P.A.I.R.S - Portable Ambisonic Impulse Response System

Summer 2016

Andrew Rahman : Music

Mentor: Ed Campion

The purpose of the P.A.I.R.S. project is to capture the reverberation of historic spaces using state-of-the-art technology for archival use, future research, experimental composition and performance, and implementation in virtual reality (VR). I intend to record an acoustic representation, or a sonic snapshot, of each space using a technology called impulse response (IR), which will output a collection of digital sound files. Using an ambisonic microphone, as opposed to a set of traditional microphones, allows these files to be decoded into any playback format–mono, stereo, 5.1, binaural, etc. Currently, no one locally is documenting spaces using ambisonics, and the only local IR online is of Alcatraz Prison which was recorded using an older stereo microphone technique. With this project I set out to know what the best practices are for recordings spaces using ambisonics, know what is the best software for convolving the IRs, and to be the first, and possibly last, person to sonically document these spaces prior to their inevitable ruination. 

To the Anselm Foundation, I appreciate your generosity in providing me with this scholarship. I chose to attend UC Berkeley because of the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT). Their focus on sound spatialization, real-time reactive sound synthesis, and intelligent instrument design are a few of my areas of interest. Upon arriving I took Music 158A with Prof. Rama Gottfried, lecturer at CNMAT, to learn the basis of MaxMSP, a programming language for music. I am currently taking Music 158B (also taught by Prof. Gottfried), CNMAT’s first course available for undergraduates on intelligent instrument creation. Now I am CNMAT’s first work-study employee. Thanks to my due diligence I have gained access to the wealth of resources and knowledge that CNMAT possesses and have received mentorship and help on my P.A.I.R.S. project, ensuring it's success and advancement of the field. With your contribution I am able to pursue a dream I've had for the past several years and explore uncharted territory in the field of sound spatialization and archive. Hopefully I can pursue the use of my research in Virtual Reality and game design, but I've first got to get my foot through the door. Without you, this door wouldn't be open. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping to make my dreams come true.