wavosaur

editor (free)

16

Win

x

x

-

-

notes :
- in order to use the VST3 acousmodules as VST2 64 you must rename the .VST3 file inside the plugins folders as .dll
- for the VST2 32 plugins the host must support bridging or it must run be a 32 bits version
- host that are limited to 5.1 and 7.1 are not mentionned since there is no real interest to use the acousmodules with them
- even if it works technically, non realtime Audio Editors have also no real benefit from this kind of plugins
- some hosts support MIDI inputs in VST3 FX (*), others don't...
- Steinberg's softwares are using some very advanced and clever ways to deal with multichannel VST3 that prevents them to work correctly with more than 24 channels
- Protools Pro must be able to use them with the wraper feature of DDMF or Element (not tested)


On MacOS, depending on how the hosts adress the graphic resources, the plugins' UI animations can be nearly as smooth as on Windows or more or less jerky. It can also depend on the graphic card and the OS version.
Good refresh rate UI : Reaper
Slow refresh rate UI : Bidule, Element, GigPerformer
Very jerky UI : Usine 4, Tracktion Waveform
Not relevant (non realtime hosts) : Acoustica, Audition, Resample
Not tested : Ardour, Resolve, Digital Performer, Live Professor, MuLab, nTrack Studio, Premiere Pro

 

 

 

 

O T H E R    F R E E   M U L T I C H A N N E L    P L U G I N S   &   T O O L S

(for non free ones, you can look here)

Spatial Mass

Full spaces :
Dominique Blanchemain Space3D64
 (Lin) : 64 channels 3D panner
GRM-Tools Space Master : 64 channels space converter (DBAP)
SpatGris 1 : panner up to 8i/16o (VBAP 2D)
VISR Production Suite : Object Based series 

Ambisonics only :
Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation : ambisonic (2nd order) and binaural production
IEM : ambisonic tools up to 7th order
Mathias Kronlachner Ambix : ambisonic jusqu'à l'ordre 5 (ou plus)
o3a Core : ambisonic tools 3rd order
Rode Soundfield : 3D surround ambisonic converter and decoder (1st order and beam forming)
SPARTA and Compass : advanced ambisonic tools up to 7th order


"Effects"

Mathias Kronlachner MCFX : filters, delays and convolution up to 64 channels
Melda Productions : "free bundle" with 8 channels versions
PaulStretch : 16 channels time-stretching
Voxengo : a few 8 channels plugins
Xvolver : convolution up to 64 channels


Instruments

VCVRack : modular synth


Binaural

Anaglyph : advanced binaural panner
Beyer Virtual Studio : 5.1 to binaural converter
DearVR Ambi Micro : ambisonics to binaural converter
Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation : ambisonics (2nd order) and binaural production 
Google Resonance :
GRM SpaceVR : 64 channels to binaural converter, custom HRTF support (DBAP)
Mathias Kronlachner Ambix : utilise des réponses impulsionnelles provenant de différents lieux et dispositifs (freeware)
MyBino : 48 channels to binaural converter (VBAP)
Oculus Spatializer : binaural panner


Standalone & utilities

ADMix : Object Based series
Hourglass beta (Win) : up to 64 channels granulator (you must ask for the 1.50 beta version)
Mammut : multichannel spectral processing
Panoramix (Lin) : 64 channels multipanner based on Max/Msp (VBAP, DBAP, HOA...)
PaulStretch : 32 channels time-stretching
ServerGris (Mac) : standalone panner (VBAP and LBAP)
SoundGrain : up to 16 channels granulator
Sound Particles : VBAP and ambisonics (sphere only), render is limited to 15 bits in the free version
WaveWizard (Win) : audio files converter
Wave Agent : audio files converter (32 channels max)
Zirkonium (Mac) : VBAP panner / player

ASIO4All (Win) : driver that allows devices aggregation
Jack (Lin, Mac, Win) : multichannel audio router
Soundflower (Mac) : multichannel audio router
Synchronous Audio Router (Win) : multichannel audio router and device aggregation


Hosts

Ardour (Lin, Mac, Win) : DAW (unlimited channels, VST2 / AU / LADSPA)
Audacity (Lin, Mac, Win) : wave editor
Cantabile Lite (Win) : simple host (32 channels, VST2)
Cakewalk (Win) : DAW (8 channels, VST2 / VST3)
Carla (Lin, Mac, Win) : modular host (64 channels, VST2)
DaVinci Resolve (Lin, Mac, Win) : video + DAW (8 channels)
Element : modular host (no channels limit ?, VST2 / VST3 / AU)
Pedal Board : simple host (16 channels, VST2)
SAVIHost (Win) : to convert plugins to standalone applications (32 channels, VST2 / VST3)
Tracktion 9 (Lin, Mac, Win) : DAW (63 channels, VST2 / VST3)
VSTHost (Win) : modular host (32 channels, VST2 / VST3)
Waveshop (Win) : simple wave editor (no channels limit)
Wavosaur (Win) : wave editor (16 channels, VST)

 

 

 

C o m p a r i s o n s

These charts are of course not made to tell which is "the best", but to help to choose the most appropriate tool for a specific task.

Reaper's ReaSurround, GRM-Tools Spaces-3D and the spatial mass Acousmodules series

 

 

ReaSurround

GRM-Tools Spaces-3D

Acousmodules

number of inputs

up to 64

up to 64

up to 2, 8, 16 (36, 64)

number of outputs

up to 64

up to 64

up to 18, 36, 48, 64, 80 or 128

method

Distance Based Amplitude Control (Absolute)
Distance Based Amplitude Control in influences intersection
(Absolute + Normalize)
Distance Based Amplitude Panning (Relative)

Distance Based Amplitude Panning
(with improvements)

Distance Based Amplitude Control
(with center and volume compensations)
+ Layer based

view

1 top view with height perspective simulation

1 view that can be either 3D, top or front

2 views (top and front)
+ optional 3D view in some plugins
single top view for the Layer based

inputs visibility

no option

no option

selectable

output visibility

no option

no option

selectable + colour

layouts edition

inline

separate editors for inputs and outputs

inline

import / export

no

yes

alas no (not yet...)

edition method

mouse only

mouse and value entry

mouse only

precision / easyness : horizontal plane

zoom possible but only to the center

zoomable interface, Top View selectable but there is always some perspective effect

non numerical values / entries, but big objects and precision mode with the Ctrl/Cmd key

precision / easyness :
vertical plane

values are shown when moved but the perspective effect on the bars lengths and the influences circles make it visually very confusing and practically unusable with high number of channels

zoomable interface, perspective depth can be changed, selectable front view

special Front View

distance settings

Influence per output + Diffusion level per input with Diffusion Bias (horizontal plane)

global Spread parameter, Horizontal priority

Area per output + global Area Volume + Distance Compensation

area shape

no

linked to the Spread factor

from very exponential to very logarithmic

distance visualization

static (Influence circles) 

dynamic (small spheres)

dynamic (separated amplitude bars)

periphonic efficiency

depends on the mode : easy but weak in DBAP, may be difficult with other modes

easy, but compromise between precision and continuity (Spread and shape are linked)

can be tricky with the "3D" series,
easy with the Layers series

periphonic inside phantoms

in DBAP mode

good in 2D, DBAP dependant

Center Compensation parameter (works better in the Layer based versions)

informations

coordinates during change / when selected

inline coordinates, amplitude

no

inputs links

parallel, rotate, shrink, go to speaker (not automatable)

always (separated inputs control is not possible !), according to layouts

2 inputs : X/Y/Z continuous symetry modes
8 / 16 inputs (
SpatMass and AnimaSpat) : Shapes with morphing (automatable)

automations

X/Y/Z + density for each input

global XYZ, global orientation + spread (+ agitation)

2 / 16 inputs (Spat3D) : X/Y/Z for each input
8 / 16 inputs (
SpatMass and AnimaSpat) : position and shapes parameters (no separate XYZ)

CPU resources (on the same computer / project)

2 x 64 : static 0.8%
automation : 0.9 to 1.0 %

2 x 64 : static
automation :

2 x 64 : static 0.7 %
automation : 1.6 to 2.0 %

others

inputs and outputs gains, level meters, zooms

agitation, trajectories

3D Polar Controllers for sphere-based layouts, complex animations (AnimaSpat)

 

 

 

 

to resume

+
only one version for everything, lighter on CPU during automations, easier DBAP spatial mode but weak, stable,
BUT difficult to use with a high number of speakers with height, no macro automation for grouped inputs
-
graphic confusion, the global parameters are not automatable, groups of inputs cannot be stored/recalled, works only inside Reaper...

+
only one version for everything, very simple to edit, zoomable interface, complex trajectories
-
individual inputs cannot be controlled or automated, agitation only animation, possible gain rejections of the DBAP method, not free ;-)

+
easy to set even with high number of speakers with height, Layer based versions, complex 8 / 16 inputs automations with only a few global controllers and animations (
AnimaSpat)
-
one must choose the appropriated version, layouts cannot be imported/exported, limits of the DBAC method for periphonic speakers arrangements, CPU use when automating

  

 

  

Multichannels reverberations plugins (8 channels minimum)

(note that the acousmodules' reverbs actually only work in the Windows version)

 

max channels

mode

type

max duration

settings

automations

 

CPU

UniVerb 64X

64

each channel is processed independantly

hall

 

Time, Hi Freq, Damp, each channel can be turned on/off independantly

Mix, Time, Hi Freq, Damp

 

 

DiffuseVerb 64X

64

3D neighbouring

hall

 

Time, Hi Freq, Damp, each channel can be turned on/off independantly

no

 

 

FocusVerb 64X

64

3D

hall

 

Time, Hi Freq, Damp, each channel can be turned on/off independantly

Send, Time, Hi Freq, Damp

 

 

ScatterVerb 64X

64

each channel is processed independantly

hall

 

Time, Hi Freq, Damp, each channel can be turned on/off independantly

 

 

 

IEM FdnReverb

64

whole in channel order, ambisonic

Fdn

 

 

 

 

 

Stratus 3D & Symphony 3D

22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zephyr

16

VBAP and ambisonic

 

 

 

 

 

 

Verberate Immersive

14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flux/IRCAM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MeldaProductions

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ambisonics only

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

+ standalone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flux SpatRevolution

64

acoustic models

room simulation,

 

 

 

 

 

Usine Hollyhock

64

channel independant or mixed

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sound Trajectory

 

ambisonic