Theatrical Sound Control

Theatrical Sound Control. As I’ve been putting out my sound systems for Halloween (5 sets of Bose outdoor speakers, 3 run by separate CD players, 2 run off a single amp with a thunder&lightning sound track synced with lighting effects), I’ve started to realize what I really want for my sounds at Halloween.

I want to home-run all my sound systems to a single PC with multiple sound cards. On this PC I want to run software that programmatically delivers the sounds to any combo of the speakers. And I want to be able to gang all the speakers, or any subset of them, into a surround sound array for any of the sounds I choose to deliver. Obviously the sound to any speaker set should be able to be a mix of any number of sounds from the PC. And on the PC i ought to be able to programmatically control the start/stop of sounds, as well as their locale in space.

With this system, I should be able to achieve the following kinds of effects — ambient wind noise playing thru every speaker, with a natural ebbing and flowing that is spatially coherent across all the speakers; thunder and lightning centered near the front door but mixed in at all the other speakers, attenuated by distance; ghost moans floating across the yard (hopping from speaker set to speaker set); graveyard sounds in the one corner. And this should all be programmatically controllable at the PC.

I’ve started to look for software that would let me do this. Some quick web searching turned up theatrical sound control software at Harmony Central?: Software: Abstracts, Crescit Software Inc. – SFX, WebRing: hub, and Stage Research, Inc.. Many of these seem similar to the lighting control software I use — similar paradigms, similar kinds of overlapping cueing. I don’t see much discussion of surround sound effects tho and that is important. I see products like those from Minnetonka that let you author surround sound, but I want to be able in my sound control program to take any input sound (stereo, mono, or surround) and programmatically move it thru the space of my halloween display, and have the software compute automatically on the fly the correct speaker inputs across all my speakers.