THE IDEA OF BEING SOMEWHERE ELSE: IOSONO’S WAVE FIELD SYNTHESIS
?I think it brings a lot of creative potential for the music industry, not just for the club. It has already proved its potential in museums and in cinemas and this is an experiment in a club. It?s new technology but I think it?s a start and I am happy that it takes place at Tresor.?
Dimitri Hagemann, owner of legendary Berlin techno club Tresor, is talking about IOSONO, a system being touted as the next big thing in audio technology and which saw its world club debut at Tresor last week as one of the few highlights of the Popkomm trade fair.
IOSONO is based on the concept of Wave Field Synthesis and is able to recreate natural sound waves as opposed to merely amplifying sound. Another innovation is the way in which sound is dispered within the club room. DJs use multiple audio sources in conjunction with a multitude of speakers ? in Tresor?s case, 800 ? with which they can position and move sounds to create a much more textured, 3D sound landscape. Gerald Moser, Business Development Manager for IOSONO, explains:
?In our case DJs open up their creative workspace by adding new sound sources. For example they use four CD players; two in a simple way creating their main mix and use the other two to play new sources into the system,? he said, ?We developed a new tool for the club experience which we call the IOSONO Multi-touch DJ Live Interface and it consists of a touch screen on which the artist just touches the sound sources and moves them on the screen which moves them in real time across the dance floor.
They can feed each single track of their production into the system and can switch it on, switch it off, move it around, use certain filters on it, and use everything separated as opposed to a usual stereo set-up where everything just comes out of two speakers.?
Four CD sources, six server PCs and around 800 speakers have all been installed for the system?s debut at Tresor and although the system is already in use in a limited number of locations ? the Haunted Mansion at Florida?s Disneyland being one of them ? this is the first time it?s been pressed into service in a club. Karlheinz Brandenburg, the man who gave the world the mp3, is also the brains behind IOSONO and was especially pleased to see his system used in this way.
?For me the basic idea in fact has been a dream for a long, long time. When we speak of hi-fidelity it?s two parts; it?s cleanliness of sound and it?s really immersion, the idea of being somewhere else. With Wave Field Synthesis this dream really became true. And I think it?s the next big thing in audio.?
The assembled crowd were then ushered into the centre of the dancefloor where surrounded by the newly-installed speaker system. It was not uncommon to see heads turning as people looked to locate the sound they?d just heard. Afterwards, the DJs took to the stage to show how IOSONO can be used as a means to build on the concept of the traditional DJ set. In addition to the basic mix were a number of additional sound effects and filters, all controlled via the touch-screen console behind the decks. Certain elements of the tracks were then keyed into the room from different locations ? After introductions from the IOSONO team, guests were treated to a jungle-themed presentation where animal sounds and the noise of rain appeared to move around the room. basslines appeared to throb overhead, breaks and beats shot from one side of the dancefloor to another, electro clicks and pops rippled through the room before shooting to the opposite side.
One of the DJs headlining the evening was Berliner Fidelity Kastrow; she?s played some of the hottest dancefloors throughout Europe and North America and certainly knows the difference between a good and a bad PA. She was definitely won over by IOSONO after her debut DJ set on the system:
?It?s amazing. It?s just really mind-blowing. You just get so many ideas of things you want to prepare and how you want to change making tracks. I think it?s just really amazing,? she enthused after her debut DJ set on the system, ? It?s challenging but it?s very intuitive but I am just in the real beginner, baby steps of learning what the system can do for DJs. It?s still a work in progress. It?s not done, it?s just beginning to develop.?
The reaction to the new system was also enthusiastic from the clubbers present:
?IOSONO is great. I never saw it before. It?s cool. I tried to grab some sounds but they were too fast!?
?I was surprised because there isn?t just one point where the sound is coming from, it?s everywhere and I don?t have to go away because it?s too hard. I have no problems with my ears because a lot of people have the experience that after a party my ears are destroyed, that?s not the problem with this sound.?
?I thought that it was a very impressive system. It has a lot of features. It?s kind of hard to tell what it?s going to become but it has a lot of potential for certain people.?
?I thought it was fantastic. I thought that Berghain was the top sound system here in Berlin but after listening to this it just blew my mind. A total surround sound experience; close your eyes, listen to the full effect of it and just go with the music!?
So clubbers and DJs alike seem to be won over by this revolutionary new approach to audio presentation and with the system due to be fine-tuned over the next few weeks, IOSONO at Tresor could really set the standard for a completely new clubbing experience. But with such a hefty price tag it?s unlikely that many venues will be able to afford it. Time will tell then if this really does develop into the Next Big Thing.