DIY ambisonic microphone

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

2400 Articles

By Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

2400 Articles

Article Featured Image
ambis_mic_cu.jpg

Dorkbot-Austin #22 happened last night in Sandy Stone’s ACTlab on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. There were a number of really great presentations, most of which I will be writing about over the course of the next couple of weeks.

First up is Dan Hemingson’s “ambisonic” (Wikipedia) recording work. Shown above is the tetrahedral microphone array Dan uses to record his soundscapes, three of which he played back on the ACTlab’s surround-sound system. The tetrahedral microphone arrangement makes it possible to mathematically derive any number or spatial arrangement of surround-sound channels from the raw audio. Professional ambisonic microphones cost thousands of dollars; Dan put his together for nine bucks. He played amazing recordings of a babbling river, a clowder of feeding cats, and a pipe organ recital at UT’s Bass Concert Hall, while the audience milled about the room to experience the spatial simulation of the original sounds. The realism was absolutely uncanny. There’s more info on Dan’s Soundscapes page.