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AES Student Blog

AES 136 - Meet the Winners #4: Matthias Kronlachner

Meet Matthias Kronlachner from Graz, Austria, who received a Gold Award in the Student Design Competition.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Where are you from? What do you study? How did you discover your passion for audio software design?

I am from Austria and have just finished my master studies in Electrical Engineering and Audio Engineering at the Technical University Graz and the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz.
I grew up in a musical family and since my childhood I was interested in playing and recording music, as well as electronics and computers. As such, you would always find me either operating a soldering iron, the computer keyboard, the clarinet or the electric bass guitar. And this is still the case, although the computer keyboard is now the most likely.
My motivation for developing audio software is to implement my sonic ideas. If I can not realize my concepts with the available tools or it is too cumbersome I create those tools by myself.


Tell us about your project. What is it? What is the story behind it? What was it inspired by? How long did you work to design and implement it? Was it your first entry?

I developed audio plug-ins for creating and modifying surround recordings and listening to them using Higher Order Ambisonics. This toolset allows to position sound sources around the listener in 3D or to record and modify sound scenes with microphone arrays. The surround recordings are independent of the loudspeaker placement and you can render them for various loudspeaker layouts as well as for headphones. Furthermore, I implemented some general purpose multichannel plug-ins for manipulating arbitrary numbers of input/output channels which is very convenient if you work with a large number of loudspeakers or dense microphone arrays.
I have been working intensely on spatial audio since about two years and various unreleased prototype plug-ins popped out during this time. I keep changing and extending the project, so it is hard to estimate how long exactly it took me to develop this suite. 
This project was my first entry to an AES competition.

Accidents happen: What was your biggest mistake during a project what did you do to redeem the situation?
At some point you have to decide which limitations you impose on your design in order to make it easily usable. I try to make things as general purpose as possible. While this is great for expert users, it makes it very hard for the less experienced. I still don't know how to solve those problems and I am not sure if it is a mistake either. Ask me again in 5 years.

What’s your advice for software or hardware designers who are just starting out?
Follow your concept, talk to as many people as possible about your ideas, but listen to your inner feeling in the end. Look what is out there already and try to understand the design decisions as well as the technical aspects behind it.
What do you like about the AES? How does it help you to become a better and more successful designer and audio engineer?
The conventions bring together a wide variety of people. You can learn about the experience of practical users as well as getting deep insights into the algorithms from scientists and developers who build the foundation of the audio industry. After attending a convention you will definitely think different about your daily tasks and it will help to improve your work.
Tell us about your favourite experiences at the 136th AES Convention in Berlin!
Talking to the judges of the Design Competition and getting feedback from them. Great personalities with a lot of experience from different fields of audio engineering!
What are you up to when you’re not doing anything related to audio?
Hiking in the mountains, enjoying nature and jumping into water, cooking, listening to the environment and to people.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Working somewhere on making things sound better, whether it is music, cars or your living room.
Thank you, Matthias, and congratulations again! Any last words?
Thanks for providing the opportunity for students to present not just recordings but also their technological achievements from this sector. I think the design competition is at least as valuable as the recording competition as it is providing tools the recording people can use in the first place.
Watch the plug-ins in action in this compilation of surround sound compositions by students of the Lithuanian Music and Theatre Academy.
The software is available from Matthias's website


Posted: Monday, July 21, 2014

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