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Liminal Spaces: Composing for a New Layered Immersive Spatial Audio System

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Liminal Spaces is the first musical composition to our knowledge to make use of a layered immersive spatial audio system integrating bone conduction headphones. This paper discusses the creation, technical challenges, aesthetic discoveries, and spatial audio implications of Liminal Spaces, an electroacoustic composition created for a layered immersive spatial audio system consisting of two high-density loudspeaker arrays (HDLAs): the Cube, a 140-loudspeaker array on the periphery of a black box theater, and the Tesseract, a 32-loudspeaker nearfield array centered in the Cube, augmented with the Starburst, an eight-loudspeaker group occupying space between the Cube and Tesseract, and a pair of wireless bone conduction headphones for each audience member. Audience feedback and our own observations indicate rich and unique spatial experiences, radically different from binaural sound or periphonic HDLA soundfields alone, resulting in a compelling new spatial infrastructure for composing immersive music.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society