Close Talker – Immersion: A silent concert in binaural audio

Close Talker, an Indie Rock band from Saskatchewan in Canada, virtually places their audience in the center of the stage with their silent binaural show Immersive.

 

 

The pre-production, live performance and recording of the show was created with the AVID S6L, Pro Tools and the Spat Revolution Immersive Audio Engine, using binaural audio and headphones for the audience.

An Avid S6L console with 2 stage remote I/O’s are handling the inputs and channel processing, while each input channel is sent post fader direct out to two computers (Main and Backup) running the Spat Revolution Immersive Audio Engine.

With Spat Revolution the mixing engineer creates the Spatial scene, the 3D location of the sources, Reverberation, Effects, and generate a binaural spatial audio mix which in the end is returned to the mixing desk and distributed to the audience’s headphones.

The S6L integrates the Spat Revolution using a plugin that allows for all the source parameters (each individual source / object going into the software) to be accessible on the encoders on the console and to be used in snapshots (show automation).

Kellan Thackeray, FOH for Close Talker, had a vision of where he wanted to bring this, and had been experimenting with some technologies to get there.

“Think silent disco but the audience headphone mix is processed with Spat Revolution to give the mix that extra push – this is a seated hardwired show to minimize latency and noise. The artistic intent of making these shows a communal experience, and knowing I had the technology and a way to do this, got me hooked right away on the project.”

The audience’s headphone mix is created with cutting edge binaural mixing technology, live in real time. The sound fully immerses the audience with instrumentation and voices orbiting and swirling around them on all axes, increasing the impact and depth of the band’s already acclaimed live show.

 “Like anything new, the question was how it would Integrate in the creation to delivery workflow that became key. The possibility was given to the band to start the creation in their DAW environment, experiment and prepare some rough spatial mix concepts positioning and setting properties of source / objects in the space. This was done as they were monitoring in various formats or with different binaural HRTFs. “

As the time arrived for the actual pre-production and band rehearsal, the source / object parameters were captured with the snapshots of the S6L system as a starting point, then the programming of show snapshots was done. A Pro Tools system handles the recording of every show, and the ability to do a virtual production (virtual soundcheck) for refining the mixes.

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