Multi-channel Audio Production with a Focus on Recording, Mixing and Live Events

  • Chris McDonnell

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The advent of multi-channel audio in the mid-twentieth century has created an interesting way to play back and diffuse audio which can enhance listener experiences through working perceptual cues and immersion. In the past this has mostly been done with experimental music, but the projects explore how this format could be used with commercial music.

Four production projects are presented that explore different approaches to the use of space for commercial multi-channel music. Project 1 explores how testing a large set of microphone techniques can help make production decisions to match the mood of acoustic songs for 5 channel surround sound. Project 2 explores how the dynamic use of space can be used to create an imaginary space where gestures are created to enhance and match the style of the music for Higher Order Ambisonics. Project 3 explores how off-the-shelf PA and live mixing technologies can be used to mix a band in a live setting with the use of a custom versatile software controller. Project 4 explores a different approach to immersion where the band surround the listener to create a practice room layout for Higher Order Ambisonics.

The submitted works are accompanied by this commentary which begins with a review of the current research into ambisonics, producing music for multi-channel, and the technologies for recording, mixing and live sound multi-channel production. The text then discusses the projects individually and how the previously mentioned research and techniques were applied to align with the spatial aims of each project. I conclude this commentary by discussing the effectiveness of using multi-channel audio as a basis for each projects intentions and how the use of multichannel could be used in future personal projects to expand on the works submitted.
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorAlex Harker (Main Supervisor)

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