Black Box Multichannel Audio System (2018 – 2019)

Between 2018 and 2019, Simon Maisch designed, configured and installed a 24.2-channel audio system for the development and playback of immersive environments and installation works, located in the Media Precinct at RMIT University. Commissioned by Dr. Adam Nash for the School of Design, the system has a variety of user-friendly operating modes, varying from stereo playback from a Bluetooth device, 5.1 playback, to a discrete 24.2 channel mode.

As a hemispheric speaker array, a primary intention of the system is for the playback of decoded ambisonic files. However, as it is highly user configurable it allows for various other listening modes, such as the creation of immersive sonic fields for combining with virtual, augmented and mixed reality environments; combination with 3D projection; audio and acoustic research; and the development of audio installations. 

Due to the multipurpose nature of the Black Box Multimedia Theatre, it was important that the audio system did not obstruct sight lines to clear walls for projection, or obstruct the floor. To enable this, four layers of height are split between a permanently installed system and a ‘rolling’ system, which can be easily connected to the installed equipment to increase the channel count as needed. 8 speakers are mounted on Pantographs, so they can be easily raised and lowered as needed, and patch points are installed into the floor close to intended speaker locations for ease of full-system setup.

As the system is built around Dante network infrastructure, it is very simple to expand the system – for example, by connecting audio breakout boxes to Dante ethernet patch points located in the floor, or connecting a mixing console. 

RMIT Design Hub Gallery: Audio Refit (2018)

In late 2018, Simon Maisch specified, configured and installed a partial refit of the in-house portable audio system for RMIT Design Hub Gallery, Melbourne. Incorporating 12 channels of RF, a simple recording system and Dante connectivity throughout, this is primarily used in a large gallery space for the recording and amplification of talks, workshops and events throughout.

Workaround – Women Design Action (2018)

In 2018, Simon Maisch was involved as audio systems designer and engineer for an exhibition series of workshops, performances and discussions by women focussing on advocacy and activism within the field of architecture.

The exhibition was designed as a both a live broadcast environment, performance and workshop space, which required substantial AV infrastructure. With Robert Jordan designing video systems for the exhibition, Simon designed the audio system utilising RF and Dante, enabling live connectivity between cameras, multiple editing, recording and streaming booths, and the performance and workshop areas – as well as operating during the event.

More information on this project can be read here.

Slippage (2018)

In early 2018, Simon Maisch was approached by artist Louise Lavarack to create a sound work derived from the abstracted sound of, and interaction with, objects used in the participatory performance work Slippage by Louise Lavarack in collaboration with Cobie Orger, which was presented in the Festival of Live Art, 2018 at Arts House.

The work, with video filmed and edited by Cobie Orger, was played inside the Arts House for the duration of the festival.

The video can be seen here.

RMIT Design Hub Gallery: Super Field (2017)

In 2017, Simon Maisch was involved with the installation of Super Field, an immersive exhibition of sound and vision works across four programs in the Design Hub Gallery, RMIT University.

Simon’s primary role was the audio system infrastructure design and execution of a 40-channel immersive looping playback system, under the direction of Philip Samartzis. Installed throughout a 7.2 by 32.6 by 8.5 metre space, this included a large number of speakers suspended from the ceiling, as well as transducers mounted underneath a false floor and wall. This was enabled through digital audio network design, electrical load planning, system configuration, tuning and directing the install team throughout the install period, lead by Erik North & Timothy McLeod.

More information on this project can be read here.

Passage (2017)

In 2017, Simon Maisch created a sound work for Passage, an installation and performance work by Mick Douglas that was part of dEEP ANATOMY, an exhibition in Silo Park, Wynyard Quarter, Auckland, New Zealand.

The source material were hydrophone recordings at various depths by Claire B. Paris-Limouzy of Dean’s Blue Hole in The Bahamas. These were then manipulated and played back through various speakers within the performance space.

More information on this project can be read here.

Transurban: Acoustic Design Innovations (2016 – 2017)

In 2016 to 2017 Simon Maisch was the head technician of an interdisciplinary research project funded by Transurban and led by Dr. Jordan Lacey through RMIT University. This research looked at managing and controlling motorway noise in adjacent parkland and residential areas by combining active noise cancellation technology and live electroacoustic sound design algorithms, resulting in the report titled “RMIT Acoustic design innovations for managing motorway traffic noise by cancellation and transformation”.

Simons involvement in this project included interfacing a virtual sound barrier system with a compositional sound design environment; generating quantitative and qualitative research data in the form of environmental audio recordings and sound pressure level readings of an active noise cancellation system and transformation system; equipment specification and setup for ‘off-grid’ installations located on motorway sites in both Melbourne & Sydney as well as industry demonstrations; and the compilation of visual diagrams and audio data for use in the final report.

Mona Foma: Collective Return (2017)

In early 2017, Simon Maisch was involved in a large collaboration under the direction of Mick Douglas for Mona Foma in Hobart, Tasmania. A durational group performance over three days of the festival, Simon’s primary role in the project was the creation and use of an application (written in Max) that enabled audio transmitted via RF from the performance space – a shipping container – to be received and mixed for various iterations of playback and time. This involved a live mix for 12 headphone stations, recording, audio archiving, online streaming, and playback.

As well as being involved in the development of the work during the rehearsal and workshop period, Simon was present in the ‘headphone’ container for the duration of the festival, monitoring the ‘megaphone’ container, running software, and focussing on the result from a distance with festival-goers.

You can listen to the archived iteration of the work, as well as read further info here.

Starless (2017)

In 2017, Simon Maisch was involved in Starless, an immersive mixed reality experience as part of Melbourne Music Week 2017, which explored virtual reality, light, sound and touch. Starless guided participants through a sensorially heavy environment that combined pre-recorded material and live performance, of which Simon operated and co-designed the spatial audio system with Matt Faisandier of Magnet Studios. 

More information on this project can be read here.

Daily Hearings (2016)

In 2016 Simon Maisch was approached by Mick Douglas & Theron Schmidt to explore a methodology for gathering, transforming and releasing sounds heard and spoken during the PSi #22 conference, “Performance Climates”. 

Sounds were gathered or spoken by Mick Douglas & Theron Schmidt during the conference, delivered to Simon remotely, then sorted and fed into a simple performative, generative looping program developed by Simon in Max. This was used to combine and manipulate the pitch and timbre of these recordings, based upon four layers of prescribed time (Now time, Discursive time, Circadian time, Geological time). The resulting 30 minute ‘Hearings’ were then uploaded to Soundcloud at 10pm each evening of the conference, for participants to listen to.

More information on this project can be read here.

Allthestarstheybleedtogether (2016)

In 2016, Simon Maisch was involved in Allthestarstheybleed together, an immersive mixed reality experience by Ben Andrews & Emma Roberts that was part of Melbourne Music Week 2016. Through Magnet Studios, Simon created a computer program (using Max) that enabled theatrical programming of cues and a spatial mix of both pre-recorded material and live input, which also enabled live spatial control and time manipulation of live instruments, with output to a multichannel audio system. 

More information on this project can be read here.

Melbourne Fringe Festival: Canvases (2013)

In 2013, Simon Maisch was approached by artist Ellen Maiorano to create a sound work for playback during the performance of Canvases, as part of Melbourne Fringe Festival 2013. The work was synchronised with projection of footage from Prelinger Archives which was edited by Ellen Maiorano.

The projected video can be seen here. The final performance can be seen here.