Virtual microphone control, or ViMic (rhymes with “Hi, Mike!”), has been designed with the aim of adapting the time-tested paradigms of sound recording, sound reproduction and microphone placement techniques to the simulated environments of digital audio. Nils Peters demonstrates how ViMic software can serve as a powerful creative tool, one which lets the user manipulate virtual sound sources, virtual microphones and the parameters of a virtual environment – the size of the room and the types of sonic reflections it will produce. Certain basic principles control how the software creates an accurate simulation. These include inter-channel time delays, to account for the speed of sound; and amplitude differences, as modulated by variables like microphone directivity, source directivity and distance attenuation. The software also allows the complex simulation of room reflections (e.g., brick walls or carpeted flooring in a virtual room) as a way of recreating, or re-imagining, our perception of space and sound. As a whole, ViMic represents an advanced form of “spatialization system” that lets the user creatively manipulate a wide array of sound parameters — all in real time, which means the system can be adapted to the record-scratching techniques of DJs, for example.
Nils Peters – PhD Candidate in Music Technology, McGill University
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