Klangdom / Zirkonium


Klangdom (Sound dome) in the ZKM_Kubus (ZKM_Cube)
Hightech instrument for spatialization at the ZKM | Institute for Music und Acoustics

Graphic representation of the Klangdom in the ZKM_Kubus
The Klangdom of the ZKM | Institute for Music and Acoustics was finished in 2006 after three years of conception, planning and installation. Forty-three Meyersound speakers are attached to an elliptical rig system three-dimensionally in the room, four additional ones are placed on the ground. With this unique speaker instrument, as the head of the institute Ludger Brümmer explains, "complex polyphonic space-sound-movements can be displayed realistically and perceived from every spot in the room". This installation in conjunction with its expecially developed control software makes apperceptible the plasticity of sound in space, of which the musical avant-garde has been dreaming since the beginning of the last century.

The Klangdom with hall light ...
A technical innovation is the combination of sound synthesis and spatialization. The room acoustics itself can be modeled. Brümmer: "The Klangdom is an instrument operated by the composer himself. It enables the composer to interact directly with the instrument making the assistence dispensable. In the Klangdom forty melodies can be concentrated to one point in the room or spread throughout the entire space. Now it is possible to connect sound synthesis processes directly to the spatial output spreading sound grain directly into space."

... and with LEDs during a concert


The Klangdom of the ZKM is controlled by the software Zirkonium. This moves the sounds sliding smoothly through the space following the "vector based panning"-method. Zirkonium is designed as an open instrument; thanks to modern programming and flexible interfaces the composers can play their spatial compositions in any room with different speaker configurations, no matter if 12 or 100 speakers are available.

User interface of the control software Zirkonium, main window
With this system pre-produced sounds, but also sounds created live can be controlled. Via Open Sound Control protocol most software like Max or Super Collider can interact with Zirkonium. Any random controller, from the high-end lemur touchscreen to the cheap joy stick can be deployed. Additionally Zirkonium can also be used as audio unit plugin. Thus, the user can incorporate Zirkonium's panning capabilities into his preferred environment (including Digital Performer, Logic).

User interface of the control software Zirkonium, studio window
The idea and the concept of the Klangdom and Zirkonium were developed by Ludger Brümmer and implemented by Joachim Gossmann, Chandrasekhar Ramakrishnan and Bernhard Sturm at the ZKM | Institute for Music and Acoustics. The software was coded by Chandrasekhar Ramakrishnan. Zirkonium has won the second prize at the Lomus 2008 competition.

Source : http://www.zkm.de/zirkonium