HourGlass surround progress 4

HourGlass can now import and play back up to 4 channel sound files, with output panning of each of the input channels. Adding support for up to some sane number of input file channels isn’t too hard…4 was just a convenient amount to test with, that is different from 2 and isn’t something odd like 3. (The colors of the dots in the Spatialization window indicate which input channel is panned to what location in the output.)


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4 Responses to HourGlass surround progress 4

  1. Tom says:

    NICE!!! 🙂

    I think the industry currently moves from a fixed number of channels on to “sound objects”, where the system dynamically places the sound elements on the given amount of speakers.

    As for sane numbers: I think 8 channels would cover a lot of bases (quad, 5.1, 7.1, oct), although I personally would be fine with 2-4 as far as input is concerned – I mostly start with mono or stereo files anyway.
    On the output side I would be fine with 4-8 channels, I don’t know if others would need more?
    ATM I only have a 5.1 system (where center and sub are not really that significant for this kind of effect) and don’t plan to go higher (don’t want to have a wall of speakers around me 😉 ).

    Of course there are wavefield systems with much higher numbers, but they use different means of spatial positioning, not simple panning.

    Just my 2 cent though 😉



    • xenakios says:

      I think I will limit the number of channels in the input files to 8. Should be plenty enough for most use cases…(Supporting a higher amount is possible but would waste memory and/or CPU. It would also be challenging to find sufficiently many different colors for the visualization dots… 😉 )

      The number of output channels supported in the audio processing is now fixed at 4. I don’t have more speakers myself, so testing with more channels would be a bit uncertain. I also don’t at the moment have a proper solution for supporting more speakers in the panning even if I had the loudspeakers to test with. I have been looking at VBAP and Ambisonics, as well asked Cockos how they have implemented the ReaSurround plugin in Reaper. Haven’t yet decided which way to go with…At the moment the panning for the 4 outputs happens with a simple pan law which might not even be proper for a quadrophonic set up. (It does sound reasonably OK, though, so it might be the initial HourGlass release with the surround support will just use that.)

      Even though the panning uses just 4 output channels, I think I will need to add features to manipulate more audio interface outputs. Some people might have a set up where the first 4 outputs of their audio interface are not routed to front left/right and back left/right speakers…For example if they have a FL-FR-FC-SUB-BL-BR style set up…

      The DSP modules/plugins processing is another problem to deal with. At the very least I should prevent any of those blowing up when used with these new surround features. I haven’t worked on that at all yet.

      • Tom says:

        Yeah, setting the audio outputs is rather important, I personally also use the Windows default: Left, Right, Center, LFE, Left Surround, Right Surround, but there seem to be quite a lot of different setups…

        Another complicated thing is how the speakers are actually placed. 5.1 for instance normally has the surround speakers not in the back but to the sides, while I personally placed them farther back…

        But yeah, as a first step this sounds reasonable to me. 🙂



  2. xenakios says:

    Yeah, it’s annoying how the official 5.x surround speaker placement is asymmetrical, which in theory makes for example 1st order Ambisonics not work with it directly. I have my 4 speakers approximately symmetrically around me, so I’ve been a bit biased to just make things work with a set up like that, even though it will likely not be what people with proper surround set ups will have.

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