Astro Spatial Audio SARA II Premium Rendering Engine installed at Folkwang University of the Arts

Astro Spatial Audio is now introducing students at Germany’s Folkwang University of the Arts to the transformative potential of true object-based audio, courtesy of a recently completed installation of the SARA II Premium Rendering Engine.

Folkwang Universität der Künste has enjoyed a close connection with the worlds of electronic and experimental composition since the early 1970s, leading to the inception of the Institute for Computer Music and Electronic Media (ICEM) in 1989.

Students at the university can now make use of an Astro Spatial Audio’s SARA II Premium Rendering Engine to create immersive projects as part of their course work.

The 3U, rack-mountable SARA II converts audio signals into audio objects, attaching meta-data to each object, including its position in 3D space, its acoustic characteristics and much more. SARA II then renders the position of each audio object in real-time within 3D space (depending on the user’s choice of room shape) up to 40 times per second.

Boasting a 2.8” touchscreen display, the SARA II includes ultra-low noise cooling, redundant on board SSD drives and up to 128 MADI or 128 Dante configurable network pathways, all of which are assignable to at least 32 audio objects.

Said ICEM artistic director Professor Thomas Neuhaus: “Our approach here is definitely an artistic one and we wanted to be able to explore immersive sound with regard to composition,” he says. “Whether it is in connection with immersive video or not is a secondary consideration. As opposed to fairly simple 8-channel sound and panning, our aim was to provide students with the chance to explore the full possibilities of immersive audio.

The experience of being immersed in sound is very powerful

“The Astro Spatial Audio solution has been implemented during the remodelling of this one studio, and part of our aim for the space is to make it as easy to reconfigure as possible for different applications and projects. The Dante network supports that objective and, of course, the Astro Spatial Audio SARA II processor is Dante compatible.

“In terms of what you might call classic studio equipment, there is none except for a handful of audio interfaces and controllers. It is a very different experience and requires students to get away from the idea of having tracks that you simply place in the stereo or multichannel panorama.

“Instead, they need to consider the whole space as something that can be incorporated into the composition. Being able to create a mix that replicates the experience of being immersed in sound is very powerful, and I think we are going to see some students create some highly innovative work."