At the heart of the Alamire Foundation’s Library of Voices in the Belgian city of Leuven is an advanced Interactive Sound Lab driven by Martin Audio’s Sound Adventures. The projects division of Belgian full-service AV provider, FACE Projects, developed and installed the sophisticated sound system to create this unique musical experience.

The Alamire Foundation was established in 1991 as a partnership between KU Leuven, Musicology Research Unit and Musica, Impulse Centre for Music. As an international study centre, the Alamire Foundation has set itself the goal of stimulating, coordinating and conducting scientific and practical research. The foundation focuses specifically on music and musical life in the Netherlands and Belgium from the Middle Ages to the 1800s.

When the Alamire Foundation contacted FACE about their project, “Martin Audio was immediately our first choice of speaker,” stated Steven Kemland from FACE PROJECTS. “As we have been involved with immersive sound for many years, we have engineered several mobile and fixed installations including processing, amplification and speakers. But since using the [Martin Audio] CDD range last year in another 84-speaker immersive sound system, we also knew that this would become their solution. The controlled dispersion, clarity, definition and power of the CDD range works extremely well in spatial sound multi-speaker projects.”

“The fact that we needed to engineer two different rooms at once also gave us the option to combine CDD with both TiMax for the Auralisation Sound Lab on the first floor and Sound Adventures for the Interactive Sound Lab on the second floor of the venue.”

The Interactive Sound Lab is both a live performance and recording space. By combining the clarity, precision and richness of tone of Martin Audio’s award-winning CDD series of two-way passive speakers with the ground-breaking real-time control delivered by the SARA II Premium Rendering Engine from Astro Spatial Audio, the Interactive Sound Lab enables performers to recreate the specific acoustic conditions of the rooms that a piece of music was created for.

Sound Adventures – a powerful collaboration between Astro Spatial Audio and Martin Audio – allows musicians and researchers to alter the perceived reverberation of the Interactive Sound Lab. Using the system, it is possible to perform and record polyphonic pieces altering the delay and adding reverb to create and experience the exact acoustic conditions of specific venues, giving researchers a better idea of how the music would have sounded.

“As one of the founding companies of the pro audio industry, Martin Audio has always taken great pride in delivering cutting-edge creative solutions and this continues with our collaboration with Astro Spatial Audio,” says Martin Audio Managing Director, Dom Harter. “The Interactive Sound Lab is a perfect example of this and highlights exactly what is possible with our Sound Adventures solution. The signature warmth and vocal clarity delivered by our CDD series make this new facility an excellent resource to help researchers get a better understanding of how this historic music was meant to be heard.”

“This project is a perfect example of the kind of solution Sound Adventures can offer,” adds Bjorn van Munster, Managing Director at Astro Spatial Audio. “The versatility of SARA II means that we are often found on high-end entertainment events, but projects like the Interactive Sound Lab show the benefits that truly immersive audio can also provide to serious research projects.”

With the Library of Voices and its sound labs, the Alamire Foundation both broadens and deepens the operations of the Musicology Research Unit, KU Leuven and its partners ESAT-STADIUS and LIBIS.

“Technically this was a very challenging project, but this is what drives us and what we like to do,” smiles Steven Kemland. “We look forward to increasing our experience over the coming years in co-operation with the Alamire Foundation and are grateful for their trust and partnership.”