Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Music/Center for Computation & Technology

Document Type



Immersive multichannel audio can be produced with specialized setups of loudspeakers, often surrounding the audience. These setups can feature as few as four loudspeakers or more than 300. Performative mixing in these environments requires a bespoke solution offering intuitive gestural control. Beyond the usual faders for gain control, advancements in multichannel sound demand interfaces capable of quickly positioning sounds between channels. The Quad Cartesian Positioner is such a solution in the form of a Eurorack module for surround mixing for use in live or studio performances.

Diffusion/mixing methods for live multichannel immersive music often rely on the repurposing of hardware initially designed for non-immersive applications. While the diffusion of a work via the use of repurposed technology, such as a traditional mixing console, is a performance in its own right, it is not an intuitive way to diffuse and localize audio due to myriad routing possibilities across many faders. Nor does a console’s large size render it conducive for use by a performer where a piece requires mixing to be part of the performance while playing other instruments simultaneously.

Modular synthesizers offer direct control and manipulation of audio through physical controls and the use of control voltage from other modules. This method of control is extended into the realm of positioning audio around immersive performance spaces by creating multichannel modules. Modular synthesizers, especially those of the Eurorack format, offer the flexibility to integrate well with analog signals from other instruments while being able to adapt easily to specific performance needs. They are also scalable in size, allowing the modular synthesizer to be built in a small case serving as a minimal addition to an otherwise non-modular-based setup, or the modular synthesizer can be expanded to serve as the centerpiece of a live performance rig.

Implementing an interface for positioning a sound amongst eight channels in a Eurorack module addresses all of these issues: ease of integrating with traditional multichannel performance systems, intuitive gestural control, and extensibility offered within the Eurorack ecosystem.



Committee Chair

Allison, Jesse