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4-speaker PA system ... quadrophic controls?

Imagine having a PA with a speaker in each corner. Obviously the main L and R, but also a speaker in the back L and the back R.

Similar to the quadrophonic style home-theatre from a few decades ago,but for live use.

What would it take to be able to move sound from one speaker to another?

Obviously I could just arrange 4 subgroups .. each one corresponding to a speaker. But that could get difficult... timing and such.

Any way to rig up a joystick or something to control the signal's route?



sheet Thu, 12/14/2006 - 08:41
This has/is being done. Actually, several tours of progressive jazz have been doing 5.1 surround, using a Digidesign ProControl and ProTools. In the 80s I was at a show, where a Christian rock band called Servant had a quad system set up in the Brady theater, Tulsa, OK. It was awesome.

You can't really mix a purists mix on something like that in my opinion, as the only people getting a real experience are dead center. But for effects it is cool.

Along those lines, theater productions have surround mixes in the teens or more. Discrete mixes/speakers handle effects for optimum localization. So a creaking door's sound comes from the creaking door, and not the left and right speakers.

moonbaby Thu, 12/14/2006 - 11:48
Pink Floyd did indeed use quadrophonic effects in their live "Dark Side of the Moon" tour in the summer of '73, I remember it well. They used the quad stacks in the corners of the room as special effects. You know the parts of DSoM, where airplanes are zooming around, maniacs are screaming, etc.? (I forget the name of the song, maybe it was "Us"?).That's what they panned around the room. It was pretty awesome back then. They had a joystick set-up on what was probably an early Midas board. My music partner tells me that Bob Moog (who he worked for in the 80s at Big Briar) made some sort of customized 4-channel VCA box that could do quad panning with a CV joystick. He made it for the rock group Asia, but whether they actually used it in live performance is unknown. These days, it could still be done using either THAT or Precision Monolithic VCA chips and a logarithmic joystick controller sending out the appropriate control voltages to the different VCA channels. Too bad that hasn't been explored by the companies that are offering 5.1 panning in their digital mixers....

sheet Thu, 12/14/2006 - 13:11
There have been guitars like that as well. My friend and former employer, Steve Ripley, made the first stereo guitar and 6 output guitar, as well as the D neck. Fender ripped off the D neck idea and Gibson the other. Ripley's guitars were made for and played by Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, Frank and Dweezil Zappa, Joe Satriani, etc, etc. Anyway, discrete outputs from each string had effects sends and returns, and could be sent to 6 amps, or tracks, which could be assigned to 6 speakers around the room.