The 4DSOUND: The Latest Immersion Experience

A year ago we interviewed Max Cooper, with the 4D Soundsystem, and got a taste of  a new immersive sound environment that allows producers to create music that moves throughout the physical space. Now there’s a rendition of the system called simply 4DSOUND, which was brought into the Amsterdam Dance Event last week where multiple performers created an experience using the 4D sound system. Watch a short documentary about 4DSound below and read more.  

4DSOUND: A Multi-Dimensional Experience

Watch above how Martin Stimming uses the system below and how he creates a living performance. (Watch how he changes the meaning of dropping the bass.)

Electronic music is made up of many different layers and producers are master minds behind synthesizers, sequencers, and drum machines. Live performance is a feat that has been accomplished by many producers thanks to technology like Ableton and Max For Live. However, there is another possibility to music. Sound is not one direction. Sound moves through the physical space so the team at 4DSOUND wanted to create a space where the sound moves around the audience. By using an expansive speaker system, a Max-based core, and customized Max for Live instruments, the sound of the performance can be positioned anywhere within the system’s space.

Creating Devices for 4DSOUND

A big part of creating 4D sound is creating instruments that can perform in a system where different notes, frequencies, and textures are spread throughout the space. Ableton’s partner device, Max for Live, is great at accomplishing this task. The software allows to be programmed  both data and audio to be distributed as the sound is created and taken apart. With 48 different speakers to travel through, there is a lot of possibilities and combinations for the movement of the sound.

The 4DSOUND is an all in one system that will, hopefully, be a model for future performances and the live experience. Challenging producers and listeners to transport sounds through time and space is truly futuristic. Even listening with headphones you can sense the sound as it moves through a space, adding a new level of emotion and depth.

Here’s our interview with Max Cooper on his experiences with 4D production:

What artists would you experience in a 4D sound setup?

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  • CUSP

    Systems like these can be awesome when sound is moved around… not-so-much when it’s acting like a multi-speaker system, flooding you with sound… unless you’re used to two speakers at the front of the room, barraging you. Movement is key surround sound (I guess that’s where the fourth “D” is… time). Unless the sound is manged in such a way that the listener is constantanly entertained, the “surround” part loses it’s purpose.

    • Chaser720

      I’m glad someone else recognizes that the 4th dimension is time. And I’m pretty sure no time travel is occurring here.

      • CUSP

        But of course! I’m a 3D Animator. It seems like we’ve met before. Are you a Marine?

        • Chaser720

          Negative. Engineer in a small town in the middle of SC.

  • q

    at the atonal festival in berlin this year, biosphere performed on this system, i must admit i had expected more, … more immersion maybe. i was a little bit disappointed.

  • evilmegaman

    What artists would I want to experience in a 4D sound setup? Amon Tobin, Tipper, Plastikman, Aphex Twin, recondite, imogen heap…. all of those would probably blow me completely away. Heck I know if I got a chance to use a 4d setup, I’d make some ambient sounds like wind, piano, chimes etc. and have somebody whisper really dirty things so it sounds like somebody’s behind you saying something creepy.

    • Dan White

      Imogen Heap + her gloves would be incredible, agreed.

    • Oddie O'Phyle

      Pretty sure Richie was playing with Quadraphonics in the mid to late 90’s, so yeah I could definitely see him getting into 4DSOUND. You mentioned Richard D James and Amon Tobin, but I could also see Luke Vibert in one of his incarnations (Wagonchrist or Plug) or even Uziq being interested in this. As well as (completely off genre and I hate to say it) Tent Reznor, considering as far back as The Downward Spiral he was experimenting with production in 5.1.